LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) - Gasoline barge prices in
northwest Europe came under pressure on Wednesday after large
stock builds in the United States, a major overseas market for
U.S. gasoline inventories leapt 3.02 million barrels
week-on-week, data from the Energy Information Administration
showed. The consensus forecast was for no stock builds as demand
has been picking up heading into the Memorial Day weekend.
There have been fewer shipments to the U.S. East Coast than
is usual at this time of year because of high inventories, but
traders expect things to pick up in mid-June.
Instead, gasoline has been moving to the U.S. Gulf Coast in
recent weeks but traders said prices there were now coming off,
so arbitrage opportunities in that direction are dwindling.
Meanwhile, West African gasoline demand was described as
In the Mediterranean, traders said margins were still under
pressure and refineries were cutting runs.
Despite this discouraging picture, API's Falconara refinery
is now expected to ramp up in July, traders said, rather than
staying closed all year as originally planned. In the summer
ENI's Gela refinery will also return from a partial
* Some 4,000 tonnes of benchmark Eurobob gasoline traded in
the Platts price assessment window at $950-$952 a tonne fob ARA,
down from $962 a tonne on Tuesday.
* Gunvor sold 2,000 tonnes to Trafigura and Chevron sold
2,000 tonnes to Gunvor.
* Earlier in the day, some 7,000 tonnes traded on the Argus
platform at $948.50-$952 a tonne fob ARA, down from $970-$976 a
tonne on Tuesday.
* Chevron and BP sold the barges to Total and Statoil.
* Some 8,000 tonnes of premium unleaded gasoline traded at
$957-$961.50 a tonne fob ARA, down from $976 a tonne on Tuesday.
* Noble and Northville sold the barges to Total.
* By 1601 GMT, Eurobob's crack to dated Brent was at around
$10.48 a barrel, down from around $11.07 a barrel on Tuesday
* ICE Brent crude futures were down 87 cents at
$103.04 a barrel.
* U.S. benchmark RBOB gasoline futures in New York
were down 0.81 percent at $2.8245 a gallon around the same time.
* Three cargoes traded at $840 a tonne cif NWE, down from
Tuesday's trades at $847-$848 a tonne.
* Trafigura sold a June 12-16 cargo to Glencore, Vitol sold
a June 3-7 cargo to Shell and Dow Chemical sold a cargo to
* The prompt naphtha crack was at around minus $8.82 a
barrel, firming from around minus $9.08 a barrel on Tuesday
* Naphtha is still being underpinned by demand from the Far
East. A fire at HPCL's Visakhapatnam plant on May 16
has prompted the Indian refiner to consider cancelling a naphtha
cargo sold to Vitol.
* Traders said the outage would have an impact on buyers as
Asia is structurally short of naphtha.
(Reporting by Claire Milhench; editing by Keiron Henderson)
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