At the onset of the recent Middle East conflict last week, the global Brent crude oil index rose by 4.1% in Asian trading on Monday, October 16th, reaching a peak of 88.15 USD per barrel, yet still falling short of the record high of 97.69 USD on September 28th. Iran and Saudi Arabia, major players in the international oil market, have become the focal point for monitoring how they will influence regional changes.
On October 19th, the United States officially lifted oil sanctions against Venezuela for six months, allowing PDVSA to export crude oil and fuel to the U.S. However, it’s worth noting that Iran’s increased oil exports in recent months primarily benefited America and Europe, compensating for production cuts by Russia and Saudi Arabia, with minimal global market disruptions.
Leaders Putin and Xi Jinping from Russia and China, along with representatives from over 130 countries, convened in China for the Belt and Road Forum, with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres also in attendance. This forum appears to be a counterpoint to India’s G20 forum.
Throughout the past week, fuel and bitumen prices fluctuated, with Singapore’s HSFO CST180 seeing a 12 USD increase to reach 503 USD on October 18th, and bitumen prices recorded at 520 USD. This marked the first time Singapore’s bitumen price exceeded its fuel price in recent months.
South Korea’s bitumen price increased by 5 USD, reaching 425 USD, while Bahrain’s bitumen price dropped by 25 USD to close at 415 USD. In Europe, bitumen prices are reported within the range of 450 to 520 USD.
India’s bitumen price is expected to continue a slight uptrend after a small 6 USD increase in mid-October. However, challenges in allocating funds for projects may persist, and import levels are unlikely to be robust, as they have been in recent months.
The rise in crude oil and fuel prices is anticipated to lead to an increase in Iran’s vacuum bottom production. Nevertheless, manufacturers face reduced competition, and exporters are dealing with the implementation of export taxes. Additionally, there are rumors of impending increases in shipping charges from Jebel Ali to other destinations.
In summary, the market is under significant pressure due to rising fuel and crude oil prices, and any further increase in bitumen prices would likely require additional influencing factors.
This article was prepared by Shirin Yousefi, the Content specialist and market analyst of Infinity Galaxy