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Iraq raises March Basra Light crude OSP to Asia

Iraq has raised the March official selling price (OSP) for Basra Light crude to Asia by $0.20 to minus $2.60 a barrel against the average of Oman/Dubai quotes from the previous month, the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) said.

Basra Heavy to Asia in the same month was priced at minus $6.30 a barrel to Oman/Dubai quotes, SOMO said in an e-mailed statement late on Monday.

Iraq’s OSPs came after Saudi Arabia made relatively modest changes to its crude prices for Asian buyer in March, in line with expectations, by lowering the price differentials for light grades, while raising those for heavier grades.

Saudi crude OSPs set the trend for Iranian, Kuwaiti and Iraqi prices, affecting more than 12 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude bound for Asia.

Crude prices often offer a glimpse into whether Mideast OPEC producers will continue a strategy of keeping output high and defending market share, particularly as rival producer Iran ramps up crude shipments into an already oversupplied market despite low prices.

Iraq’s March Basra Light OSP to the North and South American markets was set at the Argus Sour Crude Index (ASCI) minus $0.55 a barrel, up from the previous month, and the price of Kirkuk to the United States increased to ASCI plus $0.70 a barrel.

For Europe, the March OSP for Basra Light rose by $0.10 to dated Brent minus $4.95 a barrel and the March Kirkuk OSP rose to minus $4.50.

The following table shows the latest OSPs (prices for previous month in brackets):

Americas Europe Far East

(ASCI) (Dated Brent) (Oman/Dubai) Basra Light -0.55 (-0.95) -4.95 (-5.05) -2.60 (-2.80) Kirkuk +0.70 (+0.20) -4.50 (-4.65) N/A (N/A) Basra Heavy -5.65 (-6.40) -9.60 (-10.40) -6.30 (-7.30)
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Rania El Gamal)

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