NEW DELHI: Asia's gasoline crack inched slightly lower on Thursday, despite strong demand outlook from India, as a surprise rise in the US inventories weighed on market sentiment. The crack was at $6.60 a barrel, down from $6.63 in the previous session.
India's gasoline demand is set to hit a record this fiscal year, with consumption accelerating as more people hit the road for business and leisure travel after easing of COVID-19 curbs. The expected rise in India's gasoline imports could support refiners' margins for the fuel in the region. The naphtha margin in Asia also fell after crude oil prices rose over a decline in US stocks.
The crack slipped to $119 per tonne, from $121.73 in the last session.
"Naphtha fundamentals in Asia gained some support on back of destruction caused by Hurricane Ida in the U.S Gulf coast, however the upside was short lived as cracker maintenance season in Asia hampered future demand outlook," Refinitive Oil Research said in a report.
Souring hopes on consumption, the US gasoline stocks rose by 1.3 million barrels last week to 227.2 million barrels, the EIA said, compared with expectations for a 1.6-million-barrel drop. The light distillates inventories at Singapore, however, declined by 50,000 barrels to a three-week low of 13.181 million barrels in the week to Sept. 1, data from Enterprise Singapore showed.?
Oil prices edged higher on Thursday, supported by a sharp decline in US crude stocks and a weaker dollar, though gains were capped by an OPEC+ decision to stick to its policy of gradually increasing output.