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AMERICAS BUNKERS: Key market indicators Nov. 16-20

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AMERICAS BUNKERS: Key market indicators Nov. 16-20

Highlights

Availability issues prop up some LatAm prices

Demand heard improving in NY, Philadelphia

USGC spot bunkers come off highs

Houston — Americas marine fuel markets enter the week starting Nov. 16 with most spot prices on a downward trend tied to volatility in key US energy sectors during the end of the Nov. 9-13 period, which was marked early by positive COVID-19 vaccine news that gave way to renewed concern about current infections and possible lockdowns.

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LATIN AMERICA

Latin America bunker markets are coming out of a volatile week, that saw solid increases in the first three days but persistent worries on depressed demand put a lid in the uptrend.

The behavior was mostly clear in Panama and Brazil.

In Balboa, marine fuel 0.5%S rose $5 (1.5%) from Nov. 9-13 to $345/mt, but not before reaching a peak of $354/mt on Nov. 11, its highest price since $355/mt on March 16.

Contributing to higher pricing in Panama are reduced production of blendstocks in US refineries, from where Panama imports 0.5%S, and higher values in global oil markers, such as ICE Brent and gasoil, market sources said. Another factor has been backlogs for bunkering operations created by the effects of two hurricanes in Central America, Eta and, since the weekend, Hurricane Iota.

In Santos, a height of $363/mt for 0.5%S was also registered on Nov. 11, only surpassed by a $387/mt level on March 6, but by the end of last week the fuel had fallen to $352/mt. Nonetheless, it increased $7 (2%) for the whole last week.

In most other Latin American ports, 0.5%S prices rose to levels last seen in September.

"There was movement but with low availability," a market trader said, adding the problem has been especially acute in Ecuador, where supply is expected to improve by end-November. The Peruvian port of el Callao has also experienced tight avails, he said.

The 0.5%S in Guayaquil rose $18 (4.9%) last week to $384/mt. Besides tight supplies, the Ecuadorean bunker fuel is also seeing a demand improvement, a market participant in that country said.

In el Callao, 0.5%S jumped $7 (1.8%) to $394/mt amid a slow market, a participant said. Regarding the effects on markets of the presidential turmoil in the Peruvian country, another participant said: "An abrupt change of government always takes to new policies."

Valparaiso was the only port showing a price fall for 0.5%S last week, of $8 (2.1%) to $381/mt. "October was pretty bad and there has not been a rebound in November," a market supplier said about the Chilean market.

NORTH AMERICA ATLANTIC, WEST COASTS

On the Atlantic Coast, marine fuel 0.5%S shed 0.3% in New York and 2.0% in Philadelphia. To start the week Nov. 9, Philadelphia was at an $8 premium to New York. To close the week, however, the premium lessened to $2.

In New York, MGO declined by 1.9%. Philadelphia moved similarly as the port weakened by 1.6%. Over the week Nov. 9-13, Philadelphia's premium to New York widened from $2 to $3.

Demand in the two ports was heard to be improving. A source commented that there's "a bit more demand out here this week but nothing crazy."

In Charleston and Savannah, IFO 380 strengthened significantly over the week. In Charleston, IFO 380 climbed 11.3%, while Savannah rose 9.9%. MGO in the ports strengthened as well but to a lesser degree, as Charleston and Savannah rose 2.8% and 1.8%, respectively.

West Coast retail spot bunkers moved in line with Singapore markets.

In Vancouver, marine fuel 0.5%S and MGO strengthened by 3.0% and 5.3%, respectively. Supply for both products has been tight in recent weeks but was heard to be improving early last week. At the end of the week, a regional source commented that supply was still a little tight and added that it's "getting better but not great."

Seattle marine fuel 0.5%S climbed 3.1% and remained at a $10 discount to Vancouver over the course of the week. MGO in the port strengthened 6.5%, as the discount to Vancouver lessened from $10 to $5.

In Los Angeles, MGO rose 3.2%, to close the week at $422/mt ex-wharf.

USGC

Along the USGC, spot prices enter this week coming of highs as pressure was felt from a retreating crude market Nov. 12-13. Demand fundamentals have held a weak positions in recent months, and sources point to limited improvement from seasonal shifts.

In Houston, spot retail 0.5%S marine fuel enters this week at $326/mt ex-wharf after having gained $6 (1.9%) from Nov. 9-13, although the assessment did decline each of the last two days during that period.

A similar trend emerged for Houston spot MGO pricing, which comes into the current week at $377/mt ex-wharf, with the Nov. 9-13 period showing a gain of $7 (1.9%) that was mitigated by declines in each of the last two sessions.

"Another slow demand day," a local source said Nov. 13 of the Houston market. "I pulled off about $5-$10 from yesterday's levels, depending on quantity."