Japan’s bonded bunker fuel sales in September rose 8% from August to hit a six-month high of 2.344 million barrels, data released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Wednesday showed.

Historical data from METI showed that Japan’s monthly sales of bonded bunker fuel was last higher in March at 2.39 million barrels.

“I think it’s a seasonal rise in volume,” a Japan-based trader said.

“Over May-July, it’s usually a bad period for bunker sales in Japan, but towards the end of the year, demand tends to rise,” he said, adding that while sales in September were the highest in six months, it actually posted a decline on a year-on-year basis.

METI data showed that bonded bunker fuel sales in September fell 4.6% year on year.

Meanwhile, sales of bonded marine diesel oil jumped 21.8% on the month to 13,459 kiloliters, or 84,657 barrels, in September. Year on year, however, marine diesel oil sales were down 31.4%.

Japan did not import any bonded bunker fuel in September.

Bonded bunker fuel is exempt from import tax and can be sold only to ships plying international routes.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News.