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SINGAPORE: The Asian fuel oil market continued to see diverging trends on Thursday, with the very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) market extending further gains from the previous day, while the high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) market softened on weak demand and prospects of more supply.

Cash differentials for Asia’s 0.5% VLSFO climbed for a second consecutive day to a fresh record high premium of $51.26 per tonne to Singapore quotes.

In contrast, cash differentials for HSFO were under downward pressure on expectations of higher supply inflows from the Middle East in the near term. 180-cst HSFO cash differentials eased to premiums of $1.27 per tonne to Singapore quotes, versus $1.60 per tonne a day before. 380-cst HSFO cash differentials fell to premiums of $1.47 per tonne to Singapore quotes, versus $3.52/mt the previous day. Bunkering demand for HSFO remained cautious at Singapore, following cases of contaminated oil which affected more than 200 vessels earlier this year. Ex-wharf bunkering premiums for 380cst HSFO fell to about $7 per tonne to Singapore quotes, versus about $15 per tonne last week, based on Reuters pricing data.

Singapore fuel oil stocks rose 2.339 million barrels to 21.106 million barrels in the week to May 25, marking a five-week high, according to Enterprise Singapore data.

One 380cst HSFO trade was reported. Two 0.5% VLSFO trades were reported. Oil prices rose on Thursday, extending a cautious rally this week on signs of tight supply while the European Union wrangles with Hungary over plans to ban imports from Russia, the world’s second-largest crude exporter, after it invaded Ukraine.

Aramco Trading Company, the trading arm of oil giant Saudi Aramco, has more than doubled fuel oil shipments from Yanbu to Asia in May from April, according to Refinitiv and market sources.

Global liquefied natural gas (LNG) buyers and sellers are bracing for more uncertainty over Russian supplies and a murky demand outlook from Europe and top importer China in the run-up to peak winter season, industry executives said.

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