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NEW DELHI: Asia’s naphtha crack were steady on Tuesday, after falling more than 19% last week due to easing demand from petrochemical units.

The refining profit margin rose to $137.68 a tonne, up 25 cents from the last close. Market watchers also assessed the impact of surging Omicron cases on gasoline-blending demand.

“Persistently poor petrochemical margins have prompted at least three South Korean petrochemical producers to deepen run cuts at their ethylene crackers at the start of this month to 70-80%,” Refinitiv Oil Research said in a note.

Meanwhile, Shell returned the gasoline-producing unit and an ethylene unit to production at its 230,811-barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery and adjoining chemical plant in Norco, Louisiana, said sources familiar with plant operations on Monday.

The gasoline crack was little changed above $10 a barrel. Most countries in the region have not imposed mobility-related curbs to combat Omicron cases amid high vaccination rates, but a massive rise in cases across the world dented demand sentiment.

The United States reported 1.35 million new coronavirus infections on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, the highest daily total for any country in the World.

Malaysia’s Kimanis crude oil exports will rise to seven cargoes in March from six in February, trade sources said on Tuesday.

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