Japan’s crude imports from Iran and Mexico jump in December
Japan’s crude oil imports in December fell by 45K b/d y-o-y to 3.51M b/d, Energy Intelligence reports, citing the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. However, shipments from Iran and Mexico climbed. Volumes from Iran rose by 45K b/d y-o-y to 175K b/d and shipments from Mexico were up from nothing in December2014 to 96K b/d. Russia volumes to Japan experienced the largest decline, falling by 104K b/d y-o-y to 282K b/d.
US Grain Exports Fall
US exports of corn, wheat and soyabeans fell to their lowest level since the beginning of October 2015 in the week ending 28 January at 2.03 Mt, down 0.25 Mt week-on-week, with shipments of all three commodities below their respective year-ago levels, according to US Department of Agriculture.
Eurozone growth forecast for 2016 cut to 1.7%
The European Commission has trimmed its forecast for economic growth in the Eurozone this year to 1.7% from a projection of 1.8% in November. This still represents an increase from growth of 1.6% of 2015.
Australian Coal Exports
Queensland coal exports rose 0.8 Mt year-on-year to 21.1 Mt in January, according to data from the ports of Gladstone, Hay Point, Weipa, Abbot Point, Mackay and Dalrymple Bay coal terminal. This is in line with the 4q15, when shipments averaged just under 21 Mt a month. However, coal exports from the Port of Newcastle fell to 8.2 Mt in January, from 10.5 Mt in December and down 1.8 Mt year-on-year.
US Steel Imports
US Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data from the US Department of Commerce showed steel import permit applications rose to 2.4 Mt in January, up 0.3 Mt from December’s preliminary steel import total. However, this is well below January 2015 when imports totalled 4.0 Mt.
US Gasoline Stocks Rise to Record High
US gasoline inventories increased by 5.9M bbls w-o-w to a record high of 254.4M bbls, US EIA data shows. US distillate stocks edged downwards by 777K bbls but remain near the upper limit of the average range for this time of year at 159.9M bbls.
US Crude Stocks Hit Half a Billion Barrels (as crude imports rebound)
US crude oil inventories rose by 7.8M bbls w-o-w to a fresh record high of 502.7M bbls in the week ending 29 January 2016, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). US crude oil imports were up by 647K b/d from the prior week to 8.3M b/d. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged 8M b/d, a rise of 578K b/d y-o-y. US crude refinery throughputs fell by 24K b/d w-o-w to 15.6M b/d.
Port Hedland Iron Ore Exports Fall
Iron ore exports from Port Hedland dropped to a 19-month low of 33.8 Mt in January, down 3.0 Mt year-on-year, as shipments to China fell, according to port authority data. This represents a slowdown in exports from the end of last year when 4q shipments totalled 111.4 Mt.
Australian Trade Data
Australia exported 804.2 Mt of iron ore in 2015, up 7.0% year-on-year, according to official data. This is the slowest rate of growth in iron ore exports in percentage terms since 2006 and compares with growth of 23.0% in 2014.
In contrast, Australian coal exports in 2015 were almost unchanged from year-ago levels at 387.3 Mt. There was a small 0.3% rise in steam coal exports to 201.6 Mt, while coking coal exports dropped by 0.4% to 185.7 Mt.
US PBF’s Delaware City Refinery Remains Shut
PBF Energy has announced it was forced to abandon the restart of its 212 kb/d Delaware City refinery after a leak was found, reports Reuters. The facility was shut down on 23rd January following a power outage caused by the recent snow storms on the US East Coast. The plant accounts for about 15% of US East Coast refining capacity. The company is also reported to have brought forward work on a 49 kb/d coker (previously scheduled to begin in mid-March) which processes heavy-sour crudes.
Chinese Steel Sector PMI Still Shows Contraction in Activity
China’s steel sector Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 46.7 in January, up from 40.6 in December, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing reports. However, this is the 21st month in succession the index has been below the 50 benchmark that separates expansion and contraction.
Brazilian Iron Ore and Grain Exports
Brazilian iron ore exports fell to the lowest level in a year at 25.0 Mt in January, although still up 1.7 Mt year-on-year, according to official data. January’s total represented a sharp slowdown from the 4q15 pace, when quarterly exports reached 101.7 Mt.
Brazil’s corn exports fell from December’s all-time high of 6.3 Mt to 4.5 Mt in January, although this was still up 1.3 Mt year-on-year, according to official data. Meanwhile, soya (beans & meal) exports continued their (seasonal) decline, dropping to 1.6 Mt, up 0.6 Mt year-on-year.
