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Argus Media: Asian HSFO market falls on supply flows to Singapore

12 May 2022

The Asian 380cst high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) market has weakened since late last week because of expectations of increased cargo flows to Singapore this month.

11 May, 2022

Up to 989,800t (206,000 b/d) of HSFO is expected to arrive in Singapore from the west of Suez in May, the highest since the 1.09mn t that arrived in September 2019, according to data from oil analytics firm Vortexa. The reason for the higher supply flow to Singapore is unclear.

Venezuela is the top supplier at 280,800t. Russia is the second-largest supply source, accounting for 16.3pc or 161,300t, the highest since 174,100t in April 2021.

More Russian cargoes could head to Singapore following a ban imposed by the US and Canada on oil imports from Russia and a proposed phasing out of EU oil imports from Russia by the end of this year, market participants said.

The 380cst HSFO east-west spreads for the forward month have been falling steadily since late last week, hitting around a two-month low of $16/t on 10 May. They were last lower in early March when it hit the low teens, according to brokers. The spreads were in a $40s-50s/t range in the second half of April.

HSFO supply flows from Japan to Singapore this month are likely to hit a three-month high of 127,000t, Vortexa data show. The higher exports could be because some secondary units at Japanese refineries remain offline, a source familiar with operations at Japan’s largest refiner Eneos told Argus.

Eneos shut its 145,000 b/d Sendai and 129,000 b/d Chiba refineries from mid-March to the end of April following an earthquake, although some secondary units may not be on line yet. Eneos halted operations again at the Sendai plant on 9 May because of a technical issue.

Other Japanese refineries could have boosted run rates while the Sendai and Chiba plants were shut, resulting in more HSFO output as a by-product.

The 380cst HSFO backwardation, or the balance May-June timespread, also narrowed to over a two-month low of $5.75/t yesterday on analyst and trader expectations of higher supply flows to Singapore. The backwardation was last narrower on 4 March at $4.75/t.

By Sarah Giam


Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 12 May, 2022

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