* More than half a million tonnes booked Europe-U.S.
* Stocks of gasoline, light ends slide in ARA - Genscape
* More bookings could follow in May
* Genscape stock figures: reut.rs/2nHd0KS
By Ron Bousso and Libby George
LONDON, April 6 Traders are shipping more
gasoline from Europe to the U.S. East Coast ahead of the summer
driving season as a steady reduction in inventories there props
At least 16 tankers carrying some 600,000 tonnes of gasoline
blending components including naphtha have been booked in recent
days by traders including Glencore, ExxonMobil,
Mercuria, Repsol and Total, shipping data
That compared with an average of around 300,000 tonnes per
week booked throughout March. The exports are helping to clear
Europe's tanks of oil products and boosting profits for refining
gasoline from just under $6 per barrel at the end of March to
more than $13 per barrel on Thursday.
"Europe looks better and better all the time," one oil
trader said. "Demand is good and stocks are drawing."
Benchmark U.S. East Coast gasoline refining margins have
steadily risen in recent weeks as stocks in the region are
gradually reduced, even though they remain seasonally high.
However, because much of the gasoline in storage was winter
grade it can no longer be used as the market shifts to summer
The New York Harbor has traditionally been a major
destination for European gasoline, which is produced in excess
of the region's demand. But the arbitrage from Europe was closed
for weeks, leading to building stocks, including in tankers
waiting for a chance to sail to other markets.
The exports, along with some 2.2 million tonnes of clean
products booked to sail to West Africa in March, have helped
clear stock levels in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub.
Gasoline, blending component and naphtha stocks in the
region fell by more than 6 percent in the week to March 31,
according to industry monitor Genscape, to 2.9 million tonnes.
There are millions of tonnes yet to clear from Europe, and
while one tanker with stored gasoline, the Hamburg Star, had set
sail for the United States, several others filled weeks ago were
still floating offshore ARA, including the Hafnia Europe, the
Amorea and the Clio.
New York Harbor demand is expected to remain strong as Latin
America, particularly Venezuela, pulls in more gasoline from the
U.S. Gulf Coast and space on the Colonial pipeline - the key
artery from the refining hub to the East Coast -- remains
While the April arbitrage is only narrowly open, one U.S.
broker said the economics looked far better in May, meaning
there could be more bookings to come.
(Additional reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar and Jarrett
Renshaw in New York; editing by Alexander Smith)