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Urals oil discounts narrow in Indian ports, FOB prices dip below Western price cap

Urals crude oil differentials for May-loading cargoes for delivery to Indian ports narrowed amid rising competition for discounted barrels in Asia, according to three traders.

Meanwhile, Reuters calculations show FOB prices for the grade fell below the Western price cap of $60 per barrel on weaker Brent prices, which are set for a fourth straight monthly fall.

Urals discounts narrowed to $10-$12 a barrel to dated Brent on a delivered ex-ship (DES) basis in Indian ports, from minus $13 a barrel for April loading cargoes, according to the three traders. Shipping costs from Baltic ports to India stood at around $7.8 million, another trader said.

“May-loading parcels were offered around dated Brent minus $12 a barrel or minus $11 a barrel to Dubai,” a source with an Indian refiner which is a regular buyer of Russian oil told Reuters. Two other Indian refiners said the discount to Brent is about $10/barrel.

Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft ROSN.MM and India’s top refiner Indian Oil Corp IOC.NSagreed to use the Asia-focused Dubai oil price benchmark in their latest deal.

The Urals price on a free on board (FOB) basis in Baltic ports, allowing about $2 per barrel of additional transport costs, has fallen below $60 per barrel for cargoes loading in May, Reuters calculations show.

Lower freight rates, narrowing discounts versus global benchmarks and Brent prices above $85 per barrel nudged the daily price of Urals above the cap earlier in April.

China’s increased purchases of April-loading Urals and imports of the grade loading from Russia’s Baltic and Black Sea ports this month may hit an 11-month high, supporting prices, traders said and Refinitiv Eikon data showed.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Nidhi Verma and Reuters reporters; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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