04 April 2013 16:18 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European gasoline demand has fallen and prices tumbled 6-7% this week on expectations of improved supply in the key US export market, industry sources said on Thursday.
Data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reveal US refineries have pumped up operating levels to those last seen in early January.
Expectations of improving US gasoline supply are being supported by an increase in refinery utilisation rates to 86.3% for the week ending 29 March, and despite EIA figures showing a fall in actual US inventory levels for the same week.
Gasoline prices for the European Eurobob grade dropped from $1,030-1,032/tonne (€803-805/tonne) FOB (free on board) ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) on Tuesday evening to $962-965/tonne FOB ARA by Thursday afternoon.
Dutch trading firm Trafigura sold to Swiss trader Gunvor at $962/tonne FOB ARA, while Anglo-Dutch Shell sold at $965/tonne to Gunvor ahead of the open market trading session on Thursday, a trader said.
Gasoline fundamentals in US and Europe, along with petrochemical margins, have traditionally charted the course of petrochemical feedstock naphtha demand in Europe.
Naphtha is used extensively as a gasoline blending component and in the petrochemical production of olefins.
($1 = €0.78)
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