Latest figures from MasterCard's SpendingPulse report show U.S. gasoline demand continued to be stuck in reverse in what should be the peak driving season. With retail prices holding at nearly one-third higher than a year ago, gasoline demand plunged 4.6%, or nearly 450,000 barrels a day, from a year ago in the week ended Aug. 12. That's the biggest year-on-year drop in two years.
The market is now focused on U.S. inventory data, which is expected to show a 600,000-barrel decline in crude oil stocks, even as refiners trim operations by 0.2 percentage point from 90% a week earlier. The data, for the week ended Aug. 12, is also expected to show gasoline stocks fell 1.2 million barrels, while distillates [diesel/heating oil] rose by 500,000 barrels, according to analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires.
The American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade association, releases its figures for the same period at 4:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, while the federal Energy Information Administration, the statistical and analytical wing of the Energy Department, is scheduled for release at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday.
September-delivery reformulated gasoline settled 2.07 cents lower at $2.8538 a gallon. Heating oil settled 1.15 cents lower at $2.9326 a gallon.