China's Iron Ore Imports
China imported 51.1 Mt of iron ore in November, preliminary customs data indicate. Year-to-date shipments now total 566.1 Mt, up 38% year-on-year. Although November's import total represents a slowing from the 2q-3q monthly average pace of 56.3 Mt, this has not resulted in a reduction in seaborne iron ore trade. Exported volumes from Australia and Brazil have remained high, with a greater share of these exports being shipped to alternative destinations, such as Japan and Europe.
IEA Revises Up Demand Forecast For 2010
In its latest report, the IEA left its forecast for global oil demand relatively unchanged for 2009 at 84.9 mb/d but has revised the forecast for 2010 up by 130 kb/d to 86.3 mb/d (-1.4 mb/d and +1.5 mb/d respectively). Global supply rose by 200 kb/d in November, as OPEC output increased by 135 kb/d to 29.1 mb/d, its highest level in a year. The call on OPEC for 2010 has been raised by 0.5 mb/d to 29 mb/d, compared with 28.7 mb/d in 2009.
China's Crude Imports Fall In November
China's crude imports fell 8.5% month-on-month in November to 4.19 mb/d, but remained 28.1% higher on the year, according to the latest data from China Customs. Year to date volumes now stand 11% higher than the previous year at an average 4 mb/d. Product imports were up 3.2% on the month at 582 kb/d, taking levels 23.3% higher on the year. Jan-Nov figures are now 3.8% lower than last year at an average 741 kb/d.
One Hundred Capesize Newbuildings Delivered in 2009
Some 101 Capesize newbuildings, equating to 19.1 Mdwt were delivered in the first eleven months of this year, data from SSY show. Taking the arrival of 31 converted tankers and 15 scrapped vessels into account, net fleet growth in the Capesize sector for the year is currently 23.7 Mdwt or 16%.
Over the same period the Panamax fleet has seen net expansion of 3.9 Mdwt (or 3%); the Handymax fleet has grown by 8.0 Mdwt (10%); while the Handysize fleet has experienced a net contraction of 1.3 Mdwt (-2%).
Japanese Monthly Crude Imports Up, but Still Well Down Year on Year
Latest data reveals that Japanese crude imports for the month of October were up 10% to an average of 3.6 mbpd from September's figure of 3.28 mbpd. Nevertheless, October's figures still represent a significant decrease (6.1%) from average imports for the same period last year of 3.84 mbpd. Despite an increase in monthly crude imports, refineries continue to run at relatively low levels, with the latest projections indicating January runs of about 3.9 mbpd. Furthermore, refiners are taking the decision to mothball a number of distillation units. Naphtha imports for October were up by 31.2 kbpd m-o-m to an average of 497.4 kbpd, whilst the amount of gasoline coming in to the country fell by 4 kbpd m-o-m to 14.8 kbpd.
Australian Iron Ore Exports
Exports of Australian iron ore reached 32.6 Mt in October, up marginally from the previous month and just short of August's monthly record of 33.2 Mt, trade data show. As a result January-October exports total 298.3 Mt, up 12% year-on-year.
As expected, China accounted for the majority of October's shipments from Australia, but significantly exports to Japan are the highest since July 2007 at 7.4 Mt (marking a dramatic rebound from the recent low of 2.1 Mt in April this year).
US Weekly Data: Crude Stocks & Imports Down; Refinery Activity, Gasoline & Distillate Stocks Up
According to the latest data from the US Department of Energy, crude oil imports for the week ending 4 December rose by 264 kbpd week on week to reach an average of 8.14 mbpd. Crude stocks decreased from 339.9 mbbl to 336.1 mbbl in the same period, a drop of 1.1%. The week saw a slight pick up in refinery activity, with runs averaging 13.9 mbpd, an increase of 77 kbpd from last week. Refineries were operating at 81.1% of capacity, up 0.4% from the week before. Gasoline inventories rose by 2.2 mbbl to reach 216.3 mbbl, but imports dropped sharply from 1.1 mbpd to 750 mbpd. Distillate fuel stocks totalled 167.3 mbbl, an increase of 1.6 mbbl.
Richards Bay Exports Running At 2008 Pace
Coal exports from Richards Bay were 5.64 Mt in November, down 1.1 Mt on the previous month, according to port data. This takes the total for the first eleven months of 2009 to 55.6 Mt, marginally lower than exports during the same period in 2008. Last year throughput at the South African port totalled 61.8 Mt, well short of the recent annual high of 69.2 Mt recorded in 2005.
