Higher bunker demand from the Middle East has tightened the supply of high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) and thus narrowed the price spread between the cheaper bunkers and their costlier alternative, according to an analyst.

The average price spread between HSFO and very-low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) reached as high as $400 per tonne last year, but it has since dropped to $73 per tonne.