NYMEX-Crude drops on inventory jump, gasoline tumble

Wed May 11, 2011 5:46pm EDT

 * RBOB gasoline dive triggers brief NYMEX trading halt
 * U.S. crude, gasoline stocks jumped last week - EIA
 * Coming up: US jobless claims, 8:30 a.m. EDT Thursday
 NEW YORK, May 11 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures fell
more than 5 percent on Wednesday after an unexpected jump in
gasoline inventories reported by the government sent RBOB
gasoline futures into a tailspin.
 RBOB gasoline futures' 25-cent slump intraday triggered a
five-minute trading halt on the New York Mercantile Exchange
for the motor fuel, heating oil and crude oil futures, the
first such trading stoppage since the 2008 financial crisis.
 U.S. crude oil stocks rose 3.78 million barrels last week,
above expectations, and gasoline stockpiles increased by 1.3
million barrels, data from the U.S. Energy Information
Administration showed. [EIA/S]
 Distillate stockpiles fell 843,000 barrels, the EIA said.
 Before the release of the data, a Reuters survey of
analysts had forecast crude stocks to be up 1.4 million
barrels, with gasoline inventories seen down 200,000 and
distillate stockpiles up 400,000 barrels.
 Crude futures were pressured ahead of the inventory data by
concerns about slowing economic growth in China and the
dollar's strength amid continuing euro zone debt worries.
 FUNDAMENTALS
 * On the New York Mercantile Exchange, June crude CLM1
fell $5.67, or 5.46 percent, to settle at $98.21 a barrel,
trading from $97.50 to $104.60.
 * NYMEX RBOB gasoline for June RBM1 fell 25.69 cents, or
7.6 percent, to settle at $3.1228 a gallon, the biggest one-day
loss in cent terms since Sept. 29, 2008, when RBOB ended 26.81
cents lower. Trading ranged from $3.0771 to $3.3590.
 * NYMEX RBOB gasoline trading volumes hit a record above
240,000 lots traded, according to Reuters data.
 * The CME Group (CME.O), parent of the New York Mercantile
Exchange, raised margins for NYMEX RBOB gasoline futures
<0#RB:> by 21.4 percent to $8,500 per contract from $7,000,
effective after the close of business on Thursday.
[ID:nL3E7GB416]
 * NYMEX heating oil fell 10.11 cents, or 3.32 percent, to
$2.9426 a gallon, trading from $2.8911 to $3.0224.
 * China's implied oil demand in April increased 8.8 percent
from a year earlier to the third highest on record on a daily
basis, Reuters calculations based on preliminary government
data showed. But the year-on-year growth slipped after six
consecutive months of double-digit gains. [ID:nL3E7GB0BS]
 * The U.S. trade deficit widened more than expected in
March, as exports jumped to a new record but imports rose
nearly 5 percent as oil prices jumped. [ID:nCAT005430]
 * OPEC held steady its forecast for world oil demand growth
in 2011 and maintained its view that oil supplies are adequate
despite the loss of Libyan supplies as its members and rivals
pump more crude. [ID:nWLA0072]
 * Valero Energy Corp's (VLO.N) and Motiva Enterprises'
(RDSa.L) refineries in St. Charles Parish Louisiana, west of
New Orleans, will be flooded if the Morganza Spillway is not
opened, the St. Charles Parish emergency preparedness director
said. The Mississippi River Commission is expected to decide by
this weekend on opening the Morganza. [ID:nWEN3075]
 MARKETS NEWS
 * Renewed worries about Greek debt and another sell-off in
the commodities market drove the euro sharply lower, with more
losses likely as investors grow skittish over the currency's
sudden retreat. [USD/]
 * U.S. stocks nearly erased a three-day rally as energy and
other commodity shares sank. [.N]
 * Copper crumbled to its lowest since December, as signs of
a growth slowdown in China signaled sustained softness in
demand from the world's largest metals consumer. [MET/L]
 UPCOMING DATA/EVENTS
 * U.S. weekly report on initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m.
EDT (1230 GMT) on Thursday.
 * U.S. Energy Information Administration natural gas
storage data to be released at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) on
Thursday.
    SETTLE     NET    PCT     LOW    HIGH  CURRENT  DAY AGO
              CHNG   CHNG                      VOL      VOL
CLc1    98.21   -5.67  -5.5%   97.50  104.60  487,975  439,607
CLc2    98.77   -5.70  -5.5%   98.07  105.16  175,022  148,235
LCOc1  112.57   -5.06  -4.3%  111.95  118.43  274,652  267,712
RBc1   3.1228 -0.2569  -7.6%  3.0771  3.3590   83,512   92,426
RBc2   3.0417 -0.2121  -6.5%  3.0085  3.2404   71,651   64,132
HOc1   2.8983 -0.1029  -3.4%  2.8911  3.0224   56,643   59,458
HOc2   2.9123 -0.1022  -3.4%  2.9050  3.0327   27,243   32,731
TOTAL MARKET            VOLUME                 OPEN  INTEREST
          CURRENT    May 10   30D AVG     May 10  NET CHNG
CRUDE        922,669   819,697   638,962  1,653,799     8,540
RBOB         241,836   234,979   138,850    290,808       306
HO           117,402   145,023   118,221    307,317     1,623
 (Reporting by Robert Gibbons; Editing by Dale Hudson)