Bulk Shipping Watch Newsletter – February 2024

February 2024

Iron Ore & Steel

Dalian iron ore extends rise on renewed hopes of improving demand

Source: Business Recorder

Dalian iron ore futures prices extended gains into a second consecutive session on Wednesday, helped by renewed hopes of demand recovery in top buyer China following an improving steel market, although persistent worries about its embattled property market capped gains. FULL STORY

Indian Steel Mills Seek Iron Ore Export Ban as China Sales Jump

Source: Bloomberg

Smaller steelmakers in India are pressing for a ban on exports of iron ore, after a surge in sales to Chinese mills pushed up local prices. FULL STORY

China’s iron ore demand to see near-term support from construction activity


China’s iron ore demand will likely be supported in the near term by the reopening of construction sites following the Lunar New Year break, and the associated increase in consumption of steel, amid warmer weather in the spring, market sources told S&P Global Commodity Insights. FULL STORY

Source: Market Screener

The changing nature of China’s commodity demand is neatly encapsulated by the latest results of BHP Group, the world’s biggest mining company and a major supplier to the top global buyer of iron ore, coal and copper. FULL STORY

China’s metal demand takes a different shape

Source: Hellenic shipping news

The realization that China’s property bust is beginning to look semi-permanent isn’t welcome for big miners, which have long fed off the country’s housing demand. But although China is starting far fewer new apartment blocks these days, it is building lots more of other metal-intense things like electric vehicles and windmills. FULL STORY

Copper held down by China’s property woes and strong dollar

Source: Hellenic shipping news

Copper prices resumed their downward path on Wednesday, weighed down by a stronger dollar and more bad news from China’s property sector, a major user of industrial metals. FULL STORY

Copper sees modest gains after China cuts mortgage rates

Source: Market Screener

Copper prices advanced on Tuesday after China cut mortgage rates, but gains were capped as investors wait for more support for the economy of the world’s top metals consumer. FULL STORY

ArcelorMittal sees ex-China steel demand growing 3-4% in 2024, led by India

Source: SP Global

ArcelorMittal sees real demand for steel remaining lackluster in 2024, but apparent demand is showing signs of improvement as destocking reaches maturity, the steelmaker said Feb. 8. Despite persistent headwinds, world ex-China apparent steel demand in 2024 is expected to grow by 3%-4% year on year, led by India, ArcelorMittal CFO Genuino Christino said during a call with journalists following release of the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2023 earnings. FULL STORY

Dry Bulk Market: Are China’s Commodities Imports Sustainable?

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

There are a lot of questions currently surrounding the potential growth of the Chinese economy and what a slowdown would mean for the dry bulk industry. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Xclusiv Shipbrokers said that “China’s recent robust commodity imports raise questions about their sustainability in light of the upcoming holiday. FULL STORY


China’s Coal Boom Slows as Top Mining Hubs Focus on Renewable Energy

Source: Bloomberg

China’s coal boom is slowing as top mining regions limit growth and steer investment to the clean energy that will replace the dirtiest fossil fuel. Seven straight years of rising output, including a 10% surge in 2022 after nationwide power outages crippled industry, have produced a glut of coal. That’s kept prices low. But record production, which reached 4.7 billion tons in 2023, has incurred other costs, from increased fatalities among miners to poor financial performance at mining companies. FULL STORY

China’s coal-based power capacity approval seen putting climate goals at risk

Source: SP Global

China, the largest global consumer and producer of coal, approved a total of 106 GW worth of coal-based electricity generation capacity in 2023 — of which 70 GW started construction by the end of last year — a development likely conflicting with China’s clean climate goal, a report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air showed Feb. 22. FULL STORY

China may upend global coal emissions trends in 2024

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

Global emissions from coal-fired power typically dip to their lowest point of the year during March and April as use of the fuel for heating drops off after the northern hemisphere winter. FULL STORY

China’s coal imports to stay high in 2024 after record-breaking Q4 2023

Source: SP Global

China’s coal imports hit another record high in the fourth quarter of 2023, and 2024 imports are likely to stay elevated due to slowing domestic production and the price advantage of overseas coal. FULL STORY

China’s coking coal market runs steady; import market under pressure

Source: SX Coal

China’s coking coal prices remained temporarily stable amid overall tight supply, although some mines made slight downward revisions. Sxcoal’s daily survey data showed three mines reduced prices on March. FULL STORY

Monthly: China’s Feb coastal coal freight rates dip on limited support

Source: SX Coal

China’s coastal coal freight rates extended the downward trend in February despite at a slower pace, as coal demand was constrained by the weeklong holiday and milder weather. FULL STORY

China’s coke production capacity to extend growth this year

Source: Coal Mint

China’s coke production capacity experienced a moderate growth in 2023 and is expected to maintain the upward trend this year, as new additions are forecast to exceed closed capacity. FULL STORY

Resumption of Chinese buying boosts Indonesian thermal coal prices

Source: Coal Mint

Indonesian thermal coal prices have shown an upward trend in the past week. Low-CV (3400 GAR) coal prices were up by $0.33/t to $36.92/t, while high-CV (5800 GAR) coal prices rose by $0.89/t to $94.26/t. On the supply side in Indonesia, production and supply were disrupted by rains. Sumatra and Kalimantan are still experiencing rain, causing delays in production in some mines. Additionally, rain has induced congestion at port, leading to a narrowing of delays in Indonesian shipments. Moreover, the availability of spot cargoes remained limited as most miners have already sold out for the current month. FULL STORY


China’s agricultural ministry sets 2024 grain output at more than 650 million tons

