Bulk Shipping Watch Newsletter – March 2024

March 2024

Iron Ore & Steel

Iron ore slides to over one-week low on lingering China demand concerns

Source: Hellenic shipping news

Iron ore futures prices extended losses on Wednesday to their lowest levels in more than one week, pressured by persistent concerns about demand in top consumer China amid a lack of significant policy measures to boost steel uptake. FULL STORY

China, decarbonisation present Australia’s iron ore miners with costly choices

Source: Mining

Australia’s vast iron ore mining sector is facing stark choices as its biggest customer China has likely hit a peak in its steel production and global pressures mount to decarbonize one the world’s most polluting industries. FULL STORY

Chinese miners eye overseas deals after battery metals slump

Source: Mining

Battery metal prices are on the floor, and massive expansions by Chinese miners have been instrumental in driving them lower. Now, with many Western rivals cutting output or shutting down entirely, they want to get even bigger. FULL STORY

Source: Mining

Iron ore futures tumbled in Singapore, extending a stretch of volatile trading amid deepening anxiety over Chinese demand. Base metals also fell. The steelmaking ingredient has swung between gains and losses as investors attempt to gauge what’s next after a 25% slump in prices so far this year. The absence of strong policy signals from Beijing has fueled uncertainty on whether construction activity will pick up. FULL STORY

China’s top miner says it ‘will be targeted’ amid US risks

Source: Mining

Zijin Mining Group Co., one of China’s most acquisitive metals groups and its biggest listed miner, warned that US-led efforts to tackle Beijing’s control of minerals could slow the company’s global expansion, warning that geopolitical tensions are “becoming increasingly grim”. FULL STORY

Pilbara Minerals, Ganfeng agree to study for lithium chemical plant

Source: Mining

Australia’s Pilbara Minerals has agreed to a study with Chinese customer Ganfeng Lithium on options to build a 32,000 metric-ton-per-year lithium conversion facility in a country yet to be decided, the companies said on Monday. FULL STORY

Column: Iron ore faces China fundamentals and sentiment hurdles

Source: Market Screener

The tables have turned on iron ore with prices coming under pressure from a combination of fundamental and sentiment factors in dominant importer China that are likely to persist over the short term. FULL STORY

China wins WTO dispute with Australia over steel products

Source: AP News

China has won a nearly three-year-long dispute with Australia at the World Trade Organization over tariffs on steel products that began during a low point of bilateral relations between the countries, and Australia’s trade minister said Wednesday his government accepted the ruling. FULL STORY

The Commodities Feed: Steel demand in China disappoints

Source: Hellenic shipping news

Metals – Chinese steel industry under pressure
Steel inventories at major Chinese steel mills rose 3% year-on-year to 19.5mt in mid-March and remained almost flat compared to levels seen in early March, according to data from the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA). Inventories are increasing as the pick-up in steel consumption from end-users is weaker than expected at this time of the year. Meanwhile, crude steel production at major mills fell marginally by 0.5% from mid-March and 9% YoY to 2.05mt/d in late March, as some steelmakers had begun maintenance stoppages on their blast furnaces in response to margin losses. The most active contract of iron ore trading at SGX fell for a second consecutive day this morning with prices falling below $103/t amid weak demand from the Chinese steel industry primarily due to the prolonged property sector crisis. FULL STORY

China’s 2024 refined copper output will grow by over 3%, Antaikesays

Source: AP News

China’s annual refined copper output will grow more than 3% this year despite a recent agreement among smelters to take measures to slow production, state-backed research house Antaike said on Friday. FULL STORY

China’s March steel output poised to fall on subdued demand, production cuts

Source: Hellenic shipping news

Crude steel output in China, the world’s dominant producer, is poised to slide in March from year-ago levels as mills delayed restarts or started maintenance after the February Lunar New Year holiday amid lacklustre demand, analysts said. FULL STORY


