China’s low-sulphur marine fuel exports fell 20% last month to 1.14 million tonnes compared with April, reflecting a monthly dip in demand from international shipping, Chinese customs data released late on Thursday showed.
Chinese refiners began exporting very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) in January, with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5% to comply with emission rules set by the International Maritime Organization, after Beijing waived export taxes for domestic refiners to meet shipping demand.
Exports for the first five months totalled about 5.2 million tonnes, the data showed.
China has been striving to reduce its reliance on bunker fuel imports and create its own marine fuel hub to supply northern Asia.
China’s fuel oil imports into bonded storages jumped 50% in May versus April to 1.55 million tonnes, the highest so far this year, the data showed.
This could be due to traders moving cheaper fuel from Singapore to tankages in China, including some barrels for deliveries into Shanghai’s high-sulphur fuel oil futures contract, said a Singapore-based Chinese trader.
The table below shows China’s fuel oil imports and exports.
The column of exports under bonded storage trade is the key data that captures China’s VLSFO bunkering sales along its coast.
(Volumes are in tonnes)
Exports Bonded Processing or Monthly Year-To-Date
storage tolling total
Jan-Feb 1,560,681 -- 1,560,681 1,560,681
March 1,068,789 -- 1,068,789 2,629,470
April 1,425,085 8,100 1,433,185 4,062,655
May 1,143,929 NA 1,143,929 5,196,914
Imports General Bonded storage Monthly Year-to-date
trade trade total
Jan-Feb 199,770 2,516,123 2,716,957 2,716,957
March 208,462 747,236 955,698 3,672,655
April 67,657 1,029,406 1,097,063 4,769,718
May 46,892 1,553,326 1,600,218 6,275,290
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Chen Aizhu in Singapore, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)