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imageLONDON: Gasoline barge prices for northwest Europe gained on Wednesday, tracking an increase in the price of crude oil, but traders said a fall in US gasoline stocks had not been significant enough to raise hopes of new export opportunities.

Four-week average demand for all refined oil fuels in the United States rose to its highest level in more than five years last week, weekly data from the US Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday.

US gasoline stocks fell by 345,000 barrels last week, broadly in line with expectations. The effect on European gasoline was limited.

“There was maybe a slight uptick,” said one trader.

Traders said gasoline crack swaps for December and January had risen on Tuesday after an explosion at Total's Antwerp refinery shut the 57,000 barrels-per-day gasoline unit but the incident had no lasting effect on the gasoline market.

A Total spokeswoman said on Wednesday the gasoline unit was still shut but the rest of the plant was open.

“It did shift the curve significantly for a couple of hours,” said another trader.

One gasoline cargo traded in the Mediterranean in the Platts price assessment window, another trader said. Gunvor sold to Trafigura at $928 a tonne cif Med.

There were no naphtha trades in the window on Wednesday but prices have been supported by shipments to Asia in recent weeks. Record volumes of western naphtha are headed east for December arrival, alongside a substantial amount for January.

European petrochemical buyers have also been switching to naphtha as alternative feedstock propane has climbed in price going into the winter.

GASOLINE

Two barges of benchmark Eurobob gasoline traded in the Platts price assessment window on Wednesday at $931-$934 a tonne fob ARA.

Gunvor sold to Vitol. There were no trades in the window on Tuesday but those prices were up on Monday's range of $929-$930.

One barge traded on the Argus platform at $931 a tonne fob ARA, up from $922 a tonne on Tuesday. Vitol sold to Trafigura.

Eight barges of premium unleaded traded at $944-$947 a tonne fob ARA, down slightly from $948 a tonne on Tuesday. Trafigura, Shell and Gunvor sold to Vitol, Total and Gunvor.

The December swap was trading at $927.50 a tonne on Wednesday, down from $931.75 a tonne on Tuesday's close.

Eurobob's crack to dated Brent was at around $2.946 a barrel, up from $2.527 at Tuesday's close.

Brent crude oil futures were up 92 cents at $107.84 a barrel by 1630 GMT.

US RBOB gasoline futures in New York were up 0.82 percent at $2.6611 a gallon at 1630 GMT, and the crack was at $18.03 a barrel.

NAPHTHA

No naphtha cargoes traded in the window on Wednesday. On Tuesday two cargoes traded at $927-$928 a tonne cif NWE.

The prompt crack was at around minus $3.7 a barrel on Tuesday, strengthening from around minus $4.88 a barrel on Monday, according to Reuters calculations.

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