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Market for light grades slumps on weak margins
[SINGAPORE] The Asia-Pacific crude market slipped on Tuesday as some August-loading cargoes of light crude remained available and as gasoline margins remained mired in a slump, crimping demand, traders said.
Gasoline crack margins versus Brent crude slipped to US$3.90 a barrel on Tuesday, down sharply from US$17.37 on Dec 14. Margins have slumped as refiners in Asia overproduced the fuel to cash in on high margins. The low margins have cut demand for light crudes from Malaysia and Vietnam since they yield high volumes of gasoline and naphtha when refined.
"The light grade demand isn't very good," said a Singapore-based trader. "China doesn't want the barrels. The medium-heavies look much better."
Medium weight crudes such as Australian low-sulfur grades like Vincent and Van Gogh tend to yield more gasoil when refined. Those margins have steadily improved, more than doubling to US$12.51 a barrel on Tuesday from early April.
Brent's premium to Dubai swaps, or Brent-Dubai Exchange of Futures for Swaps (EFS), was at US$3.21 a barrel on Tuesday, down slightly from US$3.38 on Monday.