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SINGAPORE: Cash differentials for Asia’s 0.5% VLSFO climbed for a third consecutive day to reach a new record-high premium of $61.34 per tonne to Singapore quotes on Friday, with June arbitrage inflows from the West set to remain tight.

Reflecting the tight supply outlook, the front-month 0.5% VLSFO time spread also widened sharply to $61.50 per tonne at the Asia 4:30pm (Singapore time) close on Friday, striking a new record-high backwardation, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

In contrast, Asia’s high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) continued to weaken amid expectations of more inflows from the Middle East and Russia into June.

Cash differentials for 380-cst HSFO flipped into discounts of 45 cents per tonne to Singapore quotes on Friday, versus premiums of $1.47 per tonne to Singapore quotes a day earlier.

Meanwhile, cash differentials for 180-cst HSFO fell to a premium of 1 cent per tonne to Singapore quotes, versus $1.27 per tonne the previous day.

Declines are capped by robust seasonal 180-cst HSFO demand in the Middle East and South Asia for power generation.

Ex-wharf bunkering premiums for 380cst HSFO fell to about $5 per tonne to Singapore quotes on Friday, versus about $7 per tonne a day before, extending a further downtrend from last week.

No HSFO trade was reported. One 0.5% VLSFO trades was reported.

Oil prices rose on Friday and were on track for weekly gains, supported by the 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.

Iran on Friday summoned the envoy of Switzerland, which represents US interests in Tehran, to protest against the US seizure of Iranian oil from a Russian-operated ship near Greece, the foreign ministry said in a statement quoted by Iranian media.

Pakistan on Thursday announced it will hike fuel prices so that it can resume receiving aid from a $6 billion package signed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2019, the country’s finance minister said.

Prices will rise by 20% starting Friday, causing long lines to form at filling stations as the news spread.

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