Iran bitumen producers resume exports after four-month halt

21 January 2013 09:27  [Source: ICIS news]

Iran bitumen producers resume exports after four-month haltSINGAPORE (ICIS)--Iran’s state-owned Pasargad-Oil and Jay-Oil have resumed exporting bitumen following a four-month moratorium, as government restrictions on outbound shipments have been relaxed, industry sources said on Monday.

The company offered 6,000 tonnes of bitumen for exports on the Iran Mercantile Exchange (IME) on 19 January, while Jay-Oil early offered 2,000 tonnes of cargoes on the same platform early last week, they said.

The Iranian government imposed the export restrictions on petroleum products in September 2012 to ensure availability of supply for the domestic market, but this was eventually lifted.

The producers have sufficient volume to export after satisfying Iran’s domestic requirement, industry sources said.

Pasargad-Oil’s cargoes on offer will include 50% of drummed bitumen and 50% of bulk bitumen, a company source said.

Its selling ideas for bulk bitumen are at $500/tonne (€375/tonne) free on board (FOB) and those for drummed bitumen are at $530-535/tonne FOB, the source said.

In the week ending 18 January, Iranian traders were offering bulk bitumen at $500-510/tonne FOB and drummed bitumen at $550-560/tonne FOB.

Chinese buyers are paying more attention to Iranian bitumen for its price competitiveness, market sources said.

An FOB price of $550/tonne for drummed bitumen translates to a CFR China price of $570/tonne, which is equivalent to CNY4,500/tonne. The price is lower than the prices of Chinese bitumen.

As Iran’s supply for the international market may increase in the near term, prices may come off, a trader said.

Iranian bitumen producers sell to traders at the IME trading session once or twice a week. Traders, in turn, sell the cargoes either to the domestic market or to the international market.

Iran’s export prices are usually higher than the traded prices in the domestic market.

($1 = CNY6.22 / $1 = €0.75)

By: Amanda Zeng

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