Russia's Crude Output Reaches Record High In May
Russia's crude production reached a record high of 9.59m b/d in May, 0.3% higher than in April-the previous record was 9.57m b/d from Nov '05, reports Petroleum Argus. Exports along the Transneft pipeline system are set to rise to 4.44m b/d in 3q06, an increase of 5.3% against planned 2q06 volumes. Loadings at the Baltic port of Primorsk are expected to reach a new record high of 1.36m b/d in the 3q06, with total deliveries to Baltic ports set to rise by 2.4% to 1.67m b/d. Crude exports through Black Sea ports are expected to increase by 12.4%, to almost 1.46m b/d, reports Argus.
Industrial Action in Colombia
Industrial action at Drummond's La Loma mine has still not been resolved, with negotiations breaking down this week, according to media reports. Platts reported that around 1.7 Mt of coal production has already been lost owing to the dispute, which started on May 22. Barlow Jonker's South African Coal Report noted that if the strike continued for 60 days (the legal maximum before an official arbitration panel steps in), an estimated 4.5 Mt of coal production would be lost. The tightening supply of Colombian coal has caused buyers to seek alternative sources, such as South Africa and Russia.
US Gasoline and Distillate Stocks Up, Crude Down
US gasoline stocks rose another 2.8m bbl last week to 213.1m bbl as US refinery utilisation rose from 91% to 92.7%, according to the latest data from the US Department of Energy. Gasoline imports inched 11k b/d higher to 1.41m b/d, up 35% year-on-year, while demand was up 46k b/d at just over 9.4m b/d. Distillate inventories also rose by 2.1m bbl to 122.8m bbl, helped by a 67k b/d rise in imports to 363k b/d and a 0.1m b/d increase in production. Demand was up 64k b/d at just over 4m b/d. Crude stocks dropped 0.9m bbl to 345.7m bbl with imports falling 334k b/d to over 10.5m b/d.
USDA Forecast for Soya Trade
The latest trade forecast from the US Department of Agriculture puts world soya (bean and meal) imports in 2005/06 (Oct-Sep) at 114.2 Mt, up from last months forecast of 113.6 Mt. China is now expected to import 27.5 Mt of soyabeans, 0.5 Mt more than in Mays forecast. Looking ahead to 2006/07, the USDA anticipates world soya imports to reach 120.2 Mt. Again, most of the growth is expected to come from Chinese import demand; Chinas soyabean imports are projected to rise from 27.5 Mt to 31.5 Mt.
World Oil Demand Growth Forecast To Rise 1.5% In 2006
The IEA has kept its world oil demand growth forecast virtually unchanged for 2006 at 1.24m b/d, taking expected levels to 84.9m b/d. Although a booming global economy continues to support demand growth, high prices are weighing on consumption, said the IEA in its June report. Non-OECD demand accounts for 41% of global consumption but its demand will account for nearly 85% of world growth in 2005-2006. Chinese apparent demand grew by 9.6% year-on-year in April, while preliminary data show demand in the US grew by 0.8% in April and 3.6% in May. OECD crude stocks rose 13m bbl to 1,005m bbl in Apr, their highest level in 20 years, as heavy seasonal maintenance cut refinery throughputs. Even so, crude stock cover held at 20.5 days, only 1 day higher than last year. On the production side, global oil supply grew by 445k b/d in May to 85m b/d due to an increase of 215k b/d from OPEC, a decline in North Sea maintenance and recovering US Gulf of Mexico supply.
Preliminary Chinese Trade Data for May
The preliminary Chinese customs data for May are more positive for the sub-Capesize size ranges. If confirmed, the iron ore import figure of 24.57 Mt would be the lowest since October 2005, and we expect a significant component of this was shipped from India. At the same time, soyabean imports are high (2.41 Mt), bullish for Handymax and Panamax demand. Meanwhile, the preliminary total for coal exports in May is lower (4.4 Mt compared with 5.46 Mt in April). This would mean that buyers in NE Asia need to source from alternative, longer-haul, sources. China's steel exports are rising (3.49 Mt - to the benefit of Handymax demand).
China's Imports Rose Year-on-year In May
China's crude imports were up 469k b/d, or 19%, year-on-year in May at just over 2.9m b/d, although on an average daily basis they remained virtually unchanged on the month, according to preliminary data from China's customs. Total oil imports rose 24% on the year to just over 3.6m b/d, while product imports were 51.5% up on the year at 706k b/d.
Record Chinese Steel Exports in May?
It is rumoured from sources in the steel industry that China exported 3.49 Mt of finished steel products in May, the highest monthly total ever. If confirmed, this would be another factor behind the recent strength in the Handymax and Supramax backhaul markets. A report from Macquarie Bank argues that China's position as a net steel exporter is caused by rising international steel demand, with some Chinese suppliers keen to raise exports ahead of a possible cut in the export tax rebate.
