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11/1/2019 12:00:00 AM

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia may raise prices of light crude grades it sells to Asia in December amid higher Middle East benchmarks, while a slump in fuel oil margins may lead to a deep price cut for its heavy grade.

Asian buyers may also be lifting more Saudi term barrels after a recent surge in spot freight costs that curbed arbitrage supplies to Asia, traders said.

Naphtha margins quadrupled in October while spot premiums have hit the highest since 2013. Gasoline margins gained 18.3% during the same period.

Saudi Arabia’s production has also rebounded in October, recovering from the Sept. 14 attack on its oil processing facilities.

For Arab Heavy crude, four respondents expect a price cut of at least $1 a barrel as fuel oil margins plunge ahead of a 2020 mandate by the International Maritime Organization for ships to reduce the sulphur content in their marine fuel.

State oil giant Saudi Aramco sets its crude prices based on recommendations from customers and after calculating the change in the value of its oil over the past month, based on yields and product prices.