Gasoline Futures Climb as Government Report Shows Supply DropBarbara Powell
Gasoline rose for the first time in five days as the Energy Information Administration reported that supplies of the motor fuel fell last week.
Futures gained as stockpiles declined 3.76 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 1 to 210 million, more than the 400,000-barrel drop projected in a survey by Bloomberg. The stockpile withdrawal came as refiners reduced operating rates and as demand jumped to the highest since July.
“There was a big draw in gasoline despite the fact refiners increased runs,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
Gasoline for December delivery advanced 3.19 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $2.548 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading volume on all contracts was 45 percent higher than the 100-day average at 3:38 p.m.
Futures touched $2.5138 yesterday and settled at the lowest level since December 2011 amid speculation that stockpile declines will ease as refiners return from seasonal maintenance.
“The drop in both gasoline and distillate stocks was pretty bullish,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “At two-and-a-half dollars, unless the economy is going to hell in a hand basket, it seems you’ve have support at that level.”
Gasoline stocks in PADD 1, which includes New York Harbor, the delivery point for the Nymex contract, fell 2.04 million barrels to 54 million, the biggest decline in 11 weeks. Imports to the region slipped 13 percent to 450,000 barrels a day.
Refinery input of crude and feedstocks last week fell 85,000 barrels a day to 15.5 million.
Demand, or deliveries to wholesalers from blenders and refiners, jumped 2.6 percent to 9.29 million barrels a day, the most since July 5. The four-week average was 5.4 percent above a year earlier when East Coast production, distribution and demand was disrupted by Hurricane Sandy.
“There were some refinery issues that were part of the decline in gasoline production,” Flynn said. “There was also some demand response last week as some people for the first time were able to get gasoline for less than $3 a gallon,”
Gasoline’s crack spread versus WTI narrowed 9 cents to $12.22 a barrel. The fuel’s premium versus Brent increased $1.43 to $1.78.
U.S. pump prices, averaged nationwide, fell 0.8 cent to $3.232 a gallon, the lowest level since Dec. 20, Heathrow, Florida-based AAA said today on its website. Prices are 23.1 cents below a year ago.
Supplies of distillates, including diesel and jet fuel, fell 4.9 million barrels to 117.8 million, the lowest in six months. Analysts estimates a 1.5-million-barrel drop.
Ultra-low-sulfur diesel for December delivery rose 0.55 cent to $2.8696 a gallon, after settling yesterday at the lowest level since June 26. Volume was 22 percent above the 100-day average.
ULSD’s premium over WTI fell $1.20 to $25.72 a barrel. The spread versus Brent widened 32 cents to $15.28.