Gasoline Rises and Cracks Widen as Economic News Buoys Demand

Gasoline futures rose as positive economic news out of the U.S. and U.K. increased optimism that demand for transportation fuels will climb. Crack spreads widened.

Futures gained as much as 1.1 percent. The fuel’s premium over June West Texas Intermediate grew 40 cents to $24.55 a barrel, while the spread versus Brent widened 19 cents to $14.04. Britain’s economy expanded more than forecast in the first quarter. Fewer Americans than expected filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments last week.

“Everyone was really focused on London this morning, fearing economic data that could put us into triple-dip recession,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst for the Price Futures Group in Chicago. “Instead the numbers blew away expectations.”

Gasoline for May delivery rose 1.39 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $2.7613 a gallon at 9:34 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange on volume that was 8.8 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day.

Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.4 cent to $3.512 a gallon, AAA said on its website today.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel for May delivery rose 1.58 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $2.8571 a gallon on the Nymex. Trading volume was 21 percent above the 100-day average.

ULSD’s crack spread versus June West Texas Intermediate crude gained 64 cents to $27.97 a barrel. The spread versus Brent increased 36 cents to $17.39.

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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