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NEW DELHI: Asia’s naphtha refining profit margin weakened by about 15% this week amid a decline in prices of second-half April naphtha to over one-month low.

The crack slipped by $10.13 to $97.28 a tonne over Brent crude on Friday. Naphtha margins have slumped over 29% in March so far due to volatility in crude oil benchmarks.

Oil prices were headed for their biggest weekly loss in five weeks on worries about the prospect of steep interest rate hikes in the United States hitting fuel demand.

The gasoline crack also declined 65 cents to $12.72, although the downside was capped as buyers actively sought the benchmark grade gasoline at the Singapore window.

Naphtha stocks held in independent storage in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) hub dropped to 248,000 tonnes in the week to March 9, from 293,000 tonnes in the week to March 10 last year, Insights Global data showed.

The trading hub has not received any naphtha parcels from Russia since Feb. 9.

According to FGE estimates, light distillate stocks at key trading hubs of the world drew for the third consecutive week, by 2.6 million barrels, and are now 7.7 million barrels below the 2015-2019 range for this time of the year.

“The draw was led by Singapore, where light distillate stocks drew by 1.6 million barrels from very high level seen last week because of higher demand due to stockpiling ahead of the Ramadan holiday period and because of lower exports from China,” analysts at FGE said in a note.

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