FSU Product Exports Fall In May
Seaborne product exports from the FSU fell to 10.1mt in May, down 16% on an average daily basis from the record high April figure, reports Petroleum Argus. The fall was mainly due to a drop in fuel oil exports, which were down by a third on April at 3.76mt. Gasoline exports were up 157kt from April at 1.53mt. Shipments through Tallinn were significantly lower due to refinery maintenance, and limited demand in Northwest Europe.
Iraqi Oil Terminal Fire Effects Exports
A fire at Iraq's Khor-al-Amaya (KAA) oil terminal on 26 May could keep the country's second, smaller southern terminal shut for up to 4 months after 70% of the facility was destroyed, reports Energy Intelligence. Tankers that were scheduled to lift crude from KAA, are being diverted to the Basrah Oil Terminal. Although the impact of the closure should be limited as the terminal only handles 5% of Iraq's exports, it could lead to congestion at BOT, jeopardising Iraq's targeted rise in exports to about 1.8m b/d by the end of '06. Exports are pencilled in at 1.56m b/d for June, up from the 1.49m b/d in May.
US Cement and Clinker Imports Up 40% in the 1q06
Imports of cement and clinker into the US in the 1q06 reached 8.11 Mt, marking a rise of 40% on the same quarter last year, according to data from the US Census Bureau. Imports from China in the 1q06 climbed to 2.00 Mt from 625,000 tonnes in the 1q05, imports from Thailand hit 0.95 Mt, compared with 327,000 tonnes, while imports from Taiwan were 618,000 tonnes as opposed to 268,000 tonnes. The data show that imports into Tampa rose to 1.05 Mt in the 1q06 (694,000 tonnes in the 1q05), shipments to Houston were 822,000 tonnes (524,000 tonnes) and imports to New Orleans reached 756,000 tonnes (594,000 tonnes).
Richards Bay Throughput Falls Below Target in 2006
Richards Bay coal exports totalled just 4.4 Mt in May 2006, short of the monthly target of 6.08 Mt, according to Barlow Jonker's "From The Coal Face". May's export total may have been constrained by a derailment, which closed both lines between Ermelo and Piet Retief in the first week of the month. This brings the throughput total in the first five months of the year to 25.85 Mt against a targeted 30.42 Mt. Coal stocks at the port have reportedly risen to 2.5 Mt.
US Stocks Grow, Demand Falls
US crude stocks rose another 1.1m bbl last week to 346.6m bbl, 4.8% higher year-on-year, helped by a 39k b/d rise in imports to nearly 10.9m b/d, according to the latest data from the US Department of Energy. Distillate stocks increased by another 1.8m bbl to 120.7m bbl regardless of a 187k b/d drop in imports to 296k b/d, mainly because of a 126k b/d fall in demand to just over 4m b/d. Gasoline inventories also grew by 1m bbl to 210.3m bbl despite a 153k b/d drop in imports to 1.4m b/d, partly due to a 63k b/d drop in demand to 9.37m b/d. Refinery utilisation dropped to 91% from 91.4%.
US Petroleum Consumption Forecast To Rise 0.9% In 2006
The latest US DOE short-term outlook projects US petroleum consumption to rise in 2006 and 2007 by 0.9% and 2.1% respectively. Gasoline demand is forecast to expand by 0.9% in '06 and 1.3% in '07 having exhibited almost no growth in '05. Distillate (diesel fuel and heating oil) consumption, which rose by 1.3% in '05, is expected to grow 2.4% in '06 and 3.1% in '07.
CISA Lifts Chinese Steel Consumption Forecast
China Iron & steel Association (CISA) has raised its forecast for Chinese steel consumption this year to 397 Mt, representing annual growth of around 20%, Metal Bulletin reports. This contrasts with CISAs February projection for 2006 consumption of 369 Mt. The upward revision is due to unexpectedly strong demand in the 1q06, with 1q fixed asset investment in China up 27.7% year-on-year, lifting steel demand in the construction sector in the process. Correspondingly, CISA has raised its forecast for Chinas steel production in 2006 to 400 Mt, a 14.5% rise. In February, CISA projected an increase in output of 10-12%.
Japan's Crude Imports Rise In April
Japan's crude imports rose 14.3% year-on-year in April to 4.38m b/d, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates remaining the 2 largest suppliers, exporting 1.5m b/d and 1.1m b/d respectively, reports Energy Intelligence. Imports from third ranked Iran fell 20.1% to 457k b/d, while Angola provided 96k b/d having not exported to Japan previously. However, imports from Sudan dropped 39% on the year to 75k b/d.
