Saudi Aramco raised the official selling price (OSP) for its Arab Light crude oil grade to Asia by $0.30 per barrel for the month of September, to $3.50 above the Oman/Dubai average, Aramco said on Saturday.
The state-run oil giant also raised the price of its Arab Light crude to Europe by $2 per barrel, but it left its crude to the United States the same at +$7.25 versus ASCI for the month of September, it said.
Earlier this week, some analysts had predicted that Saudi Arabia may raise its OSP for its flagship Arab Light crude to Asia refiners in September to $3.65 per barrel above the Oman/Dubai quotes. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia agreed on Thursday to extend its 1 million bpd voluntary production cut through September—a move that lifted crude oil prices globally.
The price hikes from Aramco to Asia are an indication that the oil giant feels emboldened by its production cut extension into September and improving refining margins in Asia. To the market, raising the OSP could convince the market that Saudi Arabia looks at future Chinese demand as improving.
Saudi Aramco exports roughly 60% of its oil to Asia, making it its prime market. Aramco’s price movements to its premium market, Asia, are largely seen as a bellwether for the global price trends for crude oil.
Saudi Arabia hiked its OSP to Asia last month and the month before that as well, raising August’s Arab Light grade by $0.20 for August loading to $3.20 per barrel above Oman/Dubai. Dubai oil is considered a proxy for other regional grades.
Last month, a Report from Renaissance Energy Advisors called Arab Light the least competitive grade for Asian Refiners.