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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.
US crude imports increase
US crude oil imports rose by 493K b/d w-o-w to average 8.1M b/d in the week ending 12 September, according to the US Energy Information Administration. This is the highest volume since April. A 460K b/d increase in East Coast imports to 994K b/d (the highest since September 2013) made up the majority of the rise. US crude inventories were up 3.7M bbls from the previous week to total 362.3M bbls. US crude refinery inputs decreased marginally to average 16.3M b/d. Meanwhile, Libya has closed its Sharara oil field which was producing around 250K b/d, as a precaution following a rocket attack on the connected Zawia refinery, Bloomberg reports. The refinery, while still working is also expected to shut after using up its stocks.
China Daily Crude Steel Output
Daily crude steel output at China Iron and Steel Association member mills rose to 1.795 Mt in the first 10 days of September, according to data from the industry body reported by SteelFirst. This is an increase of 7.1% from the last 11 days of August when daily output had declined sharply to 1.677 Mt.
China’s Thermal Power Output Declines in August
China’s thermal power production declined by 11.3% year-on-year in August, to 352.8 billion kWh, according to official data. Meanwhile, total electricity production fell for the first time in over four years, dropping 2.2%, to 485.9 billion kWh. On 13th September it was reported that China’s industrial production rose 6.9% year-on-year in August, down from an increase of 9.0% in July.
Exports of Algerian Saharan Blend hit 2014 high
Exports of Algeria’s light sweet Saharan blend in August rose to a 2014 high of 625K b/d, Argus reports. Refiners in northwest Europe took 60% of the exports, the highest since at least January 2012. Exports to Asia-Pacific fell to 35K b/d and have averaged only 50K b/d so far this year, down around a half from the previous year. The decline has been due in part to competition from rising Asian condensate supplies.
US car sales rise amid slowdown in China’s market
US car sales rose 9.5% year-on-year in August, contributing to a 0.6% rise in retail sales in the country, according to the latest data from the US Commerce Department, reports the BBC. This latest data release points to ongoing strong momentum of the US economy in the 3q14. Meanwhile, China’s latest figures show sales of passenger cars rose 8.5% last month, the weakest pace of expansion since a 7.9% gain in March, reports the Wall Street Journal. Local government restrictions aimed at reducing congestion and pollution are curbing car ownership in some regions.
Chinese Steel Output
China produced 68.9 Mt of crude steel in August, up 1% both month-on-month and year-on-year, according to National Bureau of Statistics data. Combined steel production for January-August totalled 550.1 Mt, up from 535.0 Mt for the same period in 2013.
Azeri crude exports set to fall by a quarter
Azeri Light crude production and exports in the autumn are set to fall by around a quarter from volumes in 1H14 to 473K b/d due to large scale maintenance at the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli block, Argus reports. Meanwhile Primorsk loadings of 10ppm sulphur diesel in September are due to rise by over 7% m-o-m to 873KT (211K b/d). Volumes will be supported by delayed August cargoes and the restart of the 350K b/d Kirishi refinery’s hydrocracker, which has been offline since June.
IEA trims global demand forecast
The International Energy Agency in its latest monthly oil market report has trimmed its forecast for global oil demand growth in 2014 by 150K b/d to 0.9M b/d, taking projected demand for the year to 92.6M b/d. The forecast for 2015 growth has been revised to 1.2M b/d, down from 1.3M b/d. This puts 2015 demand at 93.8M b/d. The revisions come on the back of weakening economic growth outlooks in the Eurozone and China and declining power sector demand in Japan. Oil demand growth in 2015 remains more robust due to an expected pickup in global economic demand.
China Daily Crude Steel Ouput
China’s daily crude steel output fell to 2.233 Mt in the last 11 days of August, according to data from the China Iron and Steel Association reported by CUSteel. This compares with 2.335 Mt in the preceding 10 days and 2.119 Mt for the same period in 2013.
Canadian Coal Exports
Canadian coal exports (excl. cargoes to the US) fell to a 6-month low of 2.7 Mt in July, down 0.2 Mt year-on-year, according to data from McCloskey. This was primarily due to coking coal exports declining to 2.3 Mt, down from 2.6 Mt in July 2013. Steam coal exports were down slightly at 0.3 Mt. Combined coal exports for January-July dropped 0.9 Mt on the same period in 2013 at 20.1 Mt.
