East of Suez Market Update 22 Mar 2024

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VLSFO prices in Asian ports have moved down, and prompt availability of all grades has improved across all South Korean ports, reports Engine.

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

  • VLSFO prices are down in Singapore, Fujairah, and Zhoushan ($4/mt)
  • LSMGO prices are unchanged in Zhoushan, and down in Singapore ($10/mt) and Fujairah ($4/mt)
  • HSFO pricesare  up in Fujairah ($3/mt) and Zhoushan ($2/mt), and down in Singapore ($10/mt)

Availability

VLSFO prices in the East of Suez ports have remained broadly stable in the past day. Singapore’s VLSFO premium over Zhoushan stands at $21/mt, while its price is at par with Fujairah’s VLSFO price.

Singapore’s HSFO price has declined by $10/mt, while prices in Fujairah and Zhoushan remained steady. Despite the decline in HSFO prices, Singapore’s HSFO discount to Fujairah stands at $18/mt.

Prompt availability of all grades remains tight in Singapore because of increased bunker demand. Several suppliers are recommending varied lead times for VLSFO, from as short as two days to almost 10 days. Lead times of 10-19 days are recommended for HSFO, while LSMGO requires relatively shorter lead times of 3-9 days.

In South Korean ports, prompt availability across all grades has improved, with several suppliers suggesting lead times of 3-4 days, down from 3-9 days in the previous week. But high winds and waves forecast today and over the weekend could affect bunkering in the ports of Ulsan, Onsan, Busan, Daesan, Taean, and Yeosu.

Intermittent adverse weather conditions are also expected in Hong Kong and the ports of Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam for periods next week, potentially disrupting bunker deliveries.

Brent

The front-month ICE Brent contract shed $0.12/bbl on the day, to trade at $85.77/bbl at 17.00 SGT (09.00 GMT).

Upward pressure:

Oil market analysts have maintained a positive outlook following the US Federal Reserve’s (Fed) reiterating its plan to cut interest rates three times this year, signaling an increase in demand growth from the world’s largest crude oil consumers.

The Fed’s indication of potential rate cuts three times this year has sparked optimism in the market, according to SPI Asset Management’s managing partner Stephen Innes. He noted that such signals are typically viewed as favorable for oil sales and the global economy.

Supply-side concerns have supported Brent’s upward momentum further this week. The extension of OPEC+ supply cuts until the end of June, combined with a series of Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian energy facilities and ongoing unrest in the Red Sea, have contributed to keeping Brent futures above $85/bbl.

Saxo Bank’s strategy team highlighted that concerns over the interest rate outlook and supply tightness are continuing to bolster prices.

Downward pressure:

Brent futures have followed speculations regarding a potential ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas.

Analysts suggest that a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip could alleviate geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and ease supply constraints in the oil market, which could potentially put downward pressure on the price of Brent crude.

The US has submitted a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) calling for an immediate ceasefire. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed optimism that ongoing discussions and negotiations in Qatar could lead to an agreement between Israel and Hamas.

The draft resolution submitted by the United States to the UNSC has triggered a bull market squeeze, Innes said. A bull squeeze is a market situation when sudden price declines incite traders and money managers to liquidate their long positions to avoid losses.

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Source: Engine

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