July 29 (Reuters) - U.S. refiners Valero Energy Corp (VLO.N) and PBF Energy Inc (PBF.N) reported results that surpassed analysts' expectations, as they benefited from a rebound in fuel demand due to an easing in COVID-19-related travel curbs.
After hitting record lows in 2020, fuel consumption has been rising this year as expanding vaccination drives encourage governments to lift virus-led restrictions.
Valero's second-quarter refining margin rose almost 36% to $1.97 billion, with its Chief Executive Officer Joe Gorder saying that the margin environment for refining was "weak, but otherwise improving."
PBF's gross refining margin, meanwhile, was $711.3 million, up from $650.2 million in the first quarter.
Shares of Valero jumped 2.5% premarket, while PBF gained 3.5%.
PBF's CEO Tom Nimbley said fuel demand was gradually improving, but it is still not at pre-pandemic levels.
"We expect, as demand incrementally improves, that we could see additional crude supply enter the market which could directionally shift current headwinds to tailwinds in the commodities market" Nimbley said.
Both Valero and PBF, which kicked off earnings reports from U.S. refiners, also posted between 15% and 20% improvements in their refining throughput — the amount of crude processed by such companies.
Valero's adjusted profit of 48 cents per share beat analysts estimates of 14 cents, while PBF's adjusted loss of $1.26 was smaller than the expected loss of $1.46, according to Refinitiv IBES estimates.
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