Maritime market update: focus on demand for Q2 fuel prices
Risavika LNG gained 1.6 % week on week for May contracts, reaching 29.17 EUR/MWh. The European gas prices were supported by a colder weather forecast for most of April and start of gas injection season. Strong heating demand in the market with lower pipeline gas and LNG supplies resulted in high reliance on underground inventories, leaving them at historically low levels for the start of inventories injection season. This spring and summer gas demand will be higher due to need for injections, providing support for the gas prices. On the other hand, industrial gas demand in most European countries remains below the three-year average, as economic activity remains below the pre-pandemic trend. Despite weak industrial demand projections, gas prices remain supported for Q2 2021 on colder weather forecast and need for inventories.
Benchmark crude prices weakened after OPEC+ decision to increase oil production starting from May despite the expectation that production cuts would continue for the next month. The decision by OPEC+ together with uncertainty about oil demand recovery in Europe have impacted front month oil products prices. Fuel Oil 3.5 has dropped by 5.1 % and closed at 337.76 USD/t for May contracts, low sulfur oil (MFO 0.5) has lost 3.7 % and was seen at 435.31 USD/t, and marine gasoil (MGO 0.1) has dropped by 2.3 % and was seen at 490.38 EUR/MWh. The OPEC + will meet again at the end of April to evaluate the market situation and review the output policy, further keeping prices in check. The demand for oil and inventories data will play a major role in future oil production policy.