Eastbound West African Crude Exports to Rise
Exports of West African crude to Asian countries are set to rise by 190 kb/d month-on-month in February to 2.14 mb/d, the highest in four years, reports Bloomberg. The rise comes as China raises purchases to the highest since at least 2011, despite declining economic growth rates, amid i) a trade deal in December between Angola and Sinochem which will see it load 8 cargoes this month, ii) cheaper crude prices and iii) further stockbuilding. Lower VLCC freight rates could also be helping lift demand.
Chinese Steel Mills Suffer Loses
China Iron and Steel Association member mills suffered combined losses of 64.5 billion yuan ($9.8 billion) in 2015, according to data from the industry association reported by the Financial Times. These losses compare with profits of 22.6 billion yuan in 2014 and are primarily attributed to plunging domestic steel prices.
China Manufacturing PMI Lowest in Three years
China’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) slipped to 49.4 in January, down from 49.7 in December and the lowest level in over three years, the National Bureau of Statistics reports.
Asian Imports of Iranian Crude Fell In December
Asian imports of Iranian crude fell by 18% year-on-year in December to 996 kb/d, reports Reuters. China remained the biggest buyer, taking 531 kb/d (12% less than last year), while India and Japan took 233 kb/d and 174 kb/d (down 33% and up 34%) respectively. Overall, in 2015, Asian imports averaged just over 1 mb/d, down 8% year-on-year.
Chinese Steel Output Rises
Crude steel output at China Iron and Steel Association member mills rose to 1.59 Mt/day in the period 11-20 January, the highest level since late November, according to data from the industry association reported by U-metal. This compares with 1.57 Mt/day in the first ten days of January, but is below the year-ago level of 1.69 Mt day.
Mexican crude exports fall to record low in December
Mexico’s crude oil exports in December fell by 171K b/d m-o-m and 229K b/d y-o-y to 1.01M b/d, according to data from Mexico’s state oil firm Pemex. However, over 2015 as a whole, Mexico’s crude exports were up by 30K b/d y-o-y to 1.17M b/d.
US Steel Imports Continue to Fall
US steel imports slipped to a four-year low of 2.1 Mt in December, down 1.2 Mt year-on-year, according to preliminary US Census Bureau data. Imports have now fallen on an annual basis for nine consecutive months. As a consequence, the 2015 import total of 35.0 Mt was down by 5.2 Mt on 2014.
Japanese Steel Exports Decline
Japan’s steel exports fell to a four-year low of 41.6 Mt in 2015, down from 42.1 Mt in 2014, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation reports. This was largely due to a decline in shipments to major markets in South Korea (-9.1% to 6.6 Mt), China (-9.3% to 5.4 Mt) and Taiwan (-15.9% to 3.0 Mt). In contrast, exports to the rest of Asia rose by 5.6% to 16.8 Mt.
China’s oil demand growth set to average 4.3% in 2016
China’s oil demand in 2016 is forecast to rise by 460K b/d (4.3%) to 11.32M b/d, Reuters reports, citing a projection from China’s National Petroleum Corporation. This compares with estimated growth of 4.8% in 2015. Crude imports are expected to rise by to 7.14M b/d this year, up from 6.74M b/d last year.
China’s crude imports from Russia rise to record high
China’s crude oil imports from Russia in December surged by 184K b/d m-o-m and 258K b/d y-o-y to a record high of 1.14M b/d, according to China’s General Administration of Customs. This made Russia, China’s top crude supplier for the fourth time in 2015. Overall imports in December were a record 7.85M b/d and volumes from the Middle East, West Africa and Caribbean and Latin America were all up from November. West Africa was the only region of these to see a y-o-y decline with imports lower than December 2014’s multi-year high.
US crude stocks climb to record high as refinery throughputs tumble
US crude stocks surged by 8.4M bbls w-o-w to a record weekly high of 494.9M bbls in the week ending 22 January, according to the US Energy Information Administration. US crude runs slipped by 551K b/d from the prior week to 15.6M b/d, the lowest since October. US crude imports were down by 170K b/d w-o-w to 7.8M b/d.
US gasoline stocks highest since 1990
US gasoline inventories rose by 3.5M bbls from the previous week to 248.5M bbls, the highest since 1990. US distillate stocks dropped by 4.1M bbls to 160.5M bbls.
US Steel Imports Continue to Fall
US steel imports slipped to a four-year low of 2.1 Mt in December, down 1,2 Mt year-on-year, according to preliminary US Census Bureau data. Imports have now fallen on an annual basis for nine consecutive months. As a consequence, the 2015 import total, of 35.0 Mt, was down by 5.2 Mt on 2014.