Fewer capacity-addition plans will boost Asia refining margins

Average Asia refining margins deteriorated in 2002 from previous year levels. The last quarter of 2002 was an exception, however, which could be a turning point for Asia refining margins.Last year could mark the low point for refining margins in Asia. Crude prices are likely to settle in a lower range because current prices are not sustainable, given lower demand growth rates for petroleum products. Furthermore, the current war premium will erode after resolution occurs in Iraq.Asia has had some significant additions in refining capacity during the last 5-6 years; refining capacity increased nearly 35%. Most of these additions were in China, India, and Taiwan.Most of these projects materi...

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