Off The Wire
UPDATE 2-Iraq cuts March Basra crude official prices for Asia, Europe
* March spot cargoes to stay under pressure in Asia on ample supplies
By Florence Tan
SINGAPORE, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Iraq has cut the March official selling price (OSP) for Basra Light crude to Asia by 35 cents from the previous month to minus 40 cents per barrel below the average of Oman and Dubai quotes, a pricing document reviewed by Reuters showed on Thursday.
Basra Heavy crude to Asia for March loading was priced at minus $4.20 a barrel to Oman and Dubai quotes, down 45 cents.
Price cuts by the second-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) tracked discounts for spot Basra crude cargoes sold to Asia for February.
March prices for both grades to Asia were set at the lowest in six months with Basra Light at 20 cents a barrel below rival Saudi Arabian Arab Medium crude, the widest discount since April 2016, Reuters data showed.
Despite the price cuts, spot prices for Basra crude loading in March could still come under pressure amid ample supplies of similar quality medium-sour grades, a trader who handles Iraqi grades said. He expects spot March Basra Light crude sold to Asia to stay at a small discount to its OSP.
For Europe, Iraq's Oil Marketing Company (SOMO) reduced the March OSP for Basra Light by 95 cents to dated Brent minus $4.10 a barrel, and the March Basra Heavy OSP dropped to minus $7.50.
The March Basra Light OSP to the North and South American markets was set at the Argus Sour Crude Index (ASCI) minus 60 cents a barrel, down 10 cents from the previous month.
The following table shows latest OSPs (prices for previous month in brackets):
Americas Europe Far East
(ASCI) (Dated Brent) (Oman/Dubai) Basra Light -0.60 (-0.50) -4.10 (-3.15) -0.40 (-0.05) Kirkuk +0.45 (+0.55) -3.05 (-2.80) N/A (N/A) Basra Heavy -3.30 (-3.30) -7.50 (-6.20) -4.20 (-3.75)
(Reporting by Florence Tan Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Christian Schmollinger)