MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Jan 16
The Bunker Review was contributed by Marine Bunker Exchange (MABUX)
MABUX World Bunker Index (consists of a range of prices for 380 HSFO, 180 HSFO and MGO (Gasoil) in the main world hubs) continued firm downward trend on Jan.15:
380 HSFO: USD/MT 382.51 (-2.17)
VLSFO: USD/MT 639.00 (-15.00)
MGO: USD/MT 680.95 (-9.50)
Meantime, world oil indexes fell on Jan.15 on concerns that the Phase 1 trade deal between the United States and China, the world's biggest oil users, may not boost demand as the U.S. intends to keep tariffs on Chinese goods until a second phase.
Brent for March settlement declined by $0.49 to $64.00 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. West Texas Intermediate for February fell by $0.42 to $57.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Brent benchmark traded at the premium of $6.19 to WTI. Gasoil for February delivery lost $3.75.
Today morning global oil indexes turned into slight upward correction.
Under the Phase 1 trade agreement, China will buy $18.5 billion more in U.S. energy products in the first year and $33.9 billion in the second. However, market remained cautious. Trump said he would remove all U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports as soon as the two countries completed Phase 2 of their trade agreement, adding he does not expect there to be a Phase 3 pact.
OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo said, OPEC+ members will remain united in their stewardship of the oil market, whether or not their current production cuts are extended beyond their currently scheduled March expiry. OPEC, Russia and nine other countries are entering their fourth year of production cuts aimed at supporting oil prices, with the current deal that went into force January 1 calling on the coalition to slash 1.7 million b/d of output through March. Saudi Arabia has also pledged to cut a further 400,000 bpd if all other members respect their production quotas. Earlier this year Russia has suggested that it may seek to exit the production cuts. The alliance will meet again March 5-6 in Vienna to decide on the future of the deal.
Russia’s government, including Energy Minister Alexander Novak, resigned on Wednesday in an unexpected move after President Vladimir Putin said that he would be looking to make amendments to the Russian constitution. Putin’s proposals for constitutional amendments include giving more powers to the Parliament. Whoever takes over Russia’s energy ministry, they will have to hold a communication channel open to OPEC and its leader Saudi Arabia, because Russia has been instrumental in the ongoing OPEC+ oil production cuts. Still, Russia’s energy policy in the global oil and gas markets will continue to be dictated by Putin.
European nations insist they still want to save the Iran nuclear deal, but to do that they now need to turn up the pressure on Tehran. Germany, France and the U.K. triggered a dramatic escalation in the standoff with Iran on Jan.14, starting formal action against the Islamic Republic for breaching restrictions on uranium enrichment set out in the 2015 accord. Violating the terms of the deal marks a dangerous new course that could see Iran coming closer to developing a nuclear weapon and leaves the so-called EU-3 with little choice but to start the agreement’s dispute resolution mechanism. The EU will first try to resolve Iran’s nuclear violations within an initial 15-day period set out in the accord. If that fails, the foreign ministers of signatory nations, including China and Russia, would gather to debate the matter and would have the option of sending Iran back to the UN Security Council to face even stiffer international sanctions.
The U.S. government is threatening Baghdad not to kick out American troops from the country. The State Department threatened to shut down Iraq’s access to its own bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a move that could cripple Iraq’s financial system. Besides, a U.S. troop withdrawal could easily relaunch a sectarian civil war in Iraq, and Kirkuk region would be the first to fall. The only reason ISIS has been kept from taking over this region entirely is the effort of a U.S.-led international anti-ISIS coalition, in which Kurdish Peshmerga forces played an integral role since 2014. A withdrawal of U.S. troops at this point will ensure a return of ISIS, and a sectarian conflict is exactly what the Islamic State is hoping for. The situation in Iraq has become potential upward driver for fuel prices recently.
Russia said U.S. sanctions could delay the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline until next year. Just 160 km of the total length of the 2,460 km two-string line is left to lay after contractor Allseas halted pipe-laying work due to US sanctions signed into law in mid-December threatening measures against companies helping to build the project. Russia is expected to fit out an existing vessel of its own -- the Akademik Cherskiy -- to lay the final kilometers of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Nord Stream 2 - which has been criticized by the European Commission, the US and countries in eastern Europe for focusing too much European gas import capacity on one route and one source - will double the Russia-Germany subsea gas export corridor to 110 Bcm/year.
China’s oil demand may only grow by 2.4 percent this year, down from 5.2 percent in 2019. The slowdown coincides with economic deceleration. At the same time, China has amassed an enormous strategic oil reserve in the last few years, growing from 191 million barrels in 2015 to as much as 800 million barrels last year. China’s import demand was bolstered by this stockpiling; should it slow down or cease altogether it would amount to another knock on demand.
Global availability of VLSFO – compliant fuel – is still an issue on global bunker market. Despite the reports of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) that 29 of Singapore’s 45 licensed bunker suppliers have 0.50% sulphur fuel oil ‘available now’ and all but two have IMO 2020-compliant marine gasoil (MGO), there are still reports of delays in barge deliveries and of a lack of compliant product. In India, a lack of IMO 2020-compliant fuel threatens to bring coastal shipping operations on the East Coast to halt. In Egypt, meanwhile, there is said to be very limited availability of compliant fuel as well. As a result, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has issued a circular saying it puts ‘no restrictions on fuel oil’ for ships using the canal ‘until ratification of MARPOL Annex VI’ by Egypt.
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 2.5 million barrels from the previous week. At 428.5 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are at the five year average for this time of year. Analysts had expected the authority to report an inventory decline of 750,000 barrels for the period. A week earlier, the EIA estimated inventories had added 1.2 million barrels, after for the last week of 2019 it reported an inventory decline of 11.5 million barrels. Crude production for the week ended Jan. 10 rose to 13 million barrels per day (bpd).
We expect bunker prices may go down today in a range of minus 2-4 USD for IFO and minus 2-9 USD for MGO.