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Intermonth structure for Dubai futures steady in contango as market awaits fresh cues

Singapore — The intermonth structure for Dubai crude futures was largely stable in contango at midday in Asia trade Aug. 14 as the market awaited further drivers after the release of official selling prices by key Middle Eastern producers.

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The September/October Dubai crude futures spread was pegged at a contango of 53 cents/b at 12 pm Singapore time (0400 GMT), widening 2 cents/b from the Asia close the day before, S&P Global Platts data showed.

The October/November spread was pegged at a contango of 39 cents/b, widening 1 cent/b over the same period.

Intermonth spreads were hovering in a steady range in contango as the sour crude market awaits the release of key tenders in coming days for further price cues, including QPSPP's Al-Shaheen tender.

Market participants said that they were not expecting the spot market to recover significantly in the near term, with sour crude differentials likely to be stuck in discounts to their respective OSPs.

Sour crude demand from key buyer China was expected to remain tepid amid slower refiner run rates and high inventories.

July crude runs at Chinese refiners edged down from the record highs seen in June as widespread flooding and narrowing margins capped refining activity, Platts reported earlier.

Crude throughput at China's domestic refineries edged down 0.4% to 14.08 million b/d in July from an all-time-high of 14.14 million b/d in June, snapping two months of gains, National Bureau of Statistics data released Aug. 14 showed.

Reflecting the weakness, October cash Dubai was assessed at a discount of 72 cents/b to same-month futures Aug. 13, falling 3 cents/b day on day.