SINGAPORE: Asia’s gasoline crack rose for a fourth straight session on Friday as feedstock crude prices eased, but traders remain concerned higher exports from India in coming months would weigh on the market.
India has added about 7.7 million coronavirus cases to its total case load since the end of February, when its second wave picked up steam, and analysts expect demand for transportation fuels to see a sharper slump in May due to more impending lockdown measures and mobility restrictions.
“Gasoline demand is likely to fall by more than diesel demand amid renewed mobility restrictions, particularly in Mumbai and Delhi,” consultancy Energy Aspects said in a note.
“Since Indian refiners are so far avoiding run cuts, Indian gasoline and diesel exports in May could reach the high levels seen in March - 0.3 mb/d and 0.7 mb/d, respectively - to draw down stocks built over April alone.”
Asia’s naphtha crack climbed to $94.85 per tonne, the highest since April 8. The crack, which was at $90.98 per tonne on Thursday, has gained 19.5% this week.
Gasoline stocks held independently in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) refining and storage hub rose 0.9% to 1.2 million tonnes in the week to April 29, data from Dutch consultancy Insights Global showed.
The data showed ARA gasoil inventories rose 4.2% to 2.2 million tonnes.
A Singapore prosecutor filed 23 additional forgery-related charges on Friday against Lim Oon Kuin, the founder of collapsed oil trading firm Hin Leong Trading Pte Ltd. Friday’s charges accuse Lim of instigating a Hin Leong employee to forge documents supposedly issued by UT Singapore Services Pte Ltd.
Oil prices slipped on Friday, taking a breather after touching their highest in six weeks as concerns of wider lockdowns in India and Brazil to curb the COVID-19 pandemic offset a bullish outlook on summer fuel demand and economic recovery.