July 9, 2020 / 10:41 AM / a month ago

Singapore fuel oil stocks at over three-year high, records first net import from China

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore’s residual fuel oil inventories jumped 6% in the week to July 8 to a more than three-year high, official data showed on Thursday, as limited bunker demand and steady imports pushed supplies higher.

This came as Singapore became for the first time since at least 2015, or as far as available records show, a net importer of fuel oil from China in the latest sign of the rapid increase of Chinese fuel oil production.

China’s reliance on fuel oil imports from Singapore has begun to fade since it introduced new tax and export rules this year, encouraging refiners to ramp up fuel oil production and boosting its bunkering industry.

Singapore’s onshore fuel oil stocks rose by 1.543 million barrels, or about 243,000 tonnes, to 26.666 million barrels, or 4.199 million tonnes, in the week ended Wednesday, according to the Enterprise Singapore data.

The fuel oil stocks were last higher in the week to March 22, 2017.

Net import volumes were 3% higher from the previous week at 415,000 tonnes in the week to July 8, but were below the 2020 weekly average of 678,000 tonnes. Weekly figures, however, were volatile.

For the week, the largest net imports into Singapore were Malaysia’s 296,000 tonnes, followed by the United States with 120,000 tonnes, Mexico with 96,000 tonnes and Algeria with 70,000 tonnes.

Most of Singapore’s net fuel oil exports sailed to South Korea at 88,000 tonnes, followed by 46,000 tonnes to the Philippines and 42,000 tonnes to Hong Kong.

Singapore net exports of fuel oil to Saudi Arabia hit a fresh record high at 38,012 tonne in the week to Wednesday.

The Kingdom typically exports residual fuel outside of the summer months to countries including Singapore and imports fuel oil for power generation, primarily from regional suppliers, during the hot summer months.

Fuel oil inventories in the neighbouring Fujairah storage and bunkering hub slipped this week, latest data showed, but remained near a record high hit in early June.

Reporting by Roslan Khasawneh; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel

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