IFO180 Bunkers Fade from Global Spot Markets

Sun sets on IFO180 popularity with ship operators. Image Credit: Ship & Bunker

IFO180 has all but disappeared from global spot markets following the January 1, 2020 introduction of a global 0.50% sulfur cap on marine fuel.

In response, Ship & Bunker will now stop publishing its IFO180-related multi-market average indices such as the IFO180 Global Average Bunker Price. Historical data for these indicies will remain on the site for reference.

“Ship & Bunker’s Benchmark Bunker Prices reflect what market participants are indicating in the spot market. Once demand stops, product disappears and it no longer becomes meaningful to talk about what an indicative price for that product is,” says Martyn Lasek, Ship & Bunker’s Managing Director.

IFO380 demand this year has also dropped dramatically

In reality, the demise of IFO180’s popularity has been taking place for several decades and by 2000 the grade had already dwindled to comprise just 17% of Singapore‘s annual bunker sales. In 2018, well before any IMO 2020 effect could take hold, IFO180 was less than 0.7% of the port’s overall sales.

While IFO180 indications in most of North America all but stopped some years ago, it is the IMO 2020 rule that has finally brought about the end of the product’s inclusion in even the world’s biggest bunker markets.

For now, spot IFO180 avails continue in markets only where IFO380 is typically not, such as Pakistan and South Africa, and Ship & Bunker will continue to publish prices for such individual markets.

Looking ahead, IFO380 demand this year has also dropped dramatically, particularly outside of the primary bunkering ports. It remains to be seen which markets will continue to have spot avails of the once ubiquitous grade, and Ship & Bunker will make further adjustments to its published prices and indicies as appropriate.

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