After more than a month of conflict in the Middle East, resulting in significant human casualties on both sides, the repercussions extended to the energy sector. At the onset of the war, crude oil prices surged to over 90 USD, with predictions even reaching 115 USD. However, recent data and reports caused a notable decline, despite voluntary production cuts by Russia and Saudi Arabia.
On November 8, China’s commercial data contributed to a three-month low in crude oil prices, dropping to 79 USD on November 9. ING Bank analysts noted concerns in the Middle East about disrupted supply, shifting focus to demand. Concurrently, American Petroleum Institute statistics revealed a 12 million barrel increase in U.S. crude oil storage.
China’s increased crude oil imports in October were juxtaposed with a sharp decrease in refinery product exports due to reduced production by Chinese refiners. Energy Aspects Institute lowered its November and December China crude oil refining prediction and expressed concerns about decreased fuel demand during a warm winter affecting crude oil prices.
On November 8, Singapore’s HSFO CST180 fell by 12 USD to 440 USD. Bitumen prices in Singapore and South Korea settled at 505 and 405 USD, respectively, after a 5 USD decline. Bahrain’s bitumen traded at 400 USD, while European prices ranged from 430 to 500 USD.
Despite expectations of a bitumen price surge in India during Diwali, the market faced uncertainties with a 10 USD drop. Iran’s market remained ambiguous due to a new circular and anticipated price shocks. Bitumen manufacturers showed reluctance on November 8, with zero or less than 3% competition for purchasing vacuum bottom.
It appears that the market’s trajectory will align with crude oil price movements, playing a decisive role in the future of Iran’s bitumen market in the coming days.
This article was prepared by Shirin Yousefi, the Content specialist and market analyst of Infinity Galaxy