Coal production in China reach historic highs last year

Source: China Daily

Coal production and import volumes in China reached historic highs last year, driven by several factors, such as economic recovery and the rapid development of high-energy-consuming tech industries like computing power, said a trade body on Thursday. FULL STORY

China’s coal-rich Shanxi generates record wind power output

Source: China Daily

China’s major coal-producing province of Shanxi logged record wind power output of 19.28 million kilowatts at 7:21 pm on March 18, 2024, according to the State Grid Shanxi Electric Power Company. FULL STORY

China coal industry group says output at accident-hit mining hubs back to normal

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

Coal mining output at accident-hit mining districts of Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia in China’s north have returned to normal, a major coal industry group said. FULL STORY

Dry Bulk Coal Flows to China Saw an Increase in Australian Coal, As Opposed to Russian Coal

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

China reduced its intake of Russian coal during the first quarter of the year, while Australia saw a surge in its export volume compared to the previous year’s lows, particularly noticeable in the January to March period. FULL STORY

Russia’s coal exports to China fall in Jan, Feb as sanctions, tariffs weigh

Source: Zawya

Russia’s coal shipments to China fell by almost a quarter on the year in January and February as sanctions and trade-related duties weighed, customs data showed on Wednesday. FULL STORY

China coal industry group expects output growth to slow in 2024

Source: Mining

China’s coal output is expected to increase 36 million metric tons, or 0.8%, to about 4.7 billion tonnes in 2024, a Chinese coal industry group said on Wednesday, slower than last year’s 2.9% growth. FULL STORY

India urges design changes to import coal-based power plants to use local product

Source: SP Global

India’s power plants based on imported coal should carry out design modifications to their boilers and plants to accommodate the use of domestic material, said a report from the inter-ministerial committee formed by the federal coal ministry March 7, as the country seeks to reduce its reliance on imports. FULL STORY

Review: China’s thermal coal imports hit new high in Jan-Feb

Source: SX Coal

China’s thermal coal imports in January-February touched a new high for the period in history, starting the year on a positive note, driven by a surge from Australia. FULL STORY

Review: China’s Jan-Feb coking coal imports hit new highs; Mongolian coal takes 50%

Source: SX Coal

China’s coking coal imports maintained a robust momentum over January-February, refreshing the record high during the same period in history, customs data showed. FULL STORY


Chinese know-how can boost African oil crop yields, says lawmaker

Source: China Daily

Chinese technological knowhow can help double the productivity of sesame, peanut and other oil crops in Africa, turning the continent into a global supplier of raw materials for cooking oil, a lawmaker suggested. FULL STORY

Brazil’s intrusion on US soy exports to China somewhat mimics trade-war era

Source: Market Screener

Despite economic concerns, Chinese agricultural demand is expected to remain strong this year, particularly when it comes to imports of bulk commodities like soybeans, corn and other grains. FULL STORY

EU wheat exporters rely on Morocco, China as Russia expands trade

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

European Union wheat exporters face a slow end to the season, crowded out by record Russian exports that have left European wheat dependent on sales to Morocco and China, traders and analysts said. FULL STORY

Louis Dreyfus upbeat about China’s agri-food demand, CEO says

Source: Nasdaq

Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) remains positive about Chinese demand as a source of growth for agricultural markets, despite rebalancing in other parts of the Asian nation’s economy, the CEO of the global commodity merchant told Reuters on Thursday. FULL STORY

China diversifies corn supply due to growing demand

Source: Ukr Agro Consult

China has been diversifying its corn source since the onset of the Russia-Ukraine war. The latest addition to China’s list of approved suppliers is Argentina, as Brazil’s Safrinha corn planting is expected to face a potential reduction. FULL STORY

China soybean sowings to dip in 2024-25

Source: Ukr Agro Consult

Lower domestic prices, high carry-in stocks from the previous year and better margins for corn are expected to reduce soybean planted area in China for the 2024-25 marketing year, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture. FULL STORY

