By Houston Business Journal

The outlook for the global refining and marketing sector has been upgraded to ⿿stable⿝ from ⿿negative,⿝ according to rating agency Moody⿿s Investors Service.

Though the agency expects conditions to remain difficult, margins for the sectors will average ⿿significantly higher⿝ over the next 12 to 18 months.

Moodyâ¿¿s says distillate and gasoline inventories remain very high, though gasoline demand will be dogged by high unemployment, rising ethanol use, rising world refining capacity, and the economic slowing in major economies.

⿿In the absence of clear-cut strong demand and margin momentum for gasoline, distillate and crude oil price differentials, our stable outlook largely reflects that the mix of wider gasoline and distillate margins, and wider crude oil price differentials we⿿ve seen, supported by firming demand from industrial and freight transport will average out to support a stable outlook,⿝ said Andrew Oram, vice president and senior credit officer with Moody⿿s corporate finance group.

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Copyright 2010