January 09, 2023
Overview of past week:
- Bulk bitumen prices fell by around $17.5/t on a fob Iran basis compared with the week of 23 December, while prices for drummed cargoes eased by $11.5/t.
- Bulk cargoes were sold in the $310-320/t fob range compared with $370-385/t fob seen for drummed ones. The marginal strength in rials against the US dollar offered some support to prices.
- Demand from India was mixed with relatively higher enquiries seen from the southern parts, while demand in northern India and the west coast was capped by unfavourable cold weather conditions and the lack of project funds, respectively.
- Listed VG10, VG30 bulk and drummed bitumen prices in Mumbai declined by 2,000 rupees/t ($24.20/t), with effect from 1 January. Listed prices for VG 40 bulk lots fell by Rs2,290/t.
- Iraq origin drummed parcels were offered at around $362-375/t fob Bandar Abbas range. But demand was lackluster as the prices were not competitive compared with cargoes from neighboring Iran.
- Listed prices in Bahrain were kept unchanged at $375/t fob Sitra.
- In Singapore, prices were unchanged against the week of 23 December, while South Korean prices rose by $17.5/t on fob basis following an export tender from a key South Korean refinery.
China’s 2022 bitumen intake destined for multi-year low
The largest bitumen consumption market of China is on track to receive its lowest yearly imports since 2012 because of less urgent roading deadlines, which could set the stage for demand to rebound modestly this year and support seaborne prices.
India’s first-half January bitumen prices fall
Listed bitumen prices in Mumbai declined by 2,000 rupees/t ($24.17/t) with effect from 1 January on the back of the recent weakness in regional bitumen prices.
Viewpoint: Asia bitumen to see stronger demand in 2023
The Asia-Pacific bitumen market is expected to see stronger demand in 2023, supported by consumption from key developing economies in the region.
Cash crunch, bad weather threaten Indian bitumen demand
India’s December bitumen consumption is poised to fall below market expectations as delays in the disbursement of project funds and unfavourable weather hinder road construction activities. But the market is increasingly conflicted about the extent of the overall decline in consumption. Some importers see a 20-30pc month-on-month drop, while some see consumption levels staying in line with November but below their initial estimates.
South Korea’s 2022 bitumen exports set to fall on year
South Korea’s bitumen exports in 2022 is set to fall from the previous year, on the back of recent output cuts triggered largely by the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) sulphur cap since 1 January 2020.
Opec+ stays vigilant in face of cloudy outlook
Opec+ will have its work cut out to gauge the exact market balance in 2023, in what is likely to be another turbulent year, writes Nader Itayim
The myriad uncertainties that made 2022 an extremely challenging year for oil markets look likely to continue to complicate the outlook for Opec+ in 2023.