Gasoline and heating-oil futures were higher on the New York Mercantile Exchange on indications of stronger demand. The robust rally in reformulated gasoline blendstock futures continued for a 10th day as data from the Energy Information Administration showed gasoline stockpiles in the mid-Atlantic region remain near 15% below their five-year average level for this time of year.
Crude-oil futures bounced on either side of unchanged, sticking close to their highest level since mid-September.
Nymex light, sweet crude oil for March delivery was 16 cents higher at $97.73 a barrel, after trading in an intraday span of $97.32 to $98.24 a barrel. The contract settled Tuesday at the highest price since Sept. 14. ICE March North Sea Brent was 55 cents higher at $114.91 a barrel, after settling a day earlier at the highest level since mid-October.
The EIA reported that U.S. crude-oil stocks climbed by 5.947 million barrels in the week ended Jan. 25, helped by a modest rise in imports. The stockbuild exceeded the 2.7-million-barrel rise expected by analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswire and topped the nearly 4.2-million-barrel gain reported late Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group.
The large stockbuild came even as refiners boosted crude-oil process rates last week. The EIA said refiners operated at 85% of capacity, while analysts expected the level to hold at a 10-month low of 83.6% of capacity.
Gasoline stocks dropped nationwide by 956,000 barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations of a slim, 200,000-barrel rise. Nationwide stocks are 2.2% above a year ago despite low levels in the mid-Atlantic states. Distillate stocks (diesel/heating oil) fell 2.315 million barrels, more than the forecast of a 900,000-barrel drop.
Implied gasoline demand inched up to the highest level in a month, while distillate demand was the highest since mid-December.
So the prices are up because the “implied” demand is up, but the demand is up because supplies are lower. Meanwhile, crude oil on hand is at record levels, but the distilleries are just puttering along to keep the supply low. And the analysts don’t know jack. In other words, we’re being gamed. Played by the oil companies. Squeezed hard yet again. Thanks for nothing. Hosers.
Meanwhile, the economy is actually shrinking, down 0.1% for this most recent quarter after several months of modest 3-4% growth. And wouldn’t you know it, the weekly jobless claims are once again ... say it with me ... “unexpectedly higher”.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits bounced off five-year lows last week, pulling them back to levels consistent with modest job growth.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 38,000 to a seasonally adjusted 368,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week’s claims figure was unrevised.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected claims to increase to 350,000.
So, flat economy, more than expected unemployment ... all point towards lowered gasoline demand. The prices ought to be falling at the pumps, not spiking up. Rat bastards.
Well, as they EPA and your King will tell you; Ride the bus,ride a bike,Walk Peon, we have important Wordly things to talk about and you suffering at the pump is NOT ON THE LIST.
Boise fuel bottomed out at $2.75 about 3 weeks ago. Up to $3.21 today.
Wait until the government mandated E15 hits the market.
There is an answer but people are too fickle, if we all boycotted Esso for a month, then Shell the next and so on they would have to drop prices to shift it to save reblending but the public would soo ner spend an hour moaning than 5 mins acting