Saudi Aramco sold 90,000 tonnes of cracked 380-cst fuel oil for mid-September loading from Rabigh via private talks at a higher premium than an earlier deal, its second cargo loading within three to four days, traders said on Friday.Trafigura paid $4-$5 per tonne above Singapore spot quotes, on a free-on-board (FOB) basis, for the A962 cargo scheduled for lifting on Sept. 17-19.
This is much higher than the premium of around $2 per tonne to Singapore spot quotes, FOB, that Middle East trading firm Bakri paid for an earlier A962 parcel scheduled to load on Sept. 14-15.
Last month, Singapore Petroleum Co (SPC) paid $3-$4 per tonne above Singapore spot quotes, FOB, for an A962 cargo scheduled for loading on Aug. 9.
Before this, Aramco sold four A962 cargoes loading between March and July at discounts ranging from $1 to $8 per tonne, FOB, to French major Total and Japan's Itochu.
Asia fuel oil prices rose on Thursday, buoyed by crude's gains, but physical premiums fell, reflecting softer sentiment as persistently high cargo prices dampened buying interest.
But underlying market fundamentals remain firm, supported by steady bunker demand and tighter supplies from October.
Western arbitrage flows -- the largest source of supply into East Asia -- are expected to shrink in October from this month and versus August, as European refiners cut runs further.
The Middle East Gulf region has also been drawing barrels away from Asia to meet rising power generation needs during the summer season and burgeoning consumption from neighbouring emerging economies such as Pakistan and East Africa, reports Reuters.