CPC Blend May Head Elsewhere as Tengiz Corners Mediterranean Market
Tengiz crude has seen increased loadings at Black Sea ports after a rise in demand from the Mediterranean market, leading to speculation that this may displace CPC blend, of which it is the main component, begins to head transatlantic or to Asia-Pacific, Argus reports. Tenzigchevroil (TCO) has begun to achieve its aim of loading around 120 kbpd from Black Sea ports after emerging from a period of production-hampering maintenance that had previously deterred buyers. In the first 10 months of 2009, TCO exported an average of just 85 kbpd from the region's ports. However, Mediterranean demand for the grade has risen since October, when production problems ended, and has allowed TCO to load six 80 kt cargoes a month during this period.
Port Congestion Absorbs More Than 130 Capesizes
The number of Capesizes waiting to berth at coal and iron ore load ports in Australia in addition to iron ore ports in Brazil and China has risen this week to 134, the highest since late July, according to information from local sources. There are an estimated 48 Capesizes waiting to discharge at Chinese iron ore ports and 32 Capes waiting to load at Brazil's iron ore terminals..
Opec Production on the Rise as Luanda Meet Approaches
As Opec members prepare to meet in the Angolan capital, Luanda, on 22 December, latest data reveals that production by the organisation's members, excluding Iraq, rose in November, Argus reports. Opec 11 production totalled 26.69 mbpd last month, up 200 kbpd from October's revised figure. Most of the rise comes from Saudi Arabia (8.25 mbpd, up from 8.2 mbpd), optimistic about the future global economy and resulting demand for oil, and Nigeria (2.08 mbpd from 1.95 mbpd), able to increase production after a cease-fire between the government and Mend rebels. Opec 11 compliance to the September 2008 production target stood at 56% for November.
Russian Refinery Runs Down
Maintenance and a difficulty in securing tank cars to deliver crude to the country's far eastern refineries as a result of congestion at the region's ports led to a cut in Russian refinery runs for October. Inputs totalled 18.9 mt, an average of 4.4 mbpd, a 5.3% drop month on month. Refineries at Komsomolsk (Rosneft), Kirishi (Surgutneftegaz), and Saratov (TNK-BP) all saw significant or total reductions in runs.
December Decline in North Sea Loadings
Schedules for December point towards a slight overall decline in North Sea crude oil production, reports Energy Intelligence. This month, volumes are set to fall 23 kbpd to an of average 2.058 mbpd from 2.081 mbpd in November. Norway's loss of 57 kbpd is the main reason behind the overall decline, but is offset to a large extent by a 33 kbpd gain for the UK. In the prompt spot market, the schedule for BFOE (Brent, Forties, Oseberg & Ekofisk) indicates total loadings for the month of 41.24 mbbl, a 1.67 mbbl increase. This equals 68.7 standard 600,000 bbl cargoes for December, as opposed to last month's 66.1.
JAPANS IRON ORE IMPORTS
Japanese iron ore imports reached the highest level for twelve months in October, according to government data cited by the Tex Report. October imports were 11.2 Mt, marking the seventh consecutive month-on-month increase since the 2009-low of 5.9 Mt in March. Year-to-date imports are now 83.5 Mt compared with 118.6 Mt over the same period last year.
US Soya Export Season
Latest data from the US Department of Agriculture show that at one point in November weekly shipments of soyabeans were running more than double the normal pace. In the week beginning 19 November some 2.43 Mt of soyabeans were shipped from US ports compared with a weekly average from the last five years of around 1.0 Mt. Despite the surge, the USDA forecasts soyabean exports of 36.1 Mt in 2009/10 (September-August), just 1.1 Mt higher than the 2008/09 estimate.
December Loading Schedule Heralds Rise in Russian Crude Exports
December will see a rise in exports by sea of Russian crude according to the loading schedule for the month, Energy Intelligence reports. Scheduled exports for December total 2.77 mbpd, up 86 kbpd from November's 2.69 mbpd programme. The overall rise can be attributed to larger volumes due to ship from Baltic Sea ports. Primorsk will see exports rise by 48 kbpd to 1.49 mbpd -- a return to normal levels after a significant drop in November. Gdansk will see the largest month-on-month increase, handling 113 kbpd in December, up 59 kbpd from November's average of 54 kbpd. Conversely, Black Sea ports are set to witness a decrease in shipments for the month, with Novorossiysk scheduled to load 879 kbpd, 60 kbpd less than November, Tuapse 79 kbpd, down 2 kbpd, and Yuzhny 189 kbpd, down 13 kbpd. December will also see the first shipments from the newly built port of Kozmino, the terminus of the ESPO pipeline. Finnish trading company, IPP, are set to load 100 kt from the port on December 27-29.
