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Singapore — Singapore ex-wharf 500 CST bunker fuel term contracts for March were heard concluded at a discount of around $2.50/mt to Mean of Platts Singapore 380 CST high sulfur fuel oil assessments, trade sources said this week.

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March term levels have been the lowest so far this year. February term contracts for the same grade were concluded at discounts of around $1.50/mt to MOPS 380 CST HSFO assessments, while January term contracts were inked at between parity and a discount of $1/mt.

"I think buyers were trying to get minus $3.00/mt, but sellers weren't there at those levels," a trader said, adding: "Sellers were looking at levels between minus $1.5-$2/mt."

Meanwhile, limited buying interest hampered term discussions for March, traders said. Some sellers abstained from March term talks to focus on second quarter term discussions instead.

"Ex-wharf RMK [500 CST bunker] market is not very liquid at the moment," another trader said.

Demand to tie up contracts on an ex-wharf basis for both 380 CST and 500 CST bunker was said to be tepid for March, but it was particularly thin for the higher viscosity grade bunker, traders said. The spot ex-wharf 500 CST bunker differential to MOPS 380 CST HSFO assessments averaged minus $2.02/mt in February, down from minus 83 cents/mt in January, S&P Global Platts data showed.

The spot ex-wharf 380 CST bunker fuel differential to MOPS 380 CST HSFO assessments in February averaged at plus $1.35/mt, down from plus $2.11/mt in January.

Premiums or discounts for physical bunker fuel reflect the prices buyers are willing to pay relative to published benchmark values.

Cash differentials for physical fuel oil represent the price buyers are willing to pay for the oil over and above the benchmark values published around the day a cargo loads.

--Jeslyn Lerh, jeslyn.lerh@spglobal.com
--Edited by Pankti Mehta, pankti.mehta@spglobal.com