Bunker fuel premiums at Malta narrowed to their lowest in almost three months Tuesday as prices lagged behind surging upstream values.
S&P Global Platts assessed 380 CST fuel oil at the Mediterranean island at $326/mt delivered Tuesday, a $2/mt rise day on day.
The Med cargoes high sulfur fuel oil regional benchmark reached $318.75/mt CIF Tuesday, a $8.75/mt rise on the day.
This put the difference between the two assessments at $7.25/mt, its smallest since July 6.
The benchmark was supported by tight supply of HSFO in the western Med amid refinery maintenance in Europe and healthy demand from North Africa.
“[HSFO] exports got lower every month, it’s the beginning of the end. The whole fuel industry will be retired in 2020,” one trader said, referring to International Maritime Organization rules to be introduced in 2020 limiting sulfur content in marine fuels to 0.5%.
Bullish sentiment also came from crude oil. ICE Brent settled Tuesday at $56.61/b Tuesday, up from $55.79/b the day before.
In Malta, meanwhile, the bunker market was heard balanced to soft.
One bunker fuel supplier said, “Demand is quite busy and availability is good,” but a second supplier characterized demand as “average” and availability as “OK.”