Bulk Shipping Watch Newsletter – December 2023

December 2023

Iron Ore & Steel

China Baowu signs agreements to acquire Shandong Iron and Steel Group

Source: China Daily

China Baowu Steel Group Corporation on Thursday signed investment agreements with the Shandong provincial government on the takeover of the state-owned Shandong Iron and Steel Group Co Ltd. FULL STORY

Iron Ore Drops From 18-Month High on China Housing Pessimism

Source: Bloomberg

Iron ore fell from the strongest level since June 2022 as investment banks and securities brokerages expect the slump in China’s housing construction to persist into next year.

Ten major institutions including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and UBS Group AG see China on track to post three straight years of contractions in property construction, a record streak. Real estate accounts for close to 40% of the country’s steel needs. FULL STORY

Iron ore price falls after China policy meet disappoints on stimulus

Source: Bloomberg

Iron ore fell after a widely-watched government policy meeting in China finished without any major new stimulus pledges.

The steel-making staple lost as much as 2.9% in Singapore. The Communist Party’s annual economic work conference said industrial policy would be the top priority next year, disappointing investors who had been looking for more measures to support the country’s ailing economy. FULL STORY

Source: BusinessLine

China has emerged the highest buyer of iron ore from India with nearly 24.75 million tonnes (mt) being exported for April-November period (eight months), a 400 per cent year-on-year rise, sources across different Ministries told businessline. This is the highest export to China in absolute terms in over the last three years, and second highest since FY20. FULL STORY

China’s Stimulus, Industrial Recovery to Boost Global Mining Demand in 2024

Source: Hellenic shipping news

Continued stimulus in China and an industrial recovery in developed countries should support demand for base metals and steelmaking raw materials in 2024, Fitch Ratings says. Our neutral sector outlook also reflects governments’ spending programmes in China, Europe and the US to support the energy transition and infrastructure developments that require metals. FULL STORY

China 2023 steel output set to rise despite property woes

Source: Market Screener

China’s steel output is expected to rise for the first year in three in 2023 as a soft domestic property sector is compensated by strong vehicle manufacturing and rising exports.

China, which makes about 55% of the world’s steel, produced 874.7 million metric tons in the first 10 months of the year, up 1.4% from the same period in 2022, according to official data. FULL STORY

China projected to see improvement in steel demand

Source: China Daily

China’s steel demand in 2024 is expected to reach 875 million metric tons, a modest 1.7 percent year-on-year decrease. The decline narrowed compared with this year, indicating an anticipated improvement backed by a strong need from the shipping and energy sector, said the China Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institute. FULL STORY

China’s iron ore output up 7.1 percent in January-November

Source: Steel Orbis

In the January-November period this year, China ’s iron ore production amounted to 904.027 million mt, increasing by 7.1 percent year on year, according to China ’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). FULL STORY


Sinopec forecasts China’s coal consumption to peak around 2025

Source: Energy Now

China Petrochemical Corp, or Sinopec, expects coal consumption to peak around 2025 at 4.37 billion metric tons, the state energy group said in an outlook released on Thursday.

Non-fossil energy supply, led by solar and wind, will likely exceed the equivalence of 3 billion metric tons of standard coal by 2045 to become the dominant energy source for more than half of primary energy consumption, Sinopec said in the 2060 outlook, which was released in Beijing. FULL STORY

China November coal output hit record daily level

Source: SX Coal

China’s November coal output jumped 6.5% from the previous month to the highest level since March, official data showed on Friday, as colder weather led to increased demand for the fuel.

The world’s biggest coal producer mined 414 million metric tons last month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, which was also 4.6% higher than the year-earlier level. FULL STORY

China’s annual coal demand likely to peak at 4.5 billion mt

Source: Steel Orbis

According to the China Coal Industry Development Report for 2023 published by the China National Coal Association, China’s total coal consumption will likely indicate a slight increase in the coming period, while it is expected that China’s annual coal demand will likely peak at 4.5 billion mt, and it is expected to be around 4.0 billion mt in 2030. FULL STORY

China’s coke exports up 4.1 percent in January-November

Source: Steel Orbis

In the January-November period of the current year, China’s coke exports amounted to 8.06 million mt, decreasing by 4.1 percent year on year, as announced by the Chinese customs authorities. In the same period, China’s coal exports totaled 4.03 million mt, increasing by 9.6 percent year on year. FULL STORY

Coke prices in China stable, but some declines anticipated amid weaker coal prices

Source: Steel Orbis

During the week ending December 29, local coke prices in China have remained stable, while prices have been moving down slightly in the export market. However, market sources believe that local prices may retreat in the near future amid the declines seen in the coking coal market. FULL STORY

China Jan-Nov coke output up 3.3% YoY; crude steel up 1.5%

Source: SX Coal

China’s production of coke, crude steel, pig iron and finished steel products all extended year-on-year increases during the first eleven months of this year, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). FULL STORY


China’s 2023/24 sugar output to rise 9% y/y to 9.8 mln T – state planner

Source: Market Screener

China’s sugar output in the 2023/2024 season is estimated to rise 9% from the previous season to 9.8 million metric tons because of a rise in the planting of sugar cane, the state planner said on Wednesday. FULL STORY

China to push for higher grain yields to ensure food security

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

China, the world’s top buyer of soy and corn, will push for higher grain yields across large areas of farmland as it seeks to ensure food security for its huge population, state media reported on Wednesday, citing an annual rural policy meeting. FULL STORY

China corn breeders ready for doubling of GMO planting in 2024 -sources

Source: Market Screener

Chinese corn breeders are preparing for the planting of more than double the amount of genetically modified corn next year than in 2023, three industry sources said, with Beijing expected to tightly control for a second year the rollout of GMOs. FULL STORY

Brazil overtakes U.S. as China’s top corn supplier, extends soy lead

Source: Nasdaq

Brazil overtook the United States in November to become China’s biggest corn supplier this year while also shipping the most soybeans during a quarter traditionally dominated by U.S. imports, data showed on Wednesday. FULL STORY

China’s first-ever bonded trading of soybeans with spot delivery launched in Zhoushan

Source: China Daily

The first-ever nationwide bonded trading of soybeans with spot delivery was launched in Zhoushan on Dec 22.

