Heating oil rose after China’s manufacturing activity expanded, indicating fuel demand may increase, and the U.S. currency weakened, boosting the appeal of commodities as an investment.
Futures gained as much as 3.7 percent as China’s purchasing managers’ index climbed to 50.3 in December from 49 in November, the Beijing-based logistics federation said Jan. 1. A number above 50 indicates expansion. The dollar fell as much as 1 percent against the euro.
“There’s been good Chinese and Indian manufacturing data” supporting oil and products, said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. A weaker dollar is also a factor in stronger prices, he said.
February-delivery heating oil gained 9.92 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $3.0134 a gallon at 10 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices touched $3.0186, the highest intraday level since Dec. 8.
There are also concerns about the impending closure of some of the Atlantic Basin refineries, McGillian said. French workers at Petroplus Holdings AG (PPHN)’s Petit Couronne refinery in Normandy are continuing to block deliveries of fuel products in a protest against a decision to halt the plant.
Nicolas Vincent, a spokesman for the CGT union, said there will be a meeting tomorrow with other unions to discuss widening the strike to other plants. Petroplus is in the process of shutting units at the 161,800-barrel-a-day Petit Couronne refinery today, he said.
Gasoline for February delivery rose 6.85 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $2.7259 a gallon.
Regular gasoline (3AGSREG) at the pump, averaged nationwide, held at $3.279 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA data. Prices are 6.7 percent above a year earlier.
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