Today's Pickup: Chinese energy consumption and EU interest in natural gas would propel U.S. LNG market

 (Photo: Shutterstock)

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Good day,

Though the Chinese demand for oil had been slipping over the last two months and is now slowly getting back to speed, its growth in oil imports over the first half of the year has been nothing short of spectacular. China imported 8.98 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil, showing a year-on-year growth of 5.6%. But what is astounding is its liquefied natural gas (LNG) import figures, which have gone up by 28.3% this year to 7.38 million tonnes. 

Across the world, the growth in the LNG market is turning heads. With China spurring a major part of its growth, investment banking company Goldman Sachs is now looking to jump into the LNG commodities market, in what can be seen as a rush amongst large trading houses to gain share in the burgeoning market. The demand for LNG in China is primarily due to Beijing’s mandate on gas usage to account for at least 10% of the country’s total energy forms by 2020, in a step to reduce air pollution and carbon footprint in the region. 

Did you know?

China the top source of seafood for the U.S., with the 1.3 billion pounds sent to the U.S. last year double that of second-ranked India. The 10% duty proposed by the Trump administration last month on $200 billion worth of imports from China includes dozens of varieties of fish, from tilapia to tuna.

Quotable

“The European Union is ready to facilitate more imports of liquefied natural gas from the U.S. and this is already the case as we speak. The growing exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas, if priced competitively, could play an increasing and strategic role in EU gas supply.”

- European Commission’s President Jean-Claude Juncker, talking about the EU buying LNG from the U.S.

In other news:

Trucking’s tight capacity squeezes U.S. businesses

More companies are pointing to rising freight costs as a drag on earnings and growth, as trucking companies raise rates at a historic pace and one says finding trucks is getting ‘ugly’ (WSJ)

Major retail container ports setting record highs

With retail sales rising and retailers rushing to bring merchandise into the country ahead of proposed new tariffs on products from China, imports. (The Trucker)

Large US warehouse rent rise fails to blunt demand

Historically, when warehouse/industrial rental rates increase at near double-digit levels, it reduces demand. However, as the US economic expansion continues, that is not occurring, especially near seaports and in large inland hubs, where import distribution and e-commerce fulfillment needs are the greatest. (JOC)

Walmart's built a ragtag alliance of tech firms to battle Amazon

Fear of Jeff Bezos helps explain why Walmart has in recent years forged alliances with Google, Microsoft, China’s JD.com and other tech players. (MH&L)

Tesla’s Elon Musk stays committed to electric commercial vehicles

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has ambitious plans for developing electric commercial vehicles — a market he believes is worth pursuing. (Trucks.com)

Final Thoughts

Extreme drought in Europe has wrecked vegetable production in the continent, with the European Association of Fruit and Vegetable Processors (PROFEL) calling it the worst season in over 40 years. Temperatures have touched record highs after relentless heatwaves scorched northern and western Europe. In an unexpected turn of events, eastern Europe has had to contend with heavy rains, which ended up destroying a large part of their crop produce this season. 

To ease the pressure off farmers, the European Commission has granted greater flexibility in implementing ecological requirements. This move would allow farmers to receive their direct and rural development payments in advance and also will be permitted to farm on lands that are usually not allowed for crop production. 

Hammer down everyone!

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