Speculators increased wagers on higher U.S. gasoline prices by the most since February as refinery closures constricted supply.
The net-long position jumped 45 percent from a four-year low as hedge funds pared record short bets and added long wagers for the first time in six weeks, weekly U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data through Sept. 23 show.
Refineries in eastern Canada and Texas shut gasoline units for unplanned repairs as others began seasonal maintenance. Futures contracts for October traded at the highest premium to November since 2012, reflecting heightened concern about supply. The closures threaten the retreat at the pump that has drivers paying the lowest late-September prices since 2010.
“People have covered their positions or moved away from short to long,” Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects Ltd. in London, said by phone Sept. 26. “There’s a huge amount of FCC outages in North America at the moment,” she said, referring to fluid catalytic crackers that make gasoline.
Gasoline for October delivery gained 6.99 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $2.6287 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange in the period covered by the CFTC report. The contract gained 1.1 percent to $2.6901 in today’s electronic trading.
Retail prices rose in the three days ended Sept. 24, stemming a 16-day decline. The national average was $3.337 on yesterday, according to Heathrow, Florida-based AAA, the largest U.S. motoring group.