Gasoline advanced for the first time in five days after reports that U.S. gasoline stockpiles fell last week and American companies increased hiring in February.
Futures rose after the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute said yesterday that gasoline inventories sank 2.25 million barrels. Employment rose by 216,000 last month, according to figures from ADP Employer Services. The Energy Department will report on oil supplies today and the Labor Department will release February employment data on March 9.
“The ADP number is definitely a step in the right direction,” said Phil Flynn, vice president of research at PFGBest in Chicago. “We’re supposed to draw down in supply because we’re getting rid of that overhang in winter inventories.”
Gasoline for April delivery rose 2.52 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $3.2551 a gallon at 9:44 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have gained 21 percent this year, making gasoline the best-performing commodity in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 raw materials.
The Labor Department will probably report that overall payrolls, which include government workers, rose by 210,000 in February and the unemployment rate held at 8.3 percent, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
“The labor market news looks good and the dollar is giving up some of its gains,” said James Cordier, portfolio manager at OptionSellers.com in Tampa, Florida. “Over the next few days we could attract investors who are looking forward to a spring rally in gasoline.”
U.S. stockpiles of gasoline probably fell 1.6 million barrels last week, based on the median estimate of 10 analysts in a survey by Bloomberg News. That would be the third consecutive decline.
Distillate (DOEASDIS) inventories probably declined 1.65 million barrels, according to the survey. That would leave supplies at the lowest level since the week ended Dec. 16, according to department data. The API reported that stockpiles rose 924,000 barrels. The department is scheduled to release its report at 10:30 a.m. today in Washington.
April-delivery heating oil slipped 0.02 cent to $3.188 a gallon on the exchange. Prices are up 8.6 percent this year.
Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.3 cent to $3.761 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA data. Prices have increased 15 percent this year, and are 7.2 percent higher than a year earlier.
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