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Updated to Q2 2019
Middle East Group I base oils supply is expected to remain mostly stable in the second quarter. US sanctions on Iran continued to curb supply but Iran has been trying to sidestep sanctions by moving cargoes through land borders. This is expected to continue in the second quarter while buyers such as India are expected to continue purchases due to competitive pricing of Iran Group I.
Demand from the UAE is expected to remain stable to firm as inventories were heard to be running down. Demand for Iranian Group I could also persist from countries such as India. But higher pricing of Group I could also favour substitution into Group II, where prices are also facing stiff competition, and eventually lead to reduced buying interest for Iranian material.
Middle East Group II 150N and 500N spot supply in Q2 is expected to be stable to higher as some major refiners end maintenance shutdowns but pricing pressure is likely to persist. Supply of deep-sea cargoes is not expected to be in abundance after April but Asian Group II suppliers also face tough price competition from Middle Eastern producers.
Demand is expected to remain largely stable in the second quarter as the Middle East is not a major consumer of Group II base oils relative to Asia. The US sanctions on Iranian crude exports as well US-China trade tensions continue to serve as major uncertainties for the base oils market and demand is expected to show only mild improvement. Further clarity would be needed to spur demand.
Middle East Group III base oils supply is expected to be stable in Q2 2019. Much of the supply is expected to still be destined for export markets in Asia. Supply could increase if talk of expansion plans become reality. But Middle Eastern refiners are largely tied to contractual obligations, so spot volumes would be tight. Limited actual volume is also expected to be offered to regional buyers due to the small size of the market there.
Middle East Group III base oils demand is expected to be stable in the second quarter as the key producers in the region remain focused on export markets in Asia. Group III consumption in the Middle East is limited and largely opportunistic. No fundamental changes are expected in the Middle East for Group III in Q2 2019.
We offer the following regional Base oils-Lubes analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Base oils-Lubes marketplace.
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