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Middle East crude steady as traders mull direction

Singapore — Timespreads for benchmark Dubai crude oil futures were almost unchanged Monday morning in Asia, as traders in the Middle East sour crude spot market mulled direction over the coming days, following several deals concluded last week for October-loading barrels.

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"Not much liquidity [in the spot market]," a crude oil broker said Monday morning.

At 11 am in Singapore (0300 GMT), the September/October spread for Dubai futures was notionally assessed1 at 98 cents/b, inching up from 97 cents/b assessed on Friday evening at 4:30 pm Singapore time (0830 GMT).

The October/November Dubai futures spread rose by a similar amount to 80 cents/b Monday morning, from 78 cents/b assessed Friday evening.

The outright bids and offers for Dubai 1st line contracts seen on the Intercontinental Exchange Monday morning, showed September Dubai 1st line bid at $57.15/b and offered at $57.75/b as of 11 am in Singapore. Bids and offers for outright Dubai 1st line contracts were seen from September 2019 all the way till February 2020.

Traders and brokers, however, said the bid/offer spreads seemed too wide for any realistic trading to occur on the outright contracts.

"This is too wide for it to be a market [yet]," a Singapore-based crude oil paper trader said.

The Brent/Dubai Exchange of Futures for Swaps spread was virtually unchanged between Friday's assessment and Monday's morning levels. The October EFS was notionally assessed at $2.81/b at 11 am in Singapore on Monday, holding firm from its assessment on Friday.

--Eesha Muneeb,

--Edited by Geetha Narayanasamy,