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MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Nov.04.

MABUX World Bunker Index (consists of a range of prices for 380 HSFO, 180 HSFO and MGO (Gasoil) in the main world hubs) changed irregular on Nov.01:

380 HSFO - USD/MT - 358.82(+2.57)

180 HSFO - USD/MT – 399.60(+1.72)

MGO - USD/MT – 662.48(-3.35)

Meantime, world oil indexes rose on Nov.01 on signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks and stronger-than-expected economic data in both countries, including U.S. employment and Chinese manufacturing activity numbers.

Brent for January settlement increased by $1.46 to $61.69 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. West Texas Intermediate for December delivery rose by $2.02 to $56.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Brent benchmark traded at the premium of $5.49 to WTI. Gasoil for November delivery gained $11.00.

Today morning oil indexes do not have any firm trend so far.

As per U.S. officials, U.S.-China trade talks are progressing well and the United States aims to sign an initial deal this month, offering reassurance to global markets after nearly 16 months tariffs war. It was also noted that U.S. and Chinese negotiators had made “enormous progress” toward finalizing a “phase one” agreement, although the deal was not yet 100% complete. China in turn said the world’s two largest economies had reached consensus on principles during a serious and constructive telephone call on Nov.01 between their main trade negotiators. In fact, the longer the trade war continues, the longer analysts will come up with pessimistic outlooks on the pace of global economic growth and consequently, oil demand growth. If oil demand growth continues to languish with uncertainties around the global economy and Brexit, the oil market will likely have to cope with another oversupply next year.

Prices also received some support after a leak in North Dakota forced TC Energy Corp to shut its 590,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Keystone pipeline that brings Canadian crude from northern Alberta to refineries in the U.S. Midwest. The pipeline also flows to Cushing, where the outage is expected to drain inventories.

UN Conference on Trade and Development’s Review of Maritime Transport 2019 said world maritime trade lost momentum in 2018 as heightened uncertainty, escalating tariff tensions between the US and China and mounting concerns over other trade policy and political crosscurrents, notably a no-deal Brexit, sent waves through global markets. Volumes in the sector grew by only 2.7% last year, below the historical averages of 3% and 4.1% recorded in 2017. Buffeted by a global economic slowdown, in 2018, seaborne trade also navigated other difficult headwinds such as geopolitical tensions, while preparing for an expected surge in ship fuel costs arising from a new regulation requiring ships to cut their sulphur dioxide emissions. It is expected that international maritime trade to expand at an average annual growth rate of 3.4% over the 2019–2024 period, driven in particular by growth in containerized, dry bulk and gas cargoes. However, uncertainty remains an overriding theme in the current maritime transport environment, with risks tilted to the downside.

Factory data from China showed a six consecutive month of contraction, and activity fell faster than expected. It is expected the official manufacturing PMI to remain sluggish in coming months, the growth slowdown could gather pace, and markets could become more volatile in coming months. New data on Nov.01, however, was more positive.

The Federal Reserve cut interest rates again this week, but signaled that it may be done cutting for the time being. It was the third interest rate cut this year, which marked an about-face after successive increases over the previous few years. The central bank was forced into monetary easing after the global economy showed signs of slowing down, made worse by the U.S.-China trade war. However, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell indicated that the latest cut of 25 basis points might be the end of the line, unless things deteriorate further.

The US oil and gas rig count fell again last week, continuing the downward trend with a drop of 8 rigs for the week. Last week marks ten decreases out of the last eleven weeks. The total oil and gas rig count now stands at 822, or 245 down from this time last year. The total number of active oil rigs in the United States decreased by 5 according to the report, reaching 691. Oil rigs have seen a loss of 183 rigs year on year. As for where the number of active rigs is slipping, Texas has seen a drop of 117 year on year, while Oklahoma has seen a drop of 93 rigs. Even though the number of oil rigs has declined by 186 this year alone, production has grown from 11.7 million bpd at the beginning of the year to 12.6 million bpd for the fourth week in a row for week ending October 25—a growth of almost 1 million bpd in less than a year. With the growing production, the falling rig count has done little to boost prices.

Ukraine said the clearing of the final major hurdle ahead of the Russia-led natural gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2 would weaken Europe and strengthen Russia. Denmark granted the Gazprom-led project permission to build the pipeline through Danish territorial waters, which cleared the final major hurdle to the construction and start-up of the pipeline that has been dividing Europe and drawing criticism from the U.S. for years. The U.S., several European countries, including the Baltic states and Poland, as well as the EU, have expressed concern about Russia using gas sales and its gas monopoly in Gazprom as a political tool. The United States sees the project as further undermining Europe’s energy security by giving the Russian gas giant another pipeline to ship its natural gas to European markets.

We expect bunker prices may turn into upward evolution in a range of plus 7-12 USD.