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Saudi Aramco allocates full-term crude volumes to Asian buyers for Nov: sources

Saudi Aramco has allocated full-term crude volumes to most Asia-Pacific refiners, with some buyers seeking incremental volumes to take advantage of the recent sharp cuts in official selling prices, sources at refineries in China, Japan, Malaysia and India told S&P Global Platts Oct. 11.

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Refiners in the region are expecting to receive full-term nominations following a cut in official selling prices as well as producers adding more crude supplies to the market, the sources said.

"Demand increase versus incrementals, if Saudi and AG producers give enough to cover demand increase, market wont get support [and] vice versa," a crude oil trader in Singapore said.

Earlier this month, OPEC and its allies stuck to their original plan to increase crude oil production in November by just 400,000 b/d at the Oct. 4 meeting.

Oil prices have been on the rise amid stronger winter season demand, further boosted by spiraling gas and coal prices.

Platts assessed international physical sour crude benchmark Cash Dubai at $81.195/b Oct. 8, the highest since Oct. 10, 2018 when it was assessed at $82.60/b, data showed.

Though full allocations could sap spot appetite, stronger demand from key economies such as China, Japan and India may sustain momentum when trade commences this month, trade sources said.

"Saudi allocation will keep the spot market in a reasonable range, but the risk is demand, such as RongSheng tender, demand maybe very good this month," another crude oil trader in Singapore said.

Rongsheng's recent spot tender seeking December-arrival crude could indicate an end to the wait for import quotas for Chinese independent refineries, the second trader said.

"Heard Japanese may like to buy more AXL [Arab Extra Light] incrementally but Chinese and Indians don't need extra volume and they will come to spot market," a trader with a North Asian refinery said.

Meanwhile, stronger refinery cracking margins especially for products such as jet fuel and gasoil further suggest sturdy buying interest this month, traders said.

Second-month jet fuel cracks average $13/b in October so far, rising sharply from an average of $8.70/b in September while month-to-date gasoil cracks average $14.44/b compared to $10.77/b for the whole of September, Platts data showed.

"Really good middle distillate forward cracks now. There's the support," a trader with a Southeast Asian refinery said.