Bunker prices trends unpredictable this week, expert says


With strong macroeconomic data supporting marine fuel prices, the situation in the bunker market yet is unclear for the next week. WTI is under the pressure by a downward trend and the Brent is supported by an upward trend, which gives us an irregular picture in marine fuel prices, the market specialist MABUX said in a weekly review.

West Texas Intermediate crude traded near the lowest level in almost two weeks as signs that the U.S. will decrease the economic stimulus this year raised speculation oil demand may falter in the world’s biggest consumer. Federal Reserve’s July policy meeting showed members were “broadly comfortable” with Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s plan to start curbing bond buying later this year if the economy improves.

Activity in China’s manufacturing sector hits a four-month high in August as new orders re-bounded, a preliminary survey showed. This added to promising reports for July, raising hopes the world’s No.2 economy may be stabilizing after a two-year slowdown. Brent crude rose towards $110 a barrel on Thursday as upbeat data from China kindled hopes for better demand from the world’s largest energy consumer, and as oil exports from Libya stayed limited by strikes and unrest. Chinese manufacturing sector came up with surprisingly encouraging data, which was much better than expected and at the same time the continuation of the unrest in Libya causing loss of Libyan crude exports is also holding up the oil price at the moment. – Libya’s oil exports are still close to their lowest since the civil war of 2011, with the largest terminals, Es Sider and RasLanuf, blocked by protesters for nearly four weeks.

The situation in Egypt with former President Hosni Mubarak perhaps being released from prison as early as today after a court ordered he be freed, while authorities arrested the Muslim Brotherhood’s spokesman amid a crackdown on the group. The political crisis in Egypt has also stoked supply worries as the country is home to the Suez Canal and the Sumed pipeline, which together carry around 4.5 million barrels per day of oil between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Brent crude oil remains supported by geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and Africa.