News 8th May, 2024

Europe & Africa Market Update 8 May 2024

Richards Bay

Most bunker benchmarks in European and African ports have declined with Brent, and HSFO tightness has eased in the ARA hub. 

PHOTO: Ship in dock at sunset in the Port of Zeebrugge in Belgium. Getty Images

Changes on the day, to 09.00 GMT today:

  • VLSFO prices down in Gibraltar ($15/mt), Rotterdam and Durban ($5/mt)  
  • LSMGO prices up in Durban ($21/mt), and down in Rotterdam and Gibraltar ($10/mt) 
  • HSFO prices down in Gibraltar ($8/mt) and Rotterdam ($6/mt) 

All three grades in Rotterdam have fallen in the past day. HSFO supply tightness in Rotterdam has eased coming into this week, according to a trader. Lead times for HSFO have come down from last week's 4-6 days to 3-5 days now.

Rotterdam's HSFO price has shed $6/mt in the past day. A lower-priced HSFO stem fixed at $473/mt for 500–1,500 mt for prompt delivery has added downward pressure on the benchmark.

Two LSMGO stems were booked in Rotterdam in the past day, of which one lower-priced stem fixed at $722/mt for prompt delivery has pulled the benchmark lower. LSMGO availability is normal in Rotterdam, with lead times of 3-5 days advised. 

Bunker fuel availability has improved off Skaw, but securing prompt supply remains a challenge. Recommended lead times have come down from 10-14 days seen in the past week to 7-10 days now. 

In Gibraltar, rough weather conditions have pushed lead times further ahead. Lead times for all grades have increased from last week's 3-5 days to 4-6 days now. Wind gusts ranging between 16-28 knots are forecast to hit Gibraltar from today onwards, which could disrupt bunker operations until Saturday. Winds at the higher end of that range can pose problems for bunker deliveries by barge.

Minimal congestion has been reported in Gibraltar today, with only one vessel currently waiting for bunkers.


The front-month ICE Brent contract moved $1.47/bbl lower on the day, to trade at $82.03/bbl at 09.00 GMT.

Upward pressure:

Brent futures remained supported amid reports that Israel has rejected Hamas’ latest truce proposal and launched another round of ground and air attack on Gaza’s southern Rafah region.

This news has renewed supply disruption fears in the global oil market, analysts said. “The lingering geopolitical flash point and headline risk could keep a bid under oil prices into the weekend,” SPI Asset Management’s managing partner Stephen Innes said.

There is increasing speculation that OPEC would consider extending its existing production cuts into the third and fourth quarters of this year. The oil producers’ group is scheduled to convene on 1 June to discuss supply cut policies.

“The market anticipates a high probability of [OPEC+] oil producers extending some output curbs,” Innes added.

Downward pressure:

A build in US crude stocks contributed to the downward pull in Brent futures. US commercial crude inventories gained 509,000 bbls in the week ended 3 May, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API) estimates.

“[Brent] crude oil traded lower after the API reported across-the-board increases in US crude and fuel stockpiles,” Saxo Bank’s strategy team wrote in a note.

Concerns about a slowdown in the US economy have heightened, after the country released poor manufacturing index reading and jobs data. These datasets have supported the narrative of subdued demand in one of the largest oil consuming nations, adding more downward pressure on Brent's price.

The global oil market’s concerns about “weaker-than-expected economic growth in the US have intensified,” Innes added.

By Manjula Nair and Aparupa Mazumder

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