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London — Distillates products heading to Northwest Europe and the Mediterranean from the US Gulf Coast for January currently total some 700,000 mt, according to data from S&P Global Platts trade flow software cFlow, with some additional volume being exported towards the end of December likely as a result of year-end destocking.

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While destocking may also be adding some pressure to sell cargoes out of the region, nearly all of the volume currently on the water -- especially on medium-range vessels -- is term or contract barrels, with the HOGO spread -- the difference between NYMEX heating oil futures and the ICE low sulfur gasoil contract -- continues to keep the arbitrage to Europe closed.\

Such is the strength of the heating oil contract, driven by cold weather in the US, that a possible reverse arbitrage to the US Atlantic Coast could be on the cards.

In the meantime, six vessels have left the USGC region over the last seven days, including one LR 1, according to cFlow.

The majority of these cargoes are heading to Northwest Europe, as a weak Mediterranean is struggling for demand to absorb the native volumes being produced.

--George Shaw,
--Edited by James Leech,