Mexico’s crude exports fall to five-month low as output slides
Mexico’s crude oil exports in March fell by 77K b/d m-o-m to average 1.23M b/d, the lowest since October, Reuters reports, citing data from state oil firm Pemex. However, the volume is up by 95K b/d y-o-y. The country's crude oil output in March dropped by 13K b/d m-o-m and 150K b/d y-o-y to a multi-decade low of 2.32M b/d.
Iraq's crude exports hit record-high in April
Iraq's crude oil exports in April increased to a record high of 3.08M b/d, Reuters reports, citing the country's oil ministry. This is up from March exports of 2.98M b/d.
Brazilian Trade Data
Brazil exported 28.7 Mt of iron ore in April, up 16% year-on-year, official trade data show. This took the January-April total to 108.1 Mt, marking an annual gain of 12%. In contrast, exports of corn (0.2 Mt), soya (7.8 Mt) and raw sugar (0.6 Mt) combined were down 22% in April, at 8.5 Mt. The combined January-April total was 26.9 Mt, which compares with 31.2 Mt for the same period in 2014.
Australian Iron Ore Exports
Exports of iron ore from Port Hedland fell to a five-month low of 35.4 Mt in April, although this was still up 2% year-on-year, according to port authority data. Meanwhile, official data confirm Australia exported 188.7 Mt of iron ore (wet basis) in the 1q15, up 13% year-on-year, although shipments in March were up 5% at 64.4 Mt.
South Korea's crude imports rise y-o-y in April
South Korea's crude oil imports in April rose by 7.9% y-o-y to average 2.56M b/d, Reuters reports, citing data from the country's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. However, this is down from imports of 2.65M b/d in the prior month.
Japan's crude imports fall
Japan's crude oil imports in the 2014/2015 financial year fell by 7.2% to average 3.36M b/d, Reuters reports, citing data from the country's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
China PMI Update
China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index was unchanged month-on-month at 50.1 in April, just above the 50 benchmark separating expansion and contraction, Reuters reports. China’s service sector PMI indicated a slowing of expansion in the sector as it fell slightly to 53.4, down from 53.7 in March.
Vale Signals Potential for Slower Production Growth
Vale’s head of ferrous and strategy, Peter Poppinga, has been quoted by various media sources indicating during an investor call that the company could temporarily withhold up to 30 Mt of iron ore production from higher-cost mines depending on market conditions.
Mr Poppinga was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as follows: "depending on the market, we will be prepared to reduce our production by 30 Mt. This does not mean necessarily closing down mines, we are just optimising production flows. Some mines have processing plants that we can perhaps stop for a while. So in a nutshell, we are not prepared to reduce overall capacity but rather reduce production temporarily."
In December 2014 Vale outlined production (including third party ores) of 340 Mt for 2015 rising to 376 Mt for 2016 and eventually to 453 Mt in 2018. Last year’s output (incl. third party ores) was 331.6 Mt. Reuters reports some of these forecasts could now be adjusted.
US Weekly Grain Exports
US weekly exports of corn, wheat and soyabeans combined rose to a five-week high of 2.14 Mt in the week ending 23 April, according to the US Department of Agriculture. However, this was slightly below the year-ago level of 2.17 Mt,
Chinese Finished Steel Inventories
Combined finished steel inventories at China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) member mills totalled 16.7 Mt on 20 April, up from 16.5 Mt on the 10 April, but down from the month-ago level of 17.4 Mt, according to data from the industry association reported by SteelFirst.
Asia’s imports of Iranian crude decline y-o-y in March
Imports of Iranian crude oil by China, India, Japan and South Korea in March fell 9.2% y-o-y to average 1.04M b/d, Reuters reports, citing government and tanker tracking data. However, on a monthly basis this still represented the highest volume since December 2014. The y-o-y fall was driven by a decline in Indian purchases, which fell to zero in March, down from 387K b/d during the same period last year. This offset an almost 100% increase in imports by Japan and South Korea, which averaged a combined 402K b/d and a 15% jump in Chinese purchases to 639K b/d. Across 1Q15, Asian imports of Iranian crude averaged 1.02M b/d, down 19% y-o-y as demand from China, India and South Korea fell.
Chinese Daily Crude Steel Output
Daily crude steel output at China Iron and Steel Association member mills rose to its highest level since late February at 1.72 Mt in the period 11-20 April, according to data from the industry association reported by SteelFirst. This is up from 1.70 Mt/day in the preceding ten days but compares to 1.75 Mt/day for the same period in 2014.
