SINGAPORE, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Asian refining margins for jet fuel rose to their strongest in more than three months on Tuesday, buoyed by a slight improvement in scheduled flights, but surging COVID-19 cases around the world are expected to keep a majority of long-haul international flights grounded in the near term. Refining margins, or cracks, for jet fuel in Singapore rose to $2.15 per barrel over Dubai crude during Asian trading hours, a level not seen since July 28. They were at $1.40 per barrel a day earlier. The number of scheduled flights operating globally in the week to Monday was 45.8% lower than the corresponding week a year earlier, according to aviation data firm OAG. This compares with 46.4% fewer flights year-on-year in October. Scheduled flights in Japan were down 36.2% year-on-year in the week to Monday, while flights in South Korea were 38.7% lower from the corresponding period last year, OAG data showed. Backed by firmer buying interests in the physical trade window on Tuesday, cash discounts for jet fuelnarrowed to 45 cents a barrel to Singapore quotes, the smallest discounts since Aug. 25. LACK OF PASSENGER FLIGHTS SQUEEZE AIR FREIGHT CAPACITY IN PEAK SEASON - A sharp fall in passenger flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with rising e-commerce demand, is setting the stage for tight capacity and a renewed rise in air freight rates heading into the peak Christmas season. - Dedicated air freighters are flying more hours of the day than usual to help make up for the decline in passenger belly space and some airlines are running "ghost flights" without passengers due to attractive cargo rates, but capacity and demand remain mismatched, according to industry experts. SINGAPORE CASH DEALS - No jet fuel trade, one gasoil deal. OTHER NEWS - UK airline Virgin Atlantic called on Britain to introduce a passenger testing regime to allow quarantine-free travel once England's new lockdown ends on Dec. 2, warning that any delay could result in airlines needing state support. - Oil prices extended their rally on U.S. Election Day amid a recovery in financial markets on Tuesday, but concerns over surging coronavirus cases around the world capped further gains. ASSESSMENTS MID-DISTILLATES CASH ($/T) ASIA CLOSE RIC Spot Gas Oil 0.5% 41.50 GO 0.5 Diff -1.49 Spot Gas Oil 0.25% 41.80 GO 0.25 Diff -1.19 Spot Gas Oil 0.05% 42.00 GO 0.05 Diff -0.99 Spot Gas Oil 0.001% 42.62 GO 0.001 Diff -0.38 Spot Jet/Kero 40.80 Jet/Kero Diff -0.45 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 Devika Syamnath)
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