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Japan Industrial Production Drops For A Second Month
Japanese industrial production fell 2.9% year-on-year in August, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. This was well below market expectations for a fall of 1.1% following the 0.7% decline in July, according to Reuters.
Asian purchases of Iranian crude fall below 1M b/d for first time in 2014
Purchases of Iranian crude oil by China, India, Japan and South Korea in August fell by 10.5% m-o-m to 921K b/d, Reuters reports. An interim agreement between world powers and Iran in January, stipulated that the country would be allowed to keep exports at the reduced level of about 1M b/d. However, imports of Iranian crude by Asian buyers between January and August were up 23.6% y-o-y at 1.15M b/d, with volumes peaking at 1.37M b/d in February. China and India have accounted for 2014’s strong Asian intake, offsetting lower year to date imports by South Korea and Japan.
Mexico’s crude exports increase m-o-m in August
Mexico’s exports of crude oil in August rose by 94K b/d m-o-m to 1.1M b/d, according to state oil firm Pemex. But the volume is down 43K b/d y-o-y. The majority of the rise came from exports to the Americas which were up 72K b/d m-o-m at 838K b/d, the highest since February. Meanwhile, the country’s imports of diesel increased by 20K b/d m-o-m to 137K b/d, the highest since March.
Japanese Steel Exports Rebound
After falling to a three-month low in July, Japanese steel exports edged higher by 0.2 Mt month-on-month to 3.6 Mt in August, according to the Japan Iron and Steel Federation. However, with August’s figure below the year-ago level, steel exports in January-August were 27.7 Mt, down 2.0 Mt on the same period in 2013.
Myanmar-China crude pipeline to sit idle for at least a year
The recently completed 440k b/d Myanmar-China crude oil pipeline will sit idle for at least a year, Energy Intelligence reports. The pipeline which runs from Kyaukpyu in Western Myanmar to Kunming in China's Yunnan province will feed CNPC and Saudi Aramco's 220K b/d joint venture refinery which was supposed to start in sync with the pipeline but has been postponed until 2H15. Uncertainty over the supply source for the pipeline and weak downstream demand in China were noted as factors in the delay.
US GDP Growth Upgraded
The US Department of Commerce has revised up its estimate for GDP growth in the 2q14 to 4.6% year-on-year, up from its previous estimate of 4.2%. This is the strongest quarter of growth since the 4q11.
World Soyabean Trade
In its latest report the International Grains Council has revised up its forecast for US and Brazilian soyabean exports in 2014/15 (Oct-Sep) by 0.7 Mt and 1.1 Mt, to 46.3 Mt and 46.7 Mt, respectively. This compares with respective 2013/14 export totals from the US and Brazil of 44.8 Mt and 46.5 Mt.
US Weekly Grain Exports Rise
Grain exports from the US rose to a 20-week high of 1.93 Mt last week, up 0.23 Mt week-on-week, according to data from the US Department of agriculture. Corn exports climbed to a 5-week high, of 1.04 Mt, while exports of wheat and soyabeans totalled 0.47 Mt and 0.42 Mt, respectively.
China's apparent oil demand hits 1-year high
China’s apparent oil demand in August hit a 1-year high of 9.74M b/d and was up 3.7%  y-o-y, according to Platts.  In the first 8 months of 2014, apparent oil demand is up 1.2% at 9.9M b/d.  
US Steel Imports
The US imported 3.3 Mt of steel in August, which, although 5% lower than the total for July was still up 28% on August 2013, according to official data. Combined steel imports for January-August totalled 26.0 Mt, up 36% on the same 8 months last year.
Ukrainian Grain Exports Surge
Ukrainian grain exports since 1 July are up 48% year-on-year at 7.8 Mt, according to official data reported by Reuters. This total includes 4.4 Mt of wheat, 2.7 Mt of barley and 0.5 Mt of corn. Ukraine exported 32.3 Mt of wheat and coarse grain combined in 2013/14, according to data from the International Grains Council.
India’s clean product exports rise m-o-m
India’s clean product exports in August (consisting of diesel, gasoline, naphtha and jet fuel) rose by 90K b/d m-o-m to average 1.11M b/d, according to the country’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell. However the volume is down from 1.3M b/d in August 2013. So far this year product exports have averaged 1.11M b/d, down from 1.17M b/d during the same period last year.
US crude imports fall
US crude oil imports fell sharply by 1.2M b/d w-o-w to average 6.9M b/d in the week ending 19 September, according to the US Energy Information Administration. This is the lowest volume since May and follows a five-month high of 8.1M b/d in the prior week. US Gulf imports fell by 604K b/d w-o-w averaging 2.9M b/d, the lowest since May. US crude oil inventories were down 4.3M bbls from the previous week totalling 358M bbls. US crude oil refinery inputs declined by 90K b/d w-o-w to average 16.2M b/d. Meanwhile US distillate fuel oil stocks rose by 823K bbls w-o-w to 128.6M bbls the highest since September 2013.
