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USGC natural gasoline spikes to three-year high

US Gulf Coast natural gasoline prices continued their seven-day streak of increases, rising to a three-year high Wednesday.

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December non-Targa natural gasoline climbed 1.5 cents to $1.4775/gal based on a standing Vitol bid at $1.475/gal in the Platts Market on Close assessment process.

Climbing for the seventh consecutive trading day, Wednesday's natural gasoline price was the highest since November 26, 2014, when S&P Global Platts assessed natural gasoline at $1.4875/gal. NYMEX WTI futures were trading at $73.69/b at the time, putting C5 about $11.20/b below front-month crude futures.

In contrast, C5 was $1.50/b above front-month crude futures on Wednesday.

January barrels were heard 1.25 cents below December, compared with a 50-point discount on Tuesday.

The natural gasoline market's December/January structure has mostly been in contango over the past three years.

In December 2016, January barrels traded at an average 3.6 cents/gal higher. In 2015, that spread was as much as 50 points in contango in the first half of that December and 67.5 points backwardated in the second half of the month.

December 2014 barrels averaged 1.76 cents over January.

A year-end selloff ahead of ad valorem taxation tends to depress values as the year comes to a close, but a trader noted the non-Targa market was "all bid" on Wednesday.

As prices moved higher last week, sources suggested exports could be tightening the market while others said the price volatility was due to a thin market during the holidays.

Sources have said one cargo is headed to South Korea and another is expected to load this week.

Some are skeptical that two cargoes would move the market 13 cents in a week.

--Andrea Salazar,
--Edited by Derek Sands,