U.S. oil exports to Japan, South Korea soar as refiners reap steep discounts

SINGAPORE/HOUSTON (Reuters) – U.S. oil exports to Japan and South Korea will rise to record highs this month as Asian refiners take advantage of the steep discounts American sellers are offering after losing Chinese customers amid the trade dispute between Washington and Beijing. Ship tracking data in Thomson Reuters Eikon showed that oil exports from the United States to South Korea in September will rise to a record average of at least 230,000 barrels per day (bpd). U.S. shipments to Japan will also rise to a record average of at least 134,000 bpd, the data showed. Two traders and a brokerage source said South Korean and Japanese refiners have been taking advantage of steep discounts of up to $10 per barrel between the U.S. crude benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) CLc1 that American producers base their crude sales on and the international Brent crude LCOc1 benchmark. “They (South Koreans and Japanese refiners) need to find replacements for their drop in Iran imports and a fair amount of that is coming from the States. The steep discount of WTI to Brent is hard to resist,” said a Singapore-based ship broker. The sources declined to be named as they were not allowed… continue reading

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