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SINGAPORE: Asia’s gasoline crack rose to its highest since October on Wednesday, supported by expectations of tighter supplies and firm demand across the region.

Asia’s gasoline supplies may tighten in the lead-up to spring maintenance season in north Asia, which starts in April. The Philippines, Australia and Malaysia are importing more gasoline as some of their domestic refineries are or are due to shut while Indonesia’s demand has also improved from late last year. China’s fuel demand is also expected to strengthen in second quarter after slightly dipping in first quarter on festive travel curbs.

Taiwan’s Formosa Petrochemical has bought 30,000 tonnes of heavy full range naphtha for second-half March delivery via a tender at a low-single-digit premium to Japan quotes C&F, traders said.

Light naphtha stayed supported as traders said the narrowing of the east-west spread may lead to lower arbitrage supplies in second-half of March or April.

Formosa has issued a tender seeking light naphtha while South Korea’s Lotte Chemical and KPIC have also issued tenders.

For gasoline, Formosa Petrochemical closed a tender on Wednesday to sell 250,000 barrels of 93-octane gasoline for March 10-14 loading.

Light distillates stocks at the Fujairah Oil Industry Zone rose to 7.331 million barrels for the week ended Feb. 1, the highest in three weeks, according to data published by S&P Global Platts on Wednesday.