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Gasoline Cracks Widen as Futures Post First Weekly Gain in April

Gasoline rebounded from an early drop to rise more than 2 cents on the day, extending the first weekly gain since March. Crack spreads widened.

Futures gained 0.8 percent. The fuel’s premium over June West Texas Intermediate increased $1.34 to $25.75 a barrel, while the spread versus Brent grew 95 cents to $15.59. Prices climbed 2.3 percent this week after falling 11 percent in the first three weeks of the month.

“There was a lot of liquidation that happened in the course of the last couple weeks, to the point where some people were short,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LP in Houston. “There’s only a couple days left to trade May futures. A lot of people get out on the couple days prior to expiration and roll their positions.”

Gasoline for May delivery rose 2.31 cents to settle at $2.8349 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange on volume that was 2.6 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day.

Demand for gasoline rose the most since Nov. 16 last week, while national gasoline inventories fell the most since April 2012, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on April 24.

“This week’s report, which showed a nearly 4 million-barrel drop in supplies and an increase in demand, is still providing support for the market if traders see demand increasing as the summer driving season approaches,” said Gene McGillian, a trader and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, slipped 0.7 cent to $3.505 a gallon, AAA said on its website today. It’s the lowest price since Feb. 1.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel for May delivery dropped 0.05 cent to $2.9012 a gallon on the Nymex. Trading volume was 16 percent above the 100-day average. Prices gained 4.1 percent on the week.

ULSD’s crack spread versus June West Texas Intermediate crude gained 7 cents to $27.38 a barrel. The spread versus Brent decreased 32 cents to $17.22.

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