March Chinese Crude Imports Approach Record
The latest data from Chinese Customs reveals that the country's crude imports hit their second-highest monthly level on record at 4.99 mb/d in March, having risen 28.9% y-o-y. Levels are expected to rise further in April following the completion of refinery maintenance work, with refiners planning to raise crude throughput to meet rising domestic fuel demand while awaiting the first fuel price increase since November. Product imports were relatively unchanged on the year at 762 kb/d.
Canada Remains Primary Source of US Crude Imports, Western Hemisphere Dominates
The USA imported 8.45 Mbpd of crude oil in January, down from 9.84 Mbpd a year earlier, Energy Intel reports. Canada provided 1.88 Mbpd, ensuring that it remains the country's leading source. Mexico came in second with exports averaging 1.03 Mbpd. Latin America as a whole provided 2.7 Mbpd, 33% of the total. Imports from Saudi Arabia declined 28% year on year to an average of 951 kbpd, whilst overall imports from the Middle East arrived at a rate of 1.5 Mbpd, 18% of the total. Nigeria saw its exports to the US more than double to an average of 996 kbpd, accounting for a large proportion of the 1.9 Mbpd shipped (22% of total) from Africa. European imports averaged 3.1 Mbpd, about 37% of the total. US product imports in January averaged 2.92 Mbpd, down from 3.55 Mbpd during the same period in 2009, with Canada (704 kbpd) again the primary source.
Richards Bay coal exports in March rise to a 5-month high
Coal exports from the Richards Bay Coal Terminal rose by 0.7 Mt (+15%) month-on-month to a 5-month high of 5.7 Mt in March. Although 1q10 exports of 15.5 Mt were up 9% year-on-year, the quarterly total fell significantly short of the 17.9 Mt exported in the 4q09.
March sees increase in Port Hedland iron ore shipments
Iron ore shipments from Port Hedland rose by 13% month-on-month to 14.8 Mt in March, not far below Januarys monthly record of 15.1 Mt, official data showed. Most of the increase came from shipments to South Korea. Shipments to South Korea rose by 0.9 Mt (+64% month-on-month) from the previous month to 2.3 Mt, the highest level since September 2008. China was the main export destination, rebounding slightly from February to 9.3 Mt. Shipments to Japan remained similar level around 1.9 Mt.
Global Oil Demand Stable in March, but Supply Continues to Grow
March saw global oil demand averaging 86.37 Mbpd, just a 90 kbpd increase from a month earlier but a healthy 1.73 Mbpd build from a year earlier, reports Energy Intel. Global supply, however, grew by 350 kbpd from February, and by 2.4 Mbpd year on year, to reach an average of 86.74 Mbpd in March. Non-OECD demand averaged 40.42 Mbpd in March, a hefty 5.1% increase from the same month in 2009, but OECD growth of -0.5% - leaving total OECD demand averaging 45.93 Mbpd - is preventing global demand from keeping up with increasing supply.
US Weekly Data: Crude Stocks and Refinery Utilisation Rise as Imports Increase
Last week saw US refineries operating at 84.5% of capacity, as inputs of crude oil increased by 370 kbpd to an average of 14.60 Mbpd, according to the latest data from the EIA. Crude inventories continued to grow, and totalled 356.2 Mbbl by the end of the week: a 2.0 Mbbl increase from the week before. Imports of crude oil reached an average of 9.56 Mbpd, a 501 kbpd rise from a week earlier. Production of distillate fuel oil rose by 467 kbpd to an average of 4.04 Mbpd, as imports more than halved to 153 kbpd. Distillate stocks stood at 145.7 Mbbl by week end, a 1.1 Mbbl build from the week before. Mogas inventories fell by 2.5 Mbbl to 222.4 Mbbl, whilst imports increased from 710 kbpd to 756 kbpd.
February Sees Significant Decline in Japanese Crude Imports
Japan imported 3.76 mbpd of crude oil in February, a 14.5% decrease year on year, and down 8% from January, Energy Intel reports. Imports from the Middle East declined by 15.9% from a year earlier, with volumes arriving at an average rate of 3.3 Mbpd. Supplies from Saudi Arabia and the UAE dived by 23.8% and 21.4% to 962 kbpd and 721 kbpd respectively, overshadowing significant year on year increases from Iraq (up 197.3% to 217 kbpd) and Oman (up 104.3% to 190 kbpd). Asia-Pacific supplies averaged 178 kbpd, a hefty 30% drop, whilst African shipments fell 19.2% to 24.2 kbpd. Russia somewhat bucked the trend, with its exports to Japan increasing by 37.6% to an average of 256 kbpd.
