SINGAPORE, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Asian refining margins for jet fuel dropped on Monday amid surging crude oil prices, while cash premiums for the aviation fuel slipped on weaker buying interest for physical cargoes. Refining margins, also known as cracks, for jet fuel fell to $14.01 per barrel over Dubai crude during Asian trading hours, the lowest since Dec. 12, from $15.25 on Friday. Crude oil prices rose 2% on Monday, pushing Brent above $70 a barrel, as rhetoric from the United States, Iran and Iraq fanned tensions in the Middle East after the killing of a top Iranian general. The jet fuel cracks, which also determine the profitability of closely-related kerosene, have dropped 15% over the last two months despite the ongoing winter in the northern hemisphere that typically brings peak heating demand using kerosene. A warmer winter so far this year in Japan, which uses kerosene for heating, has led to lacklustre seasonal demand, trade sources said. Temperatures in Tokyo are expected to stay well above normal for the next couple of weeks, weather forecast models on Refinitiv Eikon showed. Cash premiums for jet fueldropped to 2 cents per barrel to Singapore quotes on Monday, down from 33 cents a barrel on Friday. Meanwhile, refining margins for gasoil with 10 ppm sulphur content fell to $14.88 per barrel over Dubai crude on Monday, the lowest in three weeks, from $16.15 per barrel on Friday. Cash premiums for 10 ppm gasoil on Monday fell to 37 cents per barrel over Singapore quotes from 62 cents on Friday, hurt by weaker deal values in the physical market. SINGAPORE CASH DEALS - Three jet fuel trades, six gasoil deals. - For more information, click OTHER NEWS - U.S. citizens working for foreign oil companies in the southern Iraqi city of Basra were leaving the country on Friday, the oil ministry said, after a U.S. air strike killed a top Iranian commander in Iraq. - Venezuelan state company PDVSA is letting some joint venture partners take over the day-to-day operation of oilfields as its own capacity dwindles due to sanctions and a lack of cash and staff, according to a former oil minister, an opposition lawmaker and industry sources. ASSESSMENTS MID-DISTILLATES CASH ($/T) ASIA CLOSE Change % Change Prev Close RIC Spot Gas Oil 0.5% 81.44 0.53 0.66 80.91 GO 0.5 Diff -2.18 -0.05 2.35 -2.13 Spot Gas Oil 0.25% 82.09 0.55 0.67 81.54 GO 0.25 Diff -1.53 -0.03 2.00 -1.50 Spot Gas Oil 0.05% 83.40 0.60 0.72 82.80 GO 0.05 Diff -0.22 0.02 -8.33 -0.24 Spot Gas Oil 0.001% 83.99 0.33 0.39 83.66 GO 0.001 Diff 0.37 -0.25 -40.32 0.62 Spot Jet/Kero 82.71 0.33 0.40 82.38 Jet/Kero Diff 0.02 -0.31 -93.94 0.33 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 Shinjini Ganguli)
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