Hong Kong Bunkering Halted Due to Strong Winds

Tuesday October 18, 2016

Market sources said Hong Kong bunker operations remained halted Tuesday due to strong winds from Typhoon Sarika, Platts reports.

It is reported to be unclear when bunkering operations could resume at Hong Kong, with wind levels Tuesday afternoon said to be at Force 7, categorized as strong winds of 52-62 km/hour by the Hong Kong Observatory.

"The market is always tighter for a day or two after a stoppage like this. But how badly it is affected depends on how long it takes for operations to resume," a source said, adding berth congestion and tight barge availability could be expected.

One source, commenting on the situation, said: "I believe most suppliers cannot do prompt inquiries, as they need to clear the backlog."

Some traders pointed out that prices for prompt delivery would likely be firm, with one trader noting that "prices have been supported and it is likely to be maintained".

However, another bunker trader said it was unlikely that bunker fuel prices would be affected as a result, but said that physical operations will be backed up, leaving suppliers to offer less actively.

"At the moment, the earliest delivery [for bunker fuel] I think is October 20/21, but another typhoon is coming, so who knows what will happen," said a trader.

The Hong Kong bunker market is said to also be preparing for another typhoon, Haima, which is expected to impact Hong Kong on Friday.

Ship & Bunker data shows that IFO 380 prices rose to $293.50 per metric tonne (pmt) on Monday from $291.50 pmt on Friday.