Gasoline Gains After Report That U.S. Inventories Declined

Gasoline futures advanced for a third day after an industry report showed a decline in U.S. stockpiles.

The American Petroleum Institute said late yesterday that supplies declined 2.49 million barrels last week. The Energy Information Administration’s inventory report is scheduled for release at 11 a.m. today in Washington. The EIA will probably say gasoline stocks rose 1.1 million barrels, based on the median estimate of 10 analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

“The market is going to be looking for confirmation from the EIA,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

Gasoline for January delivery rose 0.21 cent to $2.8221 a gallon at 9:42 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange on trading volume that was 28 percent below the 100-day average. The futures have climbed 0.4 percent this year.

The motor fuel’s crack spread versus West Texas Intermediate, a rough measure of refining profitability, narrowed 46 cents to $18.21 a barrel. Gasoline’s premium to London-traded Brent crude rose 0.5 cent to $6.25.

The average U.S. pump price rose 1.5 cents to $3.283 a gallon, the eighth consecutive increase and highest price since Nov. 27, according to Heathrow, Florida-based AAA.

The API also said supplies of distillates, including diesel and heating oil, declined 722,000 barrels. The Bloomberg survey projects a drop of 1 million barrels in today’s report.

Ultra low sulfur diesel for January delivery gained 0.64 cent to $3.1012 a gallon on trading volume that was 47 percent below the 100-day average. The futures have risen 1.8 percent this year.

ULSD’s crack spread versus WTI narrowed 32 cents to $29.31 a barrel. The premium over Brent declined 20 cents to $17.30.

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