China Daily Crude Steel Output
Daily crude steel output at China Iron and Steel Association member mills fell further to 1.65 Mt in the period 11-20 March, according to data from the industry body reported by SteelFirst. This is a fall from 1.68 Mt/day in the preceding ten days, and also down from the rate of 1.77 Mt/day achieved in the last eight days of February.
Steel Trade Update
US steel imports rose 9% year-on-year in February to 3.3 Mt, according to preliminary US Census Bureau data. However, it is indicative of the recent strength of US steel imports that, despite this annual increase, February’s total was an 11-month low.
US Weekly Grain Exports
Combined exports of corn, wheat and soyabeans from the US rebounded to 2.32 Mt in the week ending 19 March, up from 1.82 Mt the previous week, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). This was primarily due to a 0.37 Mt week-on-week increase in corn shipments, to 1.07 Mt. There were also rises in wheat and soyabean exports to 0.50 Mt and 0.76 Mt, respectively. Total exports for the period 1 January to 19 March were down 7% year-on-year at 30.22 Mt.
Yemen closes major sea ports as conflict intensifies
Yemen closed its major sea ports on Thursday, as an ongoing conflict between the government and Houthi rebels intensified, Reuters reports. The country typically exports around 1.4-1.5M bbls of Masila crude each month.
US crude glut builds further
US crude oil inventories increased by 8.2M bbls w-o-w to total a ninth-consecutive weekly record of 466.7M bbls in the week ending 20 March, according to the US Energy Information Administration. US crude stocks have now increased by 22% (84.2M bbls) since the start of the year and are 17% above the pre-2015 record of 399.4M bbls.
EU Anti-Dumping Duties Imposed On Chinese Steel
The European Commission will apply anti-dumping duties on imports of cold-rolled stainless steel from China and Taiwan from 26 March. The Official Journal of the European Union details provisional duties of 24.3-25.2% for Chinese companies and 10.9-12.0% for Taiwanese companies. The regulation follows a complaint lodged in May 2014 by Eurofer (the European Steel Producers Association).
Steel Prices Weaken Further
The US price for hot rolled band (HRB) dropped by $24/t in the last two weeks, sinking to $522/t, according to the latest SteelBenchmarker from World Steel Dynamics. This fall has helped to push the world export price for HRB down to the lowest level since mid-June 2009, at $414/t. In contrast, there was a marginal gain of $3/t during the same period in Chinese HRB prices, which moved to a two-month high of $352/t. The Western European HRB price was unchanged at $442/t.
Colombian Coal Exports
Despite Colombia’s ban on some overnight railings from 13 February, last month saw Colombian coal exports reach a robust 7.2 Mt, according to trade data quoted by IHS McCloskey. This was the highest month since November 2014. Shipments to Europe totalled 5.3 Mt, while exports to the Americas were 1.9 Mt.
BP lifts force majeure on crude loadings from Angola’s Saturno
BP on Tuesday lifted the force majeure on oil loadings from Angola’s 150K b/d Saturno stream, Reuters reports, quoting a spokesman for the firm. The force majeure measure had been in effect since 16 March following the loss of power at an FPSO connected to the stream. The return of exports from Saturno could push Angola’s oil exports for April above the 1.67M b/d initially scheduled for the month.
HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI
The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), compiled by Markit, dropped below the 50 benchmark in March (indicating a contraction in activity) to an 11-month low of 49.2, down from a final PMI reading of 50.7 in February.
South Korean Coal Imports
South Korean coal imports (incl. anthracite) rose 9% year-on-year in February to 11.4 Mt, according to data from the Tex Report. This was due to a 12% increase in shipments of steam coal and anthracite combined, to 8.9 Mt, while coking coal cargoes fell slightly to 2.5 Mt.
Canadian Iron Ore Exports
Canadian iron ore exports (excl. cargoes to the US) fell to a three-year low of 1.8 Mt in January, down 27% year-on-year, according to the Tex Report. Exports to Europe were down 18% year-on-year in February, at 1.2 Mt, while there were no iron ore shipments to China, Japan or South Korea, the first time this has happened since August 2008.
Australia & Brazil Increase Share of China’s Iron Ore Imports
Of the 68.0 Mt of iron ore imported into China during February, 81% was sourced from Australia and Brazil, which compares with 70% a year-ago, according to China Customs data. Shipments from Australia were up 34% year-on-year in February, at 42.9 Mt, while cargoes from Brazil increased 11% to 12.4 Mt. In contrast, imports from West Africa were down 46% year-on-year in February, at 1.4 Mt, as iron ore mining output from the region declined.