As a new model for the imported soybean trade, bonded trading with spot delivery breaks through the traditional regulatory framework and holds significant milestone significance, said Xiong Bang, deputy director of the International Trade Department of Zhoushan Lianghai Grain and Oil Co, located in the Zhoushan Grain Industrial Park. FULL STORY

China’s demand for soybeans keeps dropping, thanks to government efforts to restructure animal feed

Source: Ukr Agro Consult

China’s agriculture ministry has projected that the country’s demand for soybeans as animal feed may drop by 9.1 million tons for the whole year of 2023 thanks to the country’s efforts to reduce and substitute the use of soybean meal in animal feed to shore up food safety. FULL STORY

China’s Nov corn imports hit record for a month, despite huge local crop

Source: Ukr Agro Consult

China logged record corn imports of 3.59 million metric tons in November, customs data showed on Monday, adding to a record domestic crop and further pressuring prices in the world’s no.2 grower. FULL STORY

Soybean processing volumes in China are still below last year’s volumes

Source: Ukr Agro Consult

According to China National Grain and Oil Information Centre, soybean processing in China in the period from December 9 to 15 slightly increased by 1% compared to the previous week, reaching 1.9 million tons. However, processing still remains 10% below a year earlier. FULL STORY


ENN inks long-term deal with UAE seller for LNG supply

Source: China Daily

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co’s long-term LNG (liquefied natural gas) deal with a subsidiary of China’s ENN Natural Gas Co Ltd will ensure a stable clean energy source for the nation, as LNG has become increasingly important in the country’s energy mix, analysts said. FULL STORY

Offshore oil, gas production in China to reach new heights

Source: China Daily

China’s offshore oil and gas production this year is expected to reach a new high, as China has been stepping up offshore oil and gas development over recent years, according to a think tank. Domestic offshore crude oil production in China is expected to reach 62.2 million metric tons in 2023, with an additional output of about 3.6 million tons, accounting for over 60 percent of the national increase in crude oil production, according to CNOOC Energy Economics Institute, a think tank under the China National Offshore Oil Corp. FULL STORY

China’s natural gas consumption up 7.3% in Jan-Nov

Source: China Daily

China’s natural gas consumption logged a steady rise in the first 11 months of 2023 amid efforts to achieve green development, data from the country’s top economic planner shows. FULL STORY

New semi-submersible shipping vessel begins operation in Guangzhou

Source: China Daily

The Xiang Tai Kou, a new semi-submersible vessel, joined the nation’s semi-submersible fleet on Thursday when it arrived ready for use in the Nansha district of Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

According to a statement released by Guangzhou Shipyard International Company, who built the vessel, the 65,000-metric ton semi-submersible is approximately 231.1 meters long and 46 meters wide, with a deck nearly as large as two standard soccer pitches. It is equipped with four 4,000 kW medium voltage generator sets, with a total power of almost 16 MW. The vessel’s mammoth size and power have earned it the nickname “Hercules forklift at sea”. FULL STORY

China’s petrochemical surge is driving global oil demand growth

Source: IEA

The global petrochemical industry – essential to the production of clothing, tyres, detergents, fertilisers, and countless other everyday products – is currently going through a momentous period of transition. Driving this change is a towering wave of new petrochemical plants, most notably in China. This is shifting oil demand to the country as it increases production of plastics and synthetic fibres, while generating increasingly cutthroat competition among those that previously dominated the market.  FULL STORY

Angola’s OPEC exit opens way for more Chinese investment

Source: Market Screener

Angola’s decision to leave the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries could open the way for Beijing to increase investment in the country’s oil and other sectors, as part of a deepening of decades-old ties. FULL STORY

China aims to keep domestic crude oil output stable at 4 million bpd

Source: Market Screener

China will promote stable domestic crude oil production at 200 million metric tons per year, equivalent to 4 million barrels per day (bpd), according to a report from CCTV citing National Energy Administration Director Zhang Jianhua on Friday. FULL STORY


Source: Natural Gas

Chinese LNG imports could hit record levels by year’s end as rapidly rising power demand and a lack of hydropower push gas-fired generation and city gas use higher. FULL STORY

China oil output growth to slow in 2024 as supply harder to extract

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

China’s surging oil production growth in recent years, the result of a concerted investment push, is expected to ease in 2024 as falling output from mature fields requires state oil companies to tap more challenging shale and ultra-deep reserves. FULL STORY

CNOOC starts building China’s largest commercial underground oil reserve, to cost 3 billion yuan

Source: Global Times

China’s largest commercial underground oil reserve project, backed by China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), has started construction in Ningbo, East China’s Zhejiang Province, according to media reports on Saturday. FULL STORY