Weak US dollar keeps crude oil above $71 a barrel

rise A cold snap in the United States and the Iranian issue is pushing up oil prices. (AP)

Crude oils from the Middle East for sale to Asia were little changed at premiums to their benchmarks as refiners wait to see whether Saudi Arabia will maintain full volumes for March.

Abu Dhabi's Murban crude for loading in April was at a premium of three cents a barrel to its official selling price, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Oman, a Persian Gulf benchmark for Asia, was offered at a discount of 30 cents a barrel to benchmark Dubai prices, said two traders who participate in the market.

Refiners are looking to see whether Saudi Arabian Oil Co. will provide them with full volumes under long-term contracts.

The company met total requirements for January and February. Prices may stay at premiums as processing profits for gasoil rose. The price difference between Dubai and gasoil climbed 60 cents to $8.46 a barrel, according to data from PVM Oil Associates.

"Asia-Pacific sentiment for medium-sour crude was positive as refining margins continued to support demand," said consultants with JBC Energy in their Asian Weekly report.

Oman crude for immediate loading declined $2.63 a barrel, or 3.7 per cent, to $68.45 a barrel. Dubai for loading in April decreased $2.84, or four per cent, to $68.61 a barrel.

Oman futures for April delivery rose 53 cents to $70.27 a barrel on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange at 5.57pm. Singapore time, with 884 contracts traded. The settlement price was set at $69.82 a barrel at 12.30pm Dubai time.

The Brent-Dubai exchange for swaps for March widened 1 cent to 16 cents a barrel and the exchange for swaps for April widened 1 cent to 18 cents a barrel, according to PVM data. The exchange for swaps is the price difference between Brent and Dubai swaps contracts.

 

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