US crude stocks continue to decline
US crude oil inventories fell by 1M bbls w-o-w to total 358.6M bbls in the week ending 5 September, according to the US Energy Information Administration. USWC crude stocks declined by 1.78M bbls w-o-w to 50M bbls, the lowest since January. US crude imports were down 54K b/d from the previous week, averaging 7.6M b/d. US crude runs fell by 96K b/d w-o-w to average 16.3M b/d. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia cut its oil production in August by around 400K b/d m-o-m to 9.6M b/d as the global oil supply surplus continues to pressure prices, Reuters reports.
Brazilian Grain Port Congestion
The number of Panamaxes waiting to load grain in Brazil has dropped to its lowest level since the first week of January 2013 with 12 vessels queuing on 10 September, according to SSY’s estimates using local sources. This is in sharp contrast to this time last year when 93 vessels were waiting to load grain.
World Steel Price Plunges
The world export price for hot rolled band dropped to its lowest level since early October 2012 at the start of September at $534/t, down $20/t from late August, according to the latest World Steel Dynamics’ Steelbenchmarker. US and Western European HRB prices both declined by $4/t, to $742/t and $564/t, respectively. This is the lowest Western European price since early August 2009. Meanwhile, the domestic Chinese price dropped $9/t to $436/t.
Indian Trade Data
Iron ore throughput at the major ports of India rose to a 3-month high of 1.5 Mt in August, although this was still down 0.8 Mt year-on-year, according to data from the Indian Ports Association. Nevertheless, total iron ore shipments for April-August were down 1.3 Mt on the same period in 2013 at 8.2 Mt. Meanwhile, coking coal throughput fell to a 3-month low of 2.6 Mt in August. However, this was still up 0.4 Mt on the same month in 2013. Steam coal cargoes increased by 0.8 Mt, to 6.8 Mt, leaving total coal throughput up 1.1 Mt at 9.4 Mt.
Global oil supply surplus increases in August
Global oil supplies in August increased by around 270K b/d m-o-m and 2.81M b/d y-o-y to 94.42M b/d, Energy Intelligence reports. Global oil demand rose by only around 670K b/d y-o-y and fell by approximately 250K b/d m-o-m to 93.84M b/d. Meanwhile, Yemen’s main oil export pipeline which has a capacity of around 110K b/d was attacked again on Monday, halting crude flows of Marib Light to the Ras Isa terminal, Reuters reports. Repairs are expected to take 1-2 days if local groups allow them.
China’s crude imports rise in August
China’s crude imports rose 338 kb/d month-on-month in August to 5.96 mb/d, 889 kb/d higher on the year, according to latest customs data. Chinese refiners were taking advantage of relative cheaper Atlantic Basin crudes as refineries returned from maintenance. Shutdowns were estimated to fall to 393 kb/d in August from 454 kb/d in July, reports Argus. More refinery maintenance is scheduled for September and October which could curb China’s crude demand.
Chinese Coal Imports at 23-Month Low
Chinese coal imports in August slipped to their lowest level in almost two years, preliminary customs data from China indicate. Some 18.9 Mt of coal (including lignite) were imported last month, down 4.2 Mt from July. This represents a steep drop from the volumes recorded at the turn of the year: a record 35.9 Mt were imported in January 2014. As a result year-to-date imports of 202 Mt are 11 Mt below the corresponding 8 months of 2013. Meanwhile, August iron ore imports were 74.9 Mt, 7.6 Mt lower than the July total, but up 5.9 Mt on August last year. In contrast to coal, January-August iron ore imports of 615 Mt are a massive 88 Mt higher than the year-ago figure. Steel exports from China remained strong, with 7.8 Mt exported last month, close to the monthly all-time high of 8.2 Mt. Net steel exports during January-August have risen 15 Mt year-on-year to 47 Mt.
Slump in US Coal Exports
US coal exports fell to their lowest level since December 2010 in July, down 2.9 Mt year-on-year, according to official data. Coking coal exports fell to a 13-month low of 3.9 Mt, down 0.5 Mt year-on-year, while steam coal exports plunged 1.2 Mt to 2.0 Mt.
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