China’s crude imports from the Middle East rise y-o-y in February
China’s crude oil imports from the Middle East in February climbed almost 600K b/d y-o-y to 3.6M b/d, with volumes from Kuwait, Oman and the UAE all rising significantly from the same month last year, data from the country’s General Administration of Customs shows. However, m-o-m imports fell by 176K b/d with volumes from Iraq falling by more than a quarter to 599K b/d and imports from the UAE slipping by 216K b/d from January’s record high to 270K b/d. China’s intake of West African crude increased by 157K b/d m-o-m but was down by 167K b/d y-o-y at 1.2M b/d. Notably, imports from the Republic of Congo jumped to a near two-year high of 198K b/d. Imports from the Caribbean and Latin America declined by 74K b/d m-o-m but were up by 168K b/d y-o-y at 747K b/d, with the annual increase supported by higher volumes from Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela. Supplies from the Mediterranean increased by 78K b/d m-o-m to an almost two-year high of 140K b/d, up from zero in February 2014.
Angola expects oil production to increase in 2015
Angola expects its oil output in 2015 to increase by 10% to 1.84M b/d, Reuters reports citing a revised 2015 budget.
Russia’s crude exports from Kozmino set to rise in 2Q15
Russian crude oil exports form the country’s Far Eastern port of Kozmino in 2Q15 are scheduled to increase by 34% (161K b/d) y-o-y to average 628K b/d, Energy Intelligence reports. This is up by 50K b/d from the previous quarter.
China Daily Crude Steel Output Falls
After reaching 1.771 Mt/day in the last eight days of February, daily crude steel output at China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) member mills fell to 1.682 Mt in the first ten days of March, according to data from the industry association reported by SteelFirst. However, this is still above the year-ago level, of 1.660 Mt/day.
Japanese Steel Production
Japanese crude steel output fell to a two-year low of 8.4 Mt in February, down 0.2% year-on-year, according to data from the Japan Iron and Steel Federation.
US crude stocks hit eighth-consecutive weekly record
US commercial crude oil inventories surged by 9.6M bbls w-o-w to total a record 458.5M bbls in the week ending 13 March, the US Energy Information Administration has said. US crude stocks have now increased by almost 20% (76M bbls) since the start of 2015 and are up by 22% (82.7M bbls) compared with the same week last year. US crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.4M b/d, up by 136K b/d from the previous week. US crude oil imports increased by 703K b/d w-o-w to average 15.4M b/d. Meanwhile, US gasoline stocks dropped by 4.5M bbls w-o-w to 235.4M bbls, the lowest since December 2014. Inventories across all PADD areas declined with the USWC experiencing the largest fall as stocks dropped 1.77M bbls from the previous week to 28.4M bbls, the lowest level since November 2014.
Slump in Chinese House Prices Continues
According to National Bureau of Statistics data, average new home prices in 70 medium and large sized Chinese cities fell 5.7% year-on-year in February. This is the sixth month in succession new home prices have fallen and the sharpest annual fall since current records began in 2011, newswires report. Prices fell in 69 of the 70 cities surveyed in February, with prices in one city remaining unchanged.
Japanese Trade Data
Japanese iron ore imports fell to an eight-month low of 10.9 Mt in February, traditionally a weak month for imports, according to provisional trade data from Japan’s Ministry of Finance. However February’s imports were still up 7.5% year-on-year. There was a smaller annual rise in coal imports, of 0.9%, to 15.1 Mt in February, although this marked a three-month low.
Brazilian Grain Port Congestion Rises
The number of Panamaxes waiting to load grain at Brazilian ports climbed to 78 on 17 March, a sharp rise from 40 on 10 March and 30 at the beginning of the month, according to data from local sources compiled by Simpson Spence Young. Nevertheless, this is still below the year-ago level of 89 vessels, and the same point in 2013 when 105 Panamaxes were waiting to berth at Brazil’s grain terminals.
Chinese Power Consumption
China’s power consumption rose by 2.5% year-on-year to 845.4 billion kWh in January-February, according to National Energy Administration (NEA) data reported by Reuters. This involved a fall of -0.4% year-on-year in power use by heavy industry.
South Korea’s crude imports from Iran plummet y-o-y
South Korea’s imports of crude oil from Iran in February fell by 50% y-o-y to average 146K b/d, Reuters reports, citing preliminary customs data. Over the first two months of 2015, imports of Iranian crude averaged 103K b/d, down from 125K b/d during the same period last year.
North Sea crude output set to rise m-o-m
North Sea output in April from twelve of the main British and Norwegian crude streams is expected to increase by 115K b/d m-o-m to average 2.02M b/d, Reuters reports.