March 7 (Bloomberg) -- New York Harbor gasoline weakened to the lowest level in almost a year as U.S. East Coast imports increased and nationwide demand for gasoline declined.
Regional imports rose 104,000 barrels to 599,000 barrels a day in the seven days ended March 1, the Energy Information Administration said yesterday. Demand for the motor fuel fell 2.7 percent to 8.36 million barrels a day. The U.S. gasoline market is transitioning to summer-grade fuel. Winter grade can’t be delivered after April 15, when specifications change and refineries must begin delivering summer-grade gasoline.
“We get more winter fuel than we know what to do with and the spread collapses,” Carl Larry, Houston-based president of Oil Outlooks & Opinions, LLC, said today. “Demand numbers seem weak.”
Reformulated, 84-octane gasoline, or RBOB, in New York Harbor weakened 1.75 cents to 25.63 cents below futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 12:09 p.m. on the East Coast. That’s the widest differential since March 12, 2012, and a fifth consecutive decline, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Ultra-low-sulfur diesel strengthened 0.13 cent to trade at a premium of 11.75 to heating oil futures.
Stockpiles of gasoline in the Central Atlantic region, including New York Harbor, climbed for an 11th week to 33.7 million barrels, the highest level since Feb. 24, 2012.
The 3-2-1 crack spread in New York Harbor, or a measure of refining profitability for gasoline and diesel based on Brent oil in Europe, retreated 76 cents to $12.74 a barrel, the first decline in three days. Refineries on the East Coast processed 963,000 barrels a day of crude and other feedstock last week, compared with 968,000 a week earlier, EIA data show.
U.S. Gulf Coast gasoline strengthened for the first time in four days after a government report showed inventories slipped 2.1 million barrels to 73.4 million last week. Conventional, 87-octane gasoline’s discount to futures narrowed by 1.25 cents to 26.25 cents a gallon.
Refineries in the region reduced gross inputs by 283,000 barrels to 7.04 million barrels a day, EIA data showed. The 3-2-1 crack spread on the Gulf, based on West Texas Intermediate in Cushing, Oklahoma, declined 98 cents to $31.20 a barrel.
The same margin for Light Louisiana Sweet oil fell 0.13 cent to $9.95 a barrel.
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