December 27th, 2012

Heating oil advanced on forecasts for colder weather in the U.S. Northeast and for a decline in distillate inventories from the lowest seasonal level in 12 years.

Heating Oil futures rose as the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center predicted below-normal temperatures in the Northeast from Jan. 1 to Jan. 9. The Energy Department will probably report tomorrow that heating oil and diesel supplies declined 1 million barrels last week to 116 million, according to the median estimate of nine analysts in a survey by Bloomberg.

“The weather is a little more seasonal and demand expectations are rising,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

Heating oil futures for January delivery climbed 1.68 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $3.0681 a gallon at 9:54 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures extended this year’s increase to 4.5 percent.

The Energy Department is scheduled to report last week’s inventories at 11 a.m. tomorrow, two days later than usual because of the Christmas holiday. The department will probably report that gasoline stockpiles rose 700,000 barrels, according to the survey.

Gasoline futures for January delivery fell 0.29 cent to $2.8129 a gallon, the first decline in three days. Prices are up 4.7 percent this year.

The average nationwide cost for regular gasoline rose 1.4 cents to $3.261 a gallon, AAA said today on its website.

- Barbara Powell in Dallas at Bloomberg.