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SINGAPORE: Marine bunker fuel sales at Fujairah port in the United Arab Emirates recovered to five-month highs in January, latest data showed, in line with stronger refuelling demand globally following Red Sea events.

January sales, excluding lubricants, climbed 6.6% from the same month last year to 674,632 cubic metres (about 668,000 metric tons), based on Fujairah Oil Industry Zone (FOIZ) data, published by S&P Global Commodity Insights.

This was also the first time in more than a year in which the monthly sales posted an annual increase, past data showed.

Ships have been topping up more at bunker hubs globally to secure fuel at more competitive prices after vessels re-routed around Africa to avoid potential attacks.

Sales at the world’s top bunker hub Singapore had posted a 12.1% yearly climb in January.

Fujairah’s high-sulphur bunker sales in January rose 23.8% from December to 207,124 cubic metres, the data showed.

Sales of high-sulphur marine fuels have trended higher at key hubs as more scrubber-installed ships came online in recent years.

Meanwhile, low-sulphur bunker sales of residual fuels and marine gasoils totalled 467,508 cubic metres at Fujairah, down 4.8% from December.

Oil falls as sticky US inflation heightens demand concerns

This lowered January’s market share of low-sulphur bunkers to 69% from 75% in the previous month and raised that of high-sulphur bunkers to 31% from 25%.

Fujairah retained its position as the world’s third-largest bunker hub in 2023, though sales have trended lower in the past years amid increased geopolitical risk in the Middle East that raised war insurance premiums.

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