2019 May 20 08:59
The Bunker Review was contributed by Marine Bunker Exchange
MABUX World Bunker Index (consists of a range of prices for 380 HSFO, 180 HSFO and MGO (Gasoil) in the main world hubs) continued upward trend on May 17:
380 HSFO - 418.57(+7.43)
180 HSFO - USD/MT - 464.79(+6.86)
MGO - USD/MT - 668.64(+5.43)
Meantime, world oil indexes edged lower on May 17 due to demand fears amid a standoff in Sino-U.S. trade talks.
Brent for July settlement decreased by $0.41 to $72.21 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. West Texas Intermediate for June delivery dropped by $0.11 to $62.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Brent benchmark traded at the premium of 9.45 to WTI. Gasoil for June lost $8.25.
Today morning oil indexes have turned into slight upward correction.
The escalating trade war between the U.S. and China is keeping oil prices subdued, but the fear premium seems to be growing as tensions across the Middle East threaten outages.
Last week President Trump essentially blacklisted Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies from operating in the U.S., escalating the standoff with China. The Chinese government offered a cautious tone in response to trade actions from Washington, but Beijing and state media are taking an increasingly strident line, which suggests China is not close to backing down. China’s currency slid on the news, as did the Shanghai Composite Index.
The IEA downgraded its demand estimate for 2019 by 90,000 bpd, as a result of an unexpectedly oversupplied first quarter. The lower demand figure ultimately meant that the global oil market was in surplus in the first quarter by about 0.7 million bpd, a larger glut than expected. As per IEA, the U.S.-China trade war could complicate the situation. The OECD estimates that last year’s round of tariffs shaved off a quarter percentage point from GDP in both countries. The latest increase in tariffs could double the impact to a half percentage point by 2020. The IEA’s resume is that the oil market is sending mixed signals. Weaker demand combined with supply outages and slowing but still significant production growth – it gives a confusing picture in which the market is tightening.
After about two weeks of rapid escalation in tension between the U.S. and Iran, there might be some signs of the de-escalation attempts made by the U.S. side. President Trump met with Swiss President Ueli Maurer last week. The Swiss have acted as a backchannel for U.S.-Iran talks in the past, which raised speculation that the White House might be trying to decrease the tension. Privately, Trump has said he doesn’t want war with Iran.
No increased threat seen in Iraq, despite U.S. embassy withdrawal. Royal Dutch Shell said that it was monitoring the security situation in Iraq after the U.S. pulled out embassy staff in Baghdad due to an alleged threat from Iran. Shell, ExxonMobil, BP and others are operating as usual. The decision to remove some workers appears to be a political decision.
The assault on Tripoli by the Libyan National Army (LNA) has fallen into a deadlock, and the ongoing fighting shows no sign of nearing resolution, despite calls for a ceasefire by global powers. For weeks, Libya’s oil production has held up surprisingly well. Output even rose a bit in April by 71,000 bpd, reaching 1.176 million barrels per day (bpd). The increase is impressive in the context of the outbreak of civil war. But even though Libya managed to prevent production and export outages over the last few weeks, it’s not clear that successful streak can continue, especially because a stalemate between the two fighting factions (LNA and the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA))
only increases the odds of an outage.
The recent attacks on Saudi oil tankers near the Persian Gulf could increase the cost of insurance and security, which may ultimately push up oil and fuel prices.
The number of active oil and gas rigs fell again in the United States last week, after a string of losses in the weeks prior, keeping the overall rig count well below year-ago levels for a sixth week in a row. The total number of active oil drilling rigs in the United States fell by 3 to reach 802. The combined oil and gas rig count is 987, with oil seeing a 42-rig decrease year on year. US oil production, too, fell for two weeks in a row, with week ending May 10 coming in at 12.1 million bpd—200,000 bpd off the April 26 high of 12.3 million bpd.
We expect bunker prices may slightly decline today in a range of minus 2-7 USD.