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Asia crude oil: Key market indicators for July 26-30

Crude oil futures ticked higher during mid-morning trade in Asia July 26 from the July 23 Asian close as demand in the week ending July 30 is expected to increase to absorb the upcoming OPEC+ production increase from August onwards.

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ICE September Brent crude futures were pegged at $73.98/b at 0200 GMT July 26, 44 cents/b higher from the 0830 GMT Asian close July 23.

Middle East Crude

** Trading activity may ease amid completion of spot buying by Asian refiners, while focus shifts to the October-loading crude cycle.

** Tender activity rises as market fundamentals eased post OPEC+ alliance's decision to add more crude oil from August onwards, thereby easing worries of supply constraints for Asian refiners.

** Traders await outcome of tenders issued by India's MRPL. The refiner has issued two concurrent tenders seeking a total of 1 million barrels of September-loading crude from various regions.

** Dubai cash-futures (M1-M3) averaged $2.23/b in the week ended July 23, against $2.52/b in the week ended July 16.

** Intermonth spreads widened in mid-morning trade July 26, with September-October pegged at 99 cents/b, up 4 cents/b from the July 23 Asian close.

** The September Brent-Dubai Exchange of Futures for Swaps was pegged at $3.48/b at the start of Asian trade July 26, down 5 cents/b from the Asian close on July 23.

Asia Pacific Crude

** On the ultra-light sweet condensates, cash premiums for Australia's North West Shelf condensate could remain subdued as the overhang of August and September-delivery cargoes take time to clear.

** Trade details on Papua New Guinea's Kutubu Light and Australia's Ichthys condensate will be in focus this week, amid a surge in naphtha product cracks.

** Traders are looking to ascertain trade details for Far East Russia's Sakhalin Blend this week, where cash premiums were heard to have dipped slightly amid a narrower Brent-Dubai EFS.

** Traders will look out for spot deals on Malaysia's Miri Light, Kikeh and Labuan crude.

** Traders will be awaiting clarity on results of August-loading Sudan/South Sudan's Nile Blend tender, where sentiment may dip following weaker Chinese demand.

** Trading activity for Australian heavy sweet crude are expected to kick off this week.

Delivered Crude

** Results of Taiwan's CPC Corporation tender for October delivered sweet crude will be in focus this week.

** Chinese demand for October-arrival Brazilian Tupi crude remains patchy as traders await fresh trading activity.

Crude Futures

** Crude oil futures enter the week bolstered by strong fundamentals. Concerns over the rapid spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus have been supplanted by optimism over rising oil demand, with analysts saying that increasing road and air traffic levels in Europe have been especially supportive of sentiment.

** The Energy Information Administration's latest report, released July 21, showed implied downstream oil products demand rising 6.62% on the week to 20.6 million b/d in the week ended July 16, negating the impact of a crude build, and further boosting sentiment.

** Oil demand's upward trend has raised concerns of a supply deficit in the market, as the supply-side response from US shale producers remains conservative. These concerns have emerged despite the OPEC+ coalition deciding on July 18 to increase its production quotas by 400,000 b/d each month starting in August.

** In the week ended July 23, the international crude oil benchmarks were volatile, recovering from a July 19 selloff, to end the week marginally higher. The September contract for ICE Brent futures rose 0.69% on the week to settle at $74.10/b on July 23, whereas the September contract for NYMEX light sweet crude rose 0.71% to $72.07/b.