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Asian middle distillate prices sink to near 17-month low on weak crude, thin demand

News Source:http://www.jinchemical.com/ ; SendDate:2014-9-15 10:59:41 
Asia's outright prices for middle distillates sank to fresh lows Thursday, September 11, in tandem with lower crude oil prices amid weak market fundamentals pressured down by thin demand and high stocks.

Benchmark 500 ppm sulfur gasoil fell to a near 17-month low, to be assessed at $111.39/barrel at 0830 GMT, close of Asian trade Thursday, down $1.63/b from the previous day.

The outright value was last lower April 18, 2013, when it was at $110.57/b, Platts data showed.

Meanwhile, FOB Singapore jet fuel nose-dived by $1.61/b day on day to be assessed at $111.80/b on Thursday, its lowest in nearly 17 months.

The jet fuel marker was last lower at $111.53/b on April 23, 2013.

The sharp overnight fall in middle distillates prices was attributed mostly to weaker crude oil futures prices, where front-month ICE October Brent futures settled at a near 17-month low of $98.08/b Thursday.

Traders said that the fall in outright prices will provide a boost in end-user demand, although the impact on the market will not be immediate.

"I'm not sure if diesel responds to flat price as quickly," said a middle distillate trader based in Singapore.

Another regional trader pointed out that regional stockpiles were sufficient to absorb any potential surge in demand.

"Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, and even China ... All stockpiled," he said, adding that the FOB Singapore cash differentials will not be reflecting the uplift in demand until there is "substantial buying" in the physical market.

As for jet fuel, narrowing East-West arbitrage economics following a deluge of arbitrage arrivals into Europe and the US, along with incremental spot supply from Northeast Asia and the Middle East, have continued to lend downward pressure on the Asian market.

Participants however, were skeptical over whether the lower outright prices would spur buying interest for jet fuel.

"It looks a lot harder to move jet from here .... Europe strength has tailed off as demand comes to end of seasonal peak. Refinery issues being resolved has seen US West Coast jet differential move a lot weaker as well," a Singapore-based trader said.

Adding to the bearishness, sources noted that rising freight rates have further narrowed East-West arbitrage economics.
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