SINGAPORE, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Asian refining margins weakened on Thursday, lingering close to multi-month lows, as most of coronavirus-led border restrictions still remain in place and traders believe 'travel bubbles' will not be sufficient to help uplift the aviation sector in the near-term. Refining margins or cracks for jet fuel were at a discount of $1.55 a barrel to Dubai crude during Asian trading hours, compared with minus $1.21 a barrel on Wednesday. "Unless demand stages an impressive recovery, and the prospect of travel bubbles is likely to only see a limited support, we do not see much upside to cracks," said Philip Jones-Lux, energy market analyst at consultancy JBC Energy. Several countries are planning for 'travel bubble' agreements with select counterparties to boost the aviation sector as persistent coronavirus cases have rattled the region's airlines and its tourism industry. But the prospect of these travel agreements between countries would likely not be enough to boost the aviation fuel market that has been the hardest hit from the pandemic among oil products, trade sources said. "I don't think travel bubbles would make a huge or any meaningful impact in the short term," a Singapore-based trader said. Cash discounts for jet fuelremained unchanged at $1.22 a barrel to Singapore quotes on Thursday. INVENTORIES - Singapore's middle distillate inventories jumped 11.6% to their highest in more than nine years in the week to Sept. 2 as net import volumes surged from the previous week, official data showed on Thursday. - Onshore middle distillate stocks rose 1.662 million barrels to 16.024 million barrels, according to Enterprise Singapore data. - Weekly Singapore middle distillate inventories have averaged about 13.1 million barrels so far in 2020, Reuters calculations showed. This week's stocks were 46.6% higher year on year. - U.S. distillate stockpiles fell by 1.7 million barrels in the week, compared with expectations of a 1.4 million-barrel drop, U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed on Wednesday. SINGAPORE CASH DEALS - Two gasoil deals, no jet fuel trades OTHER NEWS - Vietnam plans to restart international commercial flights to and from six Asian cities from mid-September, state media reported on Thursday, ending months of coronavirus-related suspension after easing some restrictions on foreign business travellers. ASSESSMENTS MID-DISTILLATES CASH ($/T) ASIA CLOSE Change % Change Prev Close RIC Spot Gas Oil 0.5% 44.32 -2.73 -5.80 47.05 GO 0.5 Diff -2.38 -0.05 2.15 -2.33 Spot Gas Oil 0.25% 44.52 -2.73 -5.78 47.25 GO 0.25 Diff -2.18 -0.05 2.35 -2.13 Spot Gas Oil 0.05% 44.72 -2.73 -5.75 47.45 GO 0.05 Diff -1.98 -0.05 2.59 -1.93 Spot Gas Oil 0.001% 46.04 -2.74 -5.62 48.78 GO 0.001 Diff -0.66 -0.06 10.00 -0.60 Spot Jet/Kero 40.05 -2.26 -5.34 42.31 Jet/Kero Diff -1.22 0.00 0.00 -1.22 For a list of derivatives prices, including margins, please double click the RICs below. Brent M1 Gasoil M1 Gasoil M1/M2 Gasoil M2 Regrade M1 Regrade M2 Jet M1 Jet M1/M2 Jet M2 Gasoil 500ppm-Dubai Cracks M1 Gasoil 500ppm-Dubai Cracks M2 Jet Cracks M1 Jet Cracks M2 East-West M1 East-West M2 LGO M1 LGO M1/M2 LGO M2 Crack LGO-Brent M1 Crack LGO-Brent M2 (Reporting by Koustav Samanta; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)
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