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SINGAPORE: Asian refining margins for 10 ppm gasoil climbed for a fourth straight session on Friday, posting their first weekly rise in four, partly lifted by expectations for recovering demand in China as Shanghai gears up to come out of lockdown in the coming days.

Refining margins or cracks for 10 ppm gasoil surged to $42.21 a barrel over Dubai crude during Asian trading hours, a fresh high since May 11.

The cracks were at $40.68 per barrel a day earlier, and have gained nearly 21% this week, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

“China’s State Council will soon remove traffic restrictions on trucks that depart from low-Covid risk zones and reduce administration fees in a bid to smoothen freight transport and logistics hitches – which will translate to improving diesel demand,” Zameer Yusof, senior analyst at Refinitiv Oil Research said in a note.

Pandemic-hit Shanghai, China’s financial hub, is set to finally emerge from its lockdown on June 1 after new infections have dropped sharply.

Cash differentials for gasoil with 10 ppm sulphur content were at a premium of $4.38 a barrel to Singapore quotes on Friday, compared with a premium of $4.11 per barrel a day earlier.

The front-month time spread for 10 ppm gasoil remained unchanged at $5.50 a barrel on Friday, Refinitiv data showed.

China’s imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) are on track to post their first major decline this year, as high prices and weak manufacturing due to Covid-19 lockdowns crimp demand for the super-chilled fuel.

Oil prices rose on Friday and were on track for weekly gains, supported by a prospect of a tight market due to rising gasoline consumption in the United States in summer, and also the possibility of an EU ban on Russian oil.

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