China 2024 grain imports seen near record high

Source: Ukr Agro Consult

Cereal and oilseed imports to China, the world’s biggest buyer of farm goods, will remain near record highs this year despite a recent spate of cancellations as lower global prices and a domestic output shortfall prompt purchases. FULL STORY

Australian trade downplays talk of 1Mt China wheat cancellations

Source: Grain Central

TALK that China has cancelled 1 million tonnes (Mt) of current-crop Australian wheat appears to have little basis in fact, according to grain industry sources Grain Central has surveyed. FULL STORY

In the first 2 months of 2024, China imported 1.21 mln tons of vegetable oils

Source: Ukr Agro Consult

According to the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC), the country imported 6.19 mln tons of corn in January-February this year, which is 16.1% higher than a year earlier. The amount spent on the purchase of the mentioned volume of the grain amounted to $1.765 bln. FULL STORY


CNOOC sets new records in both reserves and production in 2023

Source: China Daily

CNOOC Limited set new records in both reserves and production in 2023 despite the slowdown in global economic growth and the decline in international crude oil prices, the company said on Thursday. FULL STORY

Three oil giants set production records last year

Source: China Daily

China’s three State-owned oil giants set new production records last year despite a slowdown in global economic growth and lower international crude oil prices, as they stepped up oil and gas exploration to ensure domestic energy security. FULL STORY

Sinopec signs development for sustainable aviation fuel

Source: China Daily

China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, also known as Sinopec, announced on Tuesday that they have signed a Heads of Agreement (HoA) with TotalEnergies to jointly develop a sustainable aviation fuel production unit at Sinopec’s refinery in China. FULL STORY

Sinopec ensures 21b cu m of natural gas supply during winter

Source: China Daily

China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, or Sinopec, has ensured a supply of 21 billion cubic meters of natural gas during the 2023-2024 heating season, an 11.8 percent increase compared to the previous year. FULL STORY

Aramco mulls expansion on China demand

Source: China Daily

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil and gas producer, is looking at further opportunities to invest in China, where oil demand has been robust and is growing, according to the company’s top executive. FULL STORY

Sinopec sees production reach record high

Source: China Daily

China Petroleum and Chemical Corp saw its oil and gas equivalent production reaching historical highs in 2023, as the company stepped up oil and gas exploration and exploitation last year to continuously ensure domestic energy security. FULL STORY

World’s first CNG carrier delivered in China, bound for Indonesia

Source: China Daily

The world’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) carrier was delivered on Saturday morning in the city of Qidong, East China’s Jiangsu province, before setting sail for Indonesia. FULL STORY

Middle East Crude – Dubai climbs; PetroChina snaps up 3 cargoes

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

Middle East crude benchmark Dubai climbed on Thursday, the last trading day for the month, after PetroChina snapped up three cargoes from Vitol on the Platts window. FULL STORY

Singapore middle distillates stocks dip 2% but China imports stay brisk

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

Singapore’s middle distillates stockpiles drew for a second week, falling by 2% week on week, but China import volumes for diesel/gasoil and jet fuel/kerosene stayed prominent, official data showed on Thursday. FULL STORY

CNOOC’s major deepwater jacket platform completed

Source: China Daily

Haiji-2, the first deepwater jacket in Asia designed and built independently by China National Offshore Oil Corp, completed construction in Zhuhai on Tuesday. This is a testament to the fact that the independent design and construction capability of China’s deepwater ultra-large jacket platform has reached world-class levels, CNOOC said. FULL STORY

Shipbuilders riding crest of global orders

Source: China Daily

China’s complete manufacturing clusters, sustained investment and resource allocation boost industry. Multiple teams tasked with simultaneously constructing 14 ships, each with different functions, are busy at work at the docks owned by Jiangsu Yangzi Xinfu Shipbuilding Co Ltd, a shipyard based in Taizhou, East China’s Jiangsu province. FULL STORY