Diesel Climbs as Arctic Cold to Reduce Already-Tight Supplies

Diesel futures rose as frigid weather and snow across parts of the U.S. may increase demand while supplies are below-normal in the U.S. Northeast.

Prices climbed as much as 0.8 percent. Temperatures will be below normal across much of the country through Feb. 13, according to MDA Weather Services. Stockpiles of diesel and heating oil near New York Harbor, where the contracts are delivered, are the lowest since 2008, Energy Information Administration data show.

“Heating oil remains supported by more storms that are going to be impacting the Northeast, underlaying continued demand for heating oil,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston.

Ultra low sulfur diesel for March delivery rose 0.47 cent to $3.0122 a gallon at 10:17 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading volume was 57 percent above the 100-day average.

Supplies of distillate, including heating oil and diesel, probably fell 2.5 million barrels last week, according to the median estimate of 10 analysts in a survey by Bloomberg. The EIA is scheduled to report last week’s inventories tomorrow.

Temperatures from the Midwest to the Northeast will be below normal from Feb. 9 through Feb. 17, according to the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center.

Diesel’s crack spread versus WTI, a rough measure of refining profitability, narrowed 73 cents to $29.16 a barrel. The premium over European benchmark Brent widened 25 cents to $20.53.

March-delivery gasoline slipped 0.11 cent to $2.6058 a gallon on volume that was 7.3 percent below the 100-day average.

Supplies probably rose 1.15 million barrels last week, according to the survey.

The motor fuel’s crack spread versus WTI fell 88 cents to $12.18 a barrel. Its premium to London-traded Brent crude increased 4 cents to $3.49.

The average U.S. pump price fell 0.5 cent to $3.274 a gallon, according to data from Heathrow, Florida-based AAA. Prices are 24.9 cents below a year ago.

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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