Beijing-based commodity market information provider JLC Network Technology Co. recently shared its JLC China Bunker monthly report for December 2022 with Manifold Times through an exclusive arrangement:
Bunker Fuel Demand
China tallies a dip in bonded bunker fuel sales in December
China tallied a dip in its bonded bunker fuel sales in December 2022, amid dwindling consumption, a weak global economy and the tightening supply of bonded resources in northern regions.
The country sold about 1.53 million mt of bonded bunker fuel in the month, edging down by 0.65% month on month, JLC’s data shows. Specifically, the sales by Chimbusco, SinoBunker and China ChangJiang Bunker (Sinopec) slipped to 550,000 mt, 50,000 mt and 40,000 mt in the month respectively, while those by Sinopec Zhoushan climbed to 590,000 mt. In addition, suppliers with local licenses sold approximately 300,000 mt.
China saw a rebound in its bonded bunker fuel exports in November, owing to an uptick in domestic low-sulfur fuel oil (LSFO) production, also because of a relatively low base in October. The country exported about 1.29 million mt of bonded bunker fuel in November, a bounce of 4.95% month on month, according to the data from the General Administration of Customs of PRC (GACC).
Among the exports were close to 1.23 million mt of heavy bunker fuel and 68,300 mt of light marine gas oil (MGO), accounting for 94.72% and 5.28% of the total respectively.
Bonded bunker fuel exports by enterprises with national licenses amounted to 994,200 mt in the month, occupying 78.37% of the total, while those by enterprises with local licenses climbed to 280,000 mt, making up 21.63%, the data shows.
Some Chinese refineries continued to boost their LSFO production in the month, as state-owned refiners still had sufficient export quotas, resulting in a rise in bonded bunker fuel exports. China tallied about 1.40 million mt of LSFO output by Chinese refiners in November, growing by 5.34% month on month and 37.25% year on year, JLC’s data shows.
However, with domestic bonded bunker fuel prices falling, it was less profitable for refineries to produce LSFO. Under the interplay of abundant export quotas and fewer margins, most refineries maintained largely stable LSFO production in the month, putting a cap on the monthly margin growth.
Also underlying the increase in the exports was the relatively low base in the previous month. China’s bonded bunker fuel exports plunged to 1.23 million mt in October 2022, hitting a 31-month low, GACC data shows.
On a year-on-year comparison, however, the exports plunged by 30.23% in November, GACC data shows. The plunge mainly came as demand from the global shipping market had been strongly hit by the epidemic recurrence over the year.
Domestic bunker fuel demand shrinks further in December
Domestic-trade bunker fuel demand shrank further in December as most downstream buyers still held a wait-and-see attitude when the negative impact of the epidemic lingered, though China gradually removed its virus-related restrictions.
The demand for heavy bunker fuel contracted to 340,000 mt in the month, down by 20,000 mt or 5.56% from November, JLC’s data indicates. Meanwhile, domestic-trade light bunker fuel demand slid to around 120,000 mt, a drop of 10,000 mt or 7.69% month on month. Light bunker fuel demand also moved lower, as buyers who were bearish on the bunker fuel market continued to base their purchases on rigid demand, despite a decline in prices of marine gas oil (MGO).
Bunker Fuel Supply
China’s Nov bonded bunker fuel imports rise to 12-month high
China’s bonded bunker fuel imports extended gains and hit a 12-month high in November when domestic supply stayed relatively tight, despite a rise in domestic low-sulfur fuel oil (LSFO) production.
The country imported approximately 630,000 mt of bonded bunker fuel in November, a leap of 25.02% from the previous month, according to data from the General Administration of Customs of PRC (GACC).
Malaysia became the largest supplier in the month, with 361,900 mt of bonded bunker fuel imports from the country, accounting for 57% of the total. Singapore ranked second by exporting 161,500 mt of bonded bunker fuel to China, making up 26%. South Korea took the third place with 106,700 mt, occupying 17%.
Chinese refiners continued to expand their bonded bunker fuel imports in the month as domestic supply was still relatively tight. Although some refineries raised their LSFO production amid sufficient export quotas, others still lacked production enthusiasm as production margins were further squeezed by falling bunker fuel prices.
Tracking a slump in international crude prices, international bunker fuel prices dropped rapidly in the month, and the drop was more significant than that in China’s bonded bunker fuel prices. Therefore, certain market participants were incentivized to increase their bonded bunker fuel imports.
On a year-on-year comparison, China’s bonded bunker fuel imports tumbled by 29.70%, GACC data shows. Underlying the plunge was a boost in domestic LSFO production. The country tallied about 1.40 million mt of LSFO output in November, surging by 37.25% year on year, JLC’s data shows.
China imported an accumulation of about 4.70 million mt of bonded bunker fuel in the first eleven months of 2022, a nosedive of 40.93% year on year, decelerating from a slump of 42.39% in January-October, GACC data shows.
Domestic blended heavy bunker fuel supply decreases in December
Chinese blenders supplied 370,000 mt of heavy bunker fuel in December 2022, a fallback of 20,000 mt or 5.13% from the previous month, JLC’s data indicates.
Domestic blended heavy bunker fuel supply continued to tighten in the month, as blenders preferred low inventory with the year-end drawing near and dared not to make deals easily, though blendstock prices went down. In addition, some small oil suppliers exited the market ahead of the Spring Festival, which also contributed to the supply decline.
Conversely, the supply of domestic blended marine gas oil (MGO) climbed to 170,000 mt, gaining 20,000 mt or 13.33%, the data shows. As Chinese refiners had achieved their oil product export targets for 2022, the supply of diesel that flowed into the bunker field increased.
Bunker Prices, Profits
JLC Network Technology Co., Ltd is recognized as the leading information provider in China. We specialized in providing the transparent, high-value, authoritative market intelligence and professional analysis in commodity market. Our expertise covers oil, gas, coal, chemical, plastic, rubber, fertilizer and metal industry, etc.
JLC China Bunker Fuel Market Monthly Report is published by JLC Network Technology Co., Ltd every month on China bunker market, demand, supply, margin, freight index, forecast and so on. The report provides full-scale & concise insight into China bunker oil market.
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Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (November 2022)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (October 2022)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (September 2022)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (August 2022)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (July 2022)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (June 2022)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (May 2022)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (April 2022)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (March 2022)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (February 2022)
Related: JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (January 2022)
Note: China-based commodity market information provider JLC Technology has been providing Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times China bunker volume data since 2020. Data from that period is available here.
Photo credit: JLC Network Technology
Published: 12 January, 2023
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