Singapore — The front-month exchange of futures for swaps widened at the Asia opening on Feb. 17 as the market awaited the outcome of key Asian buy tenders.
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The April Exchange of Futures for Swap was valued at $1.90/b at 11 am (0300 GMT) Singapore time on Feb. 17, up 10 cents/b from the Asian close on Feb. 16, S&P Global Platts data showed.
The Brent/Dubai EFS is a key indicator of the spread between light, sweet and heavy, sour crudes, and a wide EFS makes crude priced against Dubai more economically attractive for Asian refiners compared to Brent-linked ones.
China's Rongsheng issued a tender for purchase of 500,000-2 million barrels of various crude grades for loading in April. The tender closes Feb. 17, with same-day validity.
Similarly, Thailand's IRPC issued a tender for purchase of 500,000-1 million barrels of various sour crude grades for April loading. The tender closes Feb. 17, with validity Feb. 18.
Purchase of Middle East crude by Chinese refiners could help strengthen the sour complex as arbitrage barrels from the US and Europe become expensive due to tightening demand-supply fundamentals.
Russia's Surgutneftegaz was heard to have sold two April-loading ESPO crude cargoes via tender to Total and Glencore. The cargoes were sold at premiums of $1.80-$1.90/b to Platts front-month Dubai crude assessments.
"ESPO trade levels seem high but not so. It indicates Chinese demand is still not very high given New Year holidays still on," said a trader in Singapore.
At midmorning trading Singapore time (0300 GMT), the April/May Dubai time spread was valued at 59 cents/b, narrowing 1 cent/b from the previous day, S&P Global Platts data showed.
The May/June Dubai intermonth spread was pegged at 59 cents/b, also narrowing 1 cent/b from the Asia close Feb.16, Platts data showed.