Asia residual fuel - Key market indicators this week
15th March 2021 09:24 GMT

Increased production of low sulfur fuel oil from Asian refiners during March in light of firm margins saw the Singapore marine fuel 0.5% crack spread decline from a one-year high on Feb. 23, even as more arbitrage cargoes are expected to land in Singapore in March, traders surveyed by S&P Global Platts said.

Meanwhile, rising seasonal demand for high sulfur fuel oil from South Asia to meet increasing power generation demand remains a ray of hope for refiners, expected to support a market that has largely relied on bunker demand over the first quarter, traders said.

Marine fuel 0.5% sulfur 

** The Singapore Marine Fuel 0.5%S April/May backwardation March 15 opened stable at $1.55/mt from the March 12 assessment, with bids seen at $1.25/mt against offers at $3/mt, Intercontinental Exchange and brokers' data showed.

** With the Singapore marine fuel 0.5% witnessing a bull-run in February, Asian refiners' output in March increased, with India, Thailand and Taiwan all seeing an increase in spot sales.

** Although the spread has declined from a one-year high of $15.90/b Feb. 23 to $13.65/b March 12, some refiners in India and Taiwan are still targeting low sulfur fuel oil production levels in April similar to March, with one refiner saying that marine fuel 0.5% is still one of the better performing refined products at the moment.

** In the North Asian bunker market, Tokyo Bay is expected to see berths congested until the end of March, according to local bunker traders, as ENEOS conducts maintenance at bunker berths at Negishi refinery.

** The South Korean market meanwhile is amply stocked with low sulfur bunker supply, with refiners' offer prices having dropped to discounts of $10-$12/mt to the FOB Singapore 10 ppm sulfur gasoil assessment, compared with premiums of $5-$10/mt seen in February.

** The Hong Kong Shipowners' Association said it has again asked the government to consider setting up a robust system that would enable a gradual relaxation of crew change restrictions imposed during the pandemic that were continuing to impact the local shipping and bunkering sectors.

** Bunker sales in Hong Kong have fallen sharply amid the ongoing restrictions, with some industry sources estimating that marine fuel sales in 2020 declined by about 30-40% on the year.


High sulfur fuel oil


** According to brokers' indications and ICE data, morning discussions for the Singapore 380 CST high sulfur fuel oil April/May spread opened March 15 at $2.75/mt, higher than the March 12 assessment of $2.65/mt.

** Rising temperatures in South Asia has seen South Asian countries -- Bangladesh and Pakistan -- stepping up procurement efforts to purchase more HSFO volumes ahead of summer.

** Pakistan State Oil has issued two buy tenders seeking 130,000 mt of 180 CST HSFO in two shipments over H1 and H2 May, a company source said, to meet power generation demand, becoming the second country after Bangladesh to increase fuel oil imports over the summer.

** Bangladesh, meanwhile, is targeting at least 50,000 mt more 180 CST HSFO for March-delivery compared to February, the president of Bangladesh Independent Power Producers' Association told Platts.

** In the downstream market, the Singapore 380 CST high sulfur bunker fuel market is likely to take cues from the upstream cargo market in the near term, traders said.

** With a lack of an impetus by way of any incremental demand likely to kick in at least in the near term, the upstream Singapore 380 CST HSFO market has been trading in a narrow range in the recent past, a trend that was likely to continue and be reflected in the downstream end-user bunker market too.

** The Singapore-delivered 380 CST bunker premium to FOB Singapore 380 CST HSFO averaged $13.53/mt for the week ended March 12, down a touch from the previous week's $14.43/mt, Platts data showed.

Platts ,
15th March 2021 09:24 GMT