MABUX: Bunker prices may change irregular next week
The Bunker Review is contributed by Marine Bunker Exchange
World oil indexes have changed irregular with no firm trend during the week. The price fluctuations were likely caused by early Saudi Arabia reports that it had curbed output instead of increasing it as was expected, increased tensions between Turkey and the United States, and reports of multiple unsold crude oil cargoes around the Atlantic Basin, with producers including Russia and Nigeria cutting oil prices for certain grades.
MABUX World Bunker Index (consists of a range of prices for 380 HSFO, 180 HSFO and MGO at the main world hubs), demonstrated directed downward trend in the period of Aug.09 - Aug.16:
380 HSFO - down from 438.21 to 423.93 USD/MT (-14.28)
180 HSFO - down from 485.21 to 471.50 USD/MT (-13.71)
MGO - down from 672.43 to 669.21 USD/MT (-3.22)
The IEA reported that higher output from Saudi Arabia and Russia have tamped down concerns about supply. The partial recovery in Libya has also eased the danger to the oil market. The IEA slightly revised up its forecast for demand growth in 2019 to 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd), up 0.1 million bpd from last month. For this year, however, demand growth slowed in the second and third quarter, after a blistering first quarter. But it could be temporary taking into consideration Iran sanctions set to take effect in November.
OPEC in turn stated in its monthly report that oil demand growth in 2019 will be lower than originally expected. Global oil demand growth for 2019 was lowered by 20,000 barrels per day to 1.4 million bpd while non-OPEC oil supply in 2019 was revised up by 30,000 bpd to 2.13 million bpd. Meanwhile global oil production in July rose by 680,000 bpd, while total production of OPEC countries rose by 41,000 bpd to 32.32 million bpd despite recent cuts in supply from Saudi Arabia. The boost in production was due to increase in production from Kuwait, Nigeria and the UAE. Saudi Arabia production fell by 200,000 bpd to 10.288 million bpd.
New U.S. sanctions on Russia will take effect later this month, banning the export of sensitive goods and technologies. Russia depends on imported technology and equipment for much of its oil sector. The sanctions, particularly if Europe follows suit, could be damaging, as it would take time to switch over to Asian suppliers or develop home-grown technology.
Global trade war continues. U.S. President Donald Trump announced last week that he planned on doubling the steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey. As a result, the lira is down 30 percent over the past week and 50 percent since the end of July. President Tayyip Erdogan said on Aug.13 he expected attacks on Turkey's economy to continue but predicted the lira would return to rational levels soon. Erdogan has described the lira's fall as the consequence of a plot rather than economic fundamentals. Turkey is a minor player in the energy markets aside from acting as a transit country. The direct impact on global demand for oil and fuel is thus negligible. However, if the crisis spread to other, larger countries, demand could be hit considerably.
The U.S. Administration expects that it will be able to persuade Iran’s oil customers to cut their crude imports from Tehran by as much as 1 million bpd. This reduction would be equal to roughly half of the average Iranian oil exports over the past year, but well below the U.S. target of reducing the Islamic Republic’s oil sales to zero. Nevertheless, 1 million bpd of global oil supply choked off in early November may boost oil and fuel prices.
Despite having proposed to include American crude oil under its list of tariff targets, China left oil off of its list last week when it imposed $16 billion worth of tariffs on U.S. products. The decision was a reflection of China’s import needs, particularly with supplies from Venezuela in decline and supplies from Iran potentially disrupted. Still, Chinese refiners have begun ratcheting down purchases of American oil and LNG anyway, in anticipation of potential tariffs. The trade fight helped push down oil prices last week, as the oil market grew concerned about the impact on the global economy.
India has offered to slash its purchases of oil from Iran by half if the U.S. grants it an exemption on the rest. India is Iran’s second largest buyer of oil, and the extent of the outages in Iran will largely come down to decisions made in New Delhi and Beijing.
The number of working oil rigs in the U.S. rose by 10 to 869 last week, the highest level since March 2015. Producers have recently announced billions of dollars of new investments in the Permian Basin and elsewhere.
Demand for middle distillates (diesel, marine gasoil, and jet fuel) is expected to surge ahead of an upcoming stricter regulation on the fuels used by the shipping industry. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set January 1, 2020, as the starting date from which only low-sulfur fuel oil (0.5%) will be allowed to be used for ships. The severe restrictions on fuel oil’s sulfur content-aimed at reducing emissions-will drive increased demand for middle distillates such as diesel and marine gasoil, which in turn will push up demand for crude oil. This may boost crude oil demand by additional 1.5 million bpd, potentially sending oil prices to $90 a barrel in 2020.
Inventories of middle distillates-one of the most important refinery products-are also closely correlated with oil price trends and with the shape of the oil futures curve, so the pace of distillates demand and their stock levels could be the key determinant for the oil and fuel price changes through the next two years.
We expect bunker prices could be rather volatile and may demonstrate irregular changes next week.
All prices stated in USD / Mton
All time high Brent = $147.50 (July 11, 2008)
All time high Light crude (WTI) = $147.27 (July 11, 2008)