SINGAPORE: Asia’s naphtha crack climbed on Friday, recouping most losses incurred a day earlier, amid concerns of tight arbitrage supplies from Europe in June coupled with expectations for firmer Asian demand.
The naphtha crack jumped to $104.53 a tonne from $100.25 a tonne in the previous session.
Asia’s gasoline crack, however, was little changed at $5.70 a barrel, down 2 cents from the previous session but higher than the $5.18 a barrel at the start of the week.
The gasoline market has been supported by expectations of a rebound in demand in Europe and the United States and hopes for demand recovery in Asia, as countries slowly begin to ease restrictions following a recent wave of COVID-19 infections.
Oil prices rose to fresh multi-year highs and were set for their third weekly jump on expectations of a recovery in fuel demand in the United States, Europe and China as rising vaccination rates lead to an easing of pandemic curbs.
Naphtha stocks held in independent storage in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) refining and storage hub jumped 25percent to a two-week high of 271,000 tonnes in the week ended June 10, but were still down 54percent from year-ago levels, data from Dutch consultancy Insights Global showed.
ARA gasoline stocks were also at a three-week low in the week to June 10 at 1.13 million tonnes, down 4percent from the previous week and 20percent lower from last year, the data showed.
The gasoline inventories drew as the arbitrage to the United States remained open, said Insights Global’s Lars van Wageningen.
In Singapore, light distillate inventories dropped 11percent to a five-week low of 12.11 million barrels in the week to June 9, according to Enterprise Singapore data.
In the Unites States, gasoline stocks jumped by seven million barrels in the week to June 4, the largest weekly increase for more than a year, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 698,000-barrel rise.
US petroleum inventories surged last week, led by a big rise in gasoline, but it was probably attributable to the timing of transfers to retailers rather than evidence of weak consumption at the start of the driving season, according to Reuters columnist John Kemp.
The jump in stocks was explained by a corresponding decline in the volume of products supplied to the domestic market, according to estimates prepared by the US Energy Information Administration.
Oil producers will need to boost their output in order to meet demand set to recover to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, the International Energy Agency said on Friday.