Chinese Steel Price Falls
The Chinese domestic price for hot rolled band (HRB) dropped sharply in the two weeks to 22 September to $418/t, down $18/t, according to the latest SteelBenchmarker from World Steel Dynamics’. This is its lowest level since mid-October 2009. The Western European and US HRB prices both declined by $6/t over the same period, to $558/t and $736/t, respectively. Meanwhile, after plunging $20/t in the two weeks to 10 September, the world export price for HRB was down $1/t at $533/t.
South Korean Coking Coal Imports
South Korean coking coal imports rose by 5% year-on-year to a 3-month high of 2.4 Mt in August, according to trade data quoted by McCloskey. As a result coking coal shipments for January-August totalled 16.8 Mt, compared with 14.4 Mt in the same 8 months of 2013.
Russian gasoline and gas oil exports in August increase m-o-m
Russia’s gasoline and gas oil exports in August increased m-o-m by 10.2% and 0.2% respectively while fuel oil exports fell by 3.4%, according to data from the country’s Energy Ministry and Reuters calculations. Gasoline and gas oil exports were boosted by the completion of maintenance on a hydro cracker unit at the Kirishi refinery following a fire in June. Meanwhile, the 130K b/d Achinsk refinery is expected to resume exports in September after repairs were completed on damage caused by an accident in June. Russia’s overall refinery runs rose by 3.3% m-o-m to 6M b/d.
The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 50.5 in September, up from a final August reading of 50.2, so remaining above the benchmark of 50, indicating an expansion in activity, for the fourth consecutive month. In contrast, the Flash Eurozone PMI Composite Output Index, published by Markit, declined to a 9-month low of 52.3, down from 52.5 in August.
Coal Trade Update
Chinese coking coal imports plunged by 39% year-on-year to 3.8 Mt in August, according to customs data. This involved a 35% drop in coking coal shipments from Australia to a 14-month low of 1.6 Mt. August Colombian coal exports of 7.0 Mt were up 2.3 Mt from the same month last year, but down 0.3 Mt from July, according to data from McCloskey. As a result year-to-date exports totalled 46.5 Mt, down 0.7 Mt on the same 8 months of 2013. This featured a 5% decline in shipments to Europe, to 31.8 Mt, whereas exports to the Americas over the same period rose 14% to 14.7 Mt. There were no shipments to Far East Asia record in January-August.
China’s crude imports from the Middle East increase
China’s crude oil imports from the Middle East Gulf in August rose by 457K b/d y-o-y and 123K b/d m-o-m to average 3.3M b/d, according to the country’s General Administration of Customs. A 348K b/d y-o-y increase in imports of Omani crude to 687K b/d accounted for much of the rise, while imports of Iranian crude dropped by 125K b/d from the previous year to 313K b/d. Imports of West African crude fell by 118K b/d m-o-m but were up marginally y-o-y at 941K b/d. Meanwhile, imports from the Caribbean and Latin America increased by a combined 361K b/d y-o-y and 88K b/d m-o-m to 666K b/d.
Chinese Iron Ore Import Breakdown
Of the 74.9 Mt of iron ore imported into China in August, Australia and Brazil accounted for a combined 81%, compared with 70% in the same month last year. Shipments from Australia rose 35% year-on-year to 47.1 Mt. Imports from South Africa dropped 15.4% to a 6-month low of 3.1 Mt, while imports from Mauritania, Liberia and Sierra Leone combined fell 7.6%, to 2.2 Mt.
World Steel Production
Total crude steel production for the 65 countries reporting to the World Steel Association rose by 1.4% year-on-year in August to 135.0 Mt, however, this was down from 137.2 Mt in July. EU-28 steel output rose just 0.4% year-on-year in August, to 12.1 Mt. Russian and US steel production both increased, rising 5.8% and 2.9%, to 6.2 Mt and 7.7 Mt, respectively. Meanwhile in Asia, South Korean steel production, of 5.3 Mt, was up 8.0% on August 2013 and, as previously reported, Chinese steel production increased by 1.0% to 68.9 Mt.
Essar mothballs crude unit 3 of UK Stanlow oil refinery
Essar has mothballed crude unit 3 of its Stanlow oil refinery earlier than expected after maintenance work was completed ahead of schedule, Bloomberg reports. The unit was expected to be shut at the end of the year.The closure will reduce operational capacity by 101K b/d to 195K b/d and primarily reduce fuel oil and naphtha production.
Chinese Domestic Coal Production
Chinese domestic coal production rose slightly month-on-month to 302.0 Mt in August, however, it was down 3.0 Mt year-on-year, according to data from the China Coal Transportation and Distribution Association reported by the IHS Energy China Coal Daily. Combined coal production for January-August totalled 2,520.0 Mt, down 36.8 Mt on the same period in 2013.
Japanese Steel Production
Japanese steel production rose by 0.6% month-on-month and 2.2% year-on-year to 9.3 Mt in August, according to data from the Japan Iron and Steel Federation. Steel production in January-August totalled 73.9 Mt, up 1.0% on the same eight months in 2013.
India’s imports of Iranian crude increase
India’s imports of Iranian crude oil in August increased by 81% y-o-y and 30% m-o-m to 274K b/d, Reuters reports. India’s imports of Iranian crude in January-August have now averaged 271K b/d, up almost 50% y-o-y.
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