ARA independent product stocks reach 11-month low

London, (Argus) — Oil product stocks held in independent storage within the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub fell by 11pc from a week earlier to 4.88mn t, the lowest level recorded since December 2017.

Gasoil stocks fell by 7pc to 2.2mn t, the lowest level recorded since 5 July amid tight supply in Europe. The Swiss government released more gasoil from its strategic reserves today, in order to alleviate persistent supply disruptions. Barge freight rates from the ARA area to Switzerland have risen to around SFr180/t, up from SFr20/t at the beginning of July. Tankers arrived in the ARA area from Russia and the UK, and none departed.

Gasoline stocks fell by 4pc to 899,000t, the lowest level since 13 September. Several tankers left for Mexico and for Nigeria, and vessels also departed for the US and Mideast Gulf. Tankers arrived in the ARA from France, Russia and the UK. Northwest Europe remained amply supplied and flows into Germany continued to outstrip those coming out, in a reversal of the usual pattern.

Fuel oil stocks fell by 27.4pc to 913,000t. The Frio departed Rotterdam during the reporting period carrying a 130,000t cargo to Singapore, and two other vessels also left the area carrying fuel oil cargoes. Demand from east of Suez remained strong, drawing cargoes into the ARA area for future eastbound loadings. Tankers arrived in the area from Latin America, Russia and Spain during the week to today.

Jet fuel stocks fell by 1.2pc to 636,000t. Inland demand continued to be met largely by pipeline flows and there was an uptick in buying interest for dual purpose kerosine, likely from the UK. Stocks remained low as recent backwardation in Ice gasoil futures made storage economics unviable. In addition, some cargoes originally destined for northwest Europe from the US and east of Suez have been diverted to the Caribbean and Africa, limiting prompt availability.

Naphtha fell by 13.4pc to 226,000t. Outflows to inland end-users remained under downward pressure from problems arising from low Rhine water levels. But demand from gasoline blenders in the ARA area appeared higher, amid increasing gasoline outflows from Europe. A single tankers arrived in the ARA area from the UK, and none left. Eastbound arbitrage economics have become unviable on benchmark paraffinic grades over the last week amid ample supply in Asia-Pacific.

Reporter: Thomas Warner