Russian Crude Shipments Set to Rise in April
Despite the introduction of higher duties this month, Russian crude shipments by sea are due to increase by 8% compared to March's initial loading schedule, and will average 2.98 Mbpd, Energy Intel reports. However, March's actual seaborne exports were significantly higher than initially scheduled, meaning that this month's planned loadings point towards a more modest 2% month on month increase. The main increases in loadings will take place at Gdansk, where exports will average 145 kbpd having been non-existent in March, and Yuzhny, where shipments will increase by 119 kbpd to an average of 176 kbpd. With only minor month on month decreases, Novorossiysk is expected to load 793 kbpd, whilst Primorsk is set to ship 1.4 Mbpd. Exports are set to continue to rise at Kozmino this month, with 318 kbpd scheduled for loading, a 23 kbpd increase from March.
US weekly grain exports
According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), US wheat exports rose by 0.24 Mt week-on-week to 0.69 Mt, the highest weekly export volume since October 2008. US soyabean weekly exports rose above 1.0 Mt, ending four weeks of declines. Meanwhile, US corn weekly exports have increased for the third consecutive week to 1.2 Mt, the highest level since mid-Feb.
US Weekly Data: Refinery Utilisation Up, Crude Stocks Rise Again
According to data from the latest summary of weekly petroleum data from the US Department of Energy, crude inputs at the country's refineries increased by 192 kbpd from the week before to leave throughputs averaging 14.23 Mbpd. Refineries were operating at 82.6% of total capacity, the highest level since October last year. Crude oil inventories totalled 354.2 Mbbl last week, a build of 2.9 Mbbl from a week earlier, despite imports dropping by 337 kbpd to an average of 9.1 Mbpd. Stocks of mogas increased by 300 kbpd to a total of 224.9 kbpd, whilst imports rose by 87 kbpd to an average of 710 kbpd. Distillate imports rose to 321 kbpd, a jump of 153 kbpd from the week before , whilst stocks decline 1.1 Mbbl to 144.6 Mbbl.
Japanese industrial output falls in February
According to government data, Japan's industrial production fell by 0.9% month-on-month in February, following strong growth in January, representing a decline for the first time over the past year. However, compared with a year ago, February industrial output was up by 31.3%.
First ESPO Blend Term Buyers Emerge, Exports Set to Rise in 2Q10
In deals representing the first term contracts for ESPO Blend, Trafigura and Mitsubishi have both signed contracts with TNK-BP that will see them each take one cargo per month for a period of six months, reports Argus. Trafigura will take its first cargo from Kozmino on 18-19 April, with Mitusbishi due to load their cargo on 27-28 April. The deals come on the back of the news that total exports from the port of Kozmino are scheduled to average 318 kbpd (3.95 Mt) in 2q10, a 25.9% increase from the first quarter. Chevron and Talmay are the latest buyers in the ESPO Blend spot market.
Iron ore contract prices
BHP Billiton today announced that it had reached agreement with a significant number of customers throughout Asia to move existing iron ore contracts that were previously priced annually onto a short term landed price equivalent basis.
According to several news agencies, the top two iron ore miners have agreed quarterly prices with Japanese steel companies that would raise FOB prices by 90% to $100-110/t in the 2q10.
North American Long-Haul Imports Up In March
March has seen westbound Middle East crude liftings reach their highest levels in more than a year, Argus reports. This, coupled with an increase in west African exports to the US, has resulted in north American long-haul imports averaging 5.5 Mbpd, a 200 kbpd increase from January's volumes, with an extra 500 kbpd expected to arrive during April. Nevertheless, recent stock builds and continuing low refinery activity in the US suggests that much of these imports have ended up in inventories. Meanwhile, a heavy turnaround season for Asia-Pacific refiners has contributed to an estimated 250 kbpd decline in eastbound crude flows from the Middle East this month.
Indian iron ore price
Indian iron ore FOB prices for 63.5% Fe content have risen $5/t week-on-week to $130/t. This takes the delivered price into China to a 19-month high of $155/t at the end of last week, standing above $100/t over the past five concesutive months, according to data from U-Metal.
South Korean Crude Imports Down in February
February saw South Korea import an average of 2.34 Mbpd of crude oil, a 12.3% decline from the same month last year, reports Energy Intelligence. Saudi Arabia remains the country's primary source of crude, however February's average imports from this source of 819 kbpd represent a 4.1% fall year on year. Imports from Kuwait, the republic's second largest source of oil, were down 18.8% to 307 kbpd, whilst total Middle East imports fell 11.2% to an average of 1.95 Mbpd. Imports of Russian crude averaged 155 kbpd, a 40.9% rise from the year before.
