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DUBAI FUTURES: Spot trading commences amid steady market structure

Spot trading activity picked up in the Middle East sour crude market Oct. 14, reflecting healthy demand from end-users in Asia, particularly in Japan.

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At 11 am in Singapore (0300 GMT), the December Brent/Dubai EFS was pegged at $4.04/b, down 7 cents/b from the Asian close Oct. 13, S&P Global Platts data showed.

Despite the day-on-day narrowing of the Brent/Dubai EFS, the spread remains wide as it is firmly above $4/b, making the procurement of Dubai-linked sour crudes economically favorable for end-users.

Japanese end-users, who typically favor sour crudes due to their refinery configurations, were heard to have recently purchased several cargoes of Murban and Banoco Arab Medium crudes, though details could not be confirmed at the time of writing.

"Banam [Banoco Aram Medium] only [bought by] Japan I think," said a crude oil trader, adding that trades for cargoes of the grade available for spot trading were heard to be mostly done.

The demand from Japanese refineries is expected to be healthy this month, supported by seasonal winter demand, sources said.

The intermonth spreads remained largely steady from close Oct. 13.

The November-December Dubai crude futures spread was pegged at 98 cents/b in backwardation, 2 cents/b down from the Asian close Oct. 13, Platts data showed.

The December-January spread was pegged at 75 cents/b in backwardation, down 1 cent/b from the previous day's close.