Asia Fuel Oil-HSFO offering spree continues; trade muted ahead of holiday
Asia’s fuel oil market was largely quiet on Friday ahead of a holiday though a stream of offers continued to emerge for high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) as sellers sought to clear inventory.
Cash differentials for HSFO held steadily in discounts, with at least seven sellers putting out offers in the spot market that met with muted buying interest.
The market has come under pressure this month amid ample high-sulphur supplies in the region, while China’s demand for refinery feedstocks has also retreated ahead of Lunar New Year.
Margins for 380-cst HSFO FO380DUBCKMc1 closed at discounts of around $11.30 a barrel at Friday’s Asia close, little changed from Thursday.
On the low-sulphur front, premiums inched higher amid the emergence of a firmer bid for end-February cargo.
The cash premium for 0.5% very low sulphur fuel oil was pegged higher at $5.85 a ton, while front-month cracks LFO05SGDUBCMc1 climbed to premiums above $14 a barrel.
Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) will introduce enhanced testing parameters for marine fuel delivered for bunkering in Singapore to reduce the occurrence of bunkering contaminated fuels, it said in a circular notice this week.
The new parameters aim to improve quality assurance, following a bunker contamination incident in February 2022 that affected around 200 ships.
The enhancements will be mandatory from June this year, said MPA, on top of maintaining existing quality assurance measures.
Under the enhancements, bunker suppliers must ensure that all residual and bio-residual marine fuel supplied in Singapore does not contain chlorinated organic compounds (COC) above 50 milligrams per kilogram and must be free from inorganic acids.
– ARA inventories STK-FO-ARA slipped 5.7% week-on-week to 1.318 million tons in the week to Feb. 8, down for a second straight week, data from Dutch consultancy Insights Global showed.
– Oil prices were little changed on Friday, staying on track for weekly gains, with tensions persisting in the Middle East after Israel rejected a ceasefire offer from Hamas.
– Damage to refineries from drone attacks and technical outages led Russia to export more crude than it planned in February, potentially undermining its pledge to curb sales under an OPEC+ pact.
– Major U.S. fuelmakers beat Wall Street’s earnings expectations in the fourth quarter on strong refining margins and operating performance and they predicted profits would rise again this year thanks to global demand growth.
– Shares of Finland’s Neste plummeted after the biofuels producer and oil refiner posted fourth-quarter operating profit below expectations and forecast a lower 2024 renewable products sales margin than last year’s.
– 180-cst HSFO: No trade
– 380-cst HSFO: No trade
– 0.5% VLSFO: No trade
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Jeslyn Lerh; Editing by Sohini Goswami)