US Crude Runs Sink To Lowest Level Since February
According to the latest data from the EIA, crude inputs at US refineries averaged 13.92 mb/d last week, down 231 kb/d from the week before and the lowest level since February. Refineries were operated at 81.9% of capacity, down from 83.1% during the previous week. Crude stocks saw a 400 KB draw over the same period, ending the week at 360.5 MB. Crude imports fell steeply, dropping by 798 kb/d to 8.13 mb/d. Mogas inventories declined 1.8 MB to 218.2 MB, whilst imports were stable, falling 5 kb/d to 708 kb/d. Meanwhile, distillate stocks were 300 KB lighter at 172.2 MB, with imports edging 9 kb/d higher to 188 kb/d.
IEA Revise Up Global Oil Demand Forecast
In its latest "Oil Market Report", the International Energy Agency has revised up its global oil demand forecast for both 2010 and 2011. Demand this year is now anticipated at 86.9 mb/d, a 300 kb/d increase from the IEA's previous forecast, whilst the 2011 demand forecast has been revised upwards by the same amount to 88.2 mb/d. Accordingly, year-on-year demand growth for 2010 is expected at 2.1 mb/d. The upward revisions come largely on the back of stronger than anticipated demand during 3q10, particularly from the OECD.
Chinese Iron Ore Imports
China imported 52.6 Mt of iron ore in September, according to preliminary customs data. Although the September figure represented the highest monthly total since April of this year, the 3q10 was the lowest quarter for imports since the demand downturn experienced in the 1q09.
Steel exports remained subdued at 3.0 Mt, in contrast to the 2010 peak of 5.6 Mt reached in June. The removal of export tax rebates in mid-July is one factor behind the weaker volumes.
Significant Increase In Latin American Imports of US Distillate
Exports of US distillates to Latin America and the Caribbean reached an average of 440 kb/d in the period from January to July of this year, a 74% increase year on year, Argus reports. The surge has come about as a result of a number of refinery shutdowns in the region, tighter fuel specifications and economic growth that has boosted demand. Exports to Brazil over the period have increased by 37 kb/d yoy to 47 kb/d, to Colombia by 30 kb/d yoy to 60 kb/d, and to Mexico by 52 kb/d yoy to 90 kb/d.
Russian Crude Production Rise in September
Preliminary data reveals that Russian crude oil production averaged 10.12 mb/d in September, a 1.1% increase from August and a 1.6% increase year on year, Argus reports. The monthly rise comes as a result of the end of maintenance at the Sakhalin 1 field.
Global Oil Demand Up in September
Global oil demand reached 87.27 mb/d in September, a 1.08 mb/d increase from August and a 2.14 mb/d rise year on year, Energy Intel reports. Global supply increased by 990 kb/d on the month and by 2.04 mb/d yoy to also reach 87.27 kb/d, leaving oil markets well balanced. OECD demand saw a 602 kb/d increase yoy in September, reaching 45.98 mb/d. This largely came from the US, where demand rose by 538 kb/d. Non-OECD demand rose by 1.5 mb/d yoy to 41.26 mb/d. China contributed 359 kb/d of growth, the FSU 229 kb/d, Brazil 188 kb/d and India 154 kb/d.
Japan's steel exports rise
Steel exports from Japan in August rose 8% month-on-month and 5% year-on-year to 3.6 Mt, according to the Japan Iron and Steel Federation. Exports in the first eight months of the year climbed 8.66 Mt or 43% year-on-year to 28.97 Mt. There was a significant year-on-year increase in exports to the Far East. Exports to Asia reach 24.03 Mt in Jan-Aug 2010, up a massive 6.8 Mt or 40% on the corresponding period last year.
OPEC Output Falls in September
OPEC saw quota bound crude output fall 0.55% month-on-month in September, the second consecutive month of decline and the lowest rate since November 2009, mainly due to a pullback in Angolan production, reports Dow Jones. Estimates put OPEC-11 output at 26.76 mb/d in September, 148 kb/d lower than August. The decline followed a 140 kb/d drop in Angolan output, which was hit by oilfield maintenance and production glitches. Volumes now stand at 1.63 mb/d, closer to its 1.517 mb/d OPEC target, after being one of the group's worst overproducers in the past year. Despite the overall decline, oil output from OPEC's 11 quota bound members was still almost 1.92 mb/d above the 24.845 mb/d quota.
