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SINGAPORE: Asian refining margins for 10 ppm gasoil rose on Monday, but stayed within close sight of a more than two-month low touched on Friday, amid renewed concerns over near-term demand due to the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Traders were worried the new variant could dampen demand recovery if several countries are forced to reimpose wider mobility restrictions.

Refining margins for 10 ppm gasoil climbed to $9.82 a barrel over Dubai crude during Asian trading hours, compared with Friday’s $9.45 per barrel, which was the lowest since Sept. 9.

Cracks for the benchmark gasoil grade in Singapore have shed about 15% in the last week, Refinitiv data showed.

Cash premiums for gasoil with 10 ppm sulphur content inched up 2 cents to 25 cents per barrel to Singapore quotes on Monday. The differentials, however, have fallen nearly 66% in the last month.

Some would-be travellers are considering cancelling or delaying trip plans in response to fresh curbs prompted by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, travel agents said on Monday, threatening an already fragile recovery for the global tourism industry.

  • Southern Africa, where Omicron was discovered, accounts for only a tiny portion of the world’s international travel but Israel and Japan have announced border closures to all foreign travellers and Britain and Australia have tightened rules for all arrivals in response to the new variant.

Singapore, which had only recently begun a cautious reopening to foreign travel, on Sunday deferred plans to open its borders to vaccinated travellers from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, while India will make on-arrival COVID-19 testing mandatory for flyers from more than a dozen countries.

Aramco Trading Company (ATC) will be participating in S&P Global Platts price assessment process for physical jet fuel cargoes in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the price reporting agency said.

S&P Global Platts said in a notice that it has reviewed the trading arm of top global oil exporter Saudi Aramco and would consider information from ATC in the EMEA Market on Close (MoC) assessment process for jet fuel.

Asian oil refiners’ margins have slumped to the lowest in nearly five months amid worries that the Omicron coronavirus variant could deal another blow to oil demand recovery, already hit by rising COVID-19 cases in Europe.

Oil rebounded by almost 5% on Monday to $76 a barrel as some investors viewed Friday’s slump in oil and financial markets on concern about the Omicron coronavirus variant as overdone.

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