Today’s Pilot: Maritime and Economic round-up from Asia – Oct 3

Photo source: Marine Traffic

Dry bulk:

Australia may need to start importing grains from overseas

A report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has forecast the New South Wales winter crop to be down by as much as 46 per cent on last year, with steep falls also forecast for Queensland and Victoria.

Australia’s east coast grains industry, has always been an exporter of grains to world markets, but an ongoing drought which is the worst in over 60 years is causing severe shortfalls, and grains are being moved from West Australia to East Australia in record volumes. If this continues, and an El Nino weather event materializes this spring the industry will have to consider importing grain from overseas.


Non-state refiners to be allocated 4 million import barrels per day for 2019.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry says it is setting import quota to non-state refineries for next year at 4.06 million barrels per day, equivalent to 2 VLCCs per day.

Oil imports have dropped since April this year but China’s independent refiners boosted crude oil imports in August by 40 percent month on month, according to data by Thomson Reuters. Independent refiners have to meet a November 10 deadline for applications. Only those companies which imported crude so far in 2018 will be allocated quotas for next year, the ministry said in its note.


Port of South Louisiana cargo throughput rises 7 percent in Q2

Over 77 million tons of cargo moved through the port in the second quarter, making the first half 2018 total 149 million tons. The port says it loaded and discharged 2,174 vessels and 30,680 barges in the period January through June. The port ranks first in grain exports and foreign trade zone activity and is a top-rated energy transfer port in the US.

Port of Halifax introduces live performance data

Halifax Port Authority is partnering with terminal operators and rail providers to pursue new analytics technologies which is now live with the data available on the port’s website. The data shows truck waiting times prior to entering the gates at each of the container terminals, information that can be used to assist dispatchers and truckers in scheduling deliveries outside peak congestion.


OPEC and Russia keep up production as oil prices rise

There is widespread speculation that oil output from OPEC has actually held up in September despite falling output from Iran as buyers promise a more significant reduction in global purchases of Iranian oil. Russian production data is also due this week. The non-OPEC producer at one-point last month pumped 11.36 million barrels a day, a record. West Texas Intermediate reached above $75.50/barrel yesterday for the first time since early July. The longer-term supply dynamics for Brent crude is more stable as longer dated contracts into 2019 are hardly affected by the strong rally seen in the last weeks. The spread between front month November contract and the November 2019 contract is now at $4.40 suggesting that investors are pricing in around a 5% premium on current oil supply. This compares with, which compares with peaks in excess of 10% seen during 2013. OPEC and Russian production statistics will be a strong guide as to where oil prices go next.


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