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Asia crude oil: Key market indicators for Sep 27-Oct 1

Crude oil futures were higher in mid-morning trade in Asia Sept. 27 amid supply tightness concerns in energy markets, particularly for natural gas as the fuel continues to trade at elevated levels going into winter.

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ICE November Brent crude futures stood at $79.27/b as of 0300 GMT Sept. 27, up $1.18/b (1.51%) from its Sept. 24 settlement price.

Middle East crude

** Spot market activity for November-loading barrels is likely to remain dormant with focus moving to trade for the next month's cycle.

** Market participants will watch for end-month spot buying activity and concerns of a cargo hangover could weigh on sentiment as the trade for December-loading crude commences from Oct. 1.

** Spot trade was limited amid festive holidays in parts of Asia while most buyers were heard to have wrapped their crude procurement for the month.

** Dubai cash/futures (M1/M3) averaged $1.56/b in the week ended Sept. 24, against $1.49/b in the week ended Sept. 17.

** Intermonth spreads were higher during mid-morning trade Sept. 27 with November/December pegged at 89 cents/b, up 3 cents/b from the Asia close Sept. 24.

** November Brent/Dubai Exchange of Futures for Swaps was pegged at $4.15/b at mid-morning Sept. 27, up 13 cents/b from the Asia close Sept. 24.

Asia-Pacific crude

** Market participants await Pertamina's procurement tender results for November-arrival condensates after its second retender. Higher naphtha cracks on the month may support the light sweet condensate sentiment, but traders remain on the sidelines awaiting clarity from TPPI's deal.

** Trading activities for December-delivery barrels of Far East Russia's Sakhalin Blend are expected to conclude, following a wider Brent/Dubai EFS and stronger naphtha cracks on the month.

** Trade details for the remaining November-loading barrels of Australia's Ichthys condensate will be in focus this week.

** In Southeast Asia, traders will be looking out for any spot trades on Malaysia's Miri and Kikeh crude, following trading activities seen for Kimanis and Labuan grades. Tender activity for Kimanis crude from oil and gas company ConocoPhillips is also awaited.

** On Vietnamese crude, traders will be watching out for the tender results of PetroVietnam Oil's third Su Tu Den cargo amid resilient gasoil and jet fuel product cracks.

** Details on trading activities for Sudan/South Sudan's October-loading Nile Blend are expected to emerge amid an uptick in low sulfur fuel oil cracks. Traders also seek more clarity on trade details for November-loading barrels of Indonesia's Banyu Urip crude.

** Trading activities for November-loading barrels of Australian heavy sweet crude including Vincent, Pyrenees and Van Gogh are expected to emerge this week.

Delivered crude

** In Asia delivered markets, a widening Brent-WTI spread continues to favor arbitrage economics for US crude cargoes to Asia, as the M2 spread average in September to date was higher by around 25% on the month.

** Cash differentials for December-arrival cargoes of Brazilian Tupi crude are expected to remain firm amid tight supply and strong Chinese demand.

Crude futures

** Crude prices continue to see some support after US crude oil stockpiles tumbled to the lowest level since October 2018. US commercial crude stocks fell 3.48 million barrels to 413.96 million barrels in the week ended Sept. 17, more than 8% below the five-year average.

** The sentiment was further supported by expectations of a spillover impact from higher gas prices as the natural gas market continues to trade at elevated levels amid tightness going into winter. Market analysts said that higher gas prices will lead to some gas-to-oil switching, which would be supportive of oil demand.

** The proportion of offline production caused by the Hurricane Ida is gradually easing. However, full production recovery is not expected until early 2022, with Shell reporting extensive damage to its infrastructure.

** Market watchers will be tracking the upcoming OPEC+ meeting, scheduled for Oct. 4, to discuss the strength in energy markets. Analysts said that in the current environment, it seems almost certain that the group will continue to ease supply cuts. This will see them add an additional 400,000 b/d of crude oil for November.

** In the week ended Sept. 24, the international crude oil benchmarks were higher on the week. The November contract for ICE Brent futures rose 3.65% on the week to settle at $78.09/b, while the November contract for NYMEX light sweet crude was up 3.01% at $73.98/b.