Benchmark cash Dubai crude's premium to Dubai futures inched up on Sept. 8 amid expectations of stronger crude import appetite for the upcoming winter season.
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November cash Dubai was assessed at a $1.33/b premium against same-month Dubai futures, up by 10 cents/b from the 4:30 pm Singapore (0830 GMT) close Sept. 7.
November cash Oman was assessed at a premium of $1.44/b against same-month Dubai futures on Sept. 8, having risen 18 cents/b, S&P Global Platts data showed.
A fresh batch of import quotas for Chinese independent refineries in late September or early October could boost sentiment in the Middle East crude market, traders said.
"Chinese domestic market has picked up, domestic product prices have risen," a crude oil trader based in Singapore said. "All teapots seem confident on [receiving] quotas."
Japanese winter demand too could brighten in the weeks ahead despite concerns of the spread of COVID-19, the trader said.
Despite fears of the pandemic weighing on crude and product consumption, the onset of the winter could limit the downside to Japanese demand, sources said.
"If cold weather increases, they will have to buy kerosene," the trader said.
Completion of autumn turnarounds in Japan could also prompt refineries to buy more crude, traders say.
The Platts Market on Close assessment process Sept. 8 saw eight trades for November Dubai partials.
The partials were traded Equinor, PetroChina, Reliance, Shell and Unipec on the sell side and BP, Glencore and Trafigura on the buy side.
That brought the number of partials traded in September so far to 71, all for November Dubai partials.