East of Suez Market Update 18 Mar 2024

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Prices in Asian ports have moved up today, and prompt VLSFO and HSFO availability remains tight in Singapore, reports Engine.

Bunker prices 

Changes on the day from Friday to 17.00 SGT (09.00 GMT) today:

  • VLSFO prices are up in Singapore ($10/mt), Fujairah ($3/mt), and Zhoushan ($2/mt)
  • LSMGO prices are up in Fujairah ($10/mt), Zhoushan ($7/mt), and Singapore ($3/mt)
  • HSFO prices are up in Singapore ($13/mt), Fujairah ($8/mt), and Zhoushan ($7/mt)

Bunker prices in East of Suez ports have gained over the weekend, tracking Brent’s upward movement. Singapore’s VLSFO price has moved up by $10/mt – the highest among the three major Asian bunker ports. Two VLSFO stems fixed at $642/mt and $645/mt on Friday have supported Singapore’s VLSFO price gains.

Despite Singapore’s VLSFO price gains, it remains at a discount of $3/mt to Fujairah. Meanwhile, Singapore’s VLSFO premium over Zhoushan has now doubled to $16/mt.

Prompt availability of VLSFO and HSFO grades continues to be tight in Singapore as demand has increased. Several suppliers are recommending lead times of 8-13 days for both grades. LSMGO requires a shorter lead time of 2-8 days.

In China’s Zhoushan port, prompt availability of all bunker grades remains good amid weak bunker demand. Bunker suppliers have recommended 2-5 days lead times for all grades, like the previous week.

Prompt availability remains tight in the UAE port of Fujairah amid product loading delays at oil terminals. Intermittent weather disruptions in recent weeks have led to barge product loading delays at terminals, a trader says. Overall, bunker demand has been slow in the port. Many suppliers are recommending lead times of 7-10 days for all bunker fuel grades, unchanged from last week.

Brent

The front-month ICE Brent contract moved $1.12/bbl up on the day from Friday, to trade at $85.85/bbl at 17.00 SGT (09.00 GMT) today.

Upward pressure

The upward momentum in Brent futures was driven by mounting geopolitical tensions in both Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Ukraine launched multiple drone attacks across Russia over the weekend, which led to a fire incident at the Sloviansk refinery in Krasnodar, as confirmed by the Russian defense ministry. The refinery, which processes 8.5 million mt of crude oil annually (equivalent to 170,000 b/d), faced disruption, Reuters reported. While the drones were neutralized, one caused a fire upon landing, according to the Krasnodar region’s operational headquarters’ official Telegram channel.

Initial estimates suggest that around 15% of Russia’s refining capacity suffered disruption after the recent drone attack, potentially leading to a short-term decline in crude oil exports as authorities work to mitigate the impacts, SPI Asset Management’s managing partner Stephen Innes noted.

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated the country’s commitment to the ongoing military operations in the Gaza Strip until a complete removal of the Hamas militant group is achieved. Netanyahu’s recent statement has extinguished hopes about the warring parties reaching a ceasefire deal, thereby reigniting concerns about supply disruptions in the oil market.

These events intensified upward pressure on oil prices, highlighting the market’s susceptibility to geopolitical tensions and supply interruptions, Innes commented.

Downward pressure

Brent futures faced downward pressure due to the strengthening of the US dollar last week, which experienced its most rapid growth in eight weeks following a 0.6% increase in the country’s producer price index (PPI) in February.

A higher PPI reading could prompt the US Federal Reserve (Fed) to postpone its interest rate reduction plans for the year, potentially dampening demand growth in the world’s largest crude oil-consuming nation.

Oil investors will closely monitor the outcome of the US Fed’s two-day meeting, which commences today, according to IG Bank’s analyst Tony Sycamore. He emphasized that the recent high Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Producer Price Index (PPI) data will be key considerations for Fed members during this week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.

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Source: Engine