For the straight fourth month this march, world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia may reduce prices of grades that are sold to Asia because of low physical oil premiums as there are still worries concerning oversupply that persist despite the fact that there are expectations in demand recovery in China.
Aramco, the state oil company, may lower the selling price of Arab Light, which happens to be its flagship crude, by around 30 cents for clients in Asia when it comes to March cargo loading, as per a survey done by Reuters of four refining sources.
This step would lead to an overall differential of around $1.50 per barrel, which is above the average of Platts Dubai as well as Oman’s Dubai Exchange quotes. This will be the lowest figure since November 2021.
As per a respondent from Singapore, the total demand for medium-grade oil across Asia remains lukewarm, and the consumption in China may not hit the regular road sometime soon.
As a top importer of oil, China is expected to witness a demand in fuel revival as Beijing jumps back to normalcy post the zero-COVID strategy which it adopted. But it is estimated that the path to normalcy may be a bit bumpy considering the surge in COVID cases across the country.
China’s Unipec, which happens to be an oil trading giant, has hastened to get crude from Brazil, North America, as well as Abu Dhabi in January. That said the supply issue remains fogging the Asian market as India as well as China continue getting Russian barrels on discount.
The EU is all set to ban oil products from Russia starting February 5, and this itself is expected to curb oil processing, leading to more crude oil exports. OPEC as well as its allies, known as OPEC+, are most likely going to maintain the current oil output policy, which involves lowering production by 2 million barrels a day due to the worries involving a worldwide recession.
The respondents also anticipate that the heavier grades’ prices, such as those of Arab Medium and Arab Heavy, can see bigger cuts as the margins of refining fuel oil get weaker.
Notably, Aramco from Saudi Arabia sets the crude price on the basis of the recommendations it gets from customers after calculating the change in value over the past month, which is based on returns and prices of the product.