Singapore, Nov 15: Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has sold via tender 30,000 tonnes of end November-loading fuel oil at lower price levels on expectations of a more bearish December market, traders said on Thursday.
The 380-centistoke (cst) cargo, for loading on Nov. 27-30 from its Chennai terminal, was sold to Vitol at a discount of about $17.00 a tonne to spot quotes on a free-on-board (FOB) basis.
''The price level is quite reflective of the weaker December sentiment. In fact, most of the bidders went in at discounts of below $20,'' a Singapore-based Asian trader said.
The most recent Indian parcel of similar high-density, high-sulphur specifications was done at discounts of $15.00-$16.00 a tonne to spot quotes, FOB.
IOC last sold a similar October loading lot, of 4.5 percent sulphur and 0.997 density, at a discount of around $11.00 a tonne to spot quotes, FOB.
The East Asian market, which has been tight throughout November, is expected to be more balanced in December due to heavier inflows from the Middle East.
Between 310,000 and 320,000 tonnes, mainly from Saudi Arabia, has been fixed for December arrival into Singapore, after two months of limited exports due to supply tightness in the Middle East.
The heavier flows are expected to be balanced by below average volumes of Western cargoes, totalling 1.6-1.7 million tonnes, with less than two weeks of the tanker-fixing window left open.
The situation is countered by skyrocketing prices. The benchmark 180-cst grade has jumped to an all-time average monthly high of $515.50 a tonne.