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SINGAPORE: The viscosity spread, which is the price differential between 180-cst and 380-cst high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO), held near record highs as of Thursday on expectations of tighter cutter stock supply into July.

The July viscosity swap was at $56.75 per tonne at the Asia close on Thursday, edging slightly higher from $56.50 per tonne the previous day and hovering near a record high of $61.25 per tonne seen earlier this week, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

This comes amid expectations of a tightening pool of cutter stocks, which are often used in the blending of high-viscosity material into that of lower viscosity.

Firm gasoil margins are likely to incentivise refiners to direct more cutter stocks and blending components into the middle distillates pool instead of the fuel oil pool.

Refining cracks for 10 ppm gasoil rose to a new high on Thursday, according to Refinitiv Eikon data that goes back to 2014.

Singapore fuel oil stocks fell 6% to a four-week low of 20.194 million barrels in the week to June 15, data from Enterprise Singapore showed Thursday.

Oil prices recovered on Thursday, supported by tight oil supply and peak summer consumption, after a hefty US rate hike sparked fears of slower economic growth and less fuel demand. Saudi Aramco is planning to merge two energy trading units, people familiar with the matter said, with Aramco Trading Co due to absorb Motiva Trading ahead of a potential initial public offering of the business.

A US judge on Wednesday said the owner of an oil tanker must pay the United States $44.6 million over its role in a 2017 collision between the tanker with a US Navy destroyer in southeast Asia that killed 10 sailors and injured dozens more.

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