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Middle East

Saudi Arabia sets Asian oil benchmark at highest since October


Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, raised the price formula for shipments of its benchmark grade to Asia for April to the highest since October, while lowering prices for all cargoes to the US. State-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co. set the official selling price for Arab Light crude shipments to Asia at a 75 cent- discount to the regional benchmark, the company said in an e- mailed statement. That’s more expensive, by 25 cents, than March shipments. The decision is the reverse of that predicted by local traders and refiners: six surveyed had expected the exports to be made cheaper, by 50 cents.

Middle East

Saudi, Russian oil ministers said to plan talks in Qatar


Saudi Arabia’s oil minister plans to meet with his Russian counterpart in Doha on Tuesday to discuss the oil market, according to a person familiar with the talks. Ali al-Naimi, the most senior oil official of the world’s biggest crude exporter, will speak with Russia’s Alexander Novak in the Qatari capital, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

Middle East

Syria truce set for next week as US, Russia back peace bid


World powers agreed a partial cease fire in Syria’s civil war, reaching a deal that could forestall a humanitarian crisis around the besieged city of Aleppo even amid skepticism about how broad and lasting the truce might be. Backing the accord were all the major outside powers in the five-year-old conflict, including the U.S., Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran. But the halt to fighting won’t cover jihadist groups like Islamic State, meaning U.S., French and Russian air strikes against them will continue.