Week 21 Bunker Market Analysis: Mixed Trends and Future Outlook

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  • In Week 21, the MABUX global bunker indices exhibited mixed movements without a clear trend.
  • The 380 HSFO index saw a marginal decrease of 0.13 USD, moving from 544.26 USD/MT to 544.13 USD/MT.
  • The VLSFO index dropped by 2.53 USD, settling at 654.27 USD/MT compared to last week’s 656.80 USD/MT.
  • Conversely, the MGO index rose by 3.63 USD, climbing from 838.55 USD/MT to 842.18 USD/MT.
  • Overall, a steady downward trend was noted in the global bunker market.

Scrubber Spread (SS) Analysis

The MABUX Global Scrubber Spread (SS) – the price difference between 380 HSFO and VLSFO – experienced a moderate decline, falling by 2.40 USD to 110.14 USD from last week’s 112.56 USD, approaching the 100.00 USD mark. The weekly average decreased by 0.95 USD.

In Rotterdam, the SS Spread grew by 8.00 USD, reaching 94.00 USD from the previous 86.00 USD, gradually nearing the 100.00 USD mark. The weekly average increased by 1.17 USD. In Singapore, the 380 HSFO/VLSFO price differential unexpectedly narrowed by 19.00 USD, dropping to 85.00 USD from last week’s 104.00 USD, with the weekly average decreasing by 5.67 USD. This suggests an ongoing reduction in the SS Spread to below the 100 USD SS Breakeven level.

LNG and Gas Market Dynamics

In April 2024, global LNG imports hit a record high of 34.52 million metric tons (Mt), a 1.7% year-on-year increase (0.58 Mt). The Asia Pacific and LAC regions led this surge, offsetting a significant decline in European LNG imports. From January to April 2024, global LNG imports rose by 2.9% year-on-year, totaling 142.52 Mt.

During Week 21, the European gas benchmark TTF experienced moderate growth, adding 3.335 EUR/MWh to reach 33.004 EUR/MWh from last week’s 29.669 EUR/MWh.

LNG Bunker Fuel Trends

The price of LNG as bunker fuel in Sines (Portugal) continued to rise, reaching 728 USD/MT on May 20, an increase of 32 USD from the previous week. The price differential between LNG and conventional fuel decreased to 89 USD in favor of LNG, down from 117 USD the prior week. On the same day, MGO LS in Sines was quoted at 817 USD/MT.

MDI Index Trends

The MDI index (correlation ratio of market bunker prices vs. MABUX digital bunker benchmark) for Week 21 revealed the following trends across major world hubs (Rotterdam, Singapore, Fujairah, and Houston):

  • 380 HSFO Segment: All selected ports remained undervalued. Weekly averages fell by 3 points in Singapore and 2 points in Fujairah, while rising by 5 points in Houston. The Rotterdam MDI index remained unchanged.
  • VLSFO Segment: All ports remained undervalued. Weekly averages rose by 4 points in Singapore and 3 points in Houston, while decreasing by 2 points in Rotterdam and 1 point in Fujairah. Fujairah maintained a 100% correlation between market price and the MABUX digital benchmark.
  • MGO LS Segment: Houston was the only overvalued port, with the weekly average increasing by 2 points. Other ports remained undervalued, with Rotterdam’s average weekly margin decreasing by 6 points, and Singapore and Fujairah increasing by 5 and 2 points, respectively. Singapore’s MDI index exceeded the 100 USD mark again.

Chinese VLSFO Production

In April, Chinese refiners produced approximately 1.2 million metric tons (mt) of Very Low Sulfur Fuel Oil (VLSFO), down from 1.4 million mt in March, representing a 9% daily average decline to 41,000 mt/day. This reduction is due to increased seasonal maintenance activities at refineries, leading to constrained VLSFO supply in Zhoushan, a major Chinese port. Suppliers suggested lead times of 5-7 days due to lower output and limited barge availability. To support future VLSFO production, the Chinese government issued 4 million mt in export quotas for bonded bunkering as part of the second allocation round for the year, expected to boost output later in the year.

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Source: LinkedIn