Marine fuel sales at Singapore jumped to a 22-month high in November, latest official data showed on Tueday, as lower prices lifted buying interest at the world's largest bunkering hub.
November bunker sales totalled 4.37 million tonnes, climbing 3% month-on-month and up 4% year-on-year, data from Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority showed.
The higher sales came despite lower vessel arrivals for bunkering at Singapore, which dipped dipped by 4% month-on-month at 3,299 vessel calls, although edged higher by 3% year-on-year.
Marine fuel prices fell month-on-month in November and this had incentivised some shippers to agree deals for bigger-volume stems, bunker fuel traders said.
"Lower cargo prices might have incentivised some bigger purchases for storage as inventory on the ships' tanks," said a bunkering manager who trades in the Singapore marine fuel market.
Total sales of low-sulphur marine fuel oil at Singapore gained 6% from the previous month to 2.75 million tonnes, even as total sales of high-sulphur marine fuel oil dipped 5% to 1.25 million tonnes in November.
"Vessels without scrubbers opportunistically increased bunker purchase volumes in the last month due to lower delivered prices," said Ivan Mathews, head of FGE's Asia Refining and Global Fuel Oil Service.
He added that low-sulphur marine fuel sales could extend its climb this month as prices at Singapore also appeared to be more competitive, compared to other regional ports like Zhoushan.
Bunker fuel prices for 0.5% low-sulphur fuel oil on a delivered basis have trended lower in November after upstream crude oil prices fell.
(Data from Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore)
(Reuter - Reporting by Jeslyn Lerh; Editing by Louise Heavens)