Chicago spot gasoline falls as buyer exits market

10 June 2013 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Gasoline spot prices in the Chicago market in Illinois fell as at least one buyer left the market, sources said on Monday.

Conventional blendstock for oxygen blending (CBOB) grade gasoline in the Chicago market was assessed at 47.50 cents/gal over NYMEX reformulated blendstock for oxygen blending (RBOB) futures, a drop of 18.50 cents/gal in one day.

This put spot prices at $3.3225-3.3250/gal.

Last week, Chicago CBOB hit 66.00 cents/gal over NYMEX gasoline futures.

However, Chicago prices still remain well above the US Gulf Coast region.

In comparison, the same grade of gasoline on the US Gulf Coast was assessed in a range of $2.7200-2.7225/gal on Monday.

ExxonMobil’s 238,000 bbl/day Joliet refinery in Illinois was returning to normal operations after completing a two-month plant-wide overhaul, sources said.

“I don’t know that basis fell on the anticipation of that production as much as it simply came off because Exxon left the market as a buyer,” said one Midwest source.   

In the Midwest region, there are few refineries which can cause volatile trading if just one buyer or seller is present in the market.

As Exxon was forced into buying product to cover commitments while under maintenance, prices in the Chicago market rose.

“It is important to remember, though, that this plant coming up will not help fix inventory shortages on the prompt barrel,” said the Midwest source. “It is also important to remember that Exxon was not alone in running that basis higher.”

In the past few weeks, the Midwest gasoline market has added pressure stemming from a drop in regional refinery utilisation rates, which is the percentage of a region’s overall capacity used to refine oil.

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By: Anna Matherne
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