Gasoline rose, narrowing the largest monthly decline since October. Crack spreads widened for the first time in four days.
The March contract’s discount to April futures narrowed 0.47 cent to 24.51 cents a gallon as the U.S. prepares to switch from winter- to summer-grade fuel. The April crack spread, or premium over West Texas Intermediate crude on Nymex, increased 26 cents to $36.96 a barrel. The spread versus Brent crude on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London was up 6 cents to $18.66. WTI and Brent were poised for monthly losses.
“The run-up we normally see in April may already have happened,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
March-delivery gasoline rose 1.45 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $2.871 a gallon at 9:50 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange on volume that was more than double the 100-day average for the time of day. Futures are down 5.1 percent this month.
The March contract expires today. The more actively traded April-delivery futures rose 0.98 cent to $3.1161 a gallon. April represents summer-grade gasoline, which uses costlier blending components.
Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.4 cent to $3.782 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. Prices are up 15 percent this year.
Heating oil for March delivery gained 0.14 cent to $2.9893 a gallon on volume that was 47 percent above the 100-day average. Prices are heading for a decline of 4.5 percent for February, the biggest monthly drop since May. The April contract fell 0.04 cent to $2.9842 a gallon.
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