Saudi Arabia increased oil prices for customers in its main market of Asia by more than expected after crude surged above $70 a barrel and OPEC forecast that global demand would heavily outstrip supply over the rest of the year.
State energy firm Saudi Aramco hiked its key Arab Light grade for July shipments to Asia by 20 cents to $1.90 a barrel above a benchmark. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting a raise of just 10 cents.
The kingdom sends more than 60% of its exports to Asia, with China, India, South Korea and Japan being the biggest buyers. Last month, it shipped 6.1 million barrels a day, according to preliminary data compiled by Bloomberg.
Prices for four of Aramco’s five Asian grades were increased, with the only drop coming for heavy crude. All grades for Europe were raised, while those for the U.S. were kept the same as for June.
The move is a reverse of Aramco’s cut for Asian customers in June, a decision made in early May as new coronavirus cases hammered fuel demand in India.