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INSIGHT


Base Oil Report


Europe European domestic Group I spot prices climbed in early March with increased tightness, particularly for the heavier grades, driving the uptrend. SN500 and brighstock FCA (free carrier) northwest Europe spot prices hit record highs, according to ICIS data from 2013. Group II spot prices held steady although sellers are separately considering further increases for the second half (H2) of March. While Group III spot prices were stable to firm on the back of ongoing shortages. European, Baltic and Black Sea export prices all jumped, with European export values seeing the biggest increase amid a confirmed deal in the region. Export availability remains extremely tight, and demand is at unprecedented levels on the back of global shortages.


US


US base oils prices continue to firm while supply shortages remain as unplanned shutdowns persist. Availability is extremely limited, and tight conditions are expected through March but most likely well into April. Producers are focussed on their contractual obligations rather than the spot market but face challenges in supplying customers as market players manage the unplanned shutdowns. Some suppliers have allocations in place. Shortages of N600 and bright stock continue. Light-viscosity grades have some availability for contract customers, but inventories are dwindling. Group III suppliers struggle to meet demand, and several refineries are slated for turnarounds in the second quarter. Vacuum gas oil prices spiked amid surging crude futures.


Asia Group I brightstock prices climbed further, while SN150 and SN500 prices in Asia were mostly firmer amid sustained tight supply. Buyers yielded to sellers’ incessant price hikes due to extreme tight supply not only in Asia but globally. Group II 150N and 500/600N prices extended gains, with that of heavy grade 500/600N having risen more than that of the


Eashani Chavda, Markets Editor


former. Availability of Group II heavy grades from various regions including northeast Asia, the US and the Middle East remained scarce. In India, prices for all Group I and II grades increased due to reduced domestic supply, with the exception of Group II light grade 70N prices, which were flat because of the impending turnaround at a local refiner’s unit in April. Group III prices held steady through lack of discussions for South Korean material.


Middle East


Middle East base oil prices were stable-to-firm in the week, with Group I showing stability after recent gains, while Group II and Group III prices witnessed relatively healthy gains due to higher offers and discussions against a backdrop of persistent supply shortages. Group I base oils prices were stable in the week amid limited range-bound discussions. Offers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for locally available SN500 were largely unchanged, with some buyers showing reluctance to accept higher-priced cargoes despite the tight supply conditions. The assessments for SN150 were held stable in line with SN500 amid muted price discussions.


LINK www.icis.com


LUBE MAGAZINE NO.162 APRIL 2021


47


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