US-based global commodities information provider, Platts, has published a report to show that its European fuel oil price assessments have not been distorted by information provided by Switzerland-based Rixo Trading International.

Platts has published the review in a bid to refute a recent article published by The Wall Street Journal on 19 June on the possible distortion in assessments.

The Wall Street Journal published an article quoting Rixo trader Halis Bektas as saying that when he was scheduled to buy large quantities of fuel oil, he could drive prices down by offering "to sell small quantities…and report those offer prices to Platts."

Commenting on the development, Platts president Larry Neal said: "Platts’ sole objective is to publish price assessments that reflect true market value. We take any allegations of price manipulation very seriously and will investigate any specific allegations."

"When The Wall Street Journal published its source’s name, we had sufficient information to undertake an in-depth analysis that proved that no data submitted by Rixo during the lengthy period reviewed ever compromised the integrity of Platts’ published prices," Neal added.

"Platts has published the review in a bid to refute a recent article published by The Wall Street Journal on 19 June on the possible distortion."

In the review, Platts provided details of Rixo’s participation in its price assessment processes from the beginning of 2006 through to mid-2011, when Rixo last participated in the Platts price assessment process.

Platts said that on 19 January 2010, Rixo made a complex offer for RMG 380 marine fuel oil delivered into Malta that was published on Platts’ Global Alert real-time service.

The review also found that Rixo’s offer price, however, was never factored into Platts’s price that day.

Platts’ review said that during the 2006-2011 period, Rixo submitted a total of 124 bids and 19 offers into the Market-On-Close assessment process, resulting in a total of 20 trades.

The review investigated the high-sulphur oil Mediterranean market (Med HSFO) where Rixo was most active.

This apart, the review examined price movements in three related markets – the Rotterdam high sulphur barge market, Northwest Europe high sulphur fuel oil cargo market and Mediterranean low-sulphur fuel oil cargo market.

Image: The review showed that no bid or offer from Rixo Trading distorted the Platts assessment for Mediterranean high sulphur fuel oil. Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.