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SINGAPORE: Asia’s fuel oil market held steady on the first trading day of 2023, while China issued its first batch of refined product export quotas for the New Year.

China issued 8 million tonnes of low-sulfur fuel oil export quotas under the first batch of 2023, according to local consultancies on Tuesday.

The majority of the quotas were released to China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec), China National Petroleum Corp and China National Offshore Oil Company, according to Chinese commodities consultancy JLC and Longzhong.

The front-month refining crack for 0.5% very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) dipped slightly from the previous session to $8.28 a barrel at the Asia close (0830 GMT). Meanwhile, the VLSFO cash differential was at a premium of $10.25 a tonne to Singapore quotes.

Oil prices held in a narrow range on Tuesday, though the demand outlook was clouded by a weak manufacturing activity survey from China, and a warning from the head of the International Monetary Fund that the global economy faced a tough year ahead.

China has raised export quotas for refined oil products in the year’s first batch, consultancies said on Tuesday, a further effort to spur refinery production and capture healthy export margins amid slow domestic demand.

India has raised windfall tax on petroleum, crude oil and aviation turbine fuel, according to a government order dated Jan. 2.

Vietnam’s largest refinery, Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical (NSRP), has shut a residual fluid catalytic cracking (RFCC) unit for “troubleshooting”, two sources familiar with the matter said.

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