Insights
Added May 27, 2020

US PADD I Gasoline Imports Showing Signs of Life?

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Gasoline imports into the US Atlantic coast (PADD I) have been rising in recent weeks suggesting early signs of demand recovery in the region. But on a year-on-year basis, imports are still well below levels seen a year earlier, underlining the massive demand destruction from the covid-19 pandemic. 

 

Monthly recovery contrasts to last year

  • PADD 1 gasoline/blending components imports have rebounded in May, registering around 12mn bbl, according to Vortexa data, up from the 17-month low of 8.5mn bbl observed in April 2020 at the height of covid-19 related transport restrictions.
  • But despite the recent jump, full-month imports for May are still on track to have almost halved, year-on year (see chart above).
  • May is traditionally a strong month for gasoline imports into PADD I as stocks build in preparation for the upcoming driving season. But the inventory build this year could be much more muted given the massive scale of demand destruction.

Vortexa Monthly PADD 1 Gasoline imports (bbl)

 

Weekly import rise vs. lower annual demand profile

  • Looking at weekly EIA data alongside Vortexa data, both datasets show weekly imports rising for past three consecutive weeks. PADD I gasoline imports rose by 280,000 b/d in the week ending 15 May, according to EIA data while Vortexa data over the same period posted a 320,000 b/d increase.
  • The juxtaposition of higher imports volumes being much higher on the week, yet sharply lower year-on-year may suggest refiners are capable of, and expecting, a lower gasoline demand profile this year.
  • Lower imports, on a year-on-year basis, will also be driven by already ample supplies in the region. PADD 1 gasoline stocks climbed have remained above 70mn bl since early April, according to the EIA, compared with a range of 60-63mn bl seen during April-May 2019.

 

 

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