US gasoline, heating oil futures jump on Hurricane Sandy threat

NEW YORK, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Gasoline and heating oil futures jumped on Monday as Hurricane Sandy approached the U.S. East Coast and refineries in the region shut or curbed production.

With the November futures contract expirations approaching on Wednesday, front-month RBOB gasoline gained more than 3 percent, to stand 9.08 cents higher at $2.7899 a gallon by 9:19 a.m. EDT (1319 GMT), having reached $2.7902, the highest price since Oct. 17.

Gasoline futures have rebounded since slumping to $2.5690 a gallon on Oct. 23.

Heating oil futures , the benchmark for distillates, were up 4.71 cents, or 1.49 percent, at $3.1449 a gallon, having reached $3.1495, the highest price since Oct. 19.

U.S. December crude futures edged down 18 cents to $86.10 a barrel on scaled back demand from refineries and high domestic crude supply levels that cushion the impact of Hurricane Sandy.

Brent December crude futures were up 44 cents at $109.99 a barrel, having swung from $108.51 to $110.25.

Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on the U.S. East Coast on Monday. The Category 1 storm was expected to make landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey on Monday evening or Monday night, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Several East Coast refineries were shutting down as a precaution ahead of the storm, including facilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

``While gasoline is spiking up, there may actually be a large demand destruction because of all the population staying put because of the storm,'' said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

U.S. gasoline inventories as of Oct. 19 were 6.4 million barrels below where they were in the same period in 2011, with total distillate supply 27.4 million barrels off from where they were a year ago, according to the Energy Information Administration's most recent report.

(Reporting by Robert Gibbons; Editing by Alden Bentley)