SINGAPORE: Asia’s 0.5% very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) crack held steady on Thursday as crude oil prices dipped, while the front-month time spread dipped following a recent spike in the backwardation structure.
The VLSFO market has firmed over the past week amid few signs of easing supply tightness for finished-grade VLSFO as blendstock supplies remain thin.
The front-month crack rose 2 cents a barrel from yesterday to $16.75 a barrel above Dubai crude, while the front-month time spread slipped 25 cents to $17.50 a tonne on Thursday, Refinitiv-Eikon data showed.
This came amid elevated trade liquidity in the fuel oil paper markets on Thursday, broker sources said.
Meanwhile, Singapore residual fuel oil inventories rose 6% in the week to Jan. 12, climbing further away from multi-month lows at the end of 2021 despite a dip in weekly net import volumes, official data showed on Thursday.
Onshore fuel oil stocks rose by 1.29 million barrels, or about 202,000 tonnes, to a seven-week high of 22.34 million barrels, or 3.32 million tonnes, in the week to Wednesday, Enterprise Singapore data showed.
The increase helped lift residual fuel inventories further away from a three-month low of 19.56 million barrels in the week to Dec. 29.
The weekly inventories, however, were steady from year-ago levels and slightly below the 2021 weekly average of 22.48 million barrels.
Singapore fuel oil net imports were at a two-week low of 786,000 tonnes in the week to Wednesday, down 19% from the previous week but above the 2021 weekly average of 660,000 tonnes. Weekly figures, however, are volatile.
The largest net imports were from the floating storage hub of Malaysia at 310,000 tonnes, followed by Brazil at 206,000 tonnes and 67,000 tonnes each from Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.