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SINGAPORE: Asian refining margins for jet fuel rose on Tuesday, lingering close to an all-time high touched last week, as airlines continue to add capacity to their schedules on gradually recovering demand in international routes.

Refining margins, or cracks, for jet fuel climbed to $48.91 per barrel over Dubai crude during Asian trading hours, despite firmer raw material crude prices on Tuesday. The jet cracks, which were at $48.64 a barrel on Monday, hit a record high of $50.75 a barrel last week.

Despite rising fares and fuel surcharges, the number of scheduled airline seats has steadily risen for the past three months, thanks to pent-up travel demand.

Global airline capacity rose 1.4% to nearly 97 million seats in the week to Monday, with international capacity growing by about half a million seats, according to aviation data firm OAG. The international capacity now stands 29.5% lower compared with the corresponding week in pre-pandemic 2019, the data showed.

“As much of the world continues to loosen travel restrictions for international air travel, South East Asia and North East Asia continue to lag behind,” OAG said in a statement.

“International capacity for South East Asia is now 64.8% below where it was in the same week in 2019, while international capacity for North East Asia is 86% below, substantially due to the limited travel permitted to and from China.”

The international capacities in Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia have risen by 2.9% and 2.6%, respectively, this week.

Cash differentials for jet fuel were at a premium of $2.91 a barrel to Singapore quotes on Tuesday, while Refinitiv Eikon data showed the June/July time spread for the aviation fuel in Singapore remained in backwardation to trade at $3.57 per barrel.

Russia rose to become India’s second biggest supplier of oil in May, pushing Saudi Arabia into third place but still behind Iraq which remains No. 1, data from trade sources showed.

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