GDP Growth Slows in Europe
Annual GDP growth slowed to 1.5% in the Euro area and 1.8% in the EU as a whole in the 4q15, Eurostat reports. In a further indicator of decelerating economic growth in Europe, industrial production in the Euro area contracted by -1.3% in December and by –0.8% in the EU.
PBF expects mid-March restart for gasoline unit at Torrance refinery
PBF Energy has said that it expects to start up activities at the gasoline producing unit of the 150K b/d Torrance refinery near Los Angeles, California by mid-March, Reuters reports. This will pave the way for the independent refiner to complete its acquisition of the facility from ExxonMobil by 2Q16. The gasoline production unit (fluid catalytic cracker) went offline on February 2015 following as explosion.
Japan’s naphtha imports fall y-o-y in January
Japan’s naphtha imports for the petrochemical sector in January declined by 20K b/d y-o-y to 355K b/d, Reuters reports, citing data from the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Compared with the previous month, imports were up marginally (+1K b/d).
UK Iron Ore and Coal Imports Fall in 2015
Coal imports by the UK fell sharply in 2015, dropping 16.8 Mt to 21.7 Mt, the lowest level since 1999, according to official data. This decline was almost entirely due to a 15.5 Mt fall in imports of steam coal (incl. anthracite) as shipments from Russia and the US both declined by over 50%. There was also a 1.3 Mt drop in coking coal imports to 4.7 Mt.
UK iron ore imports dropped to 12.0 Mt in 2015, down 2.0 Mt year-on-year as imports from Brazil fell by a quarter to an eleven-year low of 4.2 Mt, official data show. In contrast, after a weak 2014 iron ore imports from Canada rose 1.0 Mt in 2015 to a seven-year high of 1.8Mt.
Coal throughput at the major state owned ports of India rose to 11.2 Mt in January, up 1.1 Mt year-on-year, according to the Indian Ports Association. Steam coal throughput climbed to a 14-month high of 8.5 Mt in January, up 1.4 Mt, while coking coal throughput fell 0.3 Mt to 2.6 Mt.
Steel Prices Rise
The Western European domestic price for hot-rolled band (HRB) rose by $8/t to its highest level since early November 2015 in the two weeks ending 10 February to $360/t, according to the latest SteelBenchmarker from World Steel Dynamics. There were smaller $2/t increases in the Chinese and US domestic HRB prices to $250/t and $443/t, respectively. The US HRB price has now risen by $31/t since mid-December, although it is still well below the year-ago level of $615/t.
Coal Trade Update
Steam coal exports from Colombia eased lower by 0.2 Mt year-on-year in January to 6.9 Mt, down from December’s nine-month high of 7.8 Mt, IHS McCloskey reports.
Meanwhile, full-year data from Canada show coking coal exports (excl. US cargoes) dropped to a four-year low of 26.9 Mt in 2015, down 3.4 Mt year-on-year. This was primarily due to falls in shipments to China (-2.1 Mt to 5.4 Mt), South Korea (-1.0 Mt to 5.2 Mt) and Brazil (-1.1 Mt to 1.1 Mt), although shipments to Japan were down only 0.2 Mt to 6.9 Mt.
US gasoline stocks rise to record high
US gasoline inventories increased by 1.3M bbls w-o-w to a second-consecutive weekly record high of 255.7M bbls in the week ending 5 February, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). US distillate stocks rose by 1.3M bbls from the prior week to 161M bbls.
US crude runs fall further while stocks hold close to record levels
US crude refinery throughputs dropped by 105K b/d w-o-w to a four month low of 15.5M b/d in the week ending 5 February, US EIA data shows. US crude stocks slipped by 0.8M bbls from the prior week to 502M bbls but remain close to last week’s record high. US crude imports fell by 1.1M b/d w-o-w to 7.1M b/d, the largest w-o-w drop since December 2014.
German Steel Output Falls
German crude steel output fell by 2% year-on-year in January to 3.6 Mt, the third month in succession output has declined annually, according to data from WV Stahl, the German steel federation, reported by SteelFirst. This follows an annual decline of 3% in the 4q15.
Strongest Newbuilding Deliveries in Three Years
January saw the strongest month for bulk carrier newbuilding deliveries in three years with 105 vessels (8.6 Mdwt) delivered, according to SSY data. The rapid pace of deletions seen in December continued at the start of 2016 with 50 vessels (3.6 Mdwt) scrapped in January, including a record 19 Panamaxes (1.4 Mdwt), although net fleet growth of 5.0 Mdwt was still the highest since January last year.
US Shale Output set to fall below 5M b/d in March
US Shale oil output in March is set to fall by 92K b/d m-o-m to 4.9M b/d, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Production in the Eagle Ford region is expected to decline by 50K b/d m-o-m to 1.22M b/d, the lowest since December 2013.
Exxon set to close Beaumont refinery CDU for 90 days in April
ExxonMobil is set to close a 130K b/d crude distillation unit (CDU) at its 350K b/d Beaumont refinery in the second half of April, Reuters reports.
Indian crude steel output rose 1.5% year-on-year in January to 7.4 Mt, according to provisional data from the steel ministry reported by Reuters.
Indian steel imports fell for the third successive month in January, down 8.7% to 0.9 Mt, which followed the government’s imposition of a 20% import duty on some steel products in September. More recently, the Indian authorities have announced the implementation of a minimum import price on almost all steel products in a further bid to restrict shipments.
US Coal Exports Slump in 2015
US coal exports (excl. cargoes to Canada) dropped sharply to a six-year low of 61.6 Mt in 2015, down 20.5 Mt year-on-year, according to official data. Coking coal exports plunged to 37.9 Mt, down 15.4 Mt, as shipments to Europe fell by over a third to 21.1 Mt. Meanwhile, steam coal exports declined by 5.1 Mt to 23.7 Mt.
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.