(Reuters) - Western Canada Select (WCS) crude's discount to the benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) inched wider on Thursday, holding close to $30 a barrel:
* WCS heavy blend crude for December delivery in Hardisty, Alberta, traded at $29.95 a barrel under WTI, according to NE2 Inc, widening 15 cents from the previous day.
* The discount on benchmark Canadian crude has widened sharply in recent weeks, driven by weak demand for heavy sour grades on the U.S. Gulf Coast, the world's largest heavy crude refining center.
* The main factors contributing to weak WCS demand, expected by companies and analysts to persist into 2023, include cheap Russian Urals crude competing with WCS re-exports to Asia, U.S. refinery outages, a global glut of high-sulphur fuel oil and the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve releases that flooded the market with heavy sour barrels.
* Global oil prices slid about 2% as China stood by its zero-COVID policy and an increase in U.S. interest rates pushed up the dollar, raising fears of a global recession that would crimp fuel demand.[O/R]
(Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Leslie Adler)