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Southeast Asian Gasoline Demand Disappoints During Peak Season

Gasoline demand in major economies in Southeast Asia is showing signs of weakness just as the peak fuel demand for travel has begun, traders have told Bloomberg, which could be a concern about global oil demand.

Indonesia, a large market for gasoline, hasn’t seen a surge in demand ahead of the Eid festivities this weekend, according to the traders. Stocks of fuels, including gasoline at the hub in Singapore, are at their highest for this time of the year since 1995, according to Singaporean government data cited by Bloomberg.

There is also a glut of gasoil stocks in Asia, according to traders and analysts.   

Gasoil stocks held in Asia have jumped since the EU’s ban on imports of Russian diesel came into effect on February 5 as Asian refiners now have to compete with Russia for diesel sales in Africa, traders and analysts told Reuters last month. High Chinese exports are also adding to high stock levels in Asia.

Despite weaker Southeast Asian markets, European demand for gasoline is resilient, India’s demand for fuels is rising, and Chinese demand is also improving, according to government data and analysts.

India’s fuel demand jumped by 5% in March compared to a year earlier, as the world’s third-largest crude oil importer continues to see consumption growing. Demand for both diesel and gasoline rose in March compared to both March last year and February this year, the data showed. Gasoline demand jumped by 6.8% year-on-year.

In February, Indian fuel demand was estimated to have jumped to the highest level in at least 24 years, and refiners in India raised crude throughput by 2% in February compared to January.

A resurgent China will help drive global oil demand to a record-high of 101.9 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly report last week. 

Solid demand from China raised global oil demand by 810,000 bpd year-on-year in the first quarter to 100.4 million bpd. 

“A much stronger increase of 2.7 mb/d is expected through year-end, propelled by a continued recovery in China and international travel,” the IEA said.   

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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