World Steel Dynamics SteelBenchmarker Update
The US domestic hot rolled band (HRB) price has dropped below $500/t for the first time since June 2009 as it fell $6/t over the last two weeks to $498/t. In contrast, there were slight increases, of $5/t and $3/t, in the Western European and Chinese domestic HRB prices to $437/t and $333/t over the same period. However, both remain well below their respective 2014 averages of $572/t and $443/t.
Vietnamese diesel imports from Singapore surge between January and April
Vietnam's diesel imports from Singapore in the January to April period increased by almost four-fold y-o-y to more than 715KT (45K b/d), Reuters reports citing data from Singapore's International Enterprise. Notably, this is more than a third higher than the 530KT (11K b/d) shipped in all of 2014. The rise follows the lowering of diesel import taxes for members of the Association of Southeast Asian nations to 5%, compared with 20% for non-ASEAN members (which is 10% lower than the original rate of 30% for non-Asean members prior to a cut on 14 April).
Russia’s crude exports from Primorsk set to fall in May
Russia’s crude oil exports from the Baltic port of Primorsk in May are expected to fall by 173K b/d m-o-m to average 780K b/d, Reuters reports. The total number of cargoes from the Baltic (i.e. including Ust Luga) in May is expected to drop by 9 from April to 53.
Japanese Steel Exports Breakdown
Of the 10.6 Mt of steel exports from Japan in the 1q15, some 1.3 Mt were shipped to China, down 13% year-on-year and the lowest quarterly total since the 1q09, according to data from the Japan Iron and Steel Federation. Shipments to South Korea fell 7% in 1q15, to 1.7 Mt, while exports to Taiwan rose 11% to 0.9 Mt. There were also slight annual falls in exports to the US (-0.5% to 0.6 Mt) and South America (-1% to 0.7 Mt).
US Flash Composite PMI
The US Flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index, compiled by Markit, dropped to 57.4 in April, down from a final March reading of 59.2, as the pace of expansion in both the manufacturing and service sector slowed. However, domestic manufacturing demand is reported to be remaining robust and March saw the largest increase in service sector payroll numbers since June 2014.
Brazilian Grain Port Congestion
The number of Panamax vessels waiting to load grain at Brazil’s ports dropped to 38 on 27 April, 21 vessels lower than the same point last year, according to local sources used by SSY. Grain port congestion peaked this year with 85 Panamaxes waiting to berth at the beginning of April. In this week in 2013, Panamax queues at Brazil’s grain terminals numbered 127.
Japan’s JX plans to raise crude runs by 8% y-o-y in May
Japan’s largest oil refiner, JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation, expects to increase its crude oil processing for domestic consumption by 8% y-o-y in May to 1.02M b/d, Reuters reports. This is up from estimated April runs of 931K b/d, which were down 13% y-o-y.
BP lifts Plutonio Force Majeure
BP has lifted force majeure at its 130K b/d Greater Plutonio oil field ending a ten day order which began on 14 April. This follows a power cut at the fields floating production, storage and offloading terminal which shut in output.
China’s oil demand growth accelerates in March
China’s apparent oil product demand in March increased by 8.8% y-o-y to 10.93M b/d, Energy Intelligence reports, citing government data. This is up from the average 4% y-o-y growth seen across February and January.
China’s crude oil stocks fall m-o-m in March but oil product stocks rise
China’s commercial crude oil inventories at the end of March declined 2.19% m-o-m, state news agency Xinhua reports. However, oil product stocks increased by 9.14% from the previous month. Gasoline stocks climbed by 11.05%, diesel stocks rose by 8.8% and jet fuel stocks were up 5.05%.
US Steel Imports
The US imported 3.3 Mt of steel in March, up 12.5% year-on-year, according to preliminary US Census Bureau data. US steel imports in the 1q15 totalled 10.5 Mt, down slightly on the 4q14, but up 19.4% year-on-year.
Shandong Iron and Steel Group Buy Tonkolili Mine
Shandong Iron and Steel Group has bought the remaining 75% stake in the Tonkolili iron ore mine from African Minerals Ltd (currently in administration), Reuters reports. This gives the group full control of the mine and associated rail and port infrastructure in Sierra Leone.
Russia’s refinery crude runs fall in March
Russian refinery crude throughputs in March fell by 5.3% m-o-m and 4% y-o-y to average 5.55M b/d, Reuters reports, citing data from the country’s Energy Ministry. Gasoil production dropped by 3.6% m-o-m but was up 1% y-o-y at 1.63M b/d. Gasoline output fell by 8% m-o-m and 1.6% y-o-y to 896K b/d. Fuel oil volumes decreased by 8.3% m-o-m and 10.6% y-o-y to 1.37M b/d.