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Asia’s purchases of Iranian crude decline fall y-o-y but rise m-o-m
China, India, Japan and South Korea’s imports of Iranian crude oil in September fell by 6.6% y-o-y at 1.08M b/d, Reuters reports. This marks the first y-o-y decline since December. However, volumes were up by 17.2% m-o-m. Significantly, imports over the first nine months of the year were up 19.6% y-o-y at 1.14M b/d, with higher buying from Iran’s two largest importers, China and India, outweighing lower y-o-y purchases from Japan and South Korea. World powers are negotiating on a permanent settlement to the sanctions programme with a deadline of 24 November.
Eurofer cut forecast for EU apparent steel consumption
In its latest market outlook report, the European Steel Association, has cut its forecast for apparent steel consumption growth in the EU this year to 2.6% from its July’s forecast of 3.7%, while the forecast for next year is also revised down to 2.4% from 2.9%. Eurofer’s estimate for the 3q14 & 4q14, features a year-on-year rise of 1% and a decline of 2.4%, respectively.
Canada’s iron ore exports
Canadian iron ore exports (excluding shipments to the USA) in January-August of this year totalled 24.7 Mt, up 8% from the corresponding period in 2013, according to trade statistics from The Tex Report. Total exports to China fell 33% year-on-year to just under 6 Mt. However, combined shipments to Japan and South Korea surged to 4.3 Mt, which compared with only 1.4 Mt a year ago. Exports to European countries rose by 11% year-on-year to 11.6 Mt.
Japanese steel exports at 6-month high
Japan’s steel exports in September rose to a 6-month high of 3.74 Mt, up 5% month-on-month and 7% year-on-year, according to data from the country’s Iron and Steel Federation. However, steel exports in the first nine months of the year were still down by 5% year-on-year to 31.4 Mt. Shipments to other Asian countries of 24.4 Mt in January-September were 8% lower than the corresponding period in 2013, while exports to outside Asia saw a rise of 3% year-on-year to almost 7 Mt.
Japanese coking coal imports by source
Japan imported 5.7 Mt of coking coal in September, according to Ministry of Finance data quoted by Reuters. Total imports in the first nine months of the year reached 55.4 Mt, down 4.5% year-on-year. Shipments from Australia rose 19.2% year-on-year to 3.5 Mt in September. However, year-to-date shipments of 28.5 Mt from Australia were 5.4% lower than the corresponding period in 2013. Imports from Indonesia fell by 19.6% on September 2013 to 1.3 Mt, which took total imports during Jan-Sep to 15.8 Mt, down marginally by 0.5% year-on-year. However, the year-to-date did see an annual gain of 17.8% in imports from Russia to 2.5 Mt.
US economy grows 3.5% in 3Q14
The US economy grew at an annual rate of 3.5% in 3Q14, according to the country’s Department of Commerce. This follows growth of 4.6% in 2Q14 and taken together these two quarters represent the strongest growth rate since 2H03. Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve yesterday brought to an end its quantitative easing programme which began in 2008, citing “sufficient underlying strength in the broader economy”.
US crude stocks rise
US crude oil inventories increased by 2.1M bbls from the prior week to total 379.7Mbbls in the week ending 24 October, data from the US Energy Information Administration shows. US crude runs fell by 79K b/d w-o-w to average 15.1M b/d, marking the ninth consecutive week in which refinery inputs have fallen with crude runs now down by over 1M b/d from 16.2M b/d in mid-September. US crude imports dropped by 376K b/d from the previous week to average to average 7.1M b/d.
Mexico’s crude exports in September rise m-o-m but fall y-o-y
Mexico’s crude oil exports in September rose by 44K b/d m-o-m to 1.16M b/d, the highest since February, according to state oil firm Pemex. However the volume is down by 37K b/d y-o-y, with average year to date exports of 1.12M b/d, down from exports of 1.17M b/d during the same period last year. Notably, this marks the third consecutive year in which exports during the period have been lower than in the previous year.
Rail Project To Boost Mongolian Coking Coal Competitiveness
In a move designed to smooth the way for coal railings from Mongolian mines into China, Mongolia’s parliament has approved the construction of a 240 km rail link with Chinese standard gauge from the Tavan Tolgoi coal basin to the border with China, Bloomberg reports. An official from state-owned operator Mongolia Railway advised the target completion date was late 2016, and the project would reduce transport costs by $2/t. In January-September China imported 10.8 Mt of coking coal from Mongolia, around 24% of the coking coal import total. Although some 1.1 Mt above the year-ago total, this remains below the pace achieved in 2012, when Jan-Sep imports reached 12.8 Mt.
First Iron Ore Shipment From New Project In Brazil
The first ore on ship from the new Minas-Rio iron ore mine has been confirmed by Anglo American in a press release dated today. The cargo of 80,000 tonnes was loaded at the port of Acu and is bound for China. The company is targeting a ramp-up over the next 18-20 months to a capacity of 26.5 Mtpa.
US steel imports
The US imported 3.5 Mt of steel in September, the highest monthly level since May. This figure was 5% higher than the total for August and was also up 38% on September 2013, according to official data from the Census Bureau. Combined steel imports for January-September totalled 29.5 Mt, up 36% on the same nine months last year.
Iraq’s oil exports set to rise in October
Iraq’s exports of crude oil in October are on course to average 2.55M b/d, Reuters reports. The volume is up marginally from September and is driven by southern exports which remain close to their highest since at least 2003, despite ongoing violence in the country’s north. Meanwhile, Kurdish exports through the Turkish port of Ceyhan may have reached around 200K b/d this month.