Steep Increase in Volumes of Angolan and Iraqi Crude Heading to China
Last month saw Chinese crude imports increase 58% year on year to an average of 4.85 Mbpd. Imports from Saudi Arabia, its primary source, averaged 948 kbpd, a 13.5% increase from a year earlier. Angolan exports to the country jumped by 103% to 672 kbpd, ensuring that the west African nation is China's second largest provider of oil. With its output increasing, Iraq has been able to provide 249 kbpd, a 255.7% increase from a year earlier. The only major exporter to see declines in the volumes of crude it ships to the Asian giant was Iran, which provided 379 kbpd, a 24.4% decrease from February 2009.
Chinese wire rod prices continue to rise
The price of Chinese wire rod has risen for the third consecutive week, up by $25/t week-on-week to $608/t at the end of this week, standing above $600/t for the first time since August 2009. This is still below $629/t the 2009 high set in early August.
IGC grain report
The latest International Grains Council grain trade forecast for 2009/2010 (July-June) of 230.8 Mt compares with an estimate of 248.3 Mt for the previous crop year.
The total forecast export volume from the five major exporting countries has fallen to 153.3 Mt for this marketing year from 169.5 Mt a year earlier, down by 2.5 Mt from the previous forecast last month. Annual declines in exports are forecast from Argentina (-7.9 Mt to 14.5 Mt), Canada (-0.5 Mt to 21.7 Mt) and the EU (-8.6 Mt to 21.5 Mt). IGC has revised its forecast for the USA (+0.6 Mt to 77 Mt) and Australia (+0.2 Mt to 18.6 Mt).
Year-on-year declines in exports volumes for major grain exporters from the Black Sea are projected for Ukraine (-4.2 Mt to 20.6 Mt) and Russia (-1.6 Mt to 21.5 Mt).
Unit Shutdowns Slow Indian Refinery Output Growth in February
Indian refinery inputs averaged 3.39 Mbpd in February, with output growing 0.8% year on year in, the slowest rate of growth since July, Reuters reports. The slowing of production has been attributed to a number of maintenance shutdowns at state-run refineries which, last month, processed 2.5% less crude year on year. Having significantly increased capacity over the last year, Reliance increased out put by 9%, whilst Essar saw output rise by 9.8% compared to a year earlier.
Chinas iron ore imports by source
According to data from U-Metal, Chinas iron ore imports from Australia grew by 3% month-on-month and a similar annual increase to 20.56 Mt in February. In contrast, imports from India marked both monthly and yearly declines to a 3-month low of 9.88 Mt in the same month. Imports from Brazil were down by 16% year-on-year to 8.97 Mt in February.
World steel prices back to October 2008 levels
The world export price for hot rolled band has risen for the fourth straight month, up by 7% month-on-month to $635/t, according to World Steel Dynamics SteelBenchmarker. This represents the highest level since October 2008. The biggest monthly increase was seen in China, with prices up by 11% to $526/t. That was followed by the EU (+10% to $661/t) and the USA (+9% to $730/t).
US Weekly Data: Big Jump in Crude Stocks, Product Inventories Down
The latest summary of weekly petroleum data from the US Energy Information Administration shows crude oil inventories at the end of last week of 351.3 Mbbl, a build of 7.3 Mbbl from the week before. Average crude imports increased from 8.43 Mbpd to 9.40 Mbpd over the same period. Mogas inventories fell by 2.7 Mbbl to 224.6 Mbbl, whilst distillate stocks totalled 145.7 Mbbl, a fall of 2.4 Mbbl. Imports of the two products were hardly changed at 623 kbpd and 168 kbpd respectively. Inputs at the country's refineries increased by 102 kbpd to an average of 14.04 Mbpd, with 81.1% of total capacity utilised.
Russian Product Exports Fall in February
Russian product exports totalled 7.9 Mn t in February, a decline of 3.7% on an average daily basis from the month before, Argus reports. Gasoline exports totalled just 329 kt, a 45.5% fall from January's volumes, whilst naphtha shipments were down 23.4% to 738 kt. Gasoil exports saw a less dramatic 1.7% decrease and totalled 1.9 Mn t, and fuel oil loadings totalled 3.85 Mn t, a 1.1% increase from January.
Indias iron ore spot price
Indian iron ore FOB prices for 63.5% Fe content have risen by $7/t week-on-week to the year-to-date high of $125/t. This takes the delivered price into China to $150/t, representing the highest level
since end-August 2008, according to data from U-Metal.