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Market Movers Asia Sep 13-17: India's fuel demand recovery, climate action in focus

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Watch: Market Movers Asia Sep 13-17: India's fuel demand recovery, climate action in focus

On this week's Platts Market Movers Asia with Sugar and Biofuels Managing Editor Liz Thang: India's gasoline demand is recovering back to pre-pandemic levels and observers expect diesel demand to follow suit.

More highlights in Asia's commodity markets:

*Eyes on any change in New Delhi's position on climate action as US envoy John Kerry visits India ahead of COP26

*China to release oil reserves to ease domestic feedstock prices

*Port congestion in China to keep ethylene elevated

37th Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference (APPEC 2021) | September 27-29, 2021

APPEC 2021 is Platts Asia's first hybrid event, featuring more than 100 speakers from over 20 countries, with a single platform for global delegates and exclusive sessions with top decision makers. Tune in as we shape and map the future of energy as an APPEC community.

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This week: India's gasoline demand rebounds to pre-pandemic levels, China to release oil reserves to relieve high feedstock costs, and port congestion in China keeps ethylene prices high.

But first, Asian oil markets will be closely watching Indian refiners this week as they boost run rates amid new-found confidence that a recent revival in oil product demand growth will be sustained. Some refiners are already planning to lift runs to 100% of capacity for the rest of the year.

Gasoline demand in India has returned to pre-COVID levels and there are growing expectations that diesel demand will follow suit soon. While there are concerns that a third wave of COVID-19 infections could cast a shadow over consumption, it has yet to have an impact. Platts Analytics says India's refinery runs are expected to rise to 5 million barrels a day for the rest of the year, from 4.8 million barrels a day over January-July, as demand improves.

So, our social media question this week is, do you think India's diesel demand will return to pre-pandemic levels in coming weeks? Share your thoughts with the hashtag PlattsMM.

Staying in India, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry is set to visit the country this week in the lead-up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November. Kerry recently visited China and Japan and is expected to have similar talks with Indian ministers in a bid to build consensus on lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Policy watchers will note any shift in India's stance on climate action ahead of the Glasgow conference. China has committed to net zero emissions by 2060 and Japan by 2050, while India has so far stayed away from setting a target.

China' National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration has announced state crude oil reserves will be released into the domestic market via auctions to ease the high feedstock costs faced by the refining industry. This has raised alarm bells among major crude producers and suppliers across the globe, as the major buyer could put the brakes on crude purchases in coming trading cycles. China is due to release steel output data for August on September 15. The country is aiming to keep 2021 steel output at 2020 levels as part of its ambitious carbon goals. The data is expected to show that steel output cuts initiated in July have not picked up pace, and that output declined only slightly in August from July. However, Jiangsu province, China's second-largest steelmaking province, is likely to speed up steel output cuts from mid-September as it looks to meet energy consumption targets.

In petrochemicals, Asian ethylene prices are expected to remain elevated this week due to river port congestion in China, which is not expected to ease in the near term. A wide ethylene-naphtha spread may add to selling pressure, and the industry will be monitoring several sell tenders this week from Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Taiwan for price cues. The market is also monitoring the restart of Gulei Petrochemical's cracker, which may ease China's domestic ethylene tightness. The cracker had been due to restart September 8 after an unplanned shutdown on August 29, but this did not occur.

Thanks for kicking off your Monday with us. Have a great week ahead!