SINGAPORE: Asia’s 0.5% very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) crack and time-spread jumped to near two-year highs on Wednesday amid few signs of easing supply constraints over the near term.
VLSFO markets have gained steadily in recent weeks amid limited refinery output, short arbitrage or blendstock supplies as well as firm demand. The front-month VLSFO time spread spiked to $16 a tonne on Wednesday, up from $11.25 in the previous session. The front-month crack rose to $14.99 a barrel above Dubai crude from Tuesday’s $13.63 a barrel, Refinitiv data in Eikon showed.
Both time spread and crack values are currently at their highest since early 2020. In the physical cargo market, VLSFO cash premiums jumped by $2.47 to $12.39 a tonne above Singapore quotes, despite an absence of trades, its highest since early February 2020.
This came as fuel oil inventories in the Fujairah bunkering and storage hub dropped 16% to a three-week low in the week ended Nov. 22, data released on Wednesday showed.
The lower inventories came amid limited imports from regional and west-of-Suez suppliers, elevated exports as well as firm utility demand and steady bunker consumption at the Fujairah hub, trade sources said.
Fujairah Oil Industry Zone inventories for heavy distillates and residues fell by 1.72 million barrels, or about 270,000 tonnes, to 9.17 million barrels, or 1.44 million tonnes, data via S&P Global Platts showed.
Despite the weekly drop, Fujairah’s inventories have recovered from their recent slump which saw weekly fuel oil stocks average about 7.56 million barrels, or 1.19 million tonnes, throughout September and October.
Compared to the same period last year, Fujairah’s fuel oil inventories were 26% higher.
According to assessments by Refinitiv Oil Research, exports from the UAE climbed to 423,000 tonnes in the week ended Nov. 21, up from 253,000 tonnes in the previous week.
“Early November supply challenges have abated, with Fujairah refineries operating normally and blendstock shortages filled,” according to Refinitiv Oil Research.
No VLSFO or high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) cargo trades were reported in the Singapore trading window for a third straight session.
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