In this list
Oil

Recovery in Vietnam's driving activity a boon for Malaysia, S Korea motor fuel suppliers

Energy | Thermal Coal | Electric Power | LNG | Oil | Crude Oil | Refined Products | Gasoline | Metals | Steel | Raw Materials | Shipping | Dry Freight | Tankers

Market Movers Asia, Jun 14-18: China's oil appetite in focus as new consumption tax takes effect

Jet Fuel

Platts Jet Fuel

Oil | Crude Oil | Coronavirus | Energy Transition | Macroeconomics

37th Asia Pacific Petroleum (APPEC 2021)

Coal | Coking Coal | Electric Power | Renewables | Natural Gas

EU pledges Eur5.84 billion budget to fund energy projects in 2021-2027

Agriculture | Biofuels | Energy Transition | Oil | Refined Products | Naphtha | Petrochemicals

Europe’s nascent bionaphtha market gearing up to serve demand for cleaner fuels and petchems

Recovery in Vietnam's driving activity a boon for Malaysia, S Korea motor fuel suppliers

Highlights

Driving activity back above baseline from Feb low

Vietnam may import at least 100,000 mt/month gasoline in Apr, May

Dismal air passenger numbers may continue to limit jet fuel imports

Hanoi — Driving activity in Vietnam has picked up in recent weeks amid easing movement restriction measures, painting a bullish outlook for the country's motor fuel demand and imports, while providing a much needed avenue for the region's major transportation fuel suppliers, including South Korea and Malaysia, aiming to increase exports in 2021.

Not registered?

Receive daily email alerts, subscriber notes & personalize your experience.

Register Now

Driving activity in Vietnam has recovered to above baseline levels in mid-March, from the low of 55% below baseline levels in February, according to mobility data from Apple. It was around 5% above baseline as of April 12.

In February, the Vietnam government had re-implemented some movement restrictions following the discovery of new COVID-19 clusters, with non-essential businesses in Ho Chi Minh City shuttered on Feb. 9.

Community transmission in Quang Ninh had also prompted transportation restrictions and social distancing measures in the province earlier in the first quarter. Quang Ninh suspended all road, bus and taxi traffic to, from, and within the province from Jan. 28.

However, these restrictions were gradually rolled back with businesses reopening at reduced occupancies in early March. Quang Ninh authorities reopened bars, nightclubs, movie theaters and karaoke parlors from March 11, while the province reopened for all tourists except those from locked-down areas.

In light of these developments, Vietnam is expected to import more than 100,000 mt/month of gasoline in April and May, according to middle distillates distribution and trading sources based in Hanoi and Da Nang.

In comparison, Vietnam imported a mere 61,767 mt of gasoline in March, down sharply from 119,533 mt in February, the lowest monthly shipment since 56,176 mt in May 2020, latest preliminary data from the Vietnam Customs showed.

Malaysian and South Korean refiners were quick to cheer the rebound in Vietnam's driving activity and higher transportation fuel import outlook, as these major fuel suppliers have, since the start of the year, been putting in effort to draw down their excess domestic inventories by boosting exports.

"Asian refining margins for gasoline have been solid so far this year and it's great to keep up the sales momentum into Vietnam," a middle distillates marketing source at Malaysia's state-run Petronas said.

"Vietnam is a top two sales outlet in Southeast Asia [for South Korean refiners]... consumer sentiment and mobility in the country seriously affects South Korean [middle distillates] sales volume so the eased movement restriction measures in the country is a big positive," a senior market analyst at Korea Petroleum Association based in Seoul said.

Over Q1, Malaysia and South Korea firmly held to the top two fuel supplier positions in Vietnam. Oil product imports from Malaysia stood at 763,193 mt in Q1, up 92.7% from a year ago, while shipments from South Korea rose 21.5% year on year at 524,034 mt, Vietnam customs data showed.

South Korean refiners are especially keen to sell more gasoline overseas in 2021 to make up for the lackluster domestic sales outlook and downbeat aviation fuel sales in Asia, Platts reported earlier.

Asia's major middle distillate supplier is expected to export more than 6.6 million barrels of gasoline in April and close to 7 million barrels in May, compared with an estimated 5.8 million barrels exported in March and 5.75 million barrels in February, according to fuel marketing sources at three major South Korean refiners surveyed by Platts earlier in April.

