Overview of past week:
- Iranian bulk bitumen prices fell by $5/t, while drummed bitumen prices rose by $6/t.
- Asking price for bulk and drummed cargoes rose in the second half of last week on the back of higher vacuum bottom (VB) costs but demand for seaborne material fell after the price increase.
- Bulk and drummed Iranian cargoes were mostly traded in the $290-310/t and $ 370-392/t fob range, respectively. Demand was also pressured by the long-standing logistic congestions at Bandar Abbas port.
- Overall consumption in India continued to be lacklustre. State-controlled refiners decreased listed VG10 and VG30 bulk and drummed bitumen prices in Mumbai with effect from 16 January for the current fortnight by 2,360 rupees/t ($29.04/t).
- An Indian state-owned refiner issued a tender seeking 102,000t of bulk bitumen for delivery at six different ports in the coming ten months. Bulk bitumen prices will be calculated with the Argus fob Iran bulk weekly assessment as a reference, while the Mumbai port freight for bulk cargoes will be calculated based on the average of Argus’ weekly freight assessments from Bandar Abbas to Mundra and Karwar.
- Listed prices in Bahrain were decreased by $50/t to $325/t fob Sitra.
- Demand for Iraqi drums were also lacklustre with prices around $365-375/t fob Bandar Abbas.
- Singapore prices fell by $2.5/t on fob basis, while South Korean prices rose by $5/t on fob basis.
India’s 2023 bitumen demand to rise ahead of elections
India’s bitumen consumption is poised to cross the 8mn t mark in 2023, driven by market expectations of new infrastructure development initiatives ahead of the general elections in 2024.
Med bitumen exports to South America up in 2022
Mediterranean bitumen exports to South America tripled last year to meet rising regional demand.
Cargo exports from the European Mediterranean to South American destinations totalled 177,000t last year, jumping from just 58,400t in 2021, and accounting for more than half of the continent’s cargo inflows, according to Vortexa data. Last year’s import volumes were the highest for at least six years.
Queensway Navigation sells another bitumen tanker
Greek shipping firm Queensway Navigation has sold its second bitumen vessel in a year, cutting its bitumen tanker fleet by half.
High margins to keep diesel in focus at Indian refiners
Indian refiners are likely to keep an emphasis on diesel production this year, both for domestic consumption and export, to take advantage of high diesel margins and boost returns.
China’s reopening to spur higher global oil demand: IEA
The IEA expects China’s oil demand to recover quickly in 2023 after the country’s reopening, with China possibly accounting for almost half of the growth in global oil demand.
Record oil supply will not meet demand in 2023: IEA
Record oil supply this year will not meet demand, with a gradual shift in the balance leading to a notable shortfall in availability by the end of 2023, according to the IEA.
Russian bitumen excluded from EU import ban
Russian bitumen is exempt from the EU sanctions on oil products imports that come into effect on 5 February.
The European Commission has confirmed that bitumen with the Combined Nomenclature (CN) code 2713, coming from Russia, is not subject to the ban. The commission said there is a ban on bitumen coming from Crimea and occupied Ukrainian regions, although there is no production in these regions. There is a ban on asphalt classified as CN 6807.