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Dubai futures spreads rangebound after early-week uptick on more spot buying

Singapore — Benchmark Dubai crude futures were rangebound from the previous session in mid-morning trade in Asia Aug. 21, even as trade sources noted a marginal recovery in the overall market compared with earlier in the week as more spot buying emerged.

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At 11 am Singapore time (0300 GMT), the September/October Dubai crude futures spread was pegged at a contango of 57 cents/b, widening 2 cents/b from the previous Asian close, but still narrower than the contango of 67 cents/b seen on Aug. 17, S&P Global Platts data showed

The October/November spread was pegged at a contango of 37 cents/b, unchanged over the same period but narrowing from a contango of 49 cents/b at the start of the week, the data showed.

Timespreads have improved toward the end of the week as a slight uptick in spot demand lifted market sentiment, sources said.

"China demand is still weak, but India demand has improved for this cycle, especially for the light grades," a Chinese sour crude trader said.

Lighter crude grades including Murban and ESPO traded higher into the end of the week, according to sources.

Nonetheless, the rebound in demand was not substantial enough to uplift the market structure completely.

"Seems market is supported around this level; should expect to tick along [this range] here," a source from a western trading house said.

On the supply side, Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports plunged to the lowest on record in June and production fell to the lowest in 17 years as OPEC and its allies continued their campaign to tighten the market, latest data showed.

Saudi Arabia's shipments dropped to 4.98 million b/d in the month, the lowest since recorded began in January 2002, and down from 6.02 million b/d in May, according to data released Aug. 20 by the Joint Organisations Data Initiative.

The country pumped 7.484 million b/d in June, the lowest since December 2002, and down from 8.486 million b/d in May, the JODI data showed.