December 26, 2022
Overview of past week:
- Bulk Iranian bitumen prices fell by around $11/t against the previous week, while drummed cargoes eased by $1/t.
- Iranian bulk cargoes were sold at $325-340/t fob basis, compared with $373-405/t fob for drummed material.
- Indian consumption remains under the pressure of delays in disbursement of funds in many parts of the region and poor weather in north and south India.
- Demand for Middle East origin bulk was minimal from India, but demand for drums were relatively better on expectations for firm consumption from February. Drummed cargoes traded now will be delivered into India only by end-January or early-February due to the more than one-month voyage of container vessels.
- Iraqi drums were offered around $372-380/t fob Bandar Abbas but trading was thin as the prices were not competitive compared to cargoes from neighboring Iran.
- In Bahrain, listed prices were unchanged at $375/t fob Sitra.
- In Singapore, prices fell by $2.5/t on fob basis against week-earlier figures, while South Korean prices rose by $17.5/t on fob basis.
Iran’s bulk bitumen prices drop with port issues
Waterborne bulk bitumen prices in Iran slipped this week as most buyers waited at the sidelines because of persistent congestion issues at the port of Bandar Abbas. This week’s price drop marked a fifth consecutive week of falling prices, which have been pressured by volatility in the Iranian rial against the US dollar.
Indonesia’s 2022 bitumen imports poised to rebound
Indonesia’s bitumen imports in 2022 look set to rebound from 2021 and support prices from traditional supply source Singapore. But imports by the key consuming market are likely to remain significantly lower compared with the years preceding the Covid-19 outbreak as the recovery process gradually gears up.
Taiwan to export more bitumen in 2022
Taiwan is on track to export more bitumen in 2022 than a year earlier with firmer consumption in Vietnam and Philippines. The slower pace of sales over September-October compared with a year previously is unlikely to offset the robust trades of earlier months.
Viewpoint: Bitumen faces supply and demand issues
Europe’s bitumen markets face both supply and demand pressures in the year ahead.
Changing crude slates at several European refineries and a focus on producing more lucrative oil products will weigh on regional production in 2023, as will a likely demand slippage caused by anticipated cuts in funding for road project work, driven by inflationary cost pressures.
Cargo loadings begin at new Turkish bitumen terminal
A large cargo of bitumen is loading at a new terminal at Dortyol, near Ceyhan in southeast Turkey. The cargo size is around 30,000t, with the 37,087 dwt Vitol tanker Asphalt Splendor beginning loading operations on 21 December.
China pushes yuan trade against US sanctions risk
Rising oil imports — and closer ties with Russia and the Mideast Gulf — come at the same time as Beijing seeks to ditch the dollar
China is determined to insulate itself from future US sanctions by developing an alternative financial ecosystem around its own currency, the yuan.