The move comes days after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a 23-nation group led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, surprised traders with a decision to boost crude output.
Saudi Aramco increased January’s prices for all crude grades that will be shipped to Asia and to the US, according to a statement from the state producer. The company raised its key Arab Light grade for customers in Asia by 60 cents from December to $3.30 a barrel above a benchmark. That’s the most expensive it’s been since February 2020, around when the pandemic first struck.
Prices for the US will go up by between 40 and 60 cents. Those for Europe, a relatively small market for Aramco, will be cut.
OPEC+ opted on Thursday to proceed with a production increase for next month, even as new Covid-19 cases threaten to sap demand and with the alliance predicting the oil market will flip from a supply deficit to a surplus in early 2022.