China’s May low-sulphur marine fuel exports drop 18% vs April

China’s exports of clean marine fuel in May dipped 18% from a month earlier, as stringent COVID-19 disinfection measures imposed at ports deterred international vessels from refuelling in the country.

Data from the General Administration of Customs showed exports of very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO), a clean marine fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5%, were 1.55 million tonnes.

That was down 1.9 million tonnes sold in April but still up from 1.31 million tonnes in May last year.

For the first five months of 2021, exports totalled 8.15 million tonnes, the data showed.

A new wave of COVID-19 outbreak in southern China, leading to tougher disinfection restrictions and weeks-long port congestion, may hurdled bunker fuel business in the region.

Sinopec, China’s biggest bunker fuel supplier, said in a statement this week that bunker fuel filling was facing difficulties at Yantian port in Shenzhen and staffs involved in filling business had to be quarantined for 14 days.

However, following a surge in fuel output and thriving trade, China’s growing influence in marine fuels has allowed its suppliers to lure business with more competitive prices.

The discount of China’s Zhoushan-delivered bunker fuel averaged $3.83 per million tonnes compared to Singapore-delivered products in May and dipped to a multi-month low of $15.25 per million tonnes on May 25, according to Platts data.

Customs data also showed that fuel oil imports into bonded storage, which include both high-sulphur and low-sulphur materials, reached 1.06 million tonnes in May, down 31% from a year ago.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Muyu Xu and Dominique Patton, editing by Louise Heavens)

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