News 23rd May, 2024

Europe & Africa Market Update 23 May 2024

Richards Bay

Regional bunker benchmarks have shown mixed market directions, and congestion has increased in Gibraltar today.

PHOTO: View from the Rock of Gibraltar, UK to Algeciras, Spain. Getty Images

Changes on the day to 09.00 GMT today:

  • VLSFO prices up in Rotterdam and Durban ($2/mt), and down in Gibraltar ($3/mt)  
  • LSMGO prices up in Durban ($6/mt) and Rotterdam ($2/mt), and down in Gibraltar ($1/mt)  
  • HSFO prices up in Gibraltar ($2/mt), and unchanged in Rotterdam 

Gibraltar's VLSFO price has shed some in the past day, while Rotterdam's VLSFO price has inched $2/mt higher. The diverging price moves have narrowed Rotterdam’s VLSFO discount to Gibraltar's VLSFO by $5/mt to $30/mt now. VLSFO is available in Rotterdam with lead times of 3-5 days, while Gibraltar has shorter lead times of 2-4 days for the grade.

Gibraltar is experiencing congestion today amid supply delays from suppliers. 11 vessels have been waiting to bunker in Gibraltar today, up from seven yesterday, according to a source. Similarly, Algeciras’ outer Delta anchorage is also witnessing slight congestion. In nearby Ceuta, nine vessels are due to arrive for bunkers today, more than a double from four yesterday, says shipping agent Jose Salama & Co. 

Availability is normal in the South African ports of Richards Bay and Durban, with non-prompt delivery dates easily available for VLSFO. Lead times of 7-10 days are advised for the grade in both ports. The earliest delivery date for VLSFO in Durban with one of the suppliers is 1 June, a source said. LSMGO availability is normal in Durban, with a trader recommending 7-10 days for the grade. 


The front-month ICE Brent contract inched $0.03/bbl lower on the day, to trade at $82.01/bbl at 09.00 GMT.

Upward pressure:

Brent’s price drew modest support from political jitters in the Middle East, following the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday. The country’s state-owned news agency IRNA confirmed that the country will hold presidential elections on 28 June.

“The challenging geopolitical backdrop is keeping traders on edge,” ANZ Bank’s senior commodity strategist Daniel Hynes said.

Iran-backed Houthi militants in Yemen possess weapons capable of reaching the Mediterranean Sea, Bloomberg reported citing senior US defense officials. This news has elevated concerns about supply disruptions in the global oil market.

“The US said Houthis have weapons that can reach the Mediterranean Sea, raising concerns about potential strikes on shipping beyond the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” Hynes added.

OPEC+'s next decision on supply cuts is “also hovering over the [oil] market,” Hynes further remarked. The group is scheduled to convene early next month.

Downward pressure:

Brent futures inched lower amid growing concerns about a slowdown in global oil demand.

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) has released minutes from the latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. The minutes showed that the US central bank could further tighten interest rates if inflationary pressures remain elevated.

‘Brent crude… fell sharply on the release of the Fed minutes,” Hynes added.

The Fed’s bearish remarks have weighed on the oil market’s expectation of steady demand growth this year, as the central bank could maintain interest rates at current levels for longer than expected.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported an unexpected weekly build in US crude stocks. Commercial crude oil inventories in the US increased by 1.8 million bbls to 459 million bbls in the week that ended 17 May.

“[Brent] crude sentiment also took a knock from the EIA data showing a rise of about 1.83 million barrels in domestic crude inventories,” VANDA Insights’ founder and analyst Vandana Hari said.

By Manjula Nair and Aparupa Mazumder

Please get in touch with comments or additional info to

Provided by
Photo of smiling bunker trader in office in white collared shirt

Contact our Experts

With 50+ traders in 12 offices around the world, our team is available 24/7 to support you in your energy procurement needs.