Gasoline gained on speculation that a coastal storm that brought snow and flooding to East Coast areas recovering from Hurricane Sandy may delay fuel imports.
Futures rose as the nor’easter pushed a band of snow into the states around New York City and threatened to exacerbate power outages that have persisted since Sandy struck on Oct. 29 near Atlantic City, New Jersey. Four tankers carrying gasoline and four transporting naphtha were scheduled to arrive in New York Harbor over the next few days, according to the U.S. Coast Guard yesterday.
“Supplies in the Northeast are being impacted by the delayed arrival of tankers because of the nor’easter,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston. “Inventories remain low for this time of the year.”
Gasoline for December delivery rose 2.31 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $2.612 a gallon at 9:46 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Today’s gain follows yesterday’s 4.1 percent slide on concern that President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress won’t reach a budget deal. Obama, who won re-election on Nov. 6, and Congress must address a looming $607 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax gains known as the fiscal cliff. Democrats retained control of the Senate while Republicans continue to hold a majority in the House of Representatives.
“The move down was, maybe, a little bit exaggerated,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
The East Coast, which includes New York Harbor, the delivery point for the Nymex contract, is recovering from disruptions caused by Hurricane Sandy. The storm shut retail stations, terminals, refineries and pipelines, reducing the ability of drivers to buy fuel.
Inventories of gasoline in the East Coast, or PADD 1, fell 1.25 million barrels last week to 46.6 million, 8.7 percent below a year earlier, Energy Department data showed.
Total U.S. gasoline imports slid 56 percent to 270,000 barrels a day, the least since December 1999. Shipments of gasoline into the East Coast, where most cargoes land, sank 63 percent to 217,000 barrels.
December-delivery heating oil advanced 2.24 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $2.9845 a gallon.
The average nationwide price for regular gasoline rose 0.2 cent to $3.464 a gallon, AAA, the largest U.S. motoring organization, said today on its website. It was the first increase since Oct. 7. The pump price reached a 2012 high of $3.936 on April 4.
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