Bunkerworld Index: Prices firm on enduring pockets of demand, optimism for crude
27th November 2020 12:56 GMT

The S&P Global Platts Bunkerworld Index gained 8% on the week, driven by optimism across the oil complex and patches of resilient demand from shipping as the ramp-up for the winter holiday season gets going.

The BW0.5%S Index ended Nov. 26 at $381/mt, up $1/mt on the day, up $28/mt on the week and up $62/mt on the month.

The BW380 Index, which represents value for 3.5% sulfur fuel oil, was stable on the day at $317/mt, up $14.50/mt on the week and up $35/mt on the month.

High sulfur fuel oil prices are likely to remain supported in the near term due to the expected continued production curbs on OPEC+'s predominately medium sour crudes and the recovery of Libyan crude exports, Chris Midgely, Global Director for S&P Global Analytics said Nov. 26 at the S&P Global Platts Mediterranean Bunker Fuel and Shipping virtual conference.

Limits on sour crude and higher uptake of light crude both imply less refinery output of high sulfur fuel oil.

Headwinds have been appearing in the upward trajectory of the wider oil complex. What seemed to be shaping up as a smooth OPEC+ meeting, with traders largely expecting a rollover of production quotas, has hit some turbulence with an airing of grievances.

The UAE may be considering splitting from the group, while Iraq and Nigeria are appealing to be allowed to pump more, and the recent vaccine news propelled rally in crude prices will test everyone’s resolve to see through their landmark supply accord.

As a result, OPEC+ watchers and some delegates say they expect talks could get tense when ministers convene online Nov. 30-Dec. 1. An extension of current output cuts is still the likeliest scenario, but some hard conversations over the future of the deal -- and the alliance itself -- could complicate a decision.

Additionally, the market has begun to realize that COVID-19 vaccine rollouts will likely take time to show in oil market fundamentals.

S&P Global Platts assessed the Dated Brent crude benchmark at $47.73/b Nov. 26, down from the previous two days’ assessments but still considerably higher than the start of the month. The market has been on a broadly upward curve since then, albeit not a smooth one.

Among the North Asian markets, sentiment in the bunkering hub of Hong Kong was said to be subdued as most traders pointed to a lack of demand. A 14-day quarantine measure for vessels making bunker-only calls at the port has dragged on demand, said traders.

The 14-day quarantine rule was implemented early August, and demand then declined before staging a slight recovery, but has since slumped again.

"Overall demand is down by about 70% I think," said a Hong Kong-based trader. Another trader said: "There is ample cargo... in fact too much cargo. There is no impact from lower imports."

In the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp region, previous concerns over tightened marine gasoil supply materialized this week, with it expected to last until at least early December, according to market sources

With retail 0.5%S pricing on the rise in US Gulf Coast ports, participants say they will be monitoring supply fundamentals for early December.

Sources were seeing greater availability for the beginning of next month after tightness in prompt deliveries, with only some suppliers offering late-November windows.

The BW Indexes are weighted daily indexes made up of assessments at 20 key bunkering ports. To obtain a representative geographical spread, the ports were selected by size with reference to their geographical importance.

The BW0.5%S Index ports are Hong Kong, South Korea, Shanghai, Singapore, Japan, Las Palmas, Durban, Fujairah, Gibraltar, Piraeus, Rotterdam, St Petersburg, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Balboa and Santos.

The BW380 Index ports are Busan, Canary Islands, Colombo, Durban, Fujairah, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Offshore Nigeria, Panama Canal, Piraeus, Rotterdam, Santos, Shanghai, Singapore, St Petersburg, Suez and Tokyo.


Bunkerworld .,
27th November 2020 12:56 GMT