Americas Bunkers: Key Market Indicators May 17-21
Retail marine fuel spot pricing moved mostly lower the week of May 10-14 in key ports in the Americas, with direction coming from a volatile crude complex that market participants continue to monitor entering this week.
Spot bunker prices in Latin America experienced mixed fortunes in the week from May 5 to May 14, with Panama, Brazil and Argentina registering declines, but with other key hubs in the region gaining ground.
Global oil markers were mixed as well but with limited movements, as ICE Brent rose 0.5% to $68.66/b, and NYMEX prompt-month ULSD gained 1% to $2.0362/gal. However, wholesale marine gasoil on the US Gulf Coast declined 0.3% to $483/mt.
In Latin America, the sharpest falls were seen in Santos, where marine fuel 0.5%S fell $19/mt (3.7%) to $490/mt, and marine gasoil dropped $7 (1%) to $671/mt. Last week, Brazil’s Petrobras reiterated that it will continue its policy to keep domestic prices of diesel and gasoline at parity with international markets under new CEO Joaquim Silva but without passing along temporary oscillations to end-consumers immediately.
The 0.5%S in Buenos Aires, a port competing closely with Santos, fell $14 (2.6%) to $529/mt, and marine gasoil shed $7 (1%) to $679/mt.
Some strengthening in prices is expected in Argentina in the next few weeks due to the seasonal purchases of gasoil by Cammesa, the company operating the country’s wholesale energy market.
“As every pre-winter season, there is low availability, as the government, through Cammesa, is starting to request fuel for power purposes. We think this will keep happening for the next two months at least,” a source said, adding that these purchases traditionally impact bunker prices.
In Panama, a market source described demand in the last few days as a “little bit slow but nothing significant,” and “with resupply costs more expensive due to freight’s costs and availability.”
Amid competitive pricing, marine fuel 0.5%S in Balboa dropped $8 (1.5%) to $510/mt, while marine gasoil retreated $2 (0.3%) to $635/mt.
In the opposite direction, anti-government protests in Colombia that have blocked access to main roads caused strain in that country’s supply last week.
“Raw materials come from inland, and there are blockades in highways, as transportation workers are also protesting,” a market source said.
However, another source said pricing for programmed bunkers requests might not rise and future increases would depend on how long the situation could last.
Last week, 0.5%S in Cartagena rose $2 (0.4%) to $542/mt. A $9 (1.4%) jump was see in marine gasoil, to $635/mt, also supported by changes in refinery pricing for diesel.
The Peruvian port of Callao, a bunker source said, has seen some increased demand due to the situation in neighboring Colombia, with an $8 (1.4%) rise in 0.5%S value to $597/mt, and a $7 (1%) increase in MGO to $718/mt.
East, West Coast North America
US West Coast retail bunker markets were steady to lower May 10-14, while Atlantic Coast markets were steady to higher during the week.
Ex-wharf MGO prices on the West Coast rose midweek before falling at the end, with Los Angeles at $628/mt on May 10 and $625/mt on May 14. Strong diesel racks supported prices in the Pacific Northwest, which were flat in the face of lower bulk gasoil prices in Singapore.
On the East Coast, MGO was higher due to tight avails, sources said, with expectations that prices will track crude moving forward. New York ex-wharf MGO rose from $600/mt to $616/mt May 10-14.
Retail 0.5%S marine fuel was lower on the West Coast, tracking the weaker Singapore bulk market, which fell from $497.08/mt to $477.79/mt over the week. Vancouver ex-wharf prices declined from $534/mt to $521/mt during that time frame.
Atlantic Coast 0.5%S markets were steady to higher, with New York ex-wharf rising $2 over the week to $508/mt on May 14. Sources said the Colonial Pipeline outage was not having an impact on bunkers prices as supply was ample.
HSFO and 0.5%S marine fuel bulk markets on the Atlantic Coast ended the week in the same place as they started, as did IFO 380 retail bunkers across eastern ports.
West Coast IFO 380 tracked Singapore down, mirroring the other West Coast bunker markets. Los Angeles ex-wharf fell from $425/mt to $414/mt May 10-14.
US Gulf Coast
US Gulf Coast retail bunker prices retreated May 13-14 after showing gains May 10-12, with sources reporting muted trading activity caused by limited demand and a plunging crude complex.
Ex-wharf 0.5%S marine fuel in Houston began last week at $495/mt, but was down $9/mt from that level by week’s end, tracking lower with wholesale barges.
Houston ex-wharf MGO was a bit more stable due to steady NYMEX ULSD futures, starting and ending last week at $575/mt, with only minor midweek fluctuations.