SINGAPORE: Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, raised August crude oil prices for Asian buyers to near record levels amid tight supply and robust demand.
The official selling price (OSP) for August-loading Arab Light to Asia was raised by $2.80 a barrel from July to $9.30 a barrel over Oman/Dubai quotes, people familiar with the matter said, close to the record high premium of $9.35 per barrel hit in May.
That was in line with market forecasts polled by Reuters for an increase of around $2.7 a barrel.
OPEC+ has decided to stick to its planned output hike for August despite urges from top economies including the United States and the United Kingdom to pump out more oil as countries strive to bring down soaring energy prices and tame inflation.
While the two major OPEC producers - Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - flagged limited spare capacity to further ramp up output, supply disruption in Libya, Nigeria and Norway could challenge existing plans to boost production.
Demand for crude oil in Asia, however, has been strong, with refining margins for gasoline, diesel and jet oil hitting record highs, as people hit the road during summer and businesses reopen after lockdowns.
The OSP for Arab Extra Light was increased by $3.50 to $10.35 a barrel, leapfrogging the previous record of $9.60 for May.