Bulk Shipping Watch Newsletter – January 2024

January 2024

Iron Ore & Steel

Brazilian mining firm Vale buoyant on China’s economy

Source: China Daily

Brazilian mining company Vale expressed optimism about the growth prospects of the Chinese economy and asserted its strategic position to contribute to China’s high-quality development. FULL STORY

Firm iron ore restocking demand, macro factors support China’s portside prices

Source: Hellenic shipping news

Despite a large discharge volume, sufficient supply, and ample stocks at Chinese ports, portside prices were supported in the week ended Jan. 26 by firm restocking demand from steel mills, along with macroeconomic factors, ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays, market sources said. FULL STORY

Iron ore rally built on more than just China optimism

Source: Hellenic shipping news

Iron ore is having a strong start to the year, with rising prices and robust imports by China, sparked by optimism the world’s largest buyer of the steel raw material is adding enough stimulus to boost demand. FULL STORY

Source: Mining Weekly

Chinese construction companies will invest up to $7 billion in infrastructure projects as part of an agreement over their Sicomines copper and cobalt joint venture in the Democratic Republic of Congo, they said on Saturday. 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

Belt and Road Initiative: Steel demand from key countries echoes surge in Chinese exports

Source: SP Global

China’s export has been a pivotal force to its steel industry, particularly in the wake of reduced domestic demand due to a sluggish property market. China’s January-November 2023 net steel exports saw a 35.6% increase year-on-year, reaching 85.66 million mt, according to China’s General Administration of Customs. FULL STORY

Copper claws higher on hopes for more Chinese support measures

Source: Market Screener

Copper prices rose on Tuesday, lifted by hopes that top metals consumer China would roll out more measures to stabilise its economy and stock markets, but weak demand curbed gains. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 0.9% at $8,633 a metric ton by 1715 GMT after modest gains on Monday. FULL STORY

China’s 2023 steel exports seen at 7-year high -industry body

Source: Market Screener

China’s 2023 steel exports are forecast to have hit a seven-year high of more than 90 million metric tons, the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) said in a report on Wednesday. FULL STORY

BHP announces decarbonization project with China Baowu

Source: China Daily

Global mining giant BHP announced on Friday that it has kicked off a commercial-scale direct reduced iron production project with China Baowu Steel Group Corporation to support steelmaking decarbonization development in China. FULL STORY


China’s Inner Mongolia coal output hit 1.21b tons in 2023

Source: China Daily

North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region churned out 1.21 billion tons of coal in 2023 as it strives to guarantee the country’s energy supply. According to the region’s energy department, the coal output in China’s major energy base accounted for over one-fourth of the country’s total coal production last year. FULL STORY

China’s coal output up 1.9% in December

Source: China Daily

China’s raw coal output climbed 1.9 percent year-on-year to 410 million tons in December 2023, official data showed. The growth pace was 2.7 percentage points lower compared with November, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. FULL STORY

Coal-rich Chinese province has over 100 intelligent coal mines

Source: China Daily

Shanxi, a major coal-producing province in North China, has so far developed 118 intelligent coal mines, the provincial energy bureau said Tuesday. In 2023, Shanxi started intelligent transformation projects focusing on existing coal mines with an annual production capacity of more than 1.8 million tonnes, while also building some new mines, resulting in the development of a total of 81 intelligent coal mines in the province last year. FULL STORY

China’s coke market post-holiday outlook bearish; coking coal auction failures rise

Source: SX Coal

Market participants were generally pessimistic about the post-holiday coke market in China, even though coke price are predicated to sustain steadiness before the Chinese New Year. FULL STORY

Chinese demand for Indonesian thermal coal may struggle to rebound ahead of holiday

Source: SX Coal

China’s appetite for purchasing Indonesian thermal coal continued to be subdued, showing no signs of improvement merely 10 days before the onset of the Chinese New Year. FULL STORY

China sees all time high import of coal

Source: China Daily

China achieved a record-breaking coal import volume of 474.416 million metric tons in 2023, marking a substantial year-on-year increase of 61.8 percent, according to the General Administration of Customs on Friday. FULL STORY

China’s coking coal imports up 60.6 percent in 2023

Source: Steel Orbis

China ’s coking coal imports amounted to 100 million mt, increasing by 60.6 percent year on year, as announced by the Chinese customs authorities. FULL STORY


China’s soybean output hits record high in 2023

Source: China Org

China has registered a record-high soybean output of 20.84 million tonnes in 2023, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on Tuesday. The country’s soybean planting area reached 157 million mu (about 10.47 million hectares) last year, while that of oilseed crops exceeded 200 million mu, said Deng Xiaogang, vice minister of agricultural and rural affairs, at a press conference. FULL STORY

China sees progress on plantation of soybeans, oil crops

Source: China Daily

China made notable progress in expanding the amount of arable land used to grow soybean and other oil crops such as rapeseed last year, an official said Tuesday as the world’s leading food importer works to curb its reliance on grain imports due to growing uncertainties over the global food supply system. FULL STORY

