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US DATA: East Coast gasoline imports fall on strong inventories, weak arbitrage

Highlights

Kpler forecasts 4.72 million barrels to arrive on the East Coast from June 28-July 4

Europe to US East Coast arbitrage for New York Harbor RBOB cargo closed

Gasoline imports into the Atlantic Coast are expected to decline 3.1% week over week in the week ending July 4, according to commodity analyst Kpler.

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Kpler forecasts 4.72 million barrels of gasoline product to arrive in the region the week started June 28, down from the 4.87 million barrels that arrived from June 21-27.

Imports into the region have tapered off from the multiyear high volumes saw frequently in May as regional inventories grow. PADD I (East Coast ) total gasoline inventory levels steadily grew from mid-May through mid-June, reaching near four-month highs of 68.894 million barrels the week ended June 18, Energy Information Administration data showed.

Previously, a continuous influx of cargoes were driven by demand optimism and relaxed coronavirus restrictions in the US, making it a prime market for European sellers. However, as European countries began to relax their own pandemic restrictions and supply grew on the US East Coast, the appeal of sending barrels across the Atlantic weakened.

"The cargo market is very thin this week so far, arb pretty much closed on euro," a regional market source said.

Imports into the US could be bolstered as countries determine whether to impose new restrictions in the face of the delta coronavirus variant but are ultimately dependent on the strength of US domestic demand and favorability of arbitrage opportunities.

According to S&P Global Platts calculations, arbitrage from Europe to the US Atlantic Coast for New York Harbor RBOB cargo closed June 28.