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SINGAPORE: Asia’s 0.5% very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) front-month crack extended gains on Friday to hit a two-year high amid persistent concerns over tight supply.

Soaring refining margins for gasoil and jet fuel this year have prompted refiners to increase output of the middle-distillate fuels, tightening the supply of blendstock materials used in the production of VLSFO.

The front-month crack climbed to $19.13 a barrel above Dubai crude, up from $18.89 in the previous session and its highest since Feb. 6, 2020, Refinitiv Eikon data showed. Cracks rose even as crude oil prices stay above $90 a barrel on fears of tight supply.

Meanwhile, residual fuel inventories at the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) and Fujairah storage hubs jumped, while those in Singapore edged lower, official data showed.

Fuel oil stocks in the ARA refining and storage jumped by 113,000 tonnes, or 10%, to a seven-month high of 1.28 million tonnes in the week ended Feb. 3, data from Dutch consultancy Insights Global showed.

A cyber attack caused some congestion at ports, Insights Global’s Lars van Wageningen said.

The inventories at the ARA hub were 10% lower compared with a year earlier, but were above the five-year seasonal average of 1.11 million tonnes.

In the Fujairah hub, fuel oil stockpiles surged 16% to a two-month high of 11.38 million barrels, or 1.79 million tonnes, in the week to Jan. 31.

In Singapore, fuel oil inventories fell 3% from a near five-month high in the previous week to a two-week low of 23.09 million barrels, or 3.64 million tonnes, as net import volumes plummeted.

Six high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) cargo trades were reported in the window totalling 120,000 tonnes. No 0.5% very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) cargo trades were reported.

S&P Global Platts will launch a new daily liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker fuel price assessment, reflecting the value of LNG used as a marine fuel in the Southeast coast region of the United States from March 16, the price reporting agency said on Friday.

“The new assessment will be published on a fixed price delivered basis in $/MMBtu, and will reflect the prevailing spot price of LNG bunkers transacted on the US southeast coast, with the basis port being Jacksonville, Florida,” Platts said.

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