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Midcontinent Diesel Climbs to Four-Week High on Harvest

Nov. 7 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Midcontinent diesel climbed to a four-week high relative to futures as the corn harvest progressed at the fastest pace since 2008, boosting demand for fuel that powers farm equipment.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel in Group 3, the region spanning north from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Minnesota and North Dakota, added 2 cents to 2.25 cents a gallon below New York Mercantile Exchange futures at 3:59 p.m., the strongest level since Oct. 9, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

About 73 percent of the U.S. corn crop was harvested as of Nov. 3, up from 59 percent a week earlier, according to the U.S. Agricultural Department. The increase was the largest for the period in five years.

Stockpiles of distillate fuel in the U.S. Midwest, known as PADD 2, fell 1.53 million barrels to 26.3 million last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported yesterday, the lowest level since Dec. 12.

An outage at Citgo Petroleum Corp.’s 170,500-barrel-a-day Lemont, Illinois, refinery may have contributed to the decline in production. The plant reduced rates significantly after a fire in October.

Diesel in the Midcontinent traded at a premium of 4.63 cents a gallon to the same fuel on the U.S. Gulf Coast, the largest spread since Oct. 7. The Gulf Coast price strengthened 0.5 cent to 6.88 cents a gallon below futures.

Marathon Garyville

Gasoline climbed after the U.S. National Response Center reported that Marathon Petroleum Corp. shut a unit at its 522,000-barrel-a-day Garyville, Louisiana, refinery. Conventional, 87-octane gasoline, or CBOB, in the Gulf climbed 4.25 cents to 21.25 cents below futures after falling to a three-month low yesterday.

The 3-2-1 crack spread on the Gulf, a rough measure of refining margins based on West Texas Intermediate oil in Cushing, Oklahoma, widened 18 cents to $8.72 a barrel. The same spread in Group 3 slumped 66 cents to $7.90.

California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in Los Angeles and San Francisco were unchanged against futures at premiums of 11.5 and 5.5 cents a gallon, respectively. Gasoline in Portland, Oregon, a benchmark for the U.S. Pacific Northwest, also held at 9.5 cents a gallon below futures.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Harvey in New York at charvey32@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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