Singapore’s marine fuel sales, also known as bunker sales, retreated in August as vessel calls and container throughput fell from July, official data showed on Thursday.

Sales in August totalled 4.26 million metric tons, down 5.8% month-on-month but up 3.4% year-on-year, data from the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) showed.

The decline came amid lower vessel calls for bunkering, which totalled 3,483 in August, dipping 0.8% from July.

The typhoons that emerged in North Asia during August could have delayed some ships on the trade route, a source from a Singapore bunker-fuel supplier said.

“I think that may have caused some delay to vessels that are supposed to arrive (in Singapore) in end-August,” he said, adding that some bunker demand spilled over into September.

Bunker sales in Singapore are a key indicator of sentiment at the world’s largest ship refuelling hub, which is also one of the busiest shipping lanes globally.

Singapore’s container throughput eased to 3,328,400 twenty-foot equivalent units in August, after hitting a year-to-date high in July.

“Higher marine fuel prices amid increased crude flat prices likely impacted spot purchases,” said Ivan Mathews, FGE’s head of Asia refining and global fuel oil service.

However, lower Singapore bunker fuel prices versus China’s Zhoushan in September could divert more demand to Singapore, particularly for vessels plying the South East Asia and North Asia trade route, Mathews said.

Low-sulphur fuel oil (LSFO) sales for bunkering had totalled 2.51 million tons in August, down 5.8% from July, while high-sulphur marine fuel oil (MFO) sales totalled 1.39 million tons in August, down 6.1% from July.

Sales of bio-blended LSFO extended gains to a new monthly record high of 52,600 tons in August, reflecting a steady, though still gradual climb in volumes this year.
Total bio-blended LSFO sales were at 281,500 tons in 2023 so far, the data showed.

Meanwhile, bunker sales of liquefied natural gas fell at 15,600 tons in August, snapping an uptrend since January 2023. Total LNG bunker sales totalled70,670 tons to date this year.

Source: Reuters