Houston — Key ports throughout the Americas saw spot retail marine fuel pricing climb during the week Jan. 4-8, with bunkers values tracking stronger US energy futures higher.
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Latin America bunker prices are starting the week supported by an energy complex that saw ICE Brent futures jump 9.6% from Jan. 1 to Jan. 8, and a 9.4% climb in wholesale marine fuel 0.5%S on the US Gulf Coast.
Advances were more moderate in the region, dictated by countries' fundamentals.
Marine fuel 0.5%S in Balboa rose $12, or 2.9%, in the previous week at $421/mt ex-wharf, a level higher than those seen in the second half of March 2020 but still below its previous high of $455/mt reached on March 6.
"Balboa is seeing good supply," a market source said, adding demand seems to be recovering "little by little."
Marine gasoil in the Panamanian port increased $18, or 3.8%, at $488/mt ex-wharf during the same period, getting closer to its previous highest value of $505/mt, also registered on March 6, 2020.
High sulfur bunker fuel in Balboa was assessed Jan. 8 at $348/mt ex-wharf, an increase of $15, or 4.5%, along last week. The value did surpass the previous peak value March 6, 2020, of $345/mt, with the next highest level being $350/mt, reached March 5.
Other strong jumps have been posted in Valparaiso and Cartagena. In the Chilean port, where prices follow closely refinery values, the 0.5%S gained $27 (5.3%) to $533/mt delivered. MGO rose $7 (1.2%) to $581/mt delivered.
Cartagena's 0.5%S jumped $20 (4.7%) to $450/mt delivered while MGO registered a $7 (1.3%) increase to $526/mt delivered.
"Demand has increased in all products," a market participant said. "Supply is fine, although sometimes not all requests can be serviced."
In Argentina, the 0.5%S rose $6 (1.3%) in Buenos Aires to $456/mt delivered, with MGO advancing $4 (0.7%) to $554/mt. A market participant said ships were finally loading bunker fuel last week after delays due to agricultural and port stoppages now ended, while some suppliers were facing tight supplies. Demand is expected to remain strong in the next few months, enhanced by agricultural exports. "There is very strong demand during all summer (in the Southern Hemisphere) until March, April," the source said.
N AMERICA EAST, WEST COASTS
North American retail spot bunkers trended higher from Jan. 4-8, tracking gains in energy futures and wholesale fuel oil markets.
In New York and Philadelphia, retail 0.5%S strengthened 6.1% and 5.8%, respectively. At the start of the week, Philadelphia was at a $5 premium over New York, but this spread narrowed to $4 to close the week.
MGO strengthened by 3.5% in New York and by 4.1% in Philadelphia. Philadelphia's premium over New York widened from $5 to $8 over the week.
Charleston and Savannah MGO saw significant gains of 10.4% and 9.9%, respectively. To start the week, MGO in the two ports was at parity. As the week progressed, Charleston moved to a $2 premium to Savannah.
Retail 0.5%S climbed 3.3% in Vancouver while MGO in the port increased by 3.2%. A regional source said demand was improving after being weak for several weeks prior.
Seattle continued to be talked at a $5 premium to Vancouver as 0.5%S and MGO each strengthened by 3.2% in Seattle.
MGO climbed by 3.8% in Los Angeles.
Along the US Gulf Coast, spot bunkers markets enter the week Jan. 11-15 riding recent strong support from energy markets on the rise while demand fundamentals have been talked as tight so far in 2021.
Spot 0.5%S retail marine fuel pricing in Houston rose $35/mt (9.4%) from Jan. 4-8 to enter this week at $407/mt ex-wharf, while the New Orleans assessment rose $35 (9.2%) to $417/mt ex-wharf.
The movements leave Houston 0.5%S retail pricing at its highest point in nearly a month while the New Orleans marker has not been this high since late Q1 2020.
Supplier indications were talked "much higher" day on day, a source said Jan. 8, adding that indications were up $20 from levels a day earlier.
Another source said "avails are pretty tight" for the New Orleans market, when referencing higher prices heard to close the week, echoing previous sentiment from regional sources who have talked supply and barge availability as limited.
On the bulk side, sources in Houston and New Orleans earlier this week mentioned a consistent lack of availability of 0.5%S blending components, which has aided the rise of both outright prices and cracks.
One USGC supplier said the region has had to rely on local production for material.