Oil Rises Over Iran Risk
Oil rose to $73 on Monday after major exporter Iran warned that flows from the gulf, which pumps nearly a quarter of the world's crude, would be endangered if the US made a 'wrong move' over Iran, reports Reuters. The comments from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei raised fears the world's fourth biggest oil exporter might halt crude shipments over its nuclear standoff with the West at a time when global markets are operating with little more than 2m b/d of spare capacity. There has also been more concern over Nigeria following the kidnapping of 8 foreign oil workers on Friday and the closure of another 50k b/d of production by Shell after an oil spill.
Brazil Soyabean Exports Strong In May
According to a market report from the Chicago Board of Trade, Brazil exported 3.2 Mt of soyabeans during May compared with 2.9 Mt in April. This marks the highest monthly export total since June 2004 and would appear to indicate an early start to the Latin American soya export season. The market report also comments that increased competition may impact on US exports.
US Steel Imports Remain High
The US imported 3.24 Mt of steel in April, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. This compares with imports of 2.79 Mt in April 2005 and is over 3 Mt for the fourth consecutive month. The annualised total from the first four months of the year would be 40.3 Mt, an annual record high. Much of the increase in steel imports was a result of increased shipments from Asia-Pacific, which has been one of the factors supporting the Handymax market.
US Oil Stocks Grow
US crude stocks rose 1.6m bbl last week to 345.5m bbl, 3.5% higher year-on-year, helped by a 1.3m b/d rise in imports to over 10.8m b/d, according to the latest data from the US Department of Energy. Gasoline inventories also inched another 0.8m bbl higher to 209.3m bbl regardless of a 74k b/d drop in imports to 1.6m bbl. Gasoline imports though remain at the third highest weekly average ever, over 50% higher on the year, while demand rose 237k b/d to 9.43m b/d. Distillate stocks rose 1.8m bbl to 118.9m bbl due to a 129k b/d rise in imports to 483k b/d, over 45% higher on the year. Distillate demand rose 202k b/d to 4.14m b/d. Refinery utilisation rose to 91.4%, the highest utilisation rate since the week ending 26 Aug 2005 prior to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
April Iron Ore Exports from Australia and Brazil
Australia's iron ore exports in April reached 21.43 Mt (basis wet), the highest monthly total this year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Exports to China accounted for 11.88 Mt of the month's total, with shipments bound for Japan comprising 6.22 Mt. Meanwhile, trade data for Brazil indicates that 19.15 Mt of iron ore were exported in April. This brings the year-to-date export total to 74.48 Mt, some 5.67 Mt higher than the same period last year.
Russian Tariff Hikes Result In Slight Drop In Exports
Russia's prospective seaborne crude exports for June experienced only a slight drop despite a hike in the country's export duties, reports Energy Intelligence. Seaborne crude shipments are pencilled in at 2.90m b/d for June, down from 2.92m b/d in May. The fall in volumes comes as Russia is set to raise its tax on crude exports to $199.80/ton from the start of June, up from the $186.40/ton put in place in April. Loadings from the Baltic Sea are expected to rise 55kb/d month-on-month in June, while levels from the Black Sea are slated to drop 68k b/d, mainly due to volumes out of Yuzhny falling to 40k b/d, less than half that seen loading in May.
Colombian Strike Affects Vessel Loadings
Industrial action has effectively halted vessel loadings at Puerto Drummond, according to Platts. Strike action has been ongoing since May 22 at Mina Pribbenow, restricting steam coal supply from the Colombian port into the Atlantic. The duration of the industrial action is currently unclear.
Japan Plans To Boost Its Strategic Oil Stocks
Japan is aiming to increase its oil stockpile for the first time since 1989 due to rising supply fears, reports Petroleum Argus. Publicly owned reserves will be raised to more than 42.8m bbl of crude equivalent, covering 120 days of consumption, from April 2007. The stockpile will be boosted by 5 days to 95 days of consumption with immediate effect as a temporary measure. As of 31 March, Japan's crude and product stocks stood at 168 days of consumption, consisting of the 90-day national stocks and 78-day stocks held by private firms. Privately held stocks are expected to fall to 60-65 days of consumption to ease financial burdens on oil firms given high prices, reports Argus.
Sudan Invited To Join OPEC
Sudan has been invited to join OPEC by the Nigerian president, the current chairman of OPEC, reports Argus. Sudan is planning to increase its oil production to 500k b/d by the end of this year, when a number of new investment phases will be completed. Sudan has qualified to join OPEC according to the conditions set by the organisation for membership, and will soon make a decision, reports Xinhua.