SINGAPORE: Asian refining margins for 10 ppm gasoil rose to a near four-week high on Thursday, amid ebbing Omicron fears and tight supplies, while cash premiums for the industrial and transportation fuel grade climbed for a sixth consecutive session.
Refining margins or cracks for 10 ppm gasoil rose 56 cents to $12.60 a barrel over Dubai crude during Asian trading hours, strongest since Nov. 12.
Cracks for the benchmark gasoil grade, which have risen 33% since a recent low on Nov. 26, were close to their five-year seasonal average for this time of the year, Refinitiv data showed.
Although the recent easing of COVID-19 restrictions has boosted demand in recent weeks, any major upside would likely be capped as more export barrels are expected to emerge out of China and India, trade sources said.
During northern hemisphere’s winter, Europe uses diesel as a heating fuel, but traders said it has been a warmer season so far and the East-West arbitrage window was currently shut, so majority of the cargoes were stuck within the region.
The exchange of futures for swaps (EFS), which determines the gasoil price spread between Singapore and Northwest Europe, traded around minus $12 a tonne on Thursday, a level that typically makes the arbitrage unworkable.
Gasoil arbitrage to the west is usually profitable when the EFS trades at about minus $15 a tonne or below, but it also depends on factors such as freight rates, according to traders.
Cash premiums for gasoil with 10 ppm sulphur content inched up by a cent to 62 cents per barrel to Singapore quotes, the highest since Nov. 16.
Singapore’s middle distillate inventories dropped 7.5% to 7.4 million barrels in the week to Dec. 8, according to Enterprise Singapore data. This is the lowest stock level since May 2018.
Weekly Singapore middle distillate inventories have averaged 12.1 million barrels this year, compared with an average of 13.9 million barrels in 2020, Reuters calculations showed. This week’s stocks were nearly 51% lower than a year earlier.
US distillate inventories, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 2.7 million barrels in the week to Dec. 3, versus expectations for a 1.6 million-barrel rise, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. No jet fuel trades, no gasoil deals
Oil and gas will remain the dominant fuel source for decades to come, the industry’s top executives declared on Wednesday, making their case not to be under valued as governments seek to reduce fossil fuels to address climate worries.