Gasoline Futures Advance as Ukraine Unrest Pushes Crude Higher

Apr 29, 2014 3:55 pm ET

April 29 (Bloomberg) -- Gasoline futures rose for the first time in five days as clashes in Ukraine sent crude higher.

Oil gained after reports that pro-Russia separatists were disarming police and control the administrative building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk. The European Union joined the U.S. yesterday in imposing new sanctions against Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter.

“We’re rebounding a bit on reports of more Ukrainian unrest,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “The market is in a trading range and it’s headline-driven.”

May-delivery gasoline increased 2.31 cents, or 0.8 percent, to settle at $3.0634 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Volume was 11 percent below the 100-day average at 3:44 p.m.

Gasoline and diesel contracts for May delivery expire at the end of floor trading tomorrow. The more actively traded June futures gained 2.16 cents to $3.008.

Brent for June settlement on ICE Futures Europe exchange climbed 86 cents to $108.98 a barrel on the London ICE Futures exchange. June West Texas Intermediate crude advanced 44 cents to $101.28 a barrel on the Nymex.

The EU and the U.S. say Russia has violated an April 17 accord intended to defuse the confrontation between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists supported by the authorities in Moscow. They’ve both warned that they’ll levy penalties on Russian industries if Putin escalates by sending troops into Ukraine.

Pump Price

The average U.S. pump price fell 0.3 cent from a 13-month high to $3.693 a gallon, according to data from Heathrow, Florida-based AAA today. Prices are 19.3 cents higher than a year ago.

Gasoline’s crack spread versus WTI crude gained 47 cents to $25.06 a barrel. The motor fuel’s premium to Brent crude gained 5 cents to $17.36. The spreads are based on June contracts.

Ultra low sulfur diesel for May delivery rose 1.82 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $2.9701 a gallon on volume that was 40 percent below the 100-day average. The more actively traded June contract climbed 1.9 cents to $2.9635.

Diesel’s crack spread versus WTI swelled 36 cents to $23.19 a barrel. The premium to Brent slipped 6 cents to $15.49.

--With assistance from Volodymyr Verbyany in Kiev, Jonathan Stearns in Brussels and Roger Runningen in Washington.