Heating Oil Little Changed on Europe Debt Plans, Credit Outlook

Heating oil was little changed after Italian Prime Minster Mario Monti proposed budget cuts and on a report that Standard & Poor’s will put France and Germany on “creditwatch negative.”

Futures rose earlier to a two-week high as Monti presented a 30 billion-euro ($40 billion) plan to policy makers in Rome. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy pushed for a rewrite of the European Union’s governing rules to tighten economic cooperation. The Financial Times reported the credit ratings company would release a statement later today.

“I think the market might be a little skeptical that can get done,” said Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst at PFGBest in Chicago. The Standard & Poor’s downgrade report “is going to put downward pressure on the prices,” he said.

Heating oil for January delivery gained 0.24 cent to settle at $2.9924 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose to $3.0807, the highest intraday price since Nov. 18, before retreating.

Oil products rose on “optimism that the Europeans will announce some deal later this week and also the Italians introducing an austerity plan,” Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston, said.

The euro was little changed at 1.3397, after rising as much as 0.7 percent to $1.3487. Germany is keen for the International Monetary Fund to adopt a “decisive role” in combating the crisis alongside the European rescue fund, Michael Meister, the parliamentary finance spokesman for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said today in a telephone interview.

Inventories May Rise

An Energy Department report Dec. 7 may show that inventories of heating oil and diesel rose 1.1 million barrels last week, according to the median of nine analyst estimates in a survey by Bloomberg News.

Gasoline for January delivery slipped 0.25 cent to $2.6137 a gallon on the exchange.

Gasoline stockpiles probably rose 1 million barrels, according to the survey

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.1 cent to $3.276 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA data. It’s the fifth straight drop and the lowest price since Feb. 23.