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MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Jan.14

MABUX World Bunker Index (consists of a range of prices for 380 HSFO, 180 HSFO and MGO (Gasoil) in the main world hubs) changed insignificant and irregular on Jan.13:

380 HSFO – USD/MT – 388.82(+0.72)
VLSFO – USD/MT – 660.00(-1.00)
MGO – USD/MT – 702.06(+0.75)

Meantime, world oil indexes fell on Jan.13 as investors shifted their focus away from easing Mideast tensions to this week’s scheduled signing of an initial U.S.-China trade deal.

Brent for March settlement declined by $0.78 to $64.20 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. West Texas Intermediate for February fell by $0.96 to $58.08 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Brent benchmark traded at the premium of $6.12 to WTI. Gasoil for February delivery lost $16.75.

Today morning global oil indexes do not have any firm trend.

It is expected that the U.S. and China agreement is already largely discounted in the price level, and is unlikely to provide a strong boost to oil prices. A U.S.-China trade deal is due to be signed in Washington on Jan.15. The Trump administration has invited at least 200 people to a ceremony for the signing, but the two nations have not yet finalised details of what will be signed.

This year, Chinese crude oil demand growth could be just half of the estimated growth for 2019, and the lowest growth pace since the financial crisis in 2008. Apparent demand for oil in China—calculated by adding domestic production to net imports and changes to inventories—is set to increase by just 2.4 percent in 2020, less than half the 5.2-percent growth estimated for 2019. the impact of the U.S.-China trade war will continue to be felt in the Chinese economy, whose growth will linger at 6 percent.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to curb U.S. President Donald Trump’s power to strike Iran. Meanwhile, in comments to Fox News, Vice President Mike Pence said the Islamic Republic has asked militias in the Middle East not to carry out attacks against U.S. interests. The situation in Iran remained volatile, however, as its citizens protested after the government admitted on Jan.11 that it had mistakenly show down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing all 176 people on board. Iran’s government said it was forming a working group to probe the crash and compensate victims.

OPEC not only continued to cut its crude oil production in December 2019, but it also managed to reach its deeper-cut target for Q1 2020 a month earlier than planned. As in all previous months, Saudi Arabia overcomplied significantly with its share of the cuts, helping the cartel achieve the new quota effective January a month early (Saudi Arabia’s December oil production was 9.82 million bpd: a way below the December quota of 10.3 million bpd. The Saudis were still compensating for rogue OPEC members Iraq and Nigeria, which, despite cutting their respective production, were still not complying with their December quotas. OPEC’s total crude oil production stood at 29.55 million bpd in December, down by 100,000 bpd compared to November.

Rystad Energy continues to see a downward risk to prices, with further pressure on OPEC to implement even deeper production cuts in order to keep Brent oil prices around $60 per barrel through 2020. Oil prices still react dramatically to news of tensions in the Persian Gulf, although less dramatically now than they would have before the US shale revolution. The importance of the region for oil markets is obvious, given that seven Gulf countries alone – Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE, Kuwait, Iran, Oman and Qatar – produced around 24 million bpd of crude oil in December 2019. Rystad Energy forecasts that the ‘call’ on OPEC will average about 28.3 million bpd during the final nine months of 2020. By comparison, OPECs actual production in December 2019 was 29.6 million bpd, and the cartel’s new implied production target for the first quarter of 2020 is 29.2 million bpd.

The Chinese Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) has rooted out two cases of ships using fuel that did not comply with the new IMO 2020 regulations. In statement issued on 10 January, the Standard Club revealed that it had received reports about the incidents. In one case, the ship was under a Port State Control inspection in Qingdao when the MSA verified the use of fuel oil with a sulphur content of .6777% mm. The MSA also found that a ship berthed in Xiamen has been burning non-compliant fuel. The ship had been at berth nearly six days after changing over to compliant fuel – and it is likely that previous high sulphur fuel residue remained in the engine fuel system resulting in emissions over the China ECA limit. It is ‘not clear yet whether the MSA will fine the ships for the IMO 2020 violations.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said, by 2040, India’s oil consumption is set to increase at the fastest pace than any major economy in the world as the country is becoming increasingly influential in global energy markets. Currently, India is the world’s third largest consumer of oil, the fourth largest oil refiner, and a net exporter of refined products. India’s oil demand growth rate is expected to surpass the growth pace of China in the middle of the 2020s, making India a very attractive market for refinery investment. Besides, India’s oil import dependency is set to rise significantly in coming decades, from an already high dependency of over 80 percent in 2018.

We expect bunker prices may go down today in a range of minus 3-6 USD for IFO and minus 9-15 USD for MGO.
Source: MABUX

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