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European demand for RMK 500 CST bunker fuel weakens as market looks for RMG

London — A tight RMG 380 CST market has left demand for RMK 500 CST bunker fuel slack in recent weeks in Northwest Europe.

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Demand for the high viscosity RMK 500 CST fuel has been lackluster both in Europe and Singapore as stocks of RMG 380 CST have plummeted in both regions on a series of off-specification bunker fuel issues in Singapore.

"The market is long high density and hardly any arbitrage for [high] density at the moment," one fuel oil trader said.

BP offered three 2,000 mt parcels during the S&P Global Platts Market on Close assessment process Thursday, although they were not lifted.

The fixture list to Singapore from Rotterdam has picked up so far in August, with three VLCCs already having departed the Dutch port and two further Suezmaxes expected to load in the coming week.

Off-spec bunker fuel issues in Houston have sparked a global contamination crisis, with off-spec product having made the voyage to Singapore, the world's largest bunker hub, where there have been a series of de-bunkering operations in recent months, sources said.

As a result, fixtures to Singapore from Europe have picked up as Singapore buyers seek RMG 380 CST bunker fuel as Singapore recipients want to guarantee delivery of on-spec RMG 380 CST cargoes.

The value of RMK 500 CST fuel was last assessed at $396.75/mt Thursday, $8/mt below 3.5% FOB Rotterdam barges. The previous differential was minus $5/mt.

--Eleni Pittalis, eleni.pittalis@spglobal.com

--Edited by James Leech, james.leech@spglobal.com