As of Monday, October 8, total oil product stocks in Fujairah stood at 19.859 million barrels. Inventories were up by 3% week on week to a near three-month high, mainly on the back of a jump in middle distillate volumes.
Stocks of light distillates rose by 2.1% at 7.586 million barrels, remaining at a three month high. The Middle East continues to be well supplied by gasoline from a weak European market. Gasoline inventories in the ARA hub stood at 1.09 million mt (9.12 million barrels) last week – 38.1% above year-ago levels – data from PJK International showed. ‘The arb to the [Arab Gulf] is there, picking up in Q4 and Q1, expect to see more demand then,’ one source said.
Stocks of middle distillates rose by 12.2% week on week to 4.339 million barrels. This is the highest level recorded for the category since March 27, 2017. Arbitrage to Europe remains limited due to low water levels along the Rhine, which is hampering the flow of barge supplies. This is backing up volumes into the ARA and limiting demand from the cargo market. Nevertheless, robust demand from the Singapore market still provides an outlet for Middle Eastern and Indian exports. Arab Gulf 10 ppm sulfur gasoil premiums in the Middle East eased following a recent tender from a UAE national oil company was heard concluded at around plus 80 cents/b to MOPAG Gasoil assessments.
Stocks of heavy distillates and residues were little changed, edging down by 0.5% to 7.934 million barrels. Bunker demand in Fujairah was mixed, with some suppliers citing brisk inquiries owing to a drop in flat prices, while others said that sentiment was still low. Brent Futures climbed to above $86/b a week ago, but have steadied at around $83-84/b in recent days. Notwithstanding the flat price volatility, demand is seen as slower compared to last month. ‘Cargo supply is no longer as tight as compared with the first half of September,” a Fujairah bunker trader said. “Off-spec issues boosted Fujairah sales that time [in August] but demand has since returned to usual levels,’ the trader added.