Singapore's onshore fuel oil stockpiles rose to a three-week high despite a sharp decline in imports into landed tanks, data showed on Thursday. The inventories climbed 11.4% to 21.33 million barrels (3.36 million metric tons) in the week to March 13, latest data from Enterprise Singapore showed. This came despite a 79.2% drop in total imports, which were at about 297,000 tons in the week.

A broader slowdown in fuel oil demand, particularly for bunkering, capped inventory drawdowns, while overall stockpiles remained high amid a backdrop of ample supply, said industry sources. Saudi Arabia became the top origin for arrivals into landed storage at Singapore in the week, followed by Russia and Oman. Meanwhile, top destinations for outflows out of Singapore were China and Indonesia, excluding volumes to storage hub Malaysia.

The inventory levels recorded volatile movements in recent weeks, though overall average volumes have fallen in February and March to date, compared to January. Onshore fuel oil inventories averaged 20.23 million barrels a week in March so far, lower compared to 21.44 million barrels a week in February, the data showed. Despite a decline in onshore inventories, the Asia market remains well supplied regionally, with floating storage volumes rising in early March compared to late February, said sources.

Reflecting ample supplies, spot cash premiums for the benchmark grade of 0.5% low-sulphur fuel oil have been trapped in low single-digit premiums this month. Week to March 13, Fuel oil (in Total Total Net Imports metric tons) Imports Exports BAHRAIN 29,070 0 29,070 CHINA 0 39,558 -39,558 INDIA 0 320 -320 INDONESIA 6,595 33,743 -27,148 JAPAN 0 21 -21 KOREA 0 26,248 -26,248 MALAYSIA 10,462 114,236 -103,774 OMAN 30,953 0 30,953 RUSSIA 80,804 0 80,804 SAUDI ARABIA 128,388 0 128,388 THAILAND 0 0 0 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 10,700 0 10,700 VIETNAM 0 17,150 -17,150 TOTAL 296,971 231,276 65,695 (Data from Enterprise Singapore) (Reporting by Jeslyn Lerh; Editing by Tasim Zahid)