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Crude MOC: Cash Dubai premium slips as Asian demand slows

Benchmark cash Dubai’s premium to Dubai futures dipped at the Asia close Feb. 19 as Asian demand for April-loading cargoes started slowing down.

S&P Global Platts assessed April cash Dubai at a premium of 74.5 cents/b to the same-month Dubai futures, down 21.5 cents/b from the close on Feb. 18.

Similarly, April cash Oman dropped to a premium of 79 cents/b to front-month Dubai futures, down 40 cents/b from the close on Feb. 18.

Indian Oil Corp. was heard to have purchased five million-six million barrels of April-loading West African crude through a tender that closed Feb. 18.

The West African crude purchase include two million barrels of Nigerian Akpo Blend and Bonny Light crude, said a crude oil trader. The Nigerian crude grades were heard to be sold by Shell, but the same could not be verified.

With rising COVID-19 cases in certain pockets of India, refiners remained wary of oil consumption slowing down in the event of mobility curbs.

“Lots of restrictions being placed in India on interstate travel. This reduces gasoil consumption greatly,” said a trader with a South Asian refinery.

With refineries in Japan, S Korea, Taiwan and Thailand opting for downtime across April, May and June, crude oil purchases from the countries remain sluggish.

Traders expected spot buying from China to increase post the Lunar New Year holidays even as demand from the country continues to stay weak.

“Most people will come back from holidays only by Monday [Feb. 22]. Also, domestic demand is low as people are not moving around too much,” said a trader with a north Asian refiner.

The Platts Market on Close assessment process on Feb. 19 saw nine 25,000-barrel Dubai partials traded.

The Dubai partials were traded with Unipec and Total on the sell side and Koch and PetroChina on the buy side.

No convergence has been declared in February so far.

A convergence occurs when 20 partials are traded between two counterparties, resulting in a full, 500,000-barrel physical cargo being declared from the seller to the buyer.
Source: Platts

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