Commodities, Energy, Metals and Agriculture
Energy • US crude inventories: EIA data yesterday showed that US crude oil inventories decreased by 2.39MMbbls, compared to market expectations of a 1.5MMbbls drawdown. However Cushing stockpiles increased by 3.8MMbbls over the week, the largest increase seen since 2009. • Chinese coal imports: Coal imports into China over November totalled 26.97m tonnes, a 67% increase YoY. Meanwhile cumulative coal imports this year total 229m tonnes, up 23% YoY. However given that the Chinese government has relaxed restrictions on operating days for coal mines, imports are expected to edge lower moving forward, as domestic output picks up.
Metals • Chinese copper imports: Latest data shows that Chinese unwrought copper and copper product imports totalled 380,000 tonnes over November, a 31% increase MoM, however down 18% YoY. Meanwhile copper ore and concentrate imports over the month reached a record 1.76m tonnes, up 29% MoM. Stronger MoM imports support the view of increased manufacturing activity in the country. • Malaysia bauxite mining: The ban on bauxite mining in Malaysia expires at the end of this month, which should come as a relief to Chinese buyers, who have had to look further afield for supplies during the ban. However as we have seen this year, the Malaysian government could extend the ban once again, if they feel stockpiles in the country are still too high.
Agriculture • Argentine soybeans: Dry weather in soybean growing regions in Argentina could have an impact on the development of soybeans. Furthermore, dry weather is expected over the next few days, which would make matters worse. Soybean plantings currently stand at 57.6%, down 11% from the same time a year ago. Extended periods of dryness should prove supportive for soybean prices. • EU sugar: The EU Commission believes that producers would be able to sell a part of next season’s sugar output, before the start of the 2017/18 season. If this is the case it would see what is expected to be a tight market through until the end of September 2017, in fact not so tight. This would mean that the upside in prices would be limited later in the season. However refiners within the EU are disputing how the Commission interprets the rules.