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June 18, 2018

Bunker Fuel

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North Asian Bunkers Commentary

New York (Platts)--08Mar18/0745 pm EST/ 0045 GMT

Scheduled refinery maintenance in South Korea would offer support to the bunker market, some market participants said Thursday. Almost all South Korean refiners had some units under maintenance, but details of the units involved and the duration of the turnaround could not be confirmed. Some traders said that the turnarounds, which largely run over March-April, would lend support to the bunker fuel market. "We expect some production from the refinery and decided to decrease imports of bunker fuel in March," a refinery source said, adding that the company had a vessel that arrived in February and is expecting one more in March. "Some traders were saying that the market is coming back and getting better, and compared to H1 February, so far it is better, but demand is still low," he said. Other sources said that despite the refinery maintenance, bunker fuel supply in South Korea was expected to remain stable. "Supply will not change at all ... I think volumes will be maintained," a trader said this week. Others were more cautious, saying it was difficult to tell if bunker fuel production in South Korea would be significantly lower over March-April. "On the bunker fuel supply side, it is hard to say, ... because their [refiners'] fuel oil sales through bunker is small compared to the whole portion," a trader said. "Also, they always have the option to import if they are tight, but as of now, it does not seem imports are needed as demand is low."


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