By KONSTANTIN ROZHNOV
LONDON -- Surging retail fuel sales in the UK amid a threat
of a tanker drivers strike are supporting demand in Europe's
diesel and gasoline markets, and the refined product's premiums
to physical benchmark Brent are expected to rise in the coming
days, traders and analysts said Friday.
The higher premiums often provide a temporary boost to the
struggling European refining sector, as they translate
into higher profit margins.
The Retail Motor Industry Federation, a UK trade group
representing 5,500 independent filling stations, said Friday
sales of gasoline jumped 171.8% Thursday from the same day last
week while diesel sales increased 76.8% over the period as
consumers stockpile fuel.
This factor, which comes on top of expectations of an Easter
demand surge and concerns over water levels in the Rhine, is
already pushing higher prompt demand in European oil products
markets, traders and analysts said.
It hasn't had any real impact on prices yet, but is likely
to boost diesel and gasoline premiums to physical benchmark
Brent, said Pieter Kulsen, an independent oil analyst at PJK
Both demand and premiums are seen strong in the coming days,
but the rise will be short-lived, as it's caused by temporary
factors, analysts and traders said.
"The current process of hoarding [in the UK] translates in
very high prompt demand but that will be replaced by lower
future demand," said Olivier Jakob, managing director of Swiss
Dow Jones Newswires