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Commodity Tracker: 4 charts to watch this week

13 days ago

As oil markets begin to recover from the shocks of recent months, side-effects like falling VLCC rates and congestion at Chinese ports are emerging, write S&P Global Platts news editors. Plus, competition heats up among corn exporters amid low ethanol demand, and UK power prices reflect improving demand.
1. Freight rates dive as call on VLCCs for floating oil storage lessens
 

What’s happening? The amount of crude stored on tankers is showing signs of a descent in response to the waning economics for storage, as production cuts and a measured demand recovery aids a rebalancing of the global oil market. The slowdown in storage is already starting to have a significant impact on freight. Rates on VLCCs have plunged dramatically in the past month as a gradual fall in floating barrels prompts

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Commodity Tracker: 4 charts to watch this week

20 days ago

The outlook for global oil demand and key trends in gas and LNG markets are in the sights of S&P Global Platts news editors this week, amid a stuttering recovery from the coronavirus pandemic continues.

1. Oil demand recovery in spotlight as IEA suggests tighter market in 2021
 

What’s happening? The global oil market is set to tighten next year with demand recovering from the coronavirus pandemic at a faster pace than supply, according to the International Energy Agency, giving OPEC and its producer allies scope to unwind their agreed-upon output cuts faster than expected. Global oil demand will grow 4 million b/d more than supply next year, which would mean shifting some of the huge oil stock overhang that has built up during the pandemic, the IEA said in its latest monthly oil market

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Commodity Tracker: 4 charts to watch this week

27 days ago

Global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is proving patchy, and demands a close look at oil demand signals – the first stop in this week’s roundup of energy and raw material trends. S&P Global Platts editors also look at prospects for US crude exports to Asia, Ukraine’s importance to the European gas market this summer, and the impact of reduced French nuclear availability on power markets.

1. Global oil demand set for uneven recovery as coronavirus battle continues
 

What’s happening? Global oil demand is recovering from a record, 20 million b/d slump in April but not all fuels have suffered equally from sweeping lockdowns to combat the spread of coronavirus. Road and air transport fuels are on the frontline of the demand impact, suffering massive year-on-year contractions due to

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Commodity Tracker: 4 charts to watch this week

June 8, 2020

A recovery in Chinese independent refiners’ oil imports tops this week’s pick of trends in energy and raw materials markets. EU carbon markets, the relationship between US rig counts and tubular steel prices, and LNG supply to Europe are also on the agenda.

1. Saudi crude supply to Chinese independent refiners soars in May
 

What’s happening? China’s independent refiners ratcheted up crude imports in May by 71.1% on the year to a record high 4.42 million b/d, sending a bullish signal to the global oil market that the recovery in Chinese energy demand is on track. The independent refining sector’s crude imports from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Oman and UAE increased 62.5% on the month to 7.78 million mt in May, accounting for about 41.6% of the total arrivals for those independent refineries, a

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Commodity Tracker: 5 charts to watch this week

June 1, 2020

US-China tensions have bubbled up again, and commodity markets could be caught up in the turmoil, not least LNG. Aviation activity and jet fuel are also in the mix this week, along with corn fundementals in North and South America, and UK solar power.

1. US LNG exporters face new test as China tensions resurface
 

What’s happening? The US move to no longer recognize Hong Kong’s independence from mainland China could lead to new tariffs and a potential collapse of the Phase 1 trade deal that promised $50 billion in US energy purchases through 2021. That would be significant for US LNG exporters, after deliveries to China resumed April 20 following a 13-month halt due to the impact of tariffs.
What’s next? Despite major coronavirus-related lockdowns earlier in the year, Chinese LNG demand

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Commodity Tracker: 5 charts to watch this week

May 18, 2020

The US oil production slowdown, China’s domestic gasoline pricing policy, and power market outlooks on both sides of the Atlantic feature in this week’s pick of commodity market trends from S