Gasoline fluctuated as crude rallied after U.S. jobless claims fell and the dollar weakened, while East Coast motor fuel inventories increased.
Futures swung between gains and losses as applications for unemployment benefits slid to a six-week low in the seven days ended March 2, according to data from the Labor Department. The dollar fell against the euro after the European Central Bank left interest rates at a record low. The Energy Information Administration said yesterday that East Coast stockpiles increased and imports jumped, easing immediate supply concern.
“The jobless claims numbers were good, giving the market a little bit of a boost, and the dollar has been showing some weakness,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “What’s keeping the market anchored is we are well-supplied in the U.S.”
April-delivery gasoline fell 0.41 cent to $3.1206 a gallon at 10:43 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after trading between $3.0976 and $3.1389. Trading volume was 38 percent above the 100-day average for the time of day.
Initial jobless claims fell by 7,000 to 340,000 last week. The dollar slipped 0.9 percent against the euro at 10:53 a.m. in New York.
Crude oil for April delivery gained as much as 1.4 percent to $91.43 a barrel on the exchange.
Heating oil for March delivery rose 0.63 cent to $2.9819 a gallon on trading volume that was 16 percent above the 100-day average for the time of day.
Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.8 cent to $3.727 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. It was the eighth consecutive drop.
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