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Asia crude - Key market indicators this week

Singapore — The crude oil market in Asia started the week of July 6 firmer amid significant progress in compliance of OPEC+ production cuts, with Iraq exporting 3.083 million b/d in June, a 497,000 b/d drop from May and the lowest in more than five years.

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September ICE Brent crude futures was pegged at $42.90/b at 0115 GMT on July 6, up 23 cents/b from the Asian close on July 3.

MIDDLE EAST CRUDE

**September Dubai futures was pegged at $41.75/b on the morning of July 6, up 6 cents/b from the Asian close on July 3.

**Intermonth spreads were steady to weaker July 6 morning, with August/September pegged at plus 17 cents/b and September/October at plus 8 cents/b. This compares to 21 cents/b for August/September and 9 cents/b for September/October at the Asian close on July 3.

**September Brent/Dubai Exchange of Futures for Swaps was pegged at $1.15/b July 6, up from the 98 cents/b at the Asian close on July 3.

**The Middle East sour crude market is on the lookout for official selling prices for August-loading cargoes, with expectations OSPs will be raised for the third consecutive month.

**Saudi Aramco is expected to raise the OSP differential of its Arab Light crude bound for Asia by between 80 cents/b and $3/b, participants surveyed by S&P Global Platts said.

**The Dubai cash/futures spread, a key Middle East sour crude market indicator which is tracked by Middle Eastern producers to define the core direction and extent of price hikes or cuts, averaged at 84 cents/b over June -- the highest since January and up $3.57/b from an average of minus $2.73/b over May.

**Once OSPs are issued, Asia's crude refiners are likely to spend the week running linear programming models before spot trading activity kicks off.

ASIA PACIFIC CRUDE

**In the condensate market, participants await the release of the September-loading program for Australia's North West Shelf condensate on July 6 and Qatar Petroleum's sell tender for September-loading deodorized field condensate and low sulfur condensate mid-week.

**The strength in condensate price differentials for August-loading barrels is expected to ease marginally as some downstream petrochemical margins are bearish, traders said.

**Market participants would be looking out for the tender results of ONGC's Sokol sell tender on July 9, which would set the precedence for September-loading middle distillate-rich crude grades.

**Trading programs for other regional crude grades, including Kutubu light and Cossack, for September loading are also expected to be released in the week beginning July 6.

DELIVERED ASIA CRUDE

**In the delivered crude market, trade indications for October delivery Brazilian Lula crude and US WTI Midland crude slipped as demand and margins in China are weak, traders said.

**In the week ended July 3, trade indications for October delivery Lula was reported at premiums of around $3/b to December ICE Brent futures, DES Qingdao, while October delivery WTI Midland was at a premium of around $1/b to December ICE Brent futures, DES Yeosu. Spot trades for the same are expected in the week beginning July 6.

CRUDE FUTURES

**Prices are likely to continue rangebound in the near term as the market remains wedged between positive economic data and a worsening coronavirus situation in the US.

**The prompt-month timespread for Brent swaps was firmly in a contango even after it narrowed for four consecutive days, starting June 30.

**On a weekly basis, the prompt intermonth timespread for Brent swaps averaged minus 10 cents/b in the week ended July 3, slightly lower than the minus 8 cents/b the week before.

**OPEC+ current record production cuts of 9.7 million b/d is set to expire at the end of July, with no decision yet if an extension will be made to keep supply-demand fundamentals balanced.