Output cuts boost Asia oil refining margins to highest since Sept 2017

Asia oil refining margins have more than tripled in the past four weeks to hit their highest since September 2017, data showed after refiners cut output and tightened fuel supplies.

The complex refining margin for a typical Singapore refinery had rebounded to $9.37 a barrel at the close of Asia’s markets on Thursday, up from $2.74 a barrel on June 21, the lowest for June since 2003.

Profits for gasoline, naphtha, diesel, jet fuel and high-sulfur fuel oil rose this month after several refiners across Asia either reduced output or shut down plants for maintenance from late in the second-quarter after refining margins slumped to their lowest for the season since 2003.

Refinery shutdowns in China also propped up the market as state oil majors cut back exports.

Refineries globally have also started to scale down high-sulfur fuel oil production six months ahead of a switch to lower sulfur marine fuel.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) will require ships to burn fuel with 0.5% sulfur instead of the current 3.5% from the start of next year.

Reporting by Roslan Khasawneh, Seng Li Peng, Koustav Samanta, Jessica Jaganathan and Florence Tan; Editing by Joseph Radford

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