LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Russian Urals crude ended the weak on a bullish note on Friday, rising to its strongest levels since early September as traders said October volumes in the Mediterranean were mostly sold out.
"There are practically no volumes left in the south and I have a feeling prices in the Baltic can catch up next week," said a trader with an independent Russian house.
"The Baltic is looking a bit more optimistic but buyers are holding off," said another traded.
In the Platts window, Vitol sold an 80,000 tonne Oct. 22-26 cargo in the Mediterranean to Gunvor at dated Brent minus 80 cents, some 50 cents stronger than prices earlier this week and the strongest level since early September, traders said.
Gunvor also bid for an Oct. 23-27 cargo in the Baltic at dated minus $1.80 a barrel, but found no sellers as it was considered too weak.
JBC Energy said on Friday it expected Urals to strengthen further.
"Some support for Urals could come from relatively healthy margins as refineries not undergoing maintenance may be encouraged to increase runs in the current environment," it said.
However, it added that runs could remain depressed with Europe seeing some 1.7 and 1.1 million bpd of refining capacity offline in October and November respectively, capping crude demand in the region.
Petromatrix consultancy said it expected the widening of the crude oil backwardation structure when refineries come back from maintenance.
In Iraqi news, Kurdistan's leading oil producer, Genel Energy, said it may halt exports after receiving no payment three days after Baghdad insisted a transfer of funds had begun.
(Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov and Gleb Gorodyankin; Editing by David Holmes)
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Keywords: MARKETS MEDITERRANEAN/CRUDE