Gasoline Little Changed on Speculation Supplies to IncreaseBarbara Powell
Gasoline was little changed amid speculation that supplies of the motor fuel in New York Harbor are adequate and will soon increase.
Futures were 0.01 cent higher after swinging between an 0.8 percent drop and a 1.6 percent gain. A crude unit upset at PBF Energy Inc.’s Paulsboro, New Jersey, refinery wasn’t expected to affect production. Philadelphia Energy Solutions may restart a fluid catalytic cracker this week at the Girard Point section of the plant that was shut in February for planned work.
“Paulsboro is a non-event and, perhaps, the market thinks the Girard Point cat will be back up and running this week and that will add to supply,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston.
Gasoline for April delivery settled at $3.0626 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, from $3.0625 March 22. Trading volume was 22 percent below the 100-day average at 3 p.m.
April futures touched above the 20-day moving average of $3.0905 before falling back. Prices have dropped 6.3 percent from the year-to-date high of $3.2672 reached on March 11.
“A lot of traders are watching the charts,” said Michael Smith, president of T&K Futures & Options in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. “It looks like gasoline is trying to get back above the 20-day average, but I think we’ve already seen the highest prices for the year.”
Futures retreated from the day’s high as the premium of Brent crude, the pricing basis for gasoline imports, to West Texas Intermediate oil narrowed 59 cents to $13.36 a barrel today, the smallest gap since July.
“More refineries in the U.S. are coming out of maintenance this week and that’s bound to weigh on gasoline,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil market strategist at Energy Aspects Ltd., a research company in London. “The weakness in Brent does not help.”
May gasoline’s premium over WTI narrowed 97 cents to $33.47 a barrel. The spread versus Brent narrowed 38 cents to $20.11.
Heating oil for April delivery fell 0.71 cent, or 0.3 percent, to settle at $2.8772 a gallon on volume that was 4.3 percent above than the 100-day average.
Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.4 cent to $3.667 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. Prices are the lowest since Feb. 14 and are 22.7 cents below a year ago.