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SINGAPORE: Asian refining margins for 10 ppm gasoil rose on Friday, but posted their third consecutive weekly decline as tightness in regional supplies have eased with more barrels emerging from South Korea and India, while China’s demand remains weak amid ongoing COVID lockdowns.

Refining margins, or cracks, for 10 ppm gasoil climbed to $34.94 a barrel over Dubai crude during Asian trading hours. They were at $31.79 a barrel on Thursday.

Cracks for the benchmark gasoil grade, however, have shed 3.7% this week, and plunged about 29% so far this month, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

“Earlier fears that the EU’s transition to a complete ban on Russian crude and oil products could lead to a huge draw on Asian barrels appear to be exaggerated due to unviable arbitrage economics and high freight rates,” Zameer Yusof, senior analyst at Refinitiv Oil Research said in a note.

“East Asia-West diesel flows post-invasion, for March/April averaged 350,000 tonnes per month, well-below the 2021 average of 477,317 tonnes per month,” he added.

Cash premiums for gasoil with 10 ppm sulphur content slipped to $4.75 a barrel to Singapore quotes on Friday, compared with $5.14 per barrel a day earlier.

South Korea’s third largest refiner, S-Oil Corp, has suspended production of several processing units after a blast at its Onsan refinery, it said on Friday, a step that could tighten gasoline supplies and boost refiners’ margins in Asia.

S-Oil, a key exporter of products that is majority owned by Saudi Aramco, has suspended outputs at the units in the city of Ulsan as a precaution since they were near the resulting fire, the company added in a regulatory filing.

Gasoil stocks, held independently in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp refining and storage hub, fell 2% to 1.6 million tonnes in the week ended May 19, according to Dutch consultancy Insights Global.

Barge shipments from the ARA region along the Rhine fell to their lowest weekly flows during normal transport conditions in four years, Insights Global’s Lars van Wageningen said, adding that inland demand had fallen as a result of backwardation in the diesel spread.

ARA jet fuel inventories climbed 0.9% this week to 791,000 tonnes.

China’s crude oil imports from top supplier Saudi Arabia soared 38% in April from a year earlier, hitting the highest monthly volume since May 2020, according to Reuters’ calculations based on official Chinese customs data.

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