LONDON, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Gasoline prices and cracks in
northwest Europe firmed on Thursday, supported by growing
opportunities for spot exports of excess European motor fuel to
the United States where stocks have fallen unexpectedly sharply,
Gasoline inventories on the U.S. East Coast fell by 1.2
million barrels last week to their lowest level since December
2012, according to weekly data released by the U.S. Energy
Information Administration on Thursday.
Conversely, gasoline stocks independently held at Europe's
Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub rose in the week to Thursday,
according to Dutch oil analyst Patrick Kulsen, further
highlighting the weak regional demand.
The data saw the U.S. gasoline crack rise to $20 a barrel,
helping to support European gasoline cracks and signalling an
improvement in arbitrage economics.
'It's bullish,' said one trader.
Two product tankers were fixed for Argentina this month, one
was fixed for Brazil and a further three were also due to cross
the Atlantic, Reuters shipping data showed.
Three product tankers were also fixed to head from Europe to
West Africa this month, the data showed.
But another trader said the bull run would not last.
'There are potentially lots of fixtures into New York
Harbour so the arb must be working but there are probably enough
fixed now to collapse the market at the end of November,' he
An improvement in arbitrage economics offers some respite
amid falling refining margins, though the overall prospects for
European gasoline refining still look grim.
Gasoline cracks have threatened to touch zero in recent
weeks with European refiners hit by competition from larger and
more up-to-date plants in the United States or Asia.
Hellenic Petroleum has halted its Thessaloniki
refinery due to poor profit margins and will only restart it
when economic conditions allow, providing more evidence of tough
conditions for Mediterranean refiners.
No gasoline cargoes traded in the Mediterranean on Thursday,
a trader said.
No naphtha cargoes traded in the Platts price assessment
* No barges of benchmark Eurobob gasoline traded in the
Platts price assessment window for the sixth consecutive day.
There was an offer at $941 a tonne fob ARA.
* Ahead of the window, two barges traded at $928-$941 a
tonne fob ARA up from $915-$925 a tonne on Wednesday. Total and
Gunvor sold to Trafigura.
* One gasoline cargo traded in the window at $962 a tonne
cif Thames, up from $951 a tonne on Wednesday. BP sold to
* One barge of premium unleaded traded on Thursday at $948 a
tonne fob ARA.
* The December swap was trading at $933 a tonne fob ARA.
* Eurobob's crack to dated Brent was at around $2.774
a barrel on Thursday, up slightly from $2.669 a barrel on
* Brent crude oil futures were up $1.59 at $108.71 a
barrel by 1653 GMT.
* U.S. RBOB gasoline futures in New York were up
3.15 percent at $2.7105 a gallon, and the crack was
at $20.12 a barrel.
* No naphtha cargoes traded in the Platts price assessment
window on Thursday for the second day running. One cargo traded
on Tuesday at $927 a tonne cif Northwest Europe.
* The naphtha prompt crack was at minus $2.33 a barrel on
Tuesday, according to Reuters calculations.
(Reporting by Lin Noueihed; editing by Ron Askew)
Keywords: MARKETS EUROPE/GASOLINE
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