China’s IMO-compliant marine fuel exports in May down 20% m/m

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)

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