Gasoline dropped, following crude lower after U.S. unemployment benefits claims increased more than forecast. The crack spread on the New York Mercantile Exchange widened for the first time in a week.
Futures fell a fifth straight day as jobless claims rose by 28,000 to 385,000 in the week ended March 30, the highest level since Nov. 24, Labor Department figures showed today. Gasoline’s crack spread versus WTI widened 32 cents to $28.26 a barrel. The May-June gasoline spread narrowed, indicating ample supplies.
“There’s an unease on the macro side that the jobs number didn’t help,” said Andrew Lebow, a senior vice president at Jefferies Bache LLC in New York. “There’s also follow-through from this week of heavy selling.”
Gasoline for May delivery fell 2.62 cents to $2.8878 a gallon at 10:39 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading volume on the Nymex was 144 percent above the 100-day average. Prices touched $2.8679, the lowest intraday level since Feb. 28.
The fuel’s spread over Brent slipped 20 cents to $15.08 a barrel. The May contract’s premium to June gasoline narrowed 0.41 cent to 0.18 cent a gallon.
Ultra-low-sulfur-diesel for May delivery fell 5.17 cents to $2.9503 a gallon on volume that was 35 percent above the 100-day average at 9:28 a.m.
Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.4 cent to $3.636 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. Prices are 29.2 cents below a year earlier after falling in March for the first time in 10 years, according to AAA data.
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