Japanese raw material imports
September data from Japan’s Ministry of Finance show iron ore imports in the year to date were 101.4 Mt, showing zero growth from the same nine months of 2013. Last month’s imports fell 2% year-on-year to a 3-month low of 11.1 Mt. Although Japanese coal imports slipped by 4% from August to a 4-month low of 15.7 Mt in September (including all grades of coal), this did mark a gain of 3% year-on-year. This took year-to-date imports to 141.4 Mt, again very close to the January-September total for 2013.
China and Eurozone Flash PMI’s rise modestly
The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Mangers’ Index (PMI) for October rose to a three-month high of 50.4, up from 50.2 in September. Meanwhile, Markit’s Flash Eurozone Manufacturing PMI for October firmed to a two-month high of 50.7, up from 50.3 in September.
Japan’s crude imports fall y-o-y in September
Japan’s customs cleared imports of crude oil in September declined by 3.7% y-o-y to 3.39M b/d, according to preliminary data from the country’s Ministry of Finance.
China’s crude imports from the Middle East rise in September
China’s imports of crude oil from the Middle East in September increased by 481K b/d m-o-m and 288K b/d y-o-y to average 3.78M b/d, the highest volume since April, according to the country’s General Administration of Customs. The m-o-m rise was driven by higher imports from Iran, Kuwait and particularly Saudi Arabia, whose exports to China reached their highest since January at 1.16M b/d. However volumes from Saudi Arabia were down slightly from the previous year with higher imports from Oman, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran, making up the difference. Imports from West Africa were up 184K b/d m-o-m but down 132K b/d y-o-y, with Angolan crude continuing to drive volumes here. A surge in  imports of Colombian crude to a multi-year high of 394K b/d, lifted imports from the Caribbean by 181K b/d m-o-m and 101K b/d y-o-y to a four-month high of 559K b/d. Notably, China imported crude from Libya for the first time since October last year, at 34K b/d.
Australia and Brazil Increase Share Of Chinese Iron Ore Imports
Australia and Brazil are increasing their share of China’s iron ore imports, a breakdown of September’s imports by source shows. Of the 84.7 Mt of iron ore imported into China in September, shipments from Australia surged 12.7 Mt to a record 51.9 Mt, while imports from Brazil increased 32.4 Mt from the year-ago level to 17.1 Mt, a monthly year-to-date high. As a result the two countries’ share of all inbound iron ore into China has climbed to 82% as opposed to 71% in September 2013. At the same time, shipments from South Africa dropped 1.0 Mt year-on-year to an 18-month low of 2.6 Mt, while combined imports from the West African countries of Mauritania, Liberia and Sierra Leone gained 1.0 Mt on the same month last year to total 3.1 Mt.
World Steel Production
Total crude steel production for the 65 countries reporting to the World Steel Association was down marginally by 0.1% year-on-year to 134.4 Mt in September. This marked the lowest monthly total since February. September saw zero annual growth in Chinese crude steel production, at 67.5 Mt, while US and Japan steel production edged down 0.1% and 0.5% year-on-year to 7.3 Mt and 9.2 Mt, respectively. EU-28 steel output slipped by 1.7% year-on-year to 14.1 Mt. However, annual growth was in evidence in South Korea and India, where output rose 10.1% and 2.5%, to 5.7 Mt and 6.8 Mt, respectively.
China’s crude runs hit record high
China’s crude oil refinery inputs in September increased by 480K b/d m-o-m and 824K b/d y-o-y to a record high of 10.27M b/d, according to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Meanwhile, China’s GDP grew by 7.3% y-o-y in 3Q14, down from 7.5% in the previous quarter and the slowest growth rate since March 2009, data from the NBS shows.
Japanese crude steel production at 3-month low
According to latest update from the Japan Iron and Steel Federation, the country’s crude steel production in September edged lower by 1.1% from August and 0.5% from the year-ago level to a 3-month low of 9.2 Mt. Total output in the January to September of this year now totals 83.1 Mt, up by 0.6 Mt from the corresponding level in 2013.
Angola’s crude exports set to fall in December
Angola’s exports of crude oil in December are scheduled to fall by 50K b/d m-o-m to 1.61M b/d, Argus reports. The country’s crude exports are now set to average 1.62M b/d in 2014, down from 1.7M b/d in 2013, due to steep production declines at older reservoirs outweighing production increases from new fields.
Global oil product inventories rise
Global oil product inventories in the first nine months of 2014 have risen by 175M bbls, Energy Intelligence reports. Global crude runs in the period were up 1.25M b/d y-o-y and this combined with stalling oil demand in Europe, China and India and the subsequent build in oil product stocks could limit refinery inputs in 4Q14.
Brazilian Steel Exports
Steel exports from Brazil rose to their highest level since January 2006 in September at 1.1 Mt, up 84% year-on-year, according to official data. Brazil’s steel exports in the first 9 months of 2014 were up 14% year-on-year at 6.8 Mt.
Indonesian Coal Exports
Exports of coal from Indonesia fell to their lowest level in almost 2 years in August at 30.7 Mt, down 0.5 Mt year-on-year, according to data from Bank Indonesia. Total exports in the period January-August were down 8.0 Mt on the same period in 2013, at 273.4 Mt.
South Korea’s crude imports from Iran decline y-o-y
South Korea’s imports of Iranian crude oil in September fell 2.4% y-o-y to 136K b/d, despite overall crude imports rising 5.5% y-o-y to 2.57M b/d, according to customs data, Reuters reports. South Korea has imported an average of 129K b/d of crude from Iran so far this year, down 7% from the same period last year.
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