MABUX Bunker Weekly Review
The review was contributed by Marine Bunker Exchange
Some weeks ago, it looked like oil and fuel demand recovery would not have V-shape mode, but the recent resurgence in COVID-19 cases in many parts of the world and the real possibility of new lockdowns has slowed the fragile recovery again. The World Bunker Index MABUX showed insignificant irregular changes in the last 7 days – the same trend as week before. The 380 HSFO index rose slightly: from 303 to 305 USD/ MT (+2 USD), VLSFO gained 1 USD: from 361 to 362 USD / MT, MGO was steady: 443 USD / MT (0 USD). The global price difference between 380 HSFOs and VLSFOs (the so-called Scrubber Spread (SS)) averaged USD 56.59 USD (57.06 USD a week before). Meantime, it was registered a sharp drop of average SS spread in both: Rotterdam and Singapore last week: minus 13.83 USD to 51.00 USD and minus 10.56 USD to 60.67 USD respectively. The possible reason could be the state of VLSFO oversupply in both hubs. Today both SS daily indexes have narrowed to the same level again: 50 USD.
Cuts by the OPEC+ combined with sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, hitting supplies of heavier crude and forcing processors in the U.S. and India to boost buying of high-sulfur fuel oil to use as an alternative feedstock in their refineries. The recent demand surge also coincided with a seasonal boost from the Middle East, which imports fuel oil for use in electricity generation during the hotter summer months. This trend can form an upward driver for 380 HSFO in a short term.
Meantime, Yara Marine Technologies, one of the major players in the marine scrubber segment, has announced it is shifting its focus to other technologies as the business case for exhaust gas cleaning systems declines due to COVID-19 and low oil and fuel prices. Yara is one of the so-called "Big three" Group (Wartsila, Alfa Laval and Yara Marine) which held around 75% of the entire scrubber market in 2018.
Market uncertainty persists. Nobody knows where demand will go in the immediate term, and there are doubts for the medium and long term as well. Bunker prices continue to consolidate around current levels.