Bunker fuel prices at the Bay of Gibraltar reached their highest level in nearly three months Monday, supported by a strong Mediterranean high sulfur fuel oil market.
The 380 CST bunker fuel oil at the Mediterranean bunkering hub was assessed by S&P Global Platts at $435/mt Monday, its highest point since November 21, 2018.
The bunker fuel prices were supported by the 3.5% high sulfur fuel oil CIF Med cargoes regional benchmark, which was assessed Monday at $408.75/mt, up from $407/mt on Friday.
Meanwhile, buying interest at the port was weak. “Demand is so, so quiet, and this is more or less in line with the last two weeks,” a local supplier at the port said, adding that “we were expecting [demand] to improve after [the] Chinese New Year, but it is still so quiet.”
Sources said that the Mediterranean HSFO cargo market was balanced and experiencing the typical winter lull in demand. Many of the shorts were covered for the remainder of February and beginning of March, sources added, leaving little oil open to be offered.
Furthermore, the Black Sea delays which have plagued the region over the last six weeks have reduced and Mediterranean handysize freight rates have softened, making it easier to shift cargoes from the East to the primary bunker demand center in the West.
In crude, front-month ICE Brent futures climbed to a three-month high on Monday, assessed at 1630 GMT at $66.48/b, lending support to the European fuel oil flat price values. The price was last assessed higher on November 16 at $67.14/b.
Sea News, February 20