SINGAPORE: Asia’s gasoline slipped on Friday and ended the week lower with industry participants weighing signs of improved demand as the summer season approaches against concerns over rising COVID-19 infections in India and elsewhere.
Gasoline crack in Singapore fell to $6.33 per barrel on Friday, down from $6.75 per barrel in the previous session and $6.51 a barrel on Monday.
Still, industry participants remained optimistic that summer demand and increased vaccinations in western markets would increase consumption of the motor fuel.
Asia’s naphtha crack was little changed on Friday, slipping 43 cents a tonne from the previous session to $97.05 a tonne. The naphtha crack was at $93.90 a tonne on Monday.
Naphtha cracks have been supported by a lower near-term supply outlook as the East-West (EW) arbitrage window fell amid tight European supplies.
The front-month East-West spread jumped to $13 a tonne on Friday, up $1.50 from the previous session and away from a near a two-month low of $10.50 a tonne last week, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.
Gasoline stocks held in independent storage in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) refining and storage hub rose 3% to a three-week high of 1.227 million tonnes in the week ended May 6, data from Dutch consultancy Insights Global showed.
Gasoline exports were strong, including to uncommon destinations such as East Asia, Insights Global’s Lars van Wageningen said, but there were also many incoming cargoes, creating congestion in ports.
Compared to last year, however, the ARA gasoline stocks were 10% lower.
Naphtha inventories in ARA also fell 7% to a two-week low of 319,000 tonnes, down 37% from last year, the data showed.
Elsewhere, light distillate inventories in the Fujairah hub rose 1% to a two-week high of 5.33 million barrels, while those in Singapore fell 4% to 11.9 million barrels, industry data showed this week.,
US gasoline stocks were 0.7 million barrels higher last week at 235.81 million barrels, according to the Energy Information.