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Sat 4 Dec 2010 10:16 AM

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Middle East crude rises on speculation refiner demand will rise

Crude oil to Asia rose on speculation that refineries will increase consumption to meet rising diesel demand.

Middle East crude rises on speculation refiner demand will rise
Diesel shortage in China and seasonal demand for heating fuels raised need for refiners to buy middle distillate rich grades

Middle East crude oil for sale to Asia rose on speculation refineries will increase consumption to meet rising diesel demand.

Oman crude for immediate loading advanced $1.28, or 1.5 percent, to $87.59 a barrel, the highest since October 2008, according to Bloomberg data. Dubai for February also climbed 1.5 percent, to $87.36 a barrel. Murban’s outright price rose 1.5 percent to $88.74.

Refiners in Japan last week raised capacity utilization to 85.5 percent from 83.7 percent, the country’s Petroleum Association said December 1. A diesel shortage in China and seasonal demand for heating fuels has raised the need for refiners to buy more middle distillate rich grades.

The Brent Dubai exchange for swaps for January, or EFS, widened 35 cents to $3.40 a barrel, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd. The exchange for swaps for February increased 34 cents to $3.45. The EFS is the price difference between Brent futures and Dubai swaps contracts and signifies Brent’s premium relative to the Middle East grade.

Oman futures for February delivery dropped 25 cents to $87.43 a barrel on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange at 5:57 pm Singapore time, with 1,140 contracts traded. The settlement price was set at $87.01 at 12:30 pm Dubai time.

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