Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Heating oil rose to a six-week high after China’s manufacturing activity expanded, indicating fuel demand may increase, and the U.S. currency weakened, boosting the appeal of commodities as an investment.
Futures gained 4.3 percent as China’s purchasing managers’ index climbed to 50.3 in December from 49 in November, the Beijing-based logistics federation said Jan. 1. A number above 50 indicates expansion. The dollar fell as much as 1.1 percent against the euro.
“There’s been good Chinese and Indian manufacturing data” supporting oil and products, said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. A weaker dollar is also a factor in stronger prices, he said.
February-delivery heating oil gained 12.4 cents to settle at $3.0382 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Prices rose to the highest close since Nov. 17.
Prices also increased on speculation that the closing of three refineries in Europe will boost demand for shipments of diesel from the U.S.
French workers at Petroplus Holdings AG’s Petit Couronne refinery in Normandy are continuing to block deliveries of fuel products in a protest against a decision to halt the plant.
Nicolas Vincent, a spokesman for the CGT union, said there will be a meeting tomorrow with other unions to discuss widening the strike to other plants. Petroplus is shutting units at the 161,800-barrel-a-day Petit Couronne refinery today, he said.
“Petroplus is the main reason” for the strength in heating oil, said Sander Cohan, an analyst with Energy Security Analysis Inc. in Wakefield, Massachusetts. “If their facilities stay offline for the long term, that puts even more pressure on the U.S. exportable surplus.”
Gasoline for February delivery rose 9.12 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $2.7486 a gallon. It’s the highest settlement since Oct. 14.
Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, was unchanged at $3.279 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA data. Prices are 6.7 percent above a year earlier.
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