U.S. East Coast Gasoline at Five-Month High on Imports

U.S. East Coast gasoline rose to a five-month high as imports to the area declined and refinery maintenance continued in eastern Canada and New Jersey.

Reformulated, 84-octane gasoline, or RBOB, in the New York Harbor strengthened 0.88 cent to 3.88 cents a gallon above futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 3:16 p.m., the highest premium since Nov. 15, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

New York’s gasoline premium swelled for a fourth day. Motor fuel imports to the East Coast dropped 63,000 barrels a day to 402,000 barrels in the week ended April 18, the lowest level since March 14, according to weekly U.S. Energy Information Administration data. Stockpiles of RBOB gasoline fell to 15.8 million barrels, compared with 21 million barrels a year earlier, the data showed.

“Imports to New York are limited and there are very few vessels arriving in the near term,” said Tom Finlon, director of Energy Analytics Group Ltd. “There are some signs chartering will pick up next week but supply should stay limited for at least a week or two.”

Irving Oil’s Saint John, New Brunswick, refinery, which sends over half of its products to the U.S. Northeast, expects to complete maintenance this week, while work continues at Valero Energy Corp.’s Quebec City site and Suncor Energy Inc.’s Montreal plant. PBF Energy Inc.’s Paulsboro, New Jersey, refinery conducted maintenance on a crude unit.

U.S. demand for gasoline in the four weeks to April 18 averaged 8.7 million barrels a day, a two-year seasonal high, according to EIA data.

The 3-2-1 crack spread in New York, a rough estimate of refining margins based on European benchmark Brent oil, increased 20 cents to $20.37 a barrel, the strongest since July, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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