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MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Mar.20.

MABUX World Bunker Index (consists of a range of prices for 380 HSFO, VLSFO and MGO (Gasoil) in the main world hubs) continued firm downward trend on Mar.19:

380 HSFO - USD/MT - 255.44 (-6.92)

VLSFO - USD/MT – 326.00 (-15.00)

MGO - USD/MT – 416.40 (-11.29)

Meantime, world oil indexes headed higher on Mar. 19, but gains are likely only temporary as the measures introduced to combat the coronavirus pandemic are likely have a drastic impact on global demand.

Brent for May settlement increased by $3.59 to $28.47 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. West Texas Intermediate for April rose by $4.85 to $25.22 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Brent benchmark traded at the premium of $3.25 to WTI. Gasoil for April delivery gained $16.50.

Today morning global oil indexes continue slight upward evolution so far.

The oil market could see a record supply surplus in April as coronavirus wipes out demand and big producers pump more, creating a global glut that threatens to overwhelm storage capacity within months and force widespread industry shutdowns. Crude is already gushing into storage at land and sea worldwide as countries curb travel and economic activity falls due to coronavirus. Storage levels are rising even before a wave of supply hits the market from Saudi Arabia, Russia and other producers who are gearing up to fight a price war for market share. As storage reaches capacity, a slide toward $10 per barrel is possible. That last happened during the 1998 glut before both oil companies and oil producing nations curbed supply.

IHS Markit estimated the global oil supply surplus on a monthly basis to range between 4 million barrels per day (bpd) and 10 million bpd from February to May 2020 – equal to 4-10% of global demand. Standard Chartered Bank expected an “extreme” global surplus of 12.9 million bpd in the second quarter – 13 percent of global demand – and a cumulative surplus exceeding 2.1 billion barrels by the end of the year – well above the annual output of OPEC’s second largest producer Iraq. Goldman Sachs sees over 1 billion barrels of unused storage still available and said while it does not expect the glut to lead to a breach in storage capacity, it will likely lead to a breach in logistical capacity, meaning ships, pipelines, terminals and processing units.

Worldwide, refineries are slowing output and contemplating extensive maintenance due to travel restrictions put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Margins for producing transportation fuels turned negative in Europe and Asia, and briefly did the same in the United States, in a rapid response to international and domestic travel restrictions in scores of nations worldwide. Numerous refiners which have invested in costly large-scale projects to capitalize on projected increases in demand for low-sulfur shipping fuel in the first half of 2020, may be particularly hard hit, as the virus has curtailed cruises and global shipments of goods.

Russia is beginning to feel the squeeze as it sees its oil and gas income tumble while it has to fight for its market share in key markets such as Europe and Asia. Meantime, it was stated on Mar.18, that Russia would sure like to see oil prices improve, but that the country has not yet reached out to OPEC to discuss measures. Moscow’s decision to not deepen output cuts triggered an unexpected response in Riyadh, which decided to leave behind the OPEC deal and start pumping flat out. Saudi Arabia’s latest claim of supplying markets with 12.3 million bpd during the next couple of months has triggered a further collapse in oil prices.

U.S senators urged Saudi Arabia and Russia to halt their price war during talks with the kingdom’s envoy to Washington. The senators urged President Donald Trump to impose an embargo on oil from the two countries.

The U.S. Department of Energy said on Mar.19 it will buy up to 30 million barrels of crude oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve by the end of June as a first step in fulfilling President Donald Trump's directive to fill the emergency stockpile to help domestic crude producers. The reserve, in caverns on the Texas and Louisiana coasts, has 77 million barrels of available capacity. The first 30 million barrel purchase will be for both sweet and sour crude oil and will focus on buying from small and midsize producers.

Total demand for all kinds of liquid fuels in India - one of the key growth drivers of global oil demand alongside China - was down by 10 to 11 percent for the first fourteen days of March. Stopped flights, travel restrictions, and travel advisories have led to a double-digit drop in demand for gasoline, diesel, shipping fuel, and jet fuel. Before the coronavirus outbreak, India and China were the countries expected to contribute the most to oil demand growth this year. Now analysts expect global oil demand to actually drop in 2020 compared to 2019.

We expect bunker prices may rise today in a range of plus 18-25 USD.