Gasoline futures declined for a third day in New York on speculation supplies will improve before demand picks up in the spring.
Futures sank as much as 2.7 percent, touching $2.9782, 19.06 cents below the intraday high from two days ago. The fuel, the second-best performer after cotton on Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 commodities this year, was the second-worst today after nickel as the index dropped 1.1 percent. An industry report yesterday showed supplies in the East Coast, or PADD 1, increased 1.02 million barrels last week.
“The market is being led down by gasoline, which had extraordinary rise over the last five weeks,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston. “As refiners return from maintenance over the next couple of weeks and supplies improve, those who went long are going to be liquidating their positions.”
March gasoline fell 6.05 cents to $2.999 a gallon at 9:57 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the biggest loss since Nov. 7. Volume was 34 percent above the 100-day average for the time of day.
Prices have dropped 4.3 percent in the first three-day decline since Dec. 6.
Retail gasoline, averaged nationwide, rose 1.2 cents to $3.778 a gallon, the highest level since Oct. 14, AAA said today on its website. Pump prices have gained every day since Jan. 17, advancing 48.5 cents.
Prices have jumped 15 percent this year to within 15.8 cents of last year’s high of $3.936. Prices may peak earlier than they did last year, Avery Ash, a spokesman for AAA, the nation’s largest motoring organization, said in an interview Feb. 19.
The Energy Information Administration will probably report today that U.S. gasoline inventories fell a second week, dropping 900,000 barrels, according to the median estimate of 11 analysts in a survey by Bloomberg. The industry-funded American Petroleum Institute reported yesterday that gasoline supplies fell 122,000 barrels last week.
Heating oil for March delivery fell 4.88 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $3.1075 a gallon on the exchange on volume that was 6.7 percent below the 100-day average.
Distillate inventories, including heating oil and diesel, probably declined 1.8 million barrels, according to the survey. API reported a decline of 1.61 million barrels.
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