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Gasoline Rises to 2-Week High on Retail Sales Report, Outages

Gasoline jumped to a two-week high as U.S. retail sales topped estimates, easing concern the economic recovery has stalled, and on speculation unplanned refinery outages will reduce supplies.

Futures rose the most in five weeks as sales at retailers slipped 0.2 percent, less than the 0.5 percent drop in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. Gasoline also gained after unit shutdowns at two Texas refineries and at a Canadian plant that serves the New York Harbor market.

“You have a strong retail sales report and refinery shutdowns are probably adding fuel to the fire,” said Sander Cohan, an analyst with Energy Security Analysis Inc. in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

Gasoline for July delivery gained 6.78 cents, or 2.3 percent, to settle at $3.0646 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the highest settlement since May 31 and the largest increase since May 10.

The drop in U.S. retail sales followed a 0.3 percent increase in April that was less than previously reported. Excluding the biggest slide in auto sales in more than a year, purchases in May climbed 0.3 percent.

Irving Oil Corp. suffered a power failure affecting several units at its Saint John refinery in New Brunswick at about 11:30 a.m. local time, Jennifer Graham, a spokeswoman for the New Brunswick Department of the Environment, said in an e-mail.

Valero, BP

Valero Energy Corp. has been running its 310,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Port Arthur at reduced rates since a June 6 lightning strike.

BP’s 475,000-barrel-a-day Texas City refinery, which had returned one catalytic cracker to normal operations on June 8, today reported a second of the gasoline-making units had an unplanned shutdown.

That report “is what got the market started,” said Tom Knight, vice president of trading and supply at Truman Arnold Cos. in Texarkana, Texas. Additionally, “the dollar is a little weaker, equities stronger.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index jumped 1.3 percent after the retail report and crude oil in New York rose the most in a month.

The dollar weakened a second straight day against the euro, raising the investment appeal of commodities. The U.S. currency lost 0.4 percent versus the euro as of 3:21 p.m. in New York.

Regular gasoline at the pump fell 0.7 cent to $3.696 yesterday, according to AAA data on its website, the lowest level since April 4.

Heating oil for July delivery gained 2 cents, or 0.6 percent, to settle at $3.1258 on the Nymex.

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