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US Gulf Coast distillate flows to Europe jump as arbitrage swings open

Highlights

A total of 1,320,000 mt of distillates have been loaded in the US Gulf Coast for discharge in Europe during March, Platts has estimated, based on data from cFlow, Platts trade flow software.

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The figure was about twice the level of the previous estimate, pointing to increased volumes of product loaded in recent weeks.

"The US arb is open", a trader said, driven by "cheaper freight and raised ULSD diff in Europe".

According to the estimate, 11 of the cargoes due to land in March are headed to the Northwest European market, while 18 have set sail towards the Mediterranean.



In the physical diesel market, CIF NWE diesel cargoes were assessed at a $2.75/mt premium to front-month ICE low sulfur gasoil futures Friday, up $2.50/mt on the week and $2.50/mt higher month on month.

In recent weeks, refinery maintenance, run cuts, and then-closed arbitrages from the US Gulf Coast and Asia have all contributed to more balanced fundamentals in the Northwest European diesel market, sources said.

In the Mediterranean, CIF diesel cargoes were pegged at a $4.25/mt premium Friday, 50 cents/mt higher on the week and $2.25/mt up on the month.

The Mediterranean market has seen healthy demand, particularly from Turkey, where a fire at the 220,000 b/d Izmit refinery brought Tupras, the owner, to the market as a buyer.

--Vesa Ahoniemi, vesa.ahoniemi@platts.com
--Edited by Dan Lalor, daniel.lalor@platts.com