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Asia Naphtha/Gasoline-Naphtha margin slips, gasoline steady

Asia’s naphtha refining profit margin gave up some gains on Thursday as trade remained quiet for a second straight session and inventories at the Singapore commercial hub rose.

The crack declined by about $4 to $49.40 per metric ton over Brent crude. The price for first-half June naphtha also fell by about $4 in a narrow and steady backwardation of $6 a ton.

Asia’s gasoline premium to naphtha strengthened to $23.81 a barrel, up from the March low of about $16 per barrel, due to persistently weak petrochemical demand.

Traders are bullish about gasoline demand as the driving season nears in the United States, the world’s biggest transport fuel market.

The gasoline crack was steady at about $12 a barrel over Brent crude on Thursday as gains stemming from a decline in U.S. inventories were offset by an increase in Singapore stocks.

INVENTORIES

U.S. gasoline stocks fell by 0.6 million barrels last week to 226.7 million barrels, the EIA said, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.8 million-barrel draw.

Singapore light distillate stocks rose by 284,000 barrels to a two-week high of 14.037 million barrels in the week to April 24, Enterprise Singapore data showed.

NEWS

– A spring surge in U.S. gasoline prices is set to fizzle out earlier than expected as geopolitical concerns abate, raising optimism that motorists will find some relief at the pump ahead of peak summer travel demand.

– Oil steadied on Thursday after settling lower the previous day as signs of retreating fuel demand in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil user, contended with widening conflict risks in the Middle East.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Mohi Narayan; Editing by Eileen Soreng)

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