You are here: Home » International » News » Markets
Business Standard

Saudis cut oil prices from record highs amid Covid-19 lockdowns in China

Saudi Aramco is lowering prices for the first time in four months

Topics
oil trade | Oil Prices | Saudi Arabia

Bloomberg 

oil

cut for buyers in Asia as lockdowns in China weigh on demand, countering uncertainty around Russia’s supplies as the Ukraine war drags on.

is lowering prices for the first time in four months. The state-controlled company dropped its key Arab Light crude grade for next month’s shipments to Asia to $4.40 a barrel above the benchmark it uses, from $9.35 in May. That’s in line with a Bloomberg survey of refiners and traders from late April that forecast a $5 decrease.

Aramco also lowered all grades for the north west Europe region and almost all for the Mediterranean. Prices for U.S. customers were kept unchanged from May.

raised its crude to record levels in the past two months after prices surged above $100 a barrel when Russia invaded Ukraine. Russian exports have already fallen and may drop further as the European Union moves closer to formally sanctioning energy supplies from the country.

While the war has tightened the global oil market, Beijing’s Covid Zero strategy has lead to China’s largest demand shock since the early days of the pandemic. Consumption of gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel last month was expected to slide 20% from a year earlier, Bloomberg reported on April 22.

China’s Strategy

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang warned in a statement on Saturday of a “complicated and grave” employment situation as the government tries to contain Covid. China’s leaders doubled down on their strategy last week, warning against any attempts to question the approach even as economic activity contracts amid factory closings and supply-chain disruptions.

Still, the world’s biggest independent oil trader said on Sunday that China’s measures were working as far as stopping the spread of the virus is concerned.

“It’s obviously a terrible situation for citizens of Shanghai and entire parts of Beijing have been told to work from home,” Mike Muller, Vitol Group’s head of Asia, said Sunday on a podcast produced by Dubai-based Gulf Intelligence. “But it hasn’t spiraled or snowballed into something really, really dramatic. Therefore people have not worsened their demand-loss projections from China.”

Aramco’s decision comes days after OPEC+, led by and Russia, agreed to continue increasing crude output only gradually, adding 432,000 barrels a day to the market in June. The 23-nation group has struggled to meet even that modest target.

Saudi Arabia sends more than 60% of its crude exports to Asia, with China, Japan, South Korea and India being the biggest buyers.

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Sun, May 08 2022. 22:36 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
.