Exports Through Newcastle Up
Newcastle throughput has improved dramatically over the last week with exports in the week to April 25 running at an annualised rate of 88.96 Mt compared with the year-to-date rate of 82.97 Mtpa, McCloskey reports. The nameplate capacity of the terminal is 89 Mtpa. The vessel queue reportedly fell to 14 from 19 the previous week.
US Crude Oil Stocks Rise To Near 3-Year High
US crude oil stocks have risen to their highest level in nearly 3 years, up 5.4mbbl to 324.4m bbl, and the tenth increase in the past eleven weeks, the latest data from the US Department of Energy showed. Crude imports climbed 12% to average 10.9mb/d, the highest level since December and the third highest weekly average on record. Meanwhile, gasoline inventories dipped 0.3m bbl to 211.3m bbl and imports fell 0.1mb/d to 9.3mb/d. Refineries ran at 91.3% of capacity compared with
91.8% the previous week.
Meanwhile, the Bush administration Wednesday is set to announce plans for a new generation of oil refineries as part of an initiative to ease the capacity constraints that have pushed oil prices to record levels.
Chinese Dry Bulk Import Surge in March
Chinese dry bulk imports surged in March, according to the latest customs statistics. March imports of coal, grain, iron ore and steel products reached a record 32.0 Mt - the surge being partly explained by the start of higher iron ore prices in the new fiscal year beginning in April. Iron ore imports in March totalled 24.2 Mt. Monthly imports of coal, soyabeans and steel products all reached their highest levels this year. Dry bulk imports in the 1q05 totalled 83.1 Mt - up 7% from the previous quarter and up 15% year-on-year.
Chinas Oil Imports Rise In March
Chinas Oil Imports Rise In March
Chinas oil imports rose in March to 3.4mb/d, up 1.6% month-on-month and 14.6% year-on-year, according to the latest statistical data from
Chinese Customs. While crude imports were little changed from February at 2.7mb/d they were 23% higher on a year ago. Meanwhile, product imports were up 8.8% at 639kb/d month-on-month due to an increase in fuel oil imports, but year-on-year they fell 11.25% as result of falling diesel imports. Diesel imports in Q105 averaged 12kb/d
compared with 89kb/d in Q404 and 33kb/d in Q104. Chinese oil imports for the first quarter of 2005 as a whole averaged 3.1mb/d, relatively
unchanged on the same period a year ago but down 8.7% from Q404.
Mexicos Oil Production Dipped In March
Mexican oil production dropped by 116kb/d in March to 3.67mb/d, reports Petroleum Intelligence Weekly. This compares with a 152kb/d rise in output in March 2004 to 3.82mb/d. Exports held up much better than production, slipping 42kb/d to average 1.86mb/d against 1.80mb/d a year earlier. Mexico is one of the top oil importers into the US.
German Business Confidence Falls
The latest Ifo survey suggests German business sentiment is at its most pessimistic for 18 months, the Financial Times reports. Weak growth in Germany has affected the economic performance of eurozone, and has led to fears that a combination of high oil prices and the strong euro would damage growth prospects. Despite the apparently gloomy outlook, the Financial Times quotes analysts who emphasise more positive factors such as low interest rates, indications of a recovery in the German retail sector and robust world growth.
Newcastle Port Expansion
Following the announcement of expansion work to bring Dalrymple Bay's capacity up to 90 Mtpa over the next four years (from a contracted capacity of 56 Mtpa), Newcastle's capacity is also set to grow. According to Platts, Newcastle port operator Port Waratah Coal Services has approved an expansion plan, which will raise capacity to 102 Mtpa by the 4q07. Newcastle has a current nominal capacity of 89 Mtpa. PWCS also intends to boost capacity eventually to 120 Mtpa.
US Inflation Rises in March
Core inflation in the US in March rose at an annualised rate of 3.3%, well above the Federal Reserve's "comfort range", according to the Financial Times. This has triggered fears that higher energy prices may impact on consumer demand. Furthermore, Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan warned that the US economy was in danger of stagnating if the budget deficit continued to grow, Reuters reports.
World Steel Demand Growth in 2005
The International Iron & Steel Institute forecasts that apparent world steel demand in 2005 is set to rise by 3.7% year-on-year to 1,004 Mt. A breakdown of this figure illustrates the contrast in demand between China and the rest of the world. Of the projected YOY rise in global steel demand of 36.1 Mt, China accounts for 28 Mt. The IISI is bullish about global steel demand growth in 2006, predicting a YOY rise of 4.8%. This is dependent on the upswing in the world economic cycle being extended.
