Bunker demand in Singapore appears to be recovering. Image Credit: File Image / Pixabay
Bunker demand in Singapore rose for a second month both on a monthly and yearly basis in January despite an earlier Lunar New Year celebration this year and the outbreak of the coronavirus in China.
Total demand at the world's largest bunkering hub jumped by 7.5% on a yearly basis to 4.515 million mt in January, according to preliminary data from Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority (MPA), up from 4.199 million mt a year earlier and 4.466 million mt in December.
This was the highest monthly total since January 2018, and the first time the total has surpassed 4.5 million mt since then.
This is the first bunker demand data showing the demand picture at the start of IMO 2020, as well as the first data showing the early impact of the start of the coronavirus outbreak in Asia, although this impact is likely to be sharper in February's numbers.
The rise in demand from last year will partly reflect the lower energy density of 0.5% sulfur bunker fuels compared with high sulfur fuel oil, meaning shipowners need to buy a higher volume of fuel to travel the same distance.
Low-sulfur 100 CST, 180 CST, 380 CST and 500 CST fuel oil, ultra low sulfur fuel oil, marine gasoil and low-sulfur marine gasoil demand together totaled 3.743 million mt, up by 19.7% from December's level and representing 82.9% of January's total.
Ultra low sulfur fuel oil (ULSFO) and low-sulfur 100 CST fuel oil were listed as fuel categories for the first time in this month's data.
Meanwhile high-sulfur 180 CST, 380 CST and 500 CST fuel oil demand together totaled 764,400 mt in January, down by 39.9% from December and representing 16.9% of total demand.