Tepid jet fuel demand

However, the outlook for Vietnam's jet fuel demand remained tepid with the country's refining and fuel trading participants broadly expecting international flight traffic to be muted in Q2 and Q3.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, passengers through the country's airports in 2020 were estimated at 66 million, while cargo was at 1.3 million mt, down 43.4% and 15.6%, respectively, from 2019.

It may be a struggle for passenger numbers to improve to above 70 million in 2021 unless there is a drastic improvement in world wide efforts at containing the coronavirus in H2 2021, according to industry research analysts at Vietcombank securities.

Vietnam imported 164,708 mt of jet fuel in Q1, down by close to 70% from 521,647 mt received in the same period a year earlier, the customs data showed.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Unit: mt)

Vietnam's oil product imports by suppliers

Mar 21
Mar 20
Change (Y/Y)
Feb 21
Change (M/M)
Malaysia
326,971
181,986
79.7%
165,095.0
98.1%
Singapore
136,475
75,994
79.6%
98,756.0
38.2%
South Korea
95,814
99,439
-3.6%
103,786.0
-7.7%
Thailand
70,666
39,590
78.5%
104,134.0
-32.1%
China
6,253
88,517
-92.9%
-
-
Total
697,858
501,799
39.1%
492,226.0
41.8%

Jan-Mar 21
Jan-Mar 20
Change (Y/Y)
Malaysia
763,193
395,999
92.7%
South Korea
524,034
431,463
21.5%
Singapore
328,455
358,385
-8.4%
Thailand
282,398
198,240
42.5%
China
61,404
371,026
-83.5%
Total
2,042,048
1,861,422
9.7%

Vietnam's oil product imports by product:

Product
Mar 21
Mar 20
Change (Y/Y)
Feb 21
Change (M/M)
Gasoline
61,767
47,792
29.2%
119,533.0
-48.3%
Diesel
478,798
193,311
147.7%
252,835.0
89.4%
Fuel oil
90,086
130,869
-31.2%
65,412.0
37.7%
Jet fuel
36,522
110,444
-66.9%
40,903.0
-10.7%

Product
Jan-Mar 21
Jan-Mar 20
Change (Y/Y)
Gasoline
413,424
285,569
44.8%
Diesel
1,215,376
720,641
68.7%
Fuel oil
211,797
293,776
-27.9%
Jet fuel
164,708
521,647
-68.4%

Vietnam's oil product exports by destination:

Mar 21
Mar 20
Change (Y/Y)
Feb 21
Change (M/M)
Cambodia
66,847
48,981
36.5%
69,105.0
-3.3%
Singapore
26,315
38,521
-31.7%
7,136.0
268.8%
Malaysia
17,992
50,247
-64.2%
5,996.0
200.1%
China
6,334
57,593
-89.0%
5,610.0
12.9%
South Korea
2,383
2,003
19.0%
613.0
288.7%
Laos
2,360
4,916
-52.0%
1,794.0
31.5%
Total
170,592
302,277
-43.6%
136,554.0
24.9%

Jan-Mar 21
Jan-Mar 20
Change (Y/Y)
Cambodia
206,344
153,031
34.8%
Malaysia
29,983
72,743
-58.8%
Singapore
40,286
58,268
-30.9%
Thailand
26,091
30
86870.0%
China
17,607
141,716
-87.6%
Laos
7,000
17,780
-60.6%
South Korea
3,932
33,840
-88.4%
Total
464,191
838,715
-44.7%

Vietnam's LPG imports by suppliers:

Mar 21
Mar 20
Change (Y/Y)
Feb 21
Change (M/M)
UAE
45,377
22,832
98.7%
-
-
China
35,596
29,927
18.9%
23,966.0
48.5%
Malaysia
9,175
9,580
-4.2%
4,991.0
83.8%
Indonesia
4,124
8,741
-52.8%
3,755.0
9.8%
Thailand
1,752
2,123
-17.5%
1,866.0
-6.1%
Total*
148,403
161,650
-8.2%
134,355.0
10.5%

Jan-Mar 21
Jan-Mar 20
Change (Y/Y)
China
96,272
105,038
-8.3%
UAE
45,377
47,493
-4.5%
Malaysia
21,640
29,574
-26.8%
Indonesia
12,729
22,627
-43.7%
Thailand
5,580
5,658
-1.4%
Australia
1,710
-
-
Total*
439,906
421,729
4.3%

Source: Vietnam Customs