Iraq Defends Asia Crude Discounts Offer

Iraq said its decision to deepen the discount for January sales of its main crude to Asia provides no support for claims that producers are waging a price war.

Pricing for next month’s shipments of the Basrah Light grade to Asia is “based on the market structure for both oil products and crude oil,” Iraq’s Oil Marketing Co. said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. “The widened contango in crude oil prices in Asia was the major reason behind the cut.”

Middle Eastern crude producers are competing with counterparts in Latin America, North Africa and Russia for buyers in Asia. They’ve lowered price differentials and maintained output, feeding speculation that they’re seeking to defend market share.


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