Analytics Vortexa

Jet fuel cracks in Asia fell to multi-year lows this month, pressured by a sharp decline in air passenger travel in China and the wider region following the coronavirus outbreak. An oversupplied Asian market is supporting arbitrage routes out of the region, with Vortexa data highlighting the most recent growth in jet fuel exports to the US from the world’s largest seaborne jet fuel exporter, South Korea.

SK-US snaphot image

In Brief:

  • Rise in exports to the US: South Korea’s jet exports to the US stand at a provisional 300,000 mt for 2H January, up from 90,000 mt in 1H Jan. Eight laden tankers are en route from South Korea for likely discharge in the US West Coast (PADD 5) region, mostly into Los Angeles, California.

  • More bookings for PADD 5: At least another 165,000 mt is scheduled load from South Korea for PADD 5 during 1-9 February according provisional shipping fixtures, though the total figure for February could rise further over the course of the month.
  • Cargo to Latin America: In addition to the PADD5-bound flows in January, South Korean jet fuel is also heading to Chile. Handymax tanker Velos Fortuna is expected to discharge in Quintero Bay in early February. The Chilean port received a similar sized cargo, also from South Korea’s Daesan, in early January.
  • Exports to Asia stable with downside risks: South Korea’s jet fuel exports to the north Asia region could come under pressure in the coming weeks, as the winter season comes to an end, and amid subdued air passenger traffic. South Korea’s January export levels were broadly in line with the 2019 average. But it also exported more to Japan in January, underpinned by a rise in winter heating demand, helping to compensate for declining exports to China.
  • South Korean jet flow: South Korea is the largest seaborne exporter of jet fuel globally, exporting on average around 1.2mn mt per month in 2019. The country’s exports to Asia averaged around 525,000 mt in December 2019 – January 2020, Vortexa data show. 



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