SINGAPORE: Cash differentials and front-month time spreads for Asia's 0.5% very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) firmed on Thursday after Singapore dropped to their lowest levels since late-March. The VLSFO cash premium rose to a 2-1/2 month high of $1.25 a tonne to Singapore quotes on Thursday while Refinitiv data in Eikon showed the front-month time spread climb to a near three-month high of $2 a tonne.
Singapore residual fuel oil inventories fell 5% in the week ended July 7, dropping to a 3-1/2 month low despite steady net import volumes, official data showed on Thursday. Fuel oil flows into east Asia, most of which come to Singapore, for July were assessed at between 4 million tonnes and 4.5 million tonnes and are similar to June volumes of 4.16 million tonnes, the latest assessments by Refinitiv Oil Research on Tuesday showed.
Onshore fuel oil stocks fell by 1.13 million barrels, or about 178,000 tonnes, to 22.82 million barrels, or 3.59 million tonnes, Enterprise Singapore data showed. Compared with a year earlier, the residual fuel stocks were 14% lower and below the 2021 weekly average of 23.25 million barrels.
Singapore net imports of fuel oil were up 20%, in the week to July 7, to a four-week high of 745,000 tonnes, slightly above the 2021 weekly average of 727,000 tonnes. Weekly figures, however, are volatile. The largest net imports were from Russia at 229,000 tonnes, followed by Malaysia at 160,000 tonnes, the United Arab Emirates at 156,000 tonnes and the Netherlands at 114,000 tonnes, a two-month high.
Top destinations of Singapore's top fuel oil net exports were China at 78,000 tonnes, followed by South Korea at just over 19,000 tonnes and Bangladesh at just under 19,000 tonnes. Vitol bought two 20,000-tonne VLSFO cargoes from Trafigura at a $1.25 per tonne premium to Singapore quotes. No high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) cargo trades were reported in the Singapore trading window.
Pakistan's PSO bought a 65,000-tonne 180-cst HSFO cargo with a maximum 3.5% sulphur content from Vitol at a premium of $52.28 per tonne to Middle East quotes on a cost-and-freight (CFR) basis and for delivery over July 21-29. PSO's recently awarded Vitol and BB Energy import tenders for three fuel oil cargoes for July delivery totalling 165,000 tonnes.