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NEW DELHI: Asia’s refining profit margin for gasoline trimmed losses on Monday amid volatility in crude oil markets, although the crack hovered near February 2021 lows touched last week on fears of increasing supply and slowing demand.

The crack rose to a premium of $2.56 a barrel from a discount of 14 cents on Friday.

A sudden crash in global gasoline prices in the past two weeks dented refiners’ profits, pushing up inventories in key trading hubs around the world while looming exports from China and India also added to pressure on growing stockpiles.

“The increasing shift to VLSFO (Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil) production should provide a floor for cracks in the near term,” consultancy FGE said in a note.

Margins will strengthen further in September onwards as several major Indian refiners undergo planned maintenance, including Reliance’s SEZ refinery, FGE added.

China’s Sinopec Corp has cut its purchases of Russia’s ESPO crude oil in July as other buyers, including from India, were willing to pay higher prices, trade sources said.

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