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Singapore's middle distillates stocks at 5-mth low on higher jet fuel/kerosene exports

(Reuters) - Singapore's middle distillates stockpiles hit a five-month low as higher jet fuel/kerosene exports outweighed declines in gasoil/diesel exports, official data showed on Thursday.

Inventory levels of gasoil/diesel and jet fuel/kerosene at the key oil storage hub slipped to 7.115 million barrels in the week of Jan. 10, compared with 7.363 million barrels last week, data from Enterprise Singapore showed.

Net exports of jet fuel/kerosene posted weekly gains of around 71%, while net exports of gasoil/diesel decreased by around 17%.

Jet fuel/kerosene total exports were mainly to regional destinations, likewise a week ago, owing to strong demand in the Pacific region due to the summer season there.

Some volumes to the West, specifically the Netherlands, emerged for the first time in a month - supporting the overall rise in exports.

Exports from Singapore to northwest Europe surged to more than a one-year high in November last year, Kpler data showed, as some demand for kerosene was prevalent for the blending of winter-specifications diesel.

The backwardated price structure for both jet fuel/kerosene and gasoil/diesel is continuing to encourage sellers to clear their prompt inventories as much as possible, one Singapore-based trade source said.

On the gasoil front, gains in total imports outpaced the rise in total exports week-on-week.

Imports remained steady from India, in line with earlier expectations, as economic incentive for sellers to the West stayed low. The east-west arbitrage, measured by the exchange of futures for swaps (EFS) differential, remained closed at discounts of around $30 per metric ton.

At least one more 42,000-ton cargo is slated to reach Singapore from India for January arrival, Kpler shiptracking data showed.

South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam-origin arrivals also added on to overall import volumes for the week.

More volumes from northeast Asia are likely to arrive into Singapore entering mid-January, following China's export quota issuance a week earlier and a lack of demand outlets in other regions.

Gasoil/diesel total exports also grew by around 31%, albeit at a slower pace from imports.

Exports to regional destinations such as Australia, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam remained key drivers.

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