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DUBAI FUTURES: Brent/Dubai May EFS wider after surprise OPEC+ cut rollover

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Platts Global Alert - Oil

DUBAI FUTURES: Brent/Dubai May EFS wider after surprise OPEC+ cut rollover

New York — Front-month Brent/Dubai Exchange of Futures for Swaps widened noon on March 5, as OPEC+ alliance's and Saudi Arabia's decision to rollover production cuts into April fueled bullish sentiment in the market.

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The May Brent/Dubai EFS was pegged at $2.59/b at 12 pm (0400GMT) in Singapore on March 5, increasing by 13 cents/b from the Asian close on March 4, S&P Global Platts data showed.

The Brent/Dubai EFS is a key indicator of the spread between light, sweet and heavy, sour crudes, and a wider EFS makes crude priced against Dubai more economically attractive for Asian refiners compared to Brent-linked ones.

Market participants were caught by surprise by the outcome of the OPEC+ meet, as most were expecting cuts to be rolled back to some extent amid sustained progress in combating the coronavirus pandemic.

Reflecting the bullish sentiment, front-month ICE Brent prices rose 58 cents/b from March 4's settle to $67.32/b at noon in Singapore on March 5 thus widening its spread to Dubai and blunting the threat of arbitrage cargoes seizing market share in Asia, traders said.

"Arbitrage into China is dependent on EFS, [which is] currently widening, so I think arbitrage cargoes going into independent refineries will still be slow," said a trader with a North Asian refinery.

Meanwhile, Dubai futures intermonth spreads also firmed at noon on March 5 reflecting the tightening of supply against expected demand.

At mid-morning in Singapore (0400 GMT), the May/June Dubai time spread was pegged at 73 cents/b, higher by 8 cents/b from Asia close March 4, Platts data showed.

Meanwhile, the June/July Dubai time spread was pegged at 73 cents/b, increasing by 11 cents/b from the previous day assessment at Asia close.