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European gasoline markets rally, hit 9-month highs

European gasoline

European gasoline prices have gained recently, with Eurobob FOB AR barges climbing 15.7% since the start of Q4

European gasoline cash prices rallied in the week commencing Dec. 14, recovering to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic as crude oil continued to gain momentum despite the poor prompt outlook for gasoline consumption in the US and Europe.

Eurobob FOB AR barges were assessed at $437.75/mt on Dec. 17, up 1.7% on the day, while the premium unleaded 10 ppm FOB AR barge was assessed 1.3% higher at $439.75/mt.

European gasoline prices have made considerable gains this month, with Eurobob FOB AR barges climbing 10.1% in value since the start of December, and 15.7% since the start of the fourth quarter.

Outright values remain lower on the year, however, with the Dec. 17 Eurobob barge price still 24.6% lower on a year ago.

The gasoline paper market also posted strong gains, with the Eurobob FOB AR January swap assessed at its highest value since March 6, at $442.50/mt, up 1.7% on the day.

The strength was principally off the back of the crude oil complex, which continues to be resilient. A lower-than-expected US gasoline inventory build posted by the US EIA, and a stock draw of US crude oil inventories helped support crude prices, while hopes for US economic stimulus package also offered support.

Despite the recent strength, concerns over demand for gasoline continue to exert pressure on the Northwest European gasoline crack spread, which has remained under $2/b since late October. The crack spread has averaged $1.23/b in December, down from an average of $1.54/b over the fourth quarter to date.

Road fuel demand in the US and Europe has stabilized in recent weeks but remains around 15% below year-ago levels as spiking COVID-19 infection rates threaten a return of mobility curbs in some regions.

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