Diesel Futures Tumble as Imports Boost U.S. East Coast Supplies

Diesel futures slid as U.S. East Coast distillate inventories rose for the first time in six weeks and imports jumped to a four-year peak.

Prices slipped as much as 1.3 percent. Supplies of distillates in the region, including heating oil and diesel, rose 134,000 barrels last week to 27.5 million, Energy Information Administration data show. Imports into the East Coast jumped 23 percent to 326,000 barrels a day, the most since February 2010.

“East Coast stocks had been the tightest part of the market,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil market strategist at Energy Aspects Ltd., a research company in London. “We’re expecting more distillates to arrive from Europe.”

Ultra low sulfur diesel for March delivery fell 3.51 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $3.1426 a gallon at 10:03 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after reaching the highest settlement since Jan. 31 yesterday. It was the first decline in six days. Trading volume was 67 percent above the 100-day average.

Nationwide supplies of distillates slipped 339,000 barrels to 112.7 million last week, less than the 2.1 million-barrel decline projected by analysts in a survey by Bloomberg.

“There’s no question supplies are still tight but prices have made some pretty significant moves,” Sen said.

March-delivery gasoline was unchanged at $2.8466 a gallon, after settling yesterday at the highest since Sept. 6. Volume was 6.1 percent below the 100-day average.

The average U.S. pump price gained 0.6 cent to $3.389 a gallon, according to data from Heathrow, Florida-based AAA. Prices have risen 14 consecutive days to the highest level since Sept. 30, and are 38.9 cents below a year earlier.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bill Banker at bbanker@bloomberg.net

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