MARKET TALK: Asia Fuel Oil: Spreads Narrow Sharply; Litasco Books Rotterdam VLCC

[Dow Jones] Asia fuel oil intermonth spreads narrow sharply as the weeklong selloff resumes; the February/March 180-cst spread narrows to $8.25-$8.50/ton in backwardation, while March/April, which becomes prompt in a week, shrinks to $6.75/ton.

Profit-taking over the past week has weakened sentiment, even though fundamentals remain robust, with China still buying heavily, traders say. A rebound is likely, traders say, and they are seeking fresh buying opportunities. While the decline in Singapore has nearly killed East-West arbitrage economics, Russian trader Litasco, a heavy seller in the Singapore paper market, was heard chartering VLCC Kokkari to ship 270,000 tons of fuel oil from Rotterdam to Singapore at $4.70 million, for loading Feb. 10. Last month Litasco chartered cargoes for Rotterdam-Singapore in what appeared to be a closed arbitrage window because of high freight rates.

Litasco, a key supplier in Rotterdam, has been shipping much of the volume to Asia, and selling little in Europe, traders say.

  • Gurdeep Singh, Dow Jones Newswires