US 3Q14 GDP growth revised up to 3.9%
The Department of Commerce in its second preliminary estimate of 3Q14 US GDP growth revised their figure upwards by 0.4% to 3.9%. This compares with growth of 4.6% in 2Q14. Taken together, they represent the strongest consecutive quarters of growth since 2003.
Bonny pipeline shut after leak
The Trans-Niger Pipeline (TNP) which carries the key West African grade Bonny Light, was closed on Saturday after the discovery of a leak on the 28-inch pipeline, Reuters reports. Around 180-200K b/d of Bonny are exported each month. However, despite exports being disrupted, Shell, which operates the pipeline, stated that force majeure had not been declared on the grade. A smaller 24-inch pipeline which is also part of the TNP, has been closed since October last year for repairs.
China Daily Crude Steel Output
Daily crude steel output at China Iron & Steel Association member mills edged higher to 1.642 Mt in the period 11-20 November. This compares with 1.635 Mt in the preceding 10 days, the lowest daily rate recorded this year, according to Reuters.
US Steel Imports
US steel imports rose to their highest level since August 1998 at 4.0 Mt in October, up 13% month-on-month and a massive 42% year-on-year, according to US Census Bureau data. Steel imports for the period January-October were up 37% on the same period in 2013, at 33.5 Mt.
China’s imports of Middle East crude oil in October fall m-o-m but rise y-o-y
China’s imports of crude oil from the Middle East in October were up 397K b/d y-o-y at 3.2M b/d but were down 616K b/d m-o-m, according to the country's General Administration of Customs. China’s imports from the region between January and October averaged 3.35M b/d, up from 3.0M b/d during the same period in 2013. Imports from West Africa were similarly robust, rising 96K b/d y-o-y in spite of a 60K b/d m-o-m decline. Imports from the Caribbean were down 75K b/d m-o-m but were up a notable 285K b/d y-o-y, with China’s imports from the region between January and October averaging 496K b/d, up 86K b/d y-o-y.
Deadline for negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme extended
World powers on Monday decided to extend the deadline on negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme to June 2015, Reuters reports. The extension means that current sanctions, which state that Iranian crude oil sales should remain around 1M b/d, will remain in place. Iran is currently estimated to export around 1.3M b/d of oil, with the country’s oil minister Bijan Zanganeh stating that Iran could double its oil exports within two months of sanctions being lifted, including an immediate 500K b/d increase.
Chinese Steel Inventories
Steel inventories in the major cities of China fell to their lowest level since early August 2009 at the end of last week, down 0.2 Mt week-on-week to 9.8 Mt, according to data from U-metal. This compares with 13.5 Mt at the same point in 2013.
Indonesian Coal Exports
Coal exports from Indonesia rose to a 3-month high of 33.7 Mt in September, up 2.8 Mt year-on-year, according to Bank Indonesia data. However, total exports for the period January-September were down 5.2 Mt on the same period in 2013 at 307.1 Mt.
Oil prices set for first weekly gain since September
Crude oil prices are set to record their first w-o-w gain since September, Bloomberg reports. The rise is due to a mixture of factors, including a surprise cut in interest rates by China (for the first time since 2012) and growing expectations over a potential cut in OPEC output.
US Weekly Grain Exports
Exports of soyabeans from the US in the week ending 13 November soared to 3.08 Mt, up 0.81 Mt week-on-week, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture. As a consequence, total exports of soyabeans, wheat and corn rose to an all-time high of 3.64 Mt.
Chinese Trade Data Breakdown
China imported 49.6 Mt of iron ore from Australia in October, up 37.9% on the same month in 2013, according to customs data. Shipments from Brazil also increased in October, up 28.0% to 16.3 Mt, while imports from South Africa were down 14.0% at 2.9 Mt. Imports of iron ore from West Africa were up 4.9% at 1.7 Mt, although none was imported from Liberia. As previously reported, China imported 79.4 Mt of iron ore in October. Australia and Brazil accounted for 83% of China’s iron ore imports last month compared with an average of 70% in 2013.
China imported 5.4 Mt of coking coal in October, down 10.1 % year-on-year, while imports of steam coal and anthracite combined were down 26.1% at 10.7 Mt, according to customs data. China imported 8.1 Mt of Australian coal (excl. lignite) in October, up 10.7% year-on-year.
China’s combined imports of bauxite, alumina, steel scrap, fertiliser, wood pulp as well as nickel, manganese, copper and chromium ore plunged 39% year-on-year in October, to 12.6 Mt, according to data from China Customs. Imports in the period January-October were down 24% on the same period in 2013 at 133.6 Mt.
