The price gap between high and low sulphur fuel oil has widened to extremes not seen since around the introduction of the global sulphur cap in January 2020.
While the difference in price between the two dominant fuels has averaged around $110 per ton in the first 22 months of the sulphur cap era, in the last week it has shot up to more than $150 in Asia providing some financial gain for those owners who decided to invest in scrubbers.
In Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering hub, the price differential now stands at $164 per ton of fuel.
The widening price gap is being felt most acutely in Southeast and East Asia. In Fujairah, by comparison, the delta stands at $131 per ton while in Rotterdam the difference is $138.
“The high spread in Asia comes as a continued surge by power utilities to prefer low-sulfur heavy fuel oil, rather than heavy fuel oil, as a substitute for natural gas,” analysts at Lorentzen & Stemoco stated today.
“Much of the recent widening has been driven by softening HSFO prices, which have fallen by a sixth over the past month,” analysts at Braemar ACM suggested in a note to clients in which it predicted the price spread – also know as the Hi-5 – will remain high through the first half of next year.