Asia residual fuel: Key market indicators June 7-11

Bunker suppliers in Singapore were optimistic that China’s recently announced COVID-19 regulations on ships could see more calls at the city state in the week started June 6, even as the spread between Singapore and Zhoushan delivered 0.5%S marine fuel prices stayed volatile.

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There was some supply tightness of high sulfur fuel oil in Japan due to a refinery turnaround, but Japanese bunker traders expected the volume loss to be minimal in the week of June 7, and easily covered by the country’s remaining refiners.

Marine fuel 0.5% sulfur

** Discussions for the July Singapore Marine Fuel 0.5%S/Singapore 10 ppm gasoil spread narrowed to minus $60/mt June 7 compared with the June 4 assessment at minus $60.062/mt, according to Intercontinental Exchange data.

** In north Asia, Zhoushan bunker prices fell below Singapore June 7. However, China is expected to see demand weaken as local authorities implemented new COVID-19 related regulations on ships in second-half May, market sources said.

** The measures taken on ships calling at Chinese ports are different depending on the port. In China’s biggest bunkering port of Zhoushan, crewmembers are required to be tested if the ships called at an Indian port within 28 days before arrival, industry sources said.

** Each port has its own rules, and the rules change from time to time, said a source at a shipping company. The measures are taken on a “case-by-case” basis, said a source at a Chinese shipping company.

** While the lack of homogeneity in enforcement measures across Chinese ports has caused ambiguity and sometimes confusion, it also provided shipowners with the flexibility to call at neighboring ports for bunkering calls, market sources disclosed.

** Due to the inconvenience in bunkering in China, bunker fuel demand is diverting to other countries, market sources said. Demand is likely to head to Singapore or the US West Coast, said a bunker trader.

** Japan’s marine fuel 0.5%S supply in June is expected to be higher than May as ENEOS restarted its refineries. Demand from term contracts has been firm, bunker traders based in Tokyo said.

High sulfur fuel oil

** Discussions for the July Singapore/Rotterdam 380 CST high sulfur fuel oil spread opened June 7 narrower than the June 4 assessment at $12.90/mt, with a morning trade seen at $12.75/mt, according to ICE data and brokers’ numbers.

** Kuwait Petroleum Corp., or KPC, is “considering procuring the next two-three months of cargoes on a term contract basis, to ensure considerable time for the supplier,” after procuring a June-delivery HSFO cargo to meet power generation demand with uncommon specifications, according to a source close to the company.

** The June-delivery cargo was the first that KPC bought since purchasing a similar-sized cargo for delivery May 9-15 to meet domestic power demand, S&P Global Platts reported previously.

** High sulfur bunker supply is expected to remain sufficient in north Asia. “Availability is plenty. The earliest delivery date is June 6-7,” said a South Korean bunker trader.

** Neighboring Japan is seeing tightness for high sulfur bunker fuel at Idemitsu’s Chiba refinery due to a turnaround, but other refiners can cover the supply shortfall, a local bunker trader said.

** HSFO bunker demand in Singapore remained lackluster, although competitive prices could draw incremental demand, suppliers in the city state said. On June 4, the delivered IFO 380 CST bunker fuel price was assessed at $406/mt in Singapore, compared with $410/mt in Hong Kong and $419/mt in Fujairah, Platts data showed.


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