U.S. East Coast jet fuel imports on track for busiest July since 2015

NEW YORK, July 24 (Reuters) - U.S. East Coast jet fuel imports for July are on track to hit their highest level seasonally in four years, as prices for the fuel rise regionally and summer air travel in the United States reaches an all-time record.

Jet fuel imports into the East Coast so far total nearly 812,800 barrels in July, according to Refinitiv Eikon shipping data. That would be the most for July since 2015, according to Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData.

The increased imports of jet fuel coincide with a surge in travel, which typically rises during the summer months. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced earlier this month that on July 7 it screened nearly 2.8 million passengers and crew, a record.

Industry group Airlines for America projects a record 257.4 million passengers will travel on U.S. airlines this summer.

Increased demand has boosted cash jet prices. Jet prices in New York Harbor hit 6.25 cents per gallon above the heating oil futures contract on July 11, highest for July since 2014, according to Refinitiv Eikon data. On Wednesday, it was at 4.75 cents per gallon above futures.

However, the region remains well-supplied, which could undermine the rally. East Coast jet inventories totaled 10.2 million barrels in the week to July 19, not far below last year’s levels, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data.

Overall stockpiles nationwide were at 42.4 million barrels, highest seasonally since 2015, EIA data showed. (Reporting by Stephanie Kelly Editing by Tom Brown)