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AMERICAS BUNKERS: Key market indicators July 26-30

Pricing for retail marine bunkers entered the week beginning July 26 on a firmer foot but facing an uncertain oil complex, which could see effects on demand from a resurgent global spread of the coronavirus and lower Chinese demand.

Crude oil futures have reached multiyear highs in July, fostered by expectations of tighter supply and increased demand, with Brent ending up 8.1% from July 19 to July 23 at $74.13% and impacting the wholesale marine fuel 0.5%S on the US Gulf Coast, which advanced 7% to $524.75/mt.

LATIN AMERICA

Pricing in Latin American spot bunker markets started the week in a recovery mood but still below the levels seen in the first half of July. The retreats seen July 26 in global oil markets might again pressure values.

Key ports in the region have rebounded from the global fall seen at the beginning of last week, now considered a market overreaction, and prices for marine fuel 0.5%S for the July 19-23 period rose across the board.

Ex-wharf 0.5%S in Balboa, Panama, moved up $24, or 4.7%, to $532/mt, in a market with “good demand,” but very competitive, with a difference in pricing of up to $15 among suppliers, according to deals and value indications. In the first half of July, prices averaged $544/mt.

In Santos, Brazil, the fuel rose $9, or 1.7%, to $541/mt, still below an average of $549/mt in the first 15 days of July. State-run Petrobras published second-quarter data last week showing its fuel oil and bunker fuel production dipped 10% from the first quarter to 255,000 b/d, compared with 284,000 b/d in the first quarter due to a maintenance stoppages needed at several refineries that were delayed in 2020 by the pandemic. Regarding exports, Petrobras exported 994,000 b/d of crude oil and refined products in the second quarter, up 34.9% from 737,000 b/d in the first quarter. Crude oil exports drove the gains.

Callao also saw a strong increase in pricing last week, up $25, or 3.9%, to $665/mt. “Pricing is up, we are facing scarce supplies [from local refineries] up until August,” a market participant said last week on the Peruvian market. “[Neighboring] Ecuador is also low, so everything is sold very quickly,” the source added.

In the Ecuadorean port of Guayaquil, the 0.5%s edged up $1 to $574/mt, with Cartagena also gaining only $1 to $574/mt. “It has been quiet, traders in Europe are on vacation,” a source said.

GULF COAST, NORTH AMERICA

US Gulf Coast markets also rode the stronger crude complex wave seen at the end of last week. Ex-wharf Houston 0.5%S marine fuel rose $16 from July 19 to July 23, or 3.2%, to $510/mt. In New Orleans, the advance was stronger, of $21, or 4.1%, to $531/mt.

A persistent wide range in price indications for Houston has made clear that there is “definitely still a two-tiered market out there,” a supplier said.

Bunker fuel demand on the USGC reached a plateau in mid-July, keeping 0.5%S prices in Houston under $510/mt since. High sulfur IFO 380 product supply is tight, sources have said, leaving those spot prices in Houston at up to $400/mt in the same period.

In Canada, the week ended with spot 0.5%S marine fuel talked around at $610/mt delivered by truck Montreal, or $597/mt ex-wharf. Montreal MGO spot indications were talked Friday around $682/mtw. Meanwhile, on Canada’s other coast, 0.5%S was assessed at $575 mt ex-wharf Vancouver. MGO was assessed at $715 /mt ex-wharf Vancouver.
Source: Platts

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