Steel demand forecast
Apparent steel use (ASU) for 2010 is set to rise 13.1% to 1272.2 Mt after contracting by 6.6% in 2009, higher than the previous forecast of 8.4% growth in April, according to the latest Short Range Outlook from the World Steel Association. The WSA forecasts that word ASU will increase by a further 5.3% to another new record of 1339.7 Mt in 2011.
Steel consumption in China is expected to up 6.7% to 579 Mt this year after the strong acceleration of 24.8% in 2009. PRC demand growth is predicted to slow to 3.5% in 2011 due to a weakening in China's real estate market, with demand in the rest of the world rising by 6.8% to 740.7 Mt.
China's PMI at 4-month high
More positive signs in China's manufacturing sector emerged with the September Purchasing Managers Index reaching its highest level since May, at 53.8, according to the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing. September also marked the 19th consecutive month when the PMI has been above 50 - the threshold separating expansion from contraction in manufacturing activity.
Japanese Crude Imports Stable In August
The latest data from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry shows that the country imported 3.59 mb/d of crude oil in August, up just 11 kb/d from a year earlier, Energy Intel reports. Imports from leading supplier Saudi Arabia were up 51 kb/d yoy to 1.05 mb/d. Other major providers, the UAE and Iran saw shipments to Japan fall by 96 kb/d to 675 kb/d and 130 kb/d to 289 kb/d respectively.
US Outstanding Grain Sales 50% Above Recent Average
Combined outstanding sales of US wheat, soyabean and corn are currently 50% higher than the recent average for this time of year, according to data published by the country's Department of Agriculture. For the week ending September 23, 2010, outstanding sales for the three grains stood at 42.2 Mt, some 14.1 Mt higher than the five-year average (for 2005/06 to 2009/10 inclusive) and 6.9 Mt higher than at the same point in 2009. Outstanding sales of wheat are 29% higher than the five-year average at 7.9 Mt, with corn (14.1 Mt) and soyabean (20.2 Mt) outstanding sales 22% and 93% higher than the five-year average, respectively
US Outstanding Grain Sales 50% Above Recent Average
Combined outstanding sales of US wheat, soyabean and corn are currently 50% higher than the recent average for this time of year, according to data published by the country's Department of Agriculture. For the week ending September 23, 2010, outstanding sales for the three grains stood at 42.2 Mt, some 14.1 Mt higher than the five-year average (for 2005/06 to 2009/10 inclusive) and 6.9 Mt higher than at the same point in 2009. Outstanding sales of wheat are 29% higher than the five-year average at 7.9 Mt, with corn (14.1 Mt) and soyabean (20.2 Mt) outstanding sales 22% and 93% higher than the five-year average, respectively.
CISA Reports Slower Steel Output In Mid-September
According to data from the China Iron & Steel Association quoted in the Chinese media, national daily crude steel output fell by 9% from the first ten days in September to 1.55 Mt during the following ten days. Although the statistics are not comprehensive in their coverage of the Chinese steel sector, they do provide some indication of the impact of recent energy saving measures.
August FSU Product Exports Down From July, Up On Year
Petroleum product exports from the Former Soviet Union averaged 2.82 mb/d in August, down from the 2.97 mb/d shipped during July, but a 31 kb/d increase year on year, Argus reports. Mogas exports averaged 100 kb/d, down 36 kb/d mom and 120 kb/d yoy; naphtha shipments were down 35 kb/d mom, but up 42 kb/d yoy at 277 kb/d; gasoil exports averaged 850 kb/d, a decline of 23 kb/d mom and 69 kb/d yoy; whilst vacuum gasoil shipments fell by 111 kb/d mom and 19 kb/d yoy to 179 kb/d. Jet fuel exports increased by 11 kb/d mom, but fell by 12 kb/d to 32 kb/d last month, leaving fuel oil as the only product to show both a monthly and an annual rise in exports, increasing as they did by 39 kb/d mom and 209 kb/d yoy to an average of 1.38 mb/d.
Chinese Buying Of West African Crude Rebounds In October
Chinese refiners have purchased 920 kb/d of West African crude for October loading, a 200 kb/d increase from volumes bought for September loading, Argus reports. Buyers were encouraged by a fall in both freight rates and benchmark crude prices at the time when October stems began to be offered. The end of maintenance at many plants has also increased demand. Nevertheless, a fall in Indian demand for West African crude will see overall volumes heading east fall from 1.61 mb/d this month to 1.59 mb/d in October.
