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May ESPO Blend Prices Steady As Chinese Refiners Hold Back


Prices for May-loading ESPO Blend crude oil hold steady at the start of the new trading cycle as Chinese buyers wait to see how the market moves and for possible changes in business operations between Russia and China after Xi Jinping’s visit in Moscow, three traders said.

  • ESPO Blend crude oil cargoes loading in May traded at discount of $9-10/bbl to Dubai benchmark on FOB Kozmino basis, quite in line with April estimates, they said.
  • While Chinese buyers have been holding back, sellers observed demand from India which ramped up ESPO buying April, supporting prices.
  • Demand for the grade from Chinese refiners is expected to pick up later in May as Chinese refineries normally raise runs before the summer season.
  • "A slight price hike won’t hold Chinese procurement interest back as it would still be much cheaper compared to crude from other regions," a trader said.

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