The August Dubai cash to swap spread hit a month-to-date high at $2.35/b at the close of Asia trading Tuesday after tracking within a narrow range around $2/b for the first half of June.
The spread, an indicator of sentiment in the Middle East sour crude market, has risen steadily this week after being assessed at $2.04/b last Friday, S&P Global Platts data showed. It was assessed at $2.19/b at 4:30 pm Singapore time (0830 GMT) on Monday.
Traders attributed the rise to a modest resurgence in buying appetite as refiners try to procure cargoes before the end of the month, after having waited as long as possible to do so in the hope that prices would keep falling.
"Buyers had a bearish view, so [they] waited, but the market didn't come off [to the level they would have liked]," said a crude trader in Singapore on Tuesday. Refiners would rather pay a small premium on top of the prevailing market rate than lose a cargo at this point, the trader added.