LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Gasoline refining margins in
northwest Europe firmed on Tuesday after hitting a 21-month low
in the previous session, with exports providing some support
amid weak demand and higher crude oil prices.
Though firmer, gasoline cracks remained at their lowest
since January, with competition from large refiners in Asia and
U.S. plants that can run on cheap gas threatening some European
plants with closure.
Traders and analysts say that sustained declines in margins
will mean deeper run cuts or extended maintenance at European
refiners and could result in a new wave of closures.
'It would be difficult to sustain negative gasoline cracks,'
said one trader. 'It implies that we can close gasoline specific
European refineries are struggling to find markets for their
gasoline surplus as exports to the United States slump to the
lowest level since 2001.
As demand for gasoline has dwindled in Europe in favour of
diesel, the region's refineries have become heavily reliant on
gasoline exports, primarily to the U.S. East Coast but also to
Two tankers began their journey across the Atlantic on
Monday while another vessel left for West Africa on Tuesday,
Reuters shipping data showed. Another tanker was fixed for Oct.
10 to carry product to Mexico and the United States.
* No barges traded in the Platts price assessment window on
Tuesday. There were offers at $943 compared to prices of
$928-$929 a tonne fob ARA on Monday.
* A rare cargo of gasoline traded in the window. Morgan
Stanley sold Trafigura 10,000 tonnes at $950 a tonne cif Tees.
* No barges of premium unleaded sold in the window for the
second session running. There were offers at $943 compared to
prices of $935-$936 a tonne fob ARA on Friday.
* Ahead of the window, some 4,000 tonnes of gasoline traded
at $937-$943 a tonne fob ARA, up from $916-$930 a tonne on
* The November swap was trading at $931 a tonne fob ARA, up
from $922 a tonne on Monday.
* Eurobob's crack to dated Brent firmed to a 10-month
low of $1.248 a barrel on Tuesday, from a 21-month low of $0.559
a barrel on Monday.
* Brent crude oil futures were up 0.63 cents at
$110.31 a barrel by 1609 GMT.
* U.S. RBOB gasoline futures in New York were up 0.58
percent at $2.6414 a gallon, and the crack was at $7.20 a barrel .
* No naphtha cargoes traded in the Platts price assessment
window for the third straight session. The highest bid came in
at $896 a tonne cif NWE, up from $888 a tonne on Monday. The
lowest offer was at $898 a tonne cif NWE compared to $890 a
tonne on Monday.
* The prompt crack was flat at around minus $9.55 a barrel
on Tuesday, according to Reuters calculations.
(Reporting by Lin Noueihed, editing by William Hardy)
Keywords: MARKETS EUROPE/GASOLINE
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