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By Rania El Gamal and Dahlia Nehme
DUBAI, May 5 (Reuters) - Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has raised its crude oil prices for June to its Asian and European customers, and cut prices to the United States, a signal that Riyadh is in no hurry to boost oil supply ahead of an OPEC meeting next month.
Saudi Aramco raised the June price for its Arab Light grade for Asian customers by $0.70 a barrel versus May to a premium of $2.10 per barrel to the Oman/Dubai average, the state oil company said on Sunday.
The increase in crude prices to Asia was in line with market expectations. Saudi Arabia was expected to raise June prices for all crude grades it sells to Asia to track stronger Middle East benchmarks, a Reuters survey showed.
Aramco also raised its June Arab Light official selling price (OSP) for Northwest Europe by 80 cents a barrel versus May.
The Arab Light OSP to the United States was set at a premium of $3.05 a barrel to the Argus Sour Crude Index (ASCI) for June, down 10 cents a barrel from the previous month.
At OPEC’s policy meeting in June, producers are likely to discuss raising output to compensate for a supply shortage from Iran and Venezuela, both hit by U.S. sanctions.
Raising June OSPs may discourage buyers of Saudi crude from seeking more oil and push refiners to draw on inventories, which would support the market, delivering on Riyadh’s goal of lower stocks and higher prices while keeping its output in check.
Sources familiar with Saudi policy said last week that the kingdom’s oil output may edge up in June, but the extra crude may be used for domestic power generation rather than providing the boost to exports that Washington has sought.
U.S. President Donald Trump said he had called Saudi Arabia and OPEC and told them to lower oil prices, but he did not say whom he spoke to or when the conversations took place. Riyadh is reluctant to boost oil supply too quickly for fear of risking a crash in prices and a build-up in inventories, sources say.
Saudi crude OSPs set the trend for Iranian, Kuwaiti and Iraqi prices, affecting more than 12 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude bound for Asia.
The tables below show the full FOB prices for June in U.S. dollars. Saudi term crude supplies to the United States are priced as a differential to the Argus Sour Crude Index (ASCI).
MAY June CHANGE
EXTRA LIGHT +4.60 +4.30 -0.30 LIGHT +3.15 +3.05 -0.10 MEDIUM +1.55 +1.45 -0.10 HEAVY +0.70 +0.60 -0.10
Prices at Ras Tanura destined for Northwest Europe are set against ICE Brent: NW EUROPE
MAY June CHANGE EXTRA LIGHT +0.35 +1.45 +1.10 LIGHT -0.80 0.00 +0.80 MEDIUM -1.95 -1.25 +0.70 HEAVY -3.50 -3.00 +0.50 Saudi term crude supplies to Asia are priced as a differential to the Oman/Dubai average: ASIA
MAY June CHANGE SUPER LIGHT +3.35 +4.55 +1.20 EXTRA LIGHT +1.70 +2.70 +1.00 LIGHT +1.40 +2.10 +0.70 MEDIUM +1.05 +1.45 +0.40 HEAVY -0.25 +0.15 +0.40 Prices at Ras Tanura for Saudi oil destined for the Mediterranean are set against the ICE Brent: MEDITERRANEAN
MAY June CHANGE
EXTRA LIGHT -0.20 +0.80 +1.00 LIGHT -0.60 +0.30 +0.90 MEDIUM -1.95 -1.45 +0.50 HEAVY -2.30 -2.30 0.00 (Reporting by Rania El Gamal; editing by Jason Neely and Dale Hudson)