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SINGAPORE: Asian refining margins for jet fuel rose on Wednesday, while cash premiums for the aviation fuel dropped on muted buying interest in the physical market.

Refining margins, also known as cracks, for jet fuel were at $10.90 per barrel over Dubai crude during Asian trading hours, compared with $10.71 per barrel a day earlier.

Cash premiums for jet fuel fell to 47 cents per barrel to Singapore quotes on Wednesday, down from 75 cents per barrel a day earlier. The differentials hit an over three-year high of 84 cents earlier this week.

The Jan/Feb time spread for jet fuel narrowed its backwardation by 6 cents on Wednesday to trade at 33 cents per barrel, Refinitiv data showed.

Singapore will freeze all new ticket sales for flights and buses under its programme for quarantine-free travel into the city-state from Dec. 23 to Jan. 20, the government said on Wednesday, citing risk from the fast-spreading Omicron COVID-19 variant.

Under the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) programme, Singapore allows quarantine-free entry from some countries to fully vaccinated travellers on designated flights or buses. The travellers have to undergo regular testing.

Singapore has set up these lanes for about two dozen countries, including Australia, India, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Middle-distillate inventories in the Fujairah Oil Industry Zone dropped 7.3% to a three-week low of 2.1 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 20, data via S&P Global Platts showed.

The weekly stocks in Fujairah have averaged 3.6 million barrels this year, compared with 4.2 million barrels in 2020, Reuters calculations showed.

US distillate inventories, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 849,000 barrels in the week ended Dec. 17, according to market sources, citing American Petroleum Institute figures. Three gasoil deals, no jet fuel trades.

Indonesian state-energy company PT Pertamina has issued a tender seeking up to 1.2 million barrels of high speed diesel (HSD) for January delivery. The company said ensuring fuel supply was its “top priority” as its workers’ union is due to hold a national strike from Dec. 29 to Jan. 7 after failing to reach a deal with management over labour terms.

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