US Crude Oil Stocks Fall For First Time In 9 Weeks
US crude oil stocks fell for the first time in 9 weeks by 1.8m bbl to 318.9m bbl, the latest inventory data from the US Department of Energy showed. Crude imports were down 145kb/d to 9.7mb/d while refinery utilization increased to 91.8% compared with 91% the week before. Gasoline inventories dropped 1.5mbbl to 211.6m bbl. Despite an increase in refinery inputs - up 137kb/d to 15.46mb/d -- gasoline production fell to average 8.7mb/d, although distillate production was up slightly, said the DOE. Gasoline imports rose last week by 88kb/d to average 1.1mb/d.
China Expects Further Energy Shortages this Summer
China Daily reports that China's electricity businesses expect further power shortages this summer. The secretary-general of the China Electricity Council anticipates a supply deficit in spite of more generating capacity entering operation this year. A variety of energy-conserving measures have been proposed across the country, including widening the gap between peak and off-peak electricity prices and reducing air-conditioning in municipal buildings. According to China Daily, 19 out of the country's 31 provinces experienced power cuts in 2003, with 24 affected in 2004.
OPEC To Raise Oil Production In May
OPEC will raise output by 500K b/d in May even though it will postpone a rise in formal production quotas until a June meeting, the groups president said on Monday, reports Reuters. Kuwaits Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahd al-Sabah said that the group will raise production to prepare for an expected demand surge later this year. This would take OPEC
production back above 30mb/d for the first time in 6 months, near the 25-year highs hit last year. OPECs announcement pushed oil prices to 2-month lows.
China Raises Soyabean Import Forecast for 2004/05
Lower domestic output and increasing demand has prompted the China National Grains and Oils Information Centre to raise its forecast for soyabean imports into China. In November 2004, the Centre predicted that Chinese import demand for 2004/05 (Oct/Sep) would total 19 Mt; now it views the import total as more than 22 Mt, possibly even as much as 24 Mt. In its April market report, the US Dept of Agriculture forecast Chinas imports in 2004/05 (Oct-Sep) at 22.8 Mt.
Canadian Iron Ore Workers Strike
Metal Bulletin reports that iron ore miners at Quebec Cartier Mining Cos Mont-Wright mine are taking strike action. Quebec Cartier plans to ship iron ore concentrates and pellets using salaried staff until inventories run out. The company produces around 13 Mtpa of iron ore.
Australian Coal Exports Up 5% in the 1q05
Exports from Australia's seven major coal ports were up 5.1% YOY in the 1q05, McCloskey reports. Coal throughput in the 1q05 reached 58.1 Mt, with March exports rising 2.0% YOY to 19.2 Mt. The increase has been recorded despite severe congestion at several ports, most notably Dalrymple Bay, Hay Point and Newcastle.
US Crude, Gasoline Inventories Rise
Crude stocks in the US rose by 3.6m bbl last week to 320.7m bbl, their highest since end June 2003, the latest data from the US Department of Energy showed. Crude stocks have risen by 26.4m bbl over the last 9 weeks. Crude imports, though, were down 27kb/d averaging 9.9mb/d while refinery throughput fell from 93.7% to 91% of capacity last week. Gasoline stocks were up for the first time in 5 weeks by 0.8m bbl at 213.1m bbl while gasoline imports rose by 1mb/d last week.
Global Coarse Grain Exports to Reach 97.5 Mt in 2004/05
The US Department of Agriculture predicts world coarse grain exports to total 97.5 Mt in 2004/05 (Oct-Sep), down from 102.6 Mt in 2003/04. The introduction of another 3 Mt export quota in China combined with a new indirect tax rebate for corn exporters has led the USDA to raise its forecast for Chinese coarse grain exports for 2004/05 (Oct-Sep year) to 5.1 Mt from 4.1 Mt last month. Greater competition from Chinese exports means that the USDA has lowered its forecasts for US corn exports. This translates to a new US coarse grain forecast of 50.5 Mt - down 1 Mt from last month, and down 3.4 Mt from the 2003/04 estimated export total.