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on Monday vowed to step up efforts to achieve a bumper grain harvest in 2024 and ensure grain output reach more than 1.3 trillion jin (650 million tons) in a bid to safeguard the country’s food security. FULL STORY

China and Brazil highly complementary in boosting agricultural productivity, competitiveness: business representative

Source: Global Times

China will play an important role in the key sectors such as logistics in helping Brazil to increase its agricultural productivity and competitiveness, Henry Osvald, president of the Brazilian Association for Industry, Commerce and Innovation in China (BraCham), told the Global Times, extending his expectations for deepening cooperation between the world’s two agricultural powers. FULL STORY

China and Japan were the biggest buyers of Brazilian corn in 2023

Source: Ukr Agro Consult

Brazilian corn exports totaled 54.6 mln tons in 2023, a new Brazilian record. The interpretation of the reasons for this result establishes the best consideration for 2024, mainly for the sources of information that send signals to growers that we will have a shortage of corn in Brazil this year. In addition to being far from a similar situation, we will need to be very concerned about Brazil’s capacity to dispose of surpluses from 2024, currently estimated at 45 mln tons for exports. The erroneous interpretation of the external environment leads domestic market agents to make projections that do not match with this year’s reality. FULL STORY

Expert explains why China increased imports of US wheat

Source: Ukr Agro Consult

China is becoming the world’s largest importer of wheat, taking the leadership in this component from Egypt. This was stated by Dan Bass, the President and owner of the Chicago-based analytical company AgResource, during the BLACK SEA GRAIN. EUROPE-2024, Latifundist.com reported. FULL STORY

China returns to buying Ukrainian corn

Source: Ukr Agro Consult

Chinese importers are believed to have purchased a substantial volume of animal feed corn from Ukraine in the past week, European traders said on Tuesday. FULL STORY

China will remain the leading importer of soybeans over the next 10 years – USDA

Source: Ukr Agro Consult

China will remain the world’s leading importer of soybeans in the next 10 years, and demand for the oilseed from the Celestial Empire will grow, according to analysts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). FULL STORY


China will drive LNG market expansion worldwide into 2040s

Source: China Daily

Driven by China’s industrial decarbonization, the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market will continue to grow into the 2040s, according to a recently released report. FULL STORY

Nation’s demand for oil products to peak before ’25

Source: China Daily

The domestic demand for petroleum products may peak before 2025, amid China’s green energy transition, according to a think tank.

Oil demand is expected to rise in 2024 amid the nation’s economic recovery, while natural gas has emerged as a pivotal energy source to support the domestic energy transition, an industry report released by the China National Petroleum Corp Economics and Technology Research Institute in Beijing on Wednesday showed. FULL STORY

China’s annual refining capacity ranks first globally in 2023

Source: China Daily

China’s annual oil refining capacity rose to 936 million tonnes in 2023, ranking first in the world, a report said. China’s oil consumption was about 756 million tonnes last year, and its crude oil processing was 738 million tonnes, both reaching record highs, according to the report issued from a research institute under the China National Petroleum Corporation. FULL STORY

Metamorphic rock oilfield in Bohai Sea sees cumulative proven reserves over 200m cubic meters

Source: China Daily

China’s largest offshore crude oil and natural gas producer announced Sunday that the cumulative proven oil and gas reserves of its Bozhong 26-6 oilfield has exceeded 200 million cubic meters, making it the largest metamorphic rock oilfield worldwide. FULL STORY

China’s refining capacity to cross 19 mil b/d in 2024, throughput up 2% on year: ETRI

Source: SP Global

China’s refining capacity would likely rise 2.7% year on year to 961 million mt/year in 2024, or 19.3 million b/d, exceeding the year-on-year growth in throughput that was estimated at 1.8%, according to a report by state-owned CNPC’s Economics & Technology Research Institute Feb. 28.  FULL STORY

Russia’s Sakhalin Energy offers 12 term LNG cargoes a year to Chinese buyers

Source: SP Global

Russia’s Sakhalin Energy is offering 12 LNG cargoes a year to Chinese buyers for a term period of three to five years starting August, industry sources said. The price of the tender, which closes March 5, is linked to Brent crude, according to sources. FULL STORY

China’s gasoline demand slows, weighing on independent refineries Feb throughput

Source: SP Global

China’s gasoline demand is slowing as the Lunar New Year travel rush fades, leading independent refineries in the eastern Shandong province to reduce their crude throughput from a three-month high in January with improving refining margins likely preventing further declines, refinery sources and analysts said Feb. 22. FULL STORY


Source: Natural Gas

Global liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand will grow in 2024 with top buyer China back in the market and consumption in Europe rising, a Total Energies TTEF.PA executive said on Wednesday. FULL STORY


Source: Natural Gas

Chinese state-owned CNOOC has received government approval to build a second berth at its LNG receiving terminal in Yancheng in eastern Jiangsu province, according to a statement from the Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange on Tuesday. FULL STORY

China’s import logistics log robust growth in 2023

Source: China Daily

China’s import logistics registered steady expansion in 2023, data from the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing showed. FULL STORY

China pilots harnessing LNG cold energy for aquatic cultivation

Source: China Daily

An aquaculture demonstration project that harnesses liquefied natural gas (LNG) cold energy has recently begun operation in South China’s Guangdong province. The project, being carried out by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), is located at the Dapeng LNG receiving terminal in Dapeng Bay off Shenzhen. FULL STORY

Shanghai Port’s bonded LNG bunkering registers 98.5% surge in 2023

Source: China Daily

Shanghai Port registered a bonded liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering of over 260,000 cubic meters in 2023, marking a 98.5 percent surge year-on-year. FULL STORY