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SINGAPORE: Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, raised prices for its flagship crude for Asian buyers for the first time in six months amid an expectation of oil demand recovery, especially from China.

The official selling price (OSP) for March-loading Arab Light to Asia was raised by 20 cents a barrel from February to $2.00 a barrel over Oman/Dubai quotes, people familiar with the matter said on Monday, beating the previous market forecast of a 30 cent cut.

"The OSP is quite unexpected. I think it indicates that Saudi is bullish on oil demand," said a Singapore-based oil trader.

Oil falls about 3pc as strong US jobs data prompt interest rate concerns

The International Energy Agency's Executive Director Fatih Birol expects about half of the growth in global oil demand this year will come from China.

Analysts and traders have forecast China's oil demand to rebound from March alongside an economic recovery and the conclusion of a peak in COVID-19 infections in the country.

The OSP for Arab Extra Light was reduced by $1.30 to $2.25 a barrel over Oman/Dubai quotes, and for Arab Medium and Arab Heavy they were both increased by 50 cents to $1.60 a barrel and minus $1.75 a barrel, respectively.

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