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SINGAPORE: Asian jet fuel refining margins rose for a sixth consecutive session on Tuesday, surging to a fresh record high, lifted by firmer aviation demand as global airline capacity soared to their highest level since early 2020.

Refining profit margins, or cracks, for jet fuel jumped to $61.77 per barrel over Dubai crude during Asian trade on Tuesday, the highest on record, according to Refinitiv Eikon data that goes back to 2009. They were at $57.76 per barrel on Monday.

Global airline capacity rose 2% to 98.5 million seats in the week to Monday, with international capacity growing by about 2.2% or 749,000 seats, according to aviation data firm OAG. The international capacity now stands 28.8% lower compared with the corresponding week in pre-pandemic 2019, the data showed.

“The largest increase in airline capacity this week is in North East Asia as Chinese airlines continue to add capacity in response to the ease of local restrictions,” OAG said in a statement.

“Domestic airline capacity in the region rose by 4.4% this week compared to last week, and as a region, is now operating at 4% below the domestic capacity available in the same week in 2019.”

Global airlines are now expected to post a $9.7 billion loss in 2022, in a sharp improvement from a revised $42.1 billion loss in 2021, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Monday.

Cash differentials for jet fuel rose to a premium of $3.29 a barrel to Singapore quotes on Tuesday, compared with a premium of $3.16 per barrel a day earlier.

The front-month time spread for the aviation fuel in Singapore widened its backwardation on Tuesday to trade at $4.55 per barrel, as against $4.45 per barrel on Monday.

Oil prices rose on Tuesday on high summer fuel demand while supplies remain tight because of sanctions on Russian oil after its invasion of Ukraine.

A flood of US renewable diesel plants set to come online in the next three years will not be enough to offset the loss of petroleum diesel refining capacity from plant closings since 2019, a Reuters analysis of federal data shows.

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