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ENGINE: East of Suez Bunker Fuel Availability Outlook

Lead times for low sulphur bunker stems are shorter in Singapore, Japan and South Korea this week, while supply has tightened slightly in Fujairah.

Singapore’s total fuel oil stocks grew by another 2% last week, reaching a four-month high of 23.62 million bbls, according to data from Enterprise Singapore. The bunkering hub’s residual oil inventories were buoyed amid a 30% decline in fuel oil exports on the week, and an 11% increase in imports.

The stockbuild may have contributed into bringing down lead times for VLSFO, which came down from 11 days last week to nine days now. HSFO380 supply remains particularly tight in the bunkering hub, with lead times stretching to 12-15 days. Lead times for LSMGO stems have dropped by one day, to 5-6 days ahead now.

Availability of prompt product tightened with higher bunker demand in South Korean ports earlier this month. Lead times in ports including Busan and Ulsan were around 4-7 days for VLSFO and LSMGO stems at the beginning of the month, and increased to 6-8 days at the end of last week. HSFO380 was particularly tight with delivery dates subject to availability. But prompt availability has improved this week, with lead times dropping to just 2-3 days for the low sulphur grades now, and 4-6 days for HSFO380.

The neighbouring ports of Zhoushan and Shanghai have also good availability of bunker fuels. Lead times for bunker stems are steady at around three days in the two Chinese ports.

Tokyo’s lead times for VLSFO and LSMGO have dropped to around seven days this week, down from 11 days last month. The port’s bunker delivery capacity has improved after maintenance of a supplier’s berth was completed. The maintenance put pressure on the port’s bunker delivery logistics throughout March. HSFO380 stems continue to be tight in the Japanese port, with some suppliers already sold out for April.

Japan did not import any fuel oil for second consecutive week, while it was the fourth week in a row without any HSFO imports. The country’s low sulphur fuel oil (LSFO) exports dropped by 17% on the week, to their lowest levels since the beginning of the year. Japan’s HSFO exports grew 14% on the week to a multi-month high.

Fujairah’s lead times have increased by one day from last week across fuel grades. VLSFO and LSMGO stems now require up to seven days ahead, and HSFO380 stems nine days ahead.

Fuel availability has improved in Port Suez, after supplies dwindled during the Suez Canal blockage last month. Egyptian refineries prioritised bunkering of tugboats and other rescue vessels over resupplying local bunker suppliers in Port Suez during the refloating of the stranded ultra-large container ship Ever Given. The week-long freeing mission therefore delayed resupply, leaving local bunker suppliers with only limited volumes of HSFO380 left to sell. Bunker suppliers in Port Suez have now replenished their stocks of VLSFO and LSMGO, although LSMGO remains tight in the Egyptian port.
Source: ENGINE (https://engine.online/)

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