Gasoline Futures Slip as Crude Drops on Slower Economic Growth

Gasoline futures dropped along with crude after a report that China’s manufacturing is expanding at a slower pace and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its outlook for Brent crude prices. Crack spreads narrowed.

Prices fell as much as 1.9 percent. The fuel’s crack spread versus June WTI declined 56 cents to $26.23 a barrel. The June spread versus Brent sank 52 cents to $15.07. A preliminary Chinese Purchasing Managers’ Index for March showed a decline from the previous month.

“The general consensus is it’s still about demand, and it’s not getting better,” said Carl Larry, president of Oil Outlooks and Opinions LLC in Houston. “Economic numbers are still tepid. I think the Goldman report is going to weigh on people.”

Gasoline for May delivery fell 3.35 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $2.7359 a gallon at 10:31 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange on volume that was 51 percent above the 100-day average for the time of day.

Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.3 cent to $3.515 a gallon, AAA said today on its website.

Goldman Sachs cut its near-term outlook for Brent oil to $100 a barrel, from a previous outlook of $110 a barrel, and lowered its 2013 forecast to $105 a barrel from $110 a barrel.

China Manufacturing

A preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Index for China released by HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) and Markit Economics came in at 50.5, compared with a final 51.6 for March. The number was also below the median 51.5 estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 11 analysts. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

In Europe, a composite index based on a survey of purchasing managers held at 46.5, London-based Markit Economics said today. It’s the 15th straight month below 50, which indicates contraction.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel for May delivery fell 0.65 cent to $2.8029 a gallon on the Nymex. Trading volume was 26 percent below the 100-day average.

ULSD’s crack spread versus June West Texas Intermediate crude gained 38 cents to $28.60 a barrel. The June spread versus Brent gained 52 cents to $17.38.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Murtaugh in Houston at dmurtaugh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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