Japan export growth slows
According to the Ministry of Finance, Japanese export growth fell for the sixth consecutive month in August, with an annual pace of 15.8% in August, down from the previous estimate of 19% and far below the peak of 45.3% growth in February. The weak export data highlights the risks to Japan's economy from a strong yen.
China's wire rod prices
The price of wire rod in China edged higher last week, according to data from U-Metal. The FOB price climbed $5/t to $635/t. The current price marks a gain of $40/t from the end-August level.
Transneft Crude Exports To Remain Stable In Fourth Quarter
According to the latest quarterly program, crude exports along Russia's Transneft pipeline system during 4q10 will average 4.08 mb/d, unchanged from the previous quarter and up 93 kb/d yoy, reports Energy Intel. Exports from Baltic ports will increase by 40 kb/d qoq to 1.43 mb/d, but this represents a decrease of 108 kb/d yoy. Black Sea shipments will decline by 92 kb/d qoq, and by 149 kb/d yoy to an average of 1.12 mb/d. Exports from the Pacific port of Kozmino, which only began at the very end of last year, will average 326 kb/d, up 4 kb/d qoq and 302 kb/d yoy.
EIA Weekly Data: Inventories Build
Last week saw US crude stocks build by 1.0 MB to a total of 358.3 MB, as imports increased by 295 kb/d to an average of 9.33 mb/d, according to the latest data from the EIA. Over the same period, mogas inventories saw a 1.6 MB build to 226.1 MB, with imports increasing by 206 kb/d to an average of 850 kb/d. Distillate stocks edged 0.3 MB higher to 174.9 MB as imports averaged 203 kb/d, up slightly from 194 kb/d the week before. US refineries were operated at 87.8% of total capacity, up from 87.6% a week earlier, whilst crude inputs increased by 41 kb/d to 15.05 mb/d.
Global steel production at 6-month low
August global steel output fell for the third consecutive month, down by 1.5 Mt from last month to 112.9 Mt, according to the World Steel Association. This represents the lowest level since February. However, this is 4.5 Mt higher than the year-ago level and almost identical to the August 2008 level. The biggest month-on-month fall was in the EU, where output fell by 1.65 Mt to a year-to-date low of 12.1 Mt. However, China (-1.1% to 51.6 Mt) and the FSU (-6.1% to 8.7 Mt) were the only major producing areas to record year-on-year decline in August. Global steel production in the first eight months to 932 Mt was up by 22% year-on-year.
Indonesian Government To Enter Spot Market With 3 MB Of Crude Stockpile
The Indonesian government intends to sell 3 MB of the country's crude oil reserves on the spot market during the remainder of this month and next, Dow Jones reports. The decision comes in order that the government's aim to sell 965 kb/d this year may be met. Indonesia's crude and condensate inventory currently amounts to 11.58 MB.
South Korean August Crude Imports Up 3.9% From Year Earlier
According to the latest data from KNOC, South Korean crude oil imports averaged 2.44 mb/d in August, a 90 kb/d increase from the same month in 2009. The country's refineries also processed 2.44 mb/d last month, up 100 kb/d year-on-year.
Sudan's Crude Output Declining
Sudan's crude output has fallen this year to around 450 kb/d, against a 2010 target of 600 kb/d and below the average 475 kb/d seen in 2009, mainly due to a sharper --than-expected decline in Nile Blend output, which is down 20% at around 140 kb/d, reports Energy Intelligence. In addition, Dar Blend is underperforming, averaging 250 kb/d, versus a heralded 300 kb/d, while several of the smaller fields are also recording below target output levels. The poor performance raises several suspicions, ranging from alleged underreporting of production to conceal revenues siphoned off by the north to supposed poor reservoir management by the operating companies, leading to extreme water incursion and premature peaking of wells.
OECD Stocks Reach New Record
OECD commercial inventories for crude and products rose by 603 kb/d in August to a new record level of 2.8 billion barrels, surpassing the previous record of August 1998, reports Energy Intelligence. This puts forward cover at 61.8 days, up from 60.6 days at end-June. The growing stocks have, so far, not caused a price collapse, so OPEC is not expected to resort to production cuts in its next meeting next month. Middle distillate stocks in the OECD rose 419 kb/d in August so are more than ample as winter approaches. In the US, diesel and heating oil stocks recently reached 176 mb, the highest level since 1983, cushioning the market even in case of a prolonged cold snap and if economic activity takes off.