Asia Residual Fuels: Key Market Indicators for July 25-29

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Asian fuel oil was expected to face further downward pressure over July 25-29 as the market pushes increasingly into trading second-half August loading cargoes, reports Platts.

The Asian low sulfur fuel oil market was likely to ease on the back of near-term demand-supply balance, pointing to an easing of availability of both finished grade product and low sulfur blending components in August.

The Asian high sulfur fuel oil market, on the other hand, was likely to garner support in the near term on optimism that demand was likely to see an uptick from the utility sector, especially in the West, where high gas prices have turned focus on alternative burning fuels.

Morning trades for the September ICE Brent futures contract were seen at $102.50/b at 0345 GMT July 25, down from $103.90/b at 0830 GMT July 22, Intercontinental Exchange data showed.

Marine fuel 0.5%

** The Singapore marine fuel 0.5% August/September swap was heard pegged at $35/mt in mid-morning trade, unchanged from its assessment on July 22.

** The downstream low sulfur bunker fuel market was also likely to come under pressure in the near term. The Singapore-delivered marine fuel 0.5%S bunker premium over benchmark Singapore marine fuel 0.5% cargo touched a record high $117.85/mt July 20, but finished the week ended July 22 lower at $103.63/mt, S&P Global Commodity Insights data showed.

** The low sulfur bunker fuel premium was also likely to be further pressured in the Middle Eastern port of Fujairah by competitive selling interest. The Fujairah-delivered marine fuel 0.5%S bunker premium over Singapore marine fuel 0.5% cargo averaged $96.26/mt in the week ended July 22, down from $113.84/mt the week before, S&P Global data showed.

** Supply of South Korea’s LSFO bunker for balance July delivery dates is expected to tighten as local refiners have mostly sold out July inventories, market sources said.

** Despite rising LSFO stockpiles at the North Asian bunker hub of Zhoushan, a forecasts for inclement weather over July 25-29 is likely to subdue demand and weigh on bunker premiums, local bunker suppliers said.

** Amid the recent inflow of LSFO replenishment cargoes to Hong Kong, traders expect rising inventories to soften bunker premiums, while downstream demand reportedly remains lackluster.

High sulfur fuel oil

** The Singapore 380 CST HSFO August/September swap was pegged at $3.50/mt in mid-morning trade, up from $3/mt at the Asian close July 22, broking sources said.

** Determined buying interest saw the cash differential for Singapore 380 CST HSFO cargo over Mean of Platts Singapore 380 CST HSFO average a premium of 14 cents/mt in the week ended July 22, up from a discount of $2.46/mt the week before.

** The downstream 380 CST high sulfur bunker fuel market reflected the uptick in the upstream market, with the premium for Singapore-delivered 380 CST bunker rising to average $16.04/mt in the week ended July 22 from $15.25/mt the week before.

** Amid increasing arrivals of container liners calling at South Korean ports, which strengthened HSFO bunker demand, local bunker suppliers expect higher inflows of HSFO imports to slow the inventory drawdown.

** Lackluster demand for HSFO bunkers amid ample inventories is likely to pressure Hong Kong’s bunker premiums, according to market sources.

** Market participants in Japan expect HSFO bunker premiums to remain competitive amid lukewarm downstream demand for late July-early August deliveries, while adequate stockpiles would likely also keep prices steady.

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Source: Platts

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