(Bloomberg) — Saudi Arabia raised oil prices for its main market of Asia after crude’s surge to almost $95 a barrel.
State firm Saudi Aramco increased pricing for all grades for Asian customers in March, according to several people with knowledge of the matter. The company raised its key Arab Light oil for the region by 60 cents from February to $2.80 per barrel above the benchmark it uses . That’s the highest since March 2020, just before Aramco slashed pricing with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Other Asian grades jumped by 40 cents to 70 cents.
Brent crude has climbed around 20% this year to more than $93 a barrel. Its rise has come as global consumption remains strong despite the spread of omicron variant of the virus. In addition, oil stockpiles have plummeted in the past year and many major producers are struggling to pump more.
Aramco’s decision came days after OPEC+ opted to increase its daily crude production by 400,000 barrels a day next month, in line with market expectations. Many energy traders doubt the group, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, will add that much back to the market because of the supply problems among some of its members.
Saudi Aramco is the world’s biggest oil exporter. More than 60% of its shipments go to Asia, with China, Japan, South Korea and India being the biggest buyers. Aramco’s pricing moves often set the tone for other producers in the Middle East.
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