World Steel Production
Total crude steel production for the 65 countries reporting to the World Steel Association was virtually unchanged from a year earlier in October at 136.7 Mt, although it was up slightly on September’s total of 134.5 Mt. Of the major global producers, there were year-on-year falls in German (-5.9% to 3.5 Mt), US (-0.7% to 7.3 Mt), Japanese (-1.7% to 9.4 Mt) and, as previously reported, Chinese steel output (-0.3% to 67.5 Mt). In contrast, Indian steel output was up 8.5% year-on-year in October, at 7.1 Mt, (a marked acceleration from annual growth of 2.5% in Jan-Oct) while growth in South Korean production slowed to 4.5%, with 6.2 Mt of steel produced last month.
China’s manufacturing activity falls to six-month low
The flash HSBC China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for November fell by 0.4 m-o-m to 50.0 (a reading above 50 indicates an expansion in activity). This is the lowest since May. The data has fuelled expectations of further stimulus from the government.
US crude inventories rise
US crude oil inventories increased by 2.6M bbls w-o-w to total 381.1M bbls in the week ending 14 November, according to the US Energy Information Administration. This is the highest total since July. US crude oil imports were up 761K b/d from the previous week at an average of 7.6M b/d. This is the largest weekly change since a 1.24M b/d w-o-w decline in September. US crude refinery inputs rose by 161K b/d w-o-w to average 15.9M b/d, with refineries operating at 91.2% of capacity.
Keystone XL bill fails in the US Senate
A proposed bill aimed at forcing the approval of TransCanada’s 830K b/d Keystone XL oil pipeline, which will run from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska in the US, was failed by one vote in the US Senate, Reuters reports. However, pro-Keystone Congress members have stated that they will try to have the bill approved early next year when Congress reconvenes.
Japanese Crude Steel Production
Japan produced 9.4 Mt of crude steel in October, up 1.2% month-on-month, but down 1.7% year-on-year, according to the Japan Iron & Steel Federation. Despite the annual decline in October, January-October output totalled 92.5 Mt, up 0.6% on the same period in 2013.
Chinese Power Consumption
Chinese power consumption rose 3.1% year-on-year in October, according to National Energy Administration data, reported by Reuters. Power use by secondary industries rose by 2.8% to 336.9 kWh in October, while residential use was up 1.0% at 54.1 billion kWh. By comparison, the annual rate of consumption growth in October 2013 was reported at 9.5%.
German Crude Steel Output
Germany produced 3.5 Mt of steel in October, down 5.9% year-on-year, according to data from the industry association WV Stahl, reported by SteelGuru. Crude steel output in January-October totalled 36.1 Mt, up 1.6% on the same 10 months in 2013.
Indonesia raises fuel prices by 30%
Indonesia has raised its heavily subsidised domestic gasoline and diesel prices by 30%, Reuters reports. The move is expected to save the government around $11.5bn next year, which President Joko Widodo has pledged to use for infrastructure, health, education and agriculture spending.
Angola’s crude exports in January set to increase m-o-m
Angola’s exports of crude oil in January are expected to rise by 10.6% m-o-m to average 1.77M b/d, Reuters reports.
India’s Iranian crude imports surge
India’s crude imports from Iran jumped 60% year-on-year in October to 310kb/d, 28% more than September, reports Reuters. Despite ongoing negotiations between six world powers and Iran, a final agreement on Iran’s disputed nuclear programme before the 24 November deadline is unlikely. Any agreement would likely be followed by a surge in Iran’s oil exports. Imports from Iran in January-October were up 40%, yet this did not prevent total Indian crude imports from the Middle East in the first 10 months of 2014 falling by almost 9% year-on-year. However, shipments from Africa and Latin America rose.
Australia & China Sign Free Trade Agreement
Australia and China have signed a free trade agreement that will see Australian product exempt from China’s recently reintroduced coal import tariffs newswires report. The 3% tariff on coking coal imports is to be removed once the agreement takes effect, while the 6% tariff on non-coking coal grades will be phased out over the next two years. Copper and alumina will also see their import tariffs eliminated.
China Daily Crude Steel Output
Daily crude steel output at China Iron & Steel Association member mills declined to 1.635 Mt in the first 10 days of November, down from 1.665 Mt in the last 11 days of October, according to data from the industry body reported by SteelFirst. This decline may be influenced by anti-pollution measures ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Beijing causing some mills in northern China to cut production at the start of November.
IEA forecasts further oil price declines in 1H15
The International Energy Agency in its monthly oil market report has forecast that “downward price pressures could build further in the first half of 2015”. While global oil demand growth is expected to rise to 1.1M b/d in 2015 from a five-year low of 680K b/d in 2014, the “relentless growth in unconventional oil supply”, “seasonally weaker demand” and “no clear consensus” on an OPEC supply cut, are predicted to outweigh this. However, the IEA does note that oil supply risks “remain extraordinarily elevated” and these could be further exacerbated by falling oil prices.
US Weekly Grain Exports
Combined weekly shipments of corn, soyabeans and wheat from the US fell slightly last week, to 3.19 Mt, down 0.33 Mt week-on-week, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture. There were rises in corn and wheat exports, to 0.60 Mt and 0.32 Mt, respectively, but a 0.65 Mt fall in soyabean cargoes, to 2.27 Mt.