SINGAPORE: Asia's gasoline crack extended declines on Thursday as Singapore light distillate inventories jumped while concerns mount over the potential for high crude oil prices to hamper a recovery in regional demand for motor fuel. The gasoline refining margin fell to $8.14 a barrel on Thursday, down from $8.83 in the previous session.
The gasoline crack hit a 17-month high of $9.35 a barrel on Tuesday. Signs of firming demand, particularly in western markets, has helped to boost gasoline refining margins recently. Meanwhile, Asia's naphtha was largely steady at $123 a tonne, up 40 cents from Wednesday. Boosted by expectations of increased demand, the naphtha crack on Tuesday climbed to $130.88 a tonne, its highest since December 2017.
Singapore's light distillate inventories jumped 12% to their highest in nearly three months at 14.25 million barrels in the week to July 7, Enterprise Singapore data showed. The inventories, which include gasoline and naphtha, were last higher in the week to April 14 and were slightly above the 2021 weekly average of 14.18 million barrels, the data showed.
The inventories gained amid lower exports of gasoline and higher naphtha imports. Singapore was a net importer of 90-97 RON gasoline at slightly above 17,000 tonnes in the week to July 7, compared with net exports of 223,000 tonnes the previous week.
Net exports of gasoline above 97 RON were at 22,000 tonnes, compared with net exports of 46,000 tonnes the previous week. Singapore's net imports of naphtha reformates climbed to 141,000 tonnes in the week to July 7, down from 69,000 tonnes the previous week. In the Unites States, gasoline stocks slid by 2.7 million barrels in the week to July 2, compared with analysts' expectations for a drop of 2.2 million barrels.