IEA Trims World Oil Demand Forecast For 2005
The International Energy Agency trimmed its global oil demand forecast for 2005 by 50kb/d to 84.3mb/d in its latest report, the first time it has lowered demand in four months. The adjustment was attributed to a substantial increase in February FSU exports which reduced apparent FSU demand, the IEA said. The group left its growth projections for Chinese demand unchanged at 500kb/d saying there are indications that the countrys demand growth is slowing and added that last years 860kb/d increase is unlikely to be matched. IEA data though, showed China importing record crude volumes from West Africa of 0.18mb/d in March. Meanwhile, world oil supply in March rose 365kb/d to average 84.2mb/d mainly due to a rise OPEC production. OPEC-10 output (excluding Iraq) was up 275kb/d in March at 27.3mb/d. The IEA expects a sharp rebound in non-OPEC supply in 2H05 and has raised non-OPEC supply projections for 2005 by 900kb/d to 51mb/d.
Australian Port Congestion Worsens
Port congestion at Australia's coal and iron ore ports is on the increase again. According to SSY's Australian Coal Port Congestion Index, the average vessel waiting time at major coal ports on the country's eastern coast has risen to 13.2 days, the highest since March 2004 and close to the high point of 14.1 days recorded in February 2004. Average vessel berthing delays at iron ore ports on Australia's western coast currently stand at 7.3 days compared with 5.5 days in mid-March.
Crude Oil Prices Down For Sixth Consecutive Day
Crude oil prices are down for the sixth day running - the longest decline since October 2003 - on signs that refiners will have sufficient supply to make gasoline during the summer driving season, reports Bloomberg. Despite the price fall, OPEC is still planning on increasing output by 500kb/d in May, according to OPEC's president Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahd al-Sabah, reports Reuters. OPEC lifted its production ceiling by 500kb/d in March to 27.5mb/d in a bid to cool prices.
IMF Warning on High Oil Prices
The International Monetary Fund has issued a warning that sustained high oil prices will present " a serious risk" to the global economy, the Financial Times reports. The IMF's deputy chief economist, David Robinson, was quoted arguing that countries need to adjust to a "permanent" oil shock. The European Central Bank president, Jean-Claude Trichet, has also expressed concern about the unwelcome effect that high oil prices would have on world economic growth.
Russian Crude Exports Fell In March
Russian crude exports fell by 95,000b/d, or 2.7%, in March to 3.46mb/d in line with stagnating oil production, according to Petroleum Intelligence Weekly. Baltic Sea exports were down 85,000b/d from February to 1.28mb/d. Exports from the Black Sea, though, rose by 79,000b/d as improving spring weather led to fewer loading disruptions.
Brazil's Soyabean Production Forecast Lowered
A Chicago Board of Trade market report states that the Brazil Vegetable Oils Industry Association now forecasts Brazilian soyabean production at 51.7 Mt compared with the Association's March forecast of 53.9 Mt and the last US Department of Agriculture forecast of 59 Mt for 2004/05 (Oct-Sep crop year). However, despite the tendency to lower Brazil's soyabean production forecasts as a result of adverse weather conditions over recent months, the new prediction for 2004/05 is still close to last season's crop, which the USDA estimates at 52.6 Mt.
US Gasoline Demand Seen 1.8% Higher This Summer
US motor gasoline demand is expected to average 9.3mb/d this summer, up 1.8% from last summer, according to the latest projections from the US Energy Information Agency. Despite high oil prices, demand is expected to rise due to the increasing number of drivers and vehicles and to a rise in per-capita vehicle miles travelled. The EIA is forecasting US petroleum demand to average 20.9mb/d in 2005, up 1.7% from 2004. Overall, motor gasoline demand in 2005 is expected to rise
by 1.6% with an additional 1.5% increase in 2006. The EIA said high world oil demand will continue to support crude oil prices and increase competition for gasoline imports.
Asian Economies to Grow 6.5% in 2005
The Asian Development Bank forecasts that the economies of developing states in Asia-Pacific will grow 6.5% in 2005, the Financial Times reports. The ADB's latest Annual Development Outlook predicts that the regions economies (comprising 42 economies, including China and India, but excluding Australia and Japan) will also grow 6.6% in 2006 and 6.9% in 2007. The report describes economic prospects for the region over the next few years as "auspicious". Last year GDP growth in the region reached an aggregate of 7.3% - the highest since the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98.