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JLC China Bunker Oil Market Monthly Report (April, 2020)

14 May 2020

Beijing-based commodity market information provider JLC Network Technology Co. on Wednesday (13 May) shared its JLC China Bunker monthly report for March with Manifold Times through an exclusive arrangement: 

JLC China Bunker Market Monthly Report (Apr, 2020) 

Demand and Supply

Bunker Oil Demand

Bonded bunker fuel sales rise in April on competitive prices

In April, China’s bonded bunker fuel sales were about 1.15 million mt,  JLC data showed. The bonded bunker fuel demand was propped up by competitive prices of low-sulfur bunker fuel. Despite the overall weak shipping demand amid the rampant coronavirus, Chinese refiners started mass production of low sulfur bunker fuel. Benefited from short distance ol supply of fine resources, prices of China’s low- sulfur bunker fuel exported through major domestic ports were equivalent to or lower than those from Singapore. With more shares in the market, sales of bonded bunker fuel in April grew slightly. Chimbusco and Sinopec sold aboul 460,000 mt and 448,000 mt of bonded bunker fuel, respectively. New enterprises in the China (Zhejiang) Pilot Free Trade Zone sold 138,000 mt. Sales of China ChangJiang Bunker (Sinopec) and SinoBunker amounted to about 104,000 mt.

China’s bonded bunker fuel sales rose to 1,105 million mt in March, up by 5.37% year on year, according to GAC data. With the effective control ol COVID-19 In March, the improving shipping demand on resumption of Chinese ports facilitated the bonded bunker fuel market. Besides, domestic refiners actually engaged in supplying low sulfur bunker fuel, stimulated by the export tax rebate policy. Relying less on imports, China’s bonded bunker fuel sales grew in March. Specifically, bonded bunker fuel sales were 442,000 mt for Chimbusco, 438,000 mt for Slnopec, 62,000 mt for China ChangJiang Bunker (Sinopec), 54,000 mt for SinoBunker and 109,000 mt for new enterprises In the China (Zhejiang) Pilot Free Trade Zone. 

Domestic bunker fuel demand rallies in April 

Domestic bunker fuel demand ralied In April. As operations were returning to normal, bulk demand continued improving, among which demand for coal, metal ore and grain recovered. As a result, coastal transport demand was stable to better and bunker fuel demand recovered briefly. 

Besides, some end-users stocked up on low bunker fuel prices, contributing to the ongoing recovery of bunker fuel demand. The demand for dornestic-trade heavy bunker fuel was about 260,000 mt in the month, up by 60,000 mt or 30% from the previous month. The demand for light bunker fuel was 85,000 mt in April, up by 15,000 mt from March on increasing demand amid stable trades when fishermen made purchases mainly based on needs.

Bunker Oil Supply

Bonded bunker fuel imports drop 37.55% In March 

China’s bonded bunker fuel imports were 747,200 mt in March, a drop of 37.55% year on year, GAC data showed. Bonded bunker fuel imports plummeted in March on sluggish sentiment and abundant domestic supply. Rampant COVID-19 pandemic overseas and dives of international crude prices suppressed buying interests of bonded bunker fuel traders. Meanwhile, as domestic refiners started mass production of low-sulfur fuel oil under the VAT rebate policy, China relied less on bunker fuel imports. 

Affected by the virus, there were great changes in import sources and imports from Southeast Asia slumped. Specifically, the largest import source for China was South Korea with 152,000 mt of bunker fuel, followed by Egypt wlh 134,000 mt. The imports from Malaysia were only 132,000 mt. The imports went 101,000 mt from UAE, 95,000 mt from Indonesia and 53,000 mt from Japan. Besides, there were imports of 30,000 mt, 25,000 mt and 21,000 mt from Russia, Iraq and Singapore, respectively. 

Domestic blended bunker fuel supply remains low in April 

Chinese blend producers supplied a total of around 300,000 mt of heavy bunker fuel In April, a rise of 70,000 mt or 30.43% month on month, JLC data showed. As restrictions were lifted in most parts, shipping demand was getting back on track and the bunker fuel market was returning to normal. Therefore, domestic trade bunker fuel supply in April rose slightly than March. However, affected by dives of international crude prices, bunker fuel prices stayed low, and most blend producers in Northeast China halted operations on declining profits at the end of the month. On the whole, domestic trade bunker fuel supply stayed low in April. Light bunker fuel supply was about 10,000 mt, up by 5,000 mt from March.

Bunker prices, profits

Editorial Director

Amanda Zhao



Sales  Beijing

Tony Tang




Rachel Xu




Ginny Teo



Tobey Li





JLC Network Technology Co., Ltd is recognised as the leading information provider in China. We specialise in providing transparent, high-value. authoritative market intelligence and professional analysis in commodity markets. Our expertise covers oil, gas. coal, chemical, plastic, rubber. fertilizer and metal industry, etc.

JLC China Bunker Oil Market Monthly Report is published by JLC Network Technology Co., Ltd every month on China bunker market’s, demand, supply, margin, freight index. forecast and so on. The report provides full-scale & concise insight into China’s bunker oil market. 

All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be photocopied, reproduced, retransmitted, put into a computer system or otherwise redistributed without prior authorization from JLC. 

Photo credit: JLC Network Technology Co., Ltd
Published: 14 May, 2020

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