U.S. refiners may cut gasoline output on ‘poor’ sales

Refiners in the U.S. may have to scale back production of gasoline to avoid a large build in inventories and a repeat of the reduced processing margins seen last winter, according to JBC Energy GmbH.

“Lower production would also translate into lower exports of the motor fuel from the region, which could potentially offer some relief to the global gasoline market and by extension refining margins,” the Vienna-based researcher said today in a research note.

Stockpiles of gasoline rose to 212 million barrels in the week to Nov. 30, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s the most since April 13. Demand slid 3.7 percent last week to the lowest level since Nov. 16, according to data yesterday from MasterCard Inc.

Profit from processing crude in Europe are “sufficiently low to stimulate refinery run cuts,” JBC Energy said.

Margins from using Brent crude in northwest Europe dropped to $5.68 a barrel in November from $9.03 the previous month, the International Energy Agency said today in a report.

Gasoline inventories in Germany have risen 2.3 million barrels since the end of June and were 1.5 million barrels above the five-year average at the end of October as export access is limited, the Paris-based IEA said.