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Asia-Pacific crude: Slow demand weighs; Sokol stronger

[SINGAPORE] Slow demand weighed on the Asia-Pacific crude market on Monday, as refining margins weakened and refiners planned to undertake maintenance.

Traders awaited the result of a tender by Indonesia's Pertamina to buy sweet crude for October-loading. The state-owned company last purchased mainly regional grades, taking advantage of depressed spot differentials.

Most grades have traded lower this month due to weakening refinery demand. Complex refining margins in the Singapore hub averaged less than US$5 a barrel last week, down from around US$5.50 in July.

Russia's Sokol grade is one of the few grades that have seen their differentials rise this month, and traders said the price may have risen above the previous month's level in a tender by ONGC to sell a Nov 14-20 loading cargo.

ONGC last sold an Oct 21-27 cargo at US$3.20-US$3.30 a barrel above the Oman/Dubai average, according to Reuters data.

The November-loading cargo may have been sold to a trading firm, one trader said, but the details remained unclear.

Oil Search sold its second October-loading cargo of Kutubu crude to an unnamed buyer at around US$1.50 a barrel below dated Brent, traders said.

Brent-Dubai Exchange of Futures for Swaps (EFS) DUB-EFS-1M , or Brent's premium to Dubai swaps, widened 9 cents to US$0.95 a barrel.

REUTERS