Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco will supply next month the full contracted volumes of crude to at least four refiners in North Asia, sources familiar with the plans told Reuters on Friday.
Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia raised the official selling prices (OSPs) for most of its crude going to Asia in April, which was the second consecutive hike in oil prices to Saudi Arabia’s most prized export market.
The supply of full volumes to at least four refiners in North Asia signals expectations from the world’s largest crude oil exporter that demand in Asia will rebound in the coming months.
This weekend, Saudi Aramco raised the official selling price for the crude oil it exports to Asia and Europe for yet another month, with the flagship Arab Light to sell in April for $0.50 a barrel more than in March.
The price hike for Arab Heavy was even more pronounced, at $2.50 per barrel, moving the crude blend from a discount to the Oman/Dubai average to a premium.
This week’s increase in prices was the second consecutive month with higher prices for Saudi crude loading for Asia. Last month’s hike for the March prices came as a surprise as it was the first time in six months that Aramco had hiked prices for its crude. The March price hike also came amid falling crude oil prices on international markets, which was what made the move surprising, along with the fact that a month earlier Aramco had reduced prices.
Despite continued concern about the state of the global economy, China is beginning to return to normal operations, eyeing economic growth of 5% this year. The growth target was at the low end of analyst expectations, but signs have started to emerge that China could soon increase crude oil imports after a sluggish start to 2023.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.