Saudi Arabia Expected to Raise Crude Prices by Record Despite All Odds

World’s largest exporter of oil will likely hike prices of its main crude variant to a record level even as demand outlook looks fragile as China struggles with fresh COVID-19 outbreak.

Saudi Aramco may raise the official selling price of its key Arab Light crude by $5 a barrel to Asian customers for May-loading cargoes, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of five refiners and traders.

The move would increase the differential to $9.95 above the Oman-Dubai benchmark which would be the widest differential since 2000 at time when Bloomberg began compiling the differential data.

Aramco typically releases official prices in the first five days of the month.

Official selling prices, or OSPs, are the premiums or discounts to regional benchmarks for barrels, and they determine how much users pay for cargoes. The differentials can indicate the strength or weakness of underlying demand.

On a separate front, OPEC+ to meet on Thursday and have signaled there is no immediate plan to add supply even as the war in Ukraine disrupted supply of crudes in decades.