Alarms for the oil market from Singapore
Singaporean refinery data indicate a decline in refining profitability. The average profit fell to $ 1.2 per barrel. This is at least since 2010.
This situation in the refining sector in the Asian region is observed against the background of an oversupply of fuel on the market. It is mainly about diesel and fuel oil. Also, oil prices play a significant role. Raw materials are now trading near the highs of this year.
The fall in the profitability of oil refining in the Asian region, in fact, can only lead to one. Due to an oversupply of fuel, one should not expect a rise in prices for it. Then it may be more logical to drop the demand for raw materials until the situation in the fuel market normalizes. This in turn may be one of the factors of pressure on oil quotes.
To statistically test this idea, let's take on the refinery's margin graph the end of several bright trends. For example, a fall in the second half of 2010, at the end of 2011, in the second half of 2013, in the middle of 2014, in the second half of 2016, and the current fall since 2018. Let's compare these periods with oil prices brand Brent.
In most cases, in close proximity to the dates of the minima of the refinery margin, we see local oil maxima. The fall in oil refinery profits in the second half of 2010 was caused by a sharp recovery in oil prices after the crisis of 2008/2009. Local peaks in oil in the second half of 2013 and in mid-2014 also correlate well with the margin of the Singapore refineries.
Another conclusion that suggests itself in a cursory analysis of graphs: the conjuncture in the fuel market is significantly delayed compared to oil prices. The rapid recovery of oil from $ 27 to $ 50 per barrel in 2016 looks frivolous, but it was at that moment that the refinery margin reached the area of multi-year lows. This can be explained by the contractual system of payment of raw materials by processors, which forms a certain lag.
It should be noted that practically the whole of 2018, the refinery margin decreased, which agrees perfectly with the increase in raw material costs. Oil at that time grew from $ 65 to $ 85, to highs since 2014.
But it is also fair to note that the drop in oil prices at the end of 2018 almost did not support the profitability of oil refining. Since this indicator is influenced not only by the prices of raw materials, it can be assumed that there are certain problems in the fuel market. It is possible that the slowdown in the locomotive of the region - the Chinese economy - may be the root of the problems.
Summing up, it should be noted that the low profitability of oil refineries in the Asian region does not contribute to the growth of demand for raw materials. This factor can be written down as one of the risks for the oil market, which will impede the rise in prices even in the case of a reduction in the supply of raw materials.