New York Harbor RBOB barges were assessed at their highest month-to-date price Thursday on the back of a recovery in the NYMEX RBOB futures market and in spite of bearish US Energy Information Administration data.

S&P Global Platts assessed 9 RVP RBOB barges in New York Harbor at NYMEX June RBOB futures minus 0.3 cent/gal, or a $1.5592/gal flat price. This is the strongest RBOB assessment since April 26, when the product closed at $1.5853, Platts historic data show.

This occurred in spite of bearish USAC gasoline data published by the US EIA for the week ended May 5, which was released Wednesday morning.

The data show that while total US gasoline inventories fell slightly during the week, the US Atlantic Coast saw a build in storage. USAC gasoline inventories rose 2.56 million barrels to reach a total of 69.77 million barrels. The prior 3-year average for USAC inventories in the first week of May is 61.8 million barrels, about 13% below current levels.

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USAC refining statistics were also bearish. EIA data shows East Coast refineries were operating at a year to date high of 91.4% of total capacity. This figure was last higher in the week ended April 29, 2016. Stronger refinery runs portend growing USAC gasoline supplies, which could put some downward pressure on prices.

When asked why RBOB in New York Harbor was trending higher after Wednesday’s EIA data, an East Coast-based market source said he was unable to explain it.

PADD I gasoline was “the one product that didn’t see a draw in the EIA numbers,” he said, adding he had “no idea” why prices were higher.

In this context, Thursday’s rising RBOB price in New York Harbor could be attributable to a recovery in the NYMEX RBOB futures market. On May 4, front-month RBOB futures settled at a new 2017 low of $1.4812/gal. Platts historic data show front-month RBOB was last lower on August 10, 2016, when it settled at $1.4675/gal. Since May 4, however, RBOB futures have found some support, closing at $1.5622/gal on Thursday.

Thus, the underlying basis contract, rather than physical fundamentals, could help explain Thursday’s price movement.

–Seth Clare, seth.clare@spglobal.com

–Edited by Richard Rubin, richard.rubin@spglobal.com

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