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Singapore middle distillate stocks ease on higher gasoil export flows

Singapore — Onshore middle distillate stocks in the trading hub of Singapore eased back for the first time in three weeks, falling 1.54% in the week ended March 13 on higher outflows of gasoil from the city-state.

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Gasoil, jet fuel and kerosene inventories were down by 180,000 barrels from the previous week to 12.06 million barrels, data from government agency Enterprise Singapore showed Thursday.

Combined jet fuel/kerosene imports into Singapore shrank drastically to just 5 mt in the week ended March 13, from 23 mt the previous week. Four tonnes of jet A-1 fuel was imported from Germany, along with one tonne of kerosene.

Exports out of Singapore the same week fell sharply by 77.3% week on week to 23,048.07 mt. The top volumes exported were to Australia at 9,285.81 mt, Fiji at 4,062.86 mt and New Zealand at 3,943.25 mt.

For co-distillate gasoil, the city-state maintained its position as a net exporter, with outflows amounting to 539,591.268 mt. This was 47.4% higher than the previous week when exports were at 366,051.29 mt. Australia edged out Malaysia as the top destination with 150,366.26 mt, with Hong Kong trailing behind at 89,153.50 mt. Bangladesh and Malaysia followed with 71,938.15 mt and 61,439.48 mt, respectively.

Gasoil imports into Singapore fell 8% on the week to 268,838.52 mt, down from 291,984.67 mt the previous week. Gasoil imports from China were at 90,330.88 mt, while Malaysia followed closely behind with 87,192.29 mt. Japan contributed 82,771.05 mt of gasoil imports to Singapore.

In the Asian gasoil market, conflicting signals were observed this week with varied opinions being heard from traders. Some sources pointed to healthy gasoil supplies heading towards Singapore, which was weighing down on the market, causing the front-month gasoil timespread to lapse back into a contango structure on Wednesday.

At the Asian close Thursday, the cash differential for FOB Singapore 10 ppm sulfur gasoil eased back by 5 cents/b to minus 8 cents/b to the Mean of Platts Singapore Gasoil assessments. In the paper market, the contango in the front-month April/May gasoil timespread widened to minus 18 cents/b Thursday, from minus 7 cents/b assessed Wednesday.

Still, other participants said they viewed the wider Asian gasoil market as fundamentally strong.

"I believe the market is still very healthy actually," a gasoil trader said Thursday. "Due to the regional refinery turnarounds, the [North Asian] gasoil supply is very tight and demand is healthy," he added.

Enterprise Singapore began collecting data from January 6, 1999. However, the data reported is not representative of all oil terminals in Singapore. This week's data came from a submission of 13 oil terminals in Singapore, Enterprise Singapore said.

--Clarice Chiam,

--Zameer Yusof,

--Su Yeen Cheong,

--Edited by Ikhhlaq Singh Aujla,