Demand from China drives US’ soybean trade

Source: China Daily

China is likely to import 30 million metric tons of soybeans from the United States in the latter’s 2024 marketing year (Sept 1, 2023 to Aug 31, 2024), matching the amount imported in the previous marketing year, the US Soybean Export Council predicted on Tuesday. FULL STORY

Revamped animal feed formulas to reduce reliance on imports

Source: China Daily

Authorities are working to revamp animal feed formulas with an aim to curb the use of soybean meal, a byproduct of soybean oil extraction. The move is part of a broader effort by China to wean itself off imported soybeans. FULL STORY

China 2023 soybean imports from Brazil rise 29%, US share shrinks

Source: Market Screener

China’s soybean imports from Brazil in 2023 jumped 29% from the prior year, customs data showed on Saturday, expanding the South American grower’s dominance in the world’s largest soybean market and eating into the U.S. market share. FULL STORY

China 2023 soybean imports surge 11% y/y, up for first time in three years

Source: Hellenic shipping news

China’s soybean imports in December missed expectations with a decline of 6.9%from a year ago, customs data showed on Friday, but total 2023 imports jumped for the first time in three years. FULL STORY

China has agreed on the terms of import of Ukrainian peas

Source: Ukr Agro Consult

Ukraine may soon start exporting peas to China. Last week, the Chinese side signed a phytosanitary protocol, and it is already being processed by the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection. FULL STORY

Economic Uncertainty in China Slows Demand for U.S. Corn and Soybeans

Source: Ukr Agro Consult

Signs of economic slowdown have been mounting in China for months, and some experts say the country is teetering on a recession. On Monday, news broke of the insolvency of property giant China Evergrande Group, the world’s most indebted real estate developer, with more than $300 billion of total liabilities. FULL STORY


Palm oil rebounds on severe rain concerns, Chinese demand

Source: Nasdaq

Malaysian palm oil futures rose on Tuesday, driven by concerns about severe rains disrupting production the world’s top two producers, along with strong demand from China, although weakness in rival oils capped gains. FULL STORY

China discovers new oilfield with over 100m tones of reserves

Source: China Daily

Sanmenxia city, located in Central China’s Henan province, recently discovered a new oilfield with crude oil reserves totaling 107 million metric tons, marking a key milestone in the region’s 50-year-long petroleum investigation. FULL STORY

CNOOC commits to increasing reserves and production in 2024

Source: China Daily

Chinese oil and gas producer CNOOC Ltd vows to continue increasing reserves and production in 2024, as global oil and gas demands steadily grow, the company said on Thursday. The company’s net production target for 2024 is 700 million to 720 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE), of which production from China and overseas accounts for approximately 69 percent and 31 percent respectively, it said. FULL STORY

Sinopec signs agreement with BP to enhance cooperation

Source: China Daily

China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, also known as Sinopec, has reached an agreement with UK oil and gas giant BP to deepen their cooperation in the exploration of new energy transformation opportunities during the World Economic Forum in Davos, the company shared on Thursday. FULL STORY

LNG Shipping: China’s Imports Post Strong Increase During 2023

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

China’s imports of LNG rose by 11.4% during 2023, as Zero-Covid policies were reversed, allowing for more shipments. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Banchero Costa said that “global seaborne LNG trade has continued to increase last year, helped also by the events in Ukraine which forced Europe to diversify away from Russian pipeline gas, but slowed down somewhat compared to previous years. In the full 12 months of 2023, global shipments of LNG increased by +1.7% y-o-y to 409.9 mln t, based on Refinitiv vessel tracking data. This followed an even stronger +4.7% y-o-y increase in volumes during 2022, and a +7.3% y-o-y increase during 2021. In 2023, things started very strongly in the first quarter, but then slowed down somewhat over the spring and summer. The largest exporter of LNG is now the USA, which accounted for 21.7% of shipments in the full 12 months of 2023, followed by Australia with 19.7% and Qatar with 19.2%.” FULL STORY

Asia Distillates-China oil majors offer Feb sale tenders; premiums slip

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

Asia’s middle distillates markets recorded more spot sale tenders from major Chinese oil firms on Tuesday, while trading activity in the open markets on a physical and paper swap basis turned muted. FULL STORY

China pledges to set up annual greenhouse gas inventory

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

China said it plans to take an annual inventory of its greenhouse gas emissions as it tries to boost its carbon trading capability and ensure it meets its climate targets. FULL STORY

China Defies Sanctions to Make Russia its Biggest Oil Supplier in 2023

Source: Energy Now

Russia leapfrogged Saudi Arabia to become China’s top crude oil supplier in 2023, data showed on Saturday, as the world’s biggest crude importer defied Western sanctions to purchase vast quantities of discounted oil for its processing plants. 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. Shanghai Port is China’s first and the world’s third port able to provide ship-to-ship bonded LNG bunkering with simultaneous operations. FULL STORY