Gasoline, Diesel Slide as U.S. Government Shutdown Continues

Gasoline and diesel slid as the U.S. government shutdown extended to a 14th day with no Congressional agreement to end the fiscal impasse or raise the debt limit.

Futures fell as the Oct. 17 deadline looms to increase the credit limit or risk default, threatening the economy and ultimately fuel demand. Trading volumes were below average as banks closed for the U.S. Columbus Day holiday.

“You’ve got a bank holiday and there’s not a lot of buying coming in,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “There’s a growing sense of unease as we get closer to the debt-ceiling deadline.”

Gasoline for November delivery fell 2.66 cents, or 1 percent, to $2.6415 a gallon at 10:02 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange on trading volume that was 31 percent below the 100-day average.

The congressional deadlock over increasing the U.S. debt ceiling from $16.7 trillion is threatening the U.S. and world economies, said International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

“If the market doesn’t see any positive signs they’re doing something, we’ll just be grinding lower,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

The motor fuel’s crack spread versus WTI narrowed 56 cents to $9.48 a barrel. The premium to Brent fell 2 cents to 76 cents a barrel.

Pump prices, averaged nationwide, slipped 0.1 cent to $3.343 a gallon, 45.1 cents below a year ago, Heathrow, Florida-based AAA said today on its website.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel for November delivery declined 1.76 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $3.0173 a gallon on trading volume that was 12 percent below the 100-day average.

ULSD’s premium versus WTI narrowed 15 cents to $25.30 a barrel. The crack spread over Brent rose 31 cents to $16.50.

To contact the reporter on this story: Barbara Powell in Houston at bpowell4@bloomberg.net

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

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