SINGAPORE, April 4 East Asia is expected to
receive around 4.7 million tonnes of Western fuel oil cargoes in
April, the highest since January, a Reuters survey of traders
and shipping brokers showed.
This is about 85,000 tonnes, or 1.8 percent, higher than the
previous month's shipments, the survey showed.
The higher volumes come at a time when several refineries
around Asia and Middle East are taken offline for maintenance,
thus keeping supply steady.
April's cargoes consist mainly of high-viscosity,
high-density materials, which will help correct the quality
imbalance in the market that resulted from large inflows of
blendstocks earlier this year.
Reflecting the improving balance, the front-month viscosity
spread averaged around $6.60 a tonne since the beginning of
March, up from February's average of $3.90 a tonne.
The viscosity spread is the difference between the outright
prices of 180-centistoke (cst) and 380-cst fuel oil, and acts as
one of the indicators of the blendstock balance in the market.
Fuel oil demand from the marines fuel, feedstock and utility
markets has been poor, limiting gains in intermonth spreads.
By the Asian close on Wednesday, the balance April/May
intermonth spread fell to a backwardation of 13 cents a tonne,
its lowest in nearly a month, according to Reuters data.
4 MLN TONNES BOOKED FOR MAY
A preliminary survey shows that around 4 million tonnes of
Western fuel oil have been booked to arrive in East Asia in May,
with the window for additional fixtures still open.
PetroChina is again the biggest lifter, fixing 1.085 million
tonnes so far to be moved from the Caribbean to Singapore and
(Reporting by Lee Yen Nee; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)