Stockpiles of oil products at the UAE's Port of Fujairah increased 9.7% in the week ended Sept. 18, a second consecutive weekly gain, according to data from the Fujairah Oil Industry Zone.
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Total inventories rose to 18.340 million barrels as of Sept. 18, the highest in five weeks, the FOIZ data released on Sept. 20 showed. The total stockpile is still down 11% since the end of 2022.
Middle distillates climbed 9.2% to 1.966 million barrels, a three-week high, the data show. Light distillates gained 6.1% to 6.183 million barrels, a four-week high, while heavy distillates used as fuel oil for power generation and shipping increased 12% to 10.191 million barrels, an 11-week high.
Oil product exports excluding fuel oil from Fujairah averaged an estimated 225,000 b/d in the week started Sept. 11, the lowest in five weeks and roughly half the volume of two weeks earlier, according to S&P Global Commodities at Sea data. Only Singapore, India and Pakistan were destinations for the products. Fuel oil exports averaged 191,000 b/d in the latest week, the lowest in four weeks.
Demand for ship fuel is "generally weaker," a Fujairah trader said. Lead times for bunkering via barge was around nine days at the end of last week, compared with six days in prior weeks, traders said. "Suppliers are struggling to survive for the first time in the last three-four months," a trader said. As of Sept. 19, the Platts-assessed 0.5% sulfur bunker fuel was $658/mt, down $2/mt on the day, according to S&P Global data. Shippers unable to refuel right away often move to neighboring ports, a lost sale for Fujairah, traders said.
Heavy distillates stockpiles are now little changed so far in 2023, light distillates have dropped 17% while middle distillates have declined 36% over the same period. The Port of Fujairah has shared the product inventories exclusively with S&P Global Commodity Insights since January 2017.