Bunker sales in Singapore hit over 5-year high in May as ship arrivals surge Ship’s crew

SINGAPORE, June 14 (Reuters) – Monthly sales of marine fuel, also known as bunker fuel, hit a five-year high in May at the world’s largest fueling hub Singapore as vessel arrivals soared amid heavy container throughput, official data showed on Wednesday showed.

Bunker sales in Singapore are an indicator of sentiment in one of the world’s busiest ports, and demand is also impacting Asian fuel oil refinery margins.

Sales increased for the third straight month to 4.52 million tons, up 6.2% month-on-month, data from Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority showed.

Monthly sales figures were last higher in January 2018 at 4.61 million tons, historical data showed.

The increase reflected higher vessel bunkering calls, which totaled 3,631 calls in April, extending gains for the third straight month.

“Both container and bulk arrivals by gross tonnage are at their highest levels since 2010. There is also a sharp increase in container ships bound for China in May,” said Yaw Yan Chong, director of Refinitiv Oil Research in Asia.

“We believe a majority of the record-breaking container arrivals are en route to China after taking bunkers here,” Yaw added.

Bunker prices remained more competitive in Singapore in May than other regional ports in Asia, which have attracted more ships to refuel in Singapore in recent months, trade sources said.

“Singapore VLSFO prices were more competitive in May than Zhoushan in May and to date are cheaper than Zhoushan in June,” said Ivan Mathews, FGE head of refining and global fuel oil services in Asia.

However, the tighter VLSFO situation in Singapore could narrow the discount versus Zhoushan and put some pressure on VLSFO selling this month, Mathews added.

Sales of low-sulfur fuel oils totaled 2.73 million tonnes in May, up 1% from April, calculations based on the MPA data showed.

Meanwhile, sales of high-sulfur fuel oil jumped 18% from April to 1.40 million tons in May, while sales of marine gas oil jumped 4% month-on-month to 340,400 tons.

Some bunker traders were surprised by the data and said volumes were higher than expected.

“We haven’t seen a big jump in volume from us, although demand was certainly no less than in April,” said a senior bunker fuel trader in Singapore.

Bunker Sales and Bunker Ship Calls in Singapore by Month:

Month Total sales (‘000 tons) Mother Me and Ship arrivals (for bunkering) Mother Me and
22nd of January 4,033.40 -3.5% -10.4% 3.115 -0.90% -13.3%
February 22nd 3,501.60 -13.2% -15.0% 2,805 -10.00% -13.4%
March 22 3,770.10 7.7% -10.2% 3,020 7.70% -12.7%
April 22nd 3,742.30 -0.7% -12.1% 3,025 0.20% -12.5%
May 22 4,115.50 10.0% 1.1% 3.168 4.70% -5.4%
June 22 3,754.10 -8.8% -8.7% 2,940 -7.20% -9.3%
22nd of July 4,120.60 9.8% 1.4% 3.181 8.20% -3.4%
August 22nd 4,116.30 -0.1% 1.1% 3.212 1.00% 0.7%
September 22nd 3,967.60 -3.6% 0.8% 3.155 -1.80% 1.8%
22 Oct 4,251.00 7.1% -0.1% 3,431 8.70% 8.4%
22nd of November 4,372.70 2.9% 3.6% 3,299 -3.80% 2.7%
December 22 4,214.90 -3.6% 0.9% 3.311 0.40% 5.3%
January 23 4,376.90 3.8% 8.5% 3,447 4.10% 10.7%
February 23 3,794.30 -13.3% 8.4% 3,063 -11.10% 9.2%
March 23rd 4,175.30 10.0% 10.7% 3,476 13.50% 15.1%
April 23 4,253.50 1.9% 13.7% 3,495 0.50% 15.5%
23. May* 4,518.30 6.2% 9.8% 3,631 3.90% 14.6%

Monthly bunker sales by type in 1,000 tons:

Month LSFO 100 cst LSFO 180 cst LSFO 380 cst MFO 180 cst MFO 380 cst MFO 500 cst MGO LSMGO Other
22nd of January 460.10 93.00 2007.90 0.10 1036.70 85.60 13.80 336.10 0.00
February 22nd 459.60 93.80 1733.10 0.20 795.90 128.10 10.60 280.50 0.00
March 22 555.10 100.60 1741.70 0.00 962.60 124.90 9.70 271.80 3.70
April 22nd 533.00 111.60 1832.60 0.00 914.50 27.20 7.90 278.60 36.70
May 22 540.20 103.30 1995.60 0.00 999.90 72.30 5.80 375.80 22.60
June 22 382.10 90.40 1881.00 0.00 1045.90 47.40 6.90 272.70 27.60
22nd of July 439.10 57.30 2009.10 0.00 1255.30 12.00 13.70 313.80 20.30
August 22nd 397.10 53.90 2059.50 0.00 1227.50 2.90 11.30 a.m 330.40 32.60
September 22nd 461.20 67.90 1944.40 0.00 1114.20 1.30 6.30 a.m 329.40 42.80
22 Oct 363.70 68.40 2154.30 0.00 1309.70 1.60 11.10 305.10 37.10
22nd of November 697.60 61.20 1992.90 0.00 1237.20 12.20 22.80 307.80 40.90
December 22 372.30 73.70 2150.30 0.00 1265.80 0.00 20.60 285.60 46.60
January 23 429.40 73.60 2298.30 0.00 1226.10 0.00 10.80 313.70 25.00
February 23 346.44 63.47 1938.52 0.00 1105.58 3.69 6.21 297.02 33.41
March 23rd 539.10 75.10 1960.50 0.10 1235.20 0.50 14.70 315.50 32.20
April 23 589.60 82.10 2033.50 0.00 1164.80 21.70 15.30 312.10 33.30
23. May* 454.50 73.70 2204.10 0.40 1367.70 30.90 27.50 312.90 46.60

(Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore data)

(Reporting by Jeslyn Lerh; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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