Europe-U.S. Gasoline Shipments at 2015 High Despite Shut Arb
Estimated gasoline shipments to the U.S. from Europe over August are so far tracked at nearly 1.45 million metric tons, which if realized, would be the highest monthly level seen so far this year.
Despite physical gasoline EuroBOB prices in Europe this week trading as much as $19 per metric ton (just over 6cts/gal) higher than the New York Harbor RBOB price, tankers are still seen loading and heading for the U.S. East Coast.
The OPIS Tanker Tracker shows five tankers, each carrying 37,000 tons of gasoline, have arrived at New York in the first four days of August, while another ship is discharging at Boston.
A further seven tankers, with combined volumes of 288,000 tons, are also signaling they will be arriving at New York between Aug. 5-9, according to information compiled from traders, brokers and vessel-tracking data.
The arbitrage, or profit, to buy gasoline in Europe and ship it to the U.S. for sale at a profit is firmly shut, with the OPIS Trans-Atlantic Ticker calculating a loss of $66 tons, basis New York.
However, refineries in Europe have few other markets to which they can send their product, amid falling gasoline demand in the five biggest countries of France, German, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Demand fell to 1.19 million b/d in May from 1.24 million b/d the prior month, statistics from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative show. In the U.S., May demand was 9.3 million b/d, up from 9.15 million b/d in April, according to JODI data.
Volumes of gasoline tracked from Europe to countries in West Africa over August are so far estimated at 952,000 tons, on track with shipments seen last month in July.
Last month, gasoline exported to the U.S. from Europe was tracked at 1.37 million tons, the highest this year. Volumes were lower than original estimates as some ships said to be chartered for discharge at ports on the East Coast were seen heading for South America.
Data from Eurostat, the European Commission's statistics agency, shows that monthly exports to the U.S. of gasoline with RON 95-98 averaged nearly 900,000 tons in the first three months of 2015, the latest months for which statistics
are available. Last year, just over 13 million tons was shipped.