Port Congestion Eases
The number of Capesizes waiting to berth at iron ore ports in Australia, Brazil and China as well as Australia's coal ports decreased from 128 in mid-November (close to the Capesize market peak) to 111 this week, according to local sources. Some 42 Capesizes are currently queueing off China's iron ore discharge terminals, compared with 46 in mid-November.
Iraqi Northern Pipeline Resumes Full Crude Exports
After an insurgent attack halted the flow of crude oil through Iraq's northern pipeline to Turkey last week, today saw full exports through the line resume, Reuters reports. The line, which runs from Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan and typically transports a quarter of all Iraqi oil exports at an average of 500 kbpd, was running on Monday at a volume of about 640 kbpd, according to sources at Iraq's state-run North Oil Company. The line had resumed limited pumping on Friday, after having ceased operation completely on November 24, but was shut for a further 24 hours early on Sunday due to a technical fault. Sources at Ceyhan reported that one ship was loading at the pipeline's terminus, whilst three others were waiting.
VLCC Hijacked Off Somalia
, Somali pirates have hijacked the Greek-owned VLCC, Maran Centaurus. The vessel, capable of carrying 2mbbl of oil, was seized in the Somali Basin, around 600 nautical miles north-east of the Seychelles. The capture represents the second time a tanker of this size has been taken by Somali pirates, following the hijacking of the Sirius Star and its 2 mbbl of oil in November 2008. According to press reports at the time, her release in February of this year came after a ransom payment of USD3.5m.
Fresh Infrastructure to Boost Iraqi Crude Export Capacity
Four new floating oil terminals and three new undersea oil pipelines will send Iraqi export capacity rocketing from today's 1.9 mbpd to 8 mbpd in the second half of 2011, Reuters reports. The plans follow the country's recent deals with a number of oil majors that it hopes will send it to third on the global oil production list, from its current position of eleventh. BP and CNPC recently finalised a deal to develop the super-giant Rumaila field, whilst consortia led by ExxonMobil and Eni have reached initial agreements to develop the West Qurna Phase One and Zubair fields respectively. December 11-12 will see a second round of tenders for contracts in 10 further largely undeveloped Iraqi oilfields. The country's current oil infrastructure has suffered the effects of years of conflict and sanctions and would be unable to cope with the increase in pumping rate scheduled for the coming years.
World Wheat Trade
The International Grains Council predicts that global wheat trade will total 117.7 Mt in the 2009/10 trade year (July-June). Although this forecast has been revised up by 2.1 Mt from last month, it falls well short of the 2008/09 trade estimate of 135.7 Mt. The IGC anticipates that shipments from Argentina will be sharply reduced, forecasting exports of 2.4 Mt in the current trade year compared with 8.5 Mt in 2008/09.
Shanghai Composite Index Down 3%
The Shanghai Composite Index fell more than 3% today, closing at 3,170.98 points. This follows a volatile two days of trading this week, which saw the index lose 3.5% on Tuesday before regaining 2% on Wednesday. According to Reuters, some market commentators have attributed today's fall to investors' concerns that China's government may introduce steps to tackle rising asset prices.
South Korean Crude Imports Rise Year-on-Year
October saw South Korean imports of crude oil rise to an average of 2.43 mbpd, an increase of 6.4% (145 kbpd) y-o-y, reports Energy Intel. Imports from Saudi Arabia, the country's primary source of crude, rose from 687 kbpd in October 2008 to 796 kbpd for the same period this year, a 15.9% increase. This particular rise can be put down to an increase in purchasing by S-Oil, which is part-owned by Saudia Aramco and GS Caltex. Deliveries from the UAE dropped 12.1% from 428 kbpd to 376 kbpd. Mideast imports were up 7.8% to 2.12 mbpd in total, whilst Asian imports declined by 8.7% to 216.8 kbpd.
US Crude and Gasoline Stocks Rise
US crude stocks rose 1 mbbl last week to 337.8 mbbl, 5.3% higher y-o-y, following a 371 kb/d rise in imports to 8.95 mb/d, according to the latest data from the US Department of Energy. Gasoline stocks were also up 1 mbbl at 210.1 mbbl, with a 344 kb/d increase in imports to 928 kb/d exceeding a 77 kb/d rise in demand. Distillate inventories were down 0.5 mbbl at 166.9 mbbl, but remained 32% higher on the year, as imports rose 82 kb/d to 234 kb/d and demand rose 59 kb/d. Refinery utilisation was up 0.9% at 80.3% resulting in a 177 kb/d increase in crude inputs.
Chinese Steel Prices
The price of Chinese hot-rolled band has maintained its recent rise, according to figures released in World Steel Dynamics' SteelBenchmarker today. The HRB price in China now stands at $453/t compared with $407/t recorded six weeks ago. Despite the latest upward push, the HRB price is still below the year-to-date high of $508/t.