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Gasoline Fluctuates as Durable Orders Slip and Inventories Drop

Gasoline futures fluctuated as orders for U.S. durable goods fell in March, indicating lower fuel demand, while an industry group reported inventories of the motor fuel sank last week. Crack spreads narrowed.

Prices swung between a 0.4 percent drop and a 1 percent gain. Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years slipped the most in seven months in March. The American Petroleum Institute estimated gasoline stocks declined 2.7 million barrels the week ending April 19. The fuel’s crack spread versus June WTI shrank 60 cents to $24.32 a barrel, and the spread versus Brent tightened 31 cents to $13.48.

“Economic reports have been mixed-to-poor lately, and that’s one of the reasons we’ve seen such a sharp sell-off,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “We’ve chased off the longs who bought in. We have the whole driving season in front of us. We’re seeing the market stabilizing and prices start to firm.”

Gasoline for May delivery fell 0.39 cent to $2.7151 a gallon at 9:36 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange on volume that was 46 percent above the 100-day average for the time of day.

Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, rose 0.1 cent to $3.515 a gallon, AAA said today on its website.

EIA Report

The Energy Information Administration will probably report at 10:30 a.m. that stockpiles fell by 600,000 barrels to 221.1 million, according to the median of 11 analyst surveyed by Bloomberg.

Distillate stockpiles increased by 666,000 barrels, the API said. The Bloomberg survey forecast that inventories of distillate fuel, which includes heating oil and diesel, rose 500,000 barrels to 115.7 million.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel for May delivery rose 0.39 cent to $2.8202 a gallon on the Nymex. Trading volume was 39 percent below the 100-day average.

ULSD’s crack spread versus June West Texas Intermediate crude lost 34 cents to $27.99 a barrel. The spread versus Brent narrowed 9 cents to $17.12.

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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