Singapore’s marine fuel sales, also known as bunker sales, rebounded in July after a sharp decline in June, while monthly container throughput hit a year-to-date high, official data on Monday showed.
Bunker sales at Singapore are a key indicator of sentiment at the world’s largest refuelling hub for ships, which is also one of the busiest shipping lanes globally.
The volume totalled 4.52 million metric tons in July, up 14.9% month-on-month and 9.7% higher year-on-year, Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) data showed.
The uptick was led by a rebound in the number of vessel calls for bunkering, which totalled 3,511 in July, up 4.2% from June, MPA data showed, while monthly container throughput hit a year-to-date high at 3,431,300 twenty-foot equivalent units.
More refuelling demand was likely diverted to Singapore due to weather disruptions at regional North Asian hubs, particularly China, said bunker trade sources, though some sources were surprised at the extent of the climb.
“Demand was better than June but certainly didn’t felt (this) high,” said a bunker trader based in Singapore.
Prices of low-sulphur bunker fuel at Singapore were also more competitive than key Chinese bunker port Zhoushan in July, based on pricing data obtained from the sources.
Low-sulphur fuel oil (LSFO) sales for bunkering totalled 2.67 million tons in July, up 13.0% from June, MPA data showed.
Meanwhile, high-sulphur marine fuel sales totalled 1.48 million tons in July, up 19.9% from June and hitting a year-to-date high.
“With more vessels with scrubbers in the market and Singapore having ample bunker suppliers for the high-sulfur grade, HSFO sales will continue to remain supported,” said Ivan Mathews, consultancy FGE’s head of Asia refining and global fuel Oil services.
Meanwhile, marine gasoil sales totalled 309,900 tons in July, up 9.3% month-on-month.
Sales of bio-blended LSFO were at 39,400 tons for July, climbing to a fresh monthly record high. Total sales were at 228,900 tons in 2023 so far.
Meanwhile, 300 tons of methanol bunker volume emerged in July after Singapore kicked off its first refuelling operation using bio-methanol.
Separately, bunker sales of liquefied natural gas were at 18,300 tons in July, also firming from June. LNG bunker sales totalled 55,100 tons in 2023 so far.