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Piraeus bunker fuel-buying flurry narrows price discount to Istanbul

The bunker fuel market at Piraeus, Greece, has been busy this week amid a surge in requests from container and cruise vessels, local sources said Wednesday, leaving 380 CST prices at a narrower discount to Istanbul, its main rival, which has been quieter.

Sources said 380 CST bunker prices at the Greek port were indicated around $460/mt during the morning, $4/mt below Tuesday’s assessed price, and buyers were snapping up parcels.

Demand in Piraeus usually soars in the summer months due to a ramp-up in cruise season arrivals. The higher demand at Piraeus comes at a time when the barge schedule is consistently tight — a knock-on effect of a barge sinking at the port last September, leading to tighter regulations and safety checks.

“The market is very firm,” a trader said.

Meanwhile, Istanbul, Piraeus’s local competitor, has seen low demand this week with suppliers reporting little buying interest.

The 380 CST bunker market was indicated at around $463-$467/mt, versus Tuesday’s assessed value of $466/mt. There were no issues reported by local sources with fuel oil availability or the barge schedule.

Istanbul prices have been $5/mt higher than Piraeus, on average, this year. On Wednesday the gap closed to $2/mt.

The spread between the two ports is likely to remain pinched through the summer months, sources said.

Bunker prices have been supported over the last 10 days following supply disruptions in Libya, Venezuela and sanctions on Iran by the US.

Source: Platts

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