MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Aug 15
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) demonstrated firm upward correction on Aug.14:
380 HSFO - USD/MT – 362.32 (+6.39)
180 HSFO - USD/MT – 406.08 (+6.51)
MGO - USD/MT – 640.56 (+8.52)
Meantime, world oil indexes fell sharply on Aug.14 as weak economic data out of China and crude oil inventory gains in the United States’ spooked oil markets.
Brent for October settlement decreased by $1.82 to $59.48 a barrel on the London-based ICE. Futures Europe exchange. West Texas Intermediate for September delivery declined by $1.87 to $55.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Brent benchmark traded at the premium of $4.25 to WTI. Gasoil for September fell by $15.00.
Today morning oil indexes turned into the phase of insignificant irregular changes so far.
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 1.6 million barrels from the previous week. This compares with an unexpected inventory build of 2.4 million barrels for the previous week that weighed on prices since it followed three weeks of considerable inventory draws. At 440.5 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are about 3% above the five year average for this time of year. In production, the EIA said refineries processed 17.3 million barrels daily last week, churning out 10.2 million bpd of gasoline and 5.1 million bpd of distillate fuels. This compared with 10.4 million bpd in gasoline production and 5.3 million bpd in distillate fuel production a week earlier.
Iran and the UK have exchanged documents and Britain has shown interest in resolving the issue with the Iranian oil tanker it seized in early July. However, British side said on the contrary, that Iranian reports of imminent release of the tanker, as soon as today, were not correct and the UK will facilitate the release of the Iranian oil tanker detained by Gibraltar if Iran gave guarantees that the crude loaded on that vessel wasn’t bound for Syria. The U.S. in turn is trying to garner a broad international support for escorting oil tankers in the Gulf after the recent incidents. So far only the UK has said it would join the U.S. in protecting tankers.
Two energy authorities reduced their crude oil demand outlooks in their latest reports. The U.S. Energy Information Administration cut its demand growth outlook by 70,000 bpd, and the International Energy Agency lowered its own by 100,000 bpd. These numbers support a growing worry about a slowdown in global oil demand that has already begun weighing on prices and will likely continue to do so in the observable future. Meantime, every agency making a forecast about the fundamentals of any commodity is forced to make a number of assumptions as the information is never complete and markets are dynamic, as are geopolitics. In the case of oil and fuel, these are the U.S.-China trade war as well as new talk of further OPEC cuts.
OPEC’s production cuts were insufficient as well, with most analysts agreeing that global oil inventories are still too high. But OPEC has limited options to cut even further, with its largest oil producer, Saudi Arabia, already making large sacrifices in this regard. Russia, too, is likely uninterested in further cuts.
Saudi Aramco held its first earnings call with investors, and also reported profits of $46.9 billion for the first six months of 2019. That was down 12 percent from the same period a year earlier, the result of lower oil prices. However, that figure still makes Aramco the world’s most profitable company. Still, as investors gauge the company, one of the biggest uncertainties is how Aramco pays dividends to the Saudi government.
China has promised tens of billions of dollars of investment in oil, gas and petrochemical projects in the U.S., particularly in Alaska, the Gulf Coast and Appalachia. But the trade war may prevent those investments from being realized. China last year was the third largest importer of American oil after Canada and South Korea, but analysts say China could target U.S. crude in its next round of retaliatory tariffs. That would mark a rapid reversal from only a few years ago, when state-owned Chinese companies were investing heavily in U.S. oil and gas projects, primarily in Texas.
For the first time in eight years, Russia is on track to surpass Saudi Arabia in the size of its foreign exchange, a sign that Riyadh is faring much worse with lower oil prices. It seems that OPEC can no longer ignore Russia because of its importance as an oil exporter and its economy. The Russians will continue doing just enough to engage with the Saudis on oil production.
We expect bunker prices will decline today in a range of minus 10-15 USD.