June 26, 2018 / 3:48 AM / 5 months ago

Asia oil refining margins drop to two-year low as gasoline profit plunges

SINGAPORE, June 26 (Reuters) - Singapore refining margins, the benchmark for profitability among oil processors in Asia, fell to their lowest in two years, dragged down by lower gasoline margins as refiners have ramped up output.

Margins at a typical complex refinery in Singapore dropped to $4.28 a barrel at the market close on Monday, the lowest since August 2016, according to Thomson Reuters data. Among oil products, gasoline margins fell the most, dropping by half in the past month to under $5 a barrel. DUB-SIN-REFGL92-SIN-CRK

“Refineries in the region have been processing lighter crude as the margins for naphtha and gasoline have been quite good up until recently,” said a Singapore-based crude oil trader.

“So (the drop in margin) may mean a switch in crude or yield again, but it will take a while to take effect. The (refining) margins are getting very compressed now.”

Asia’s largest refining centre China increased crude throughput by 9 percent from a year ago during the first five months of 2018 to a record, with the bulk of the increase leading to a boost in output of aviation and motor fuel.

Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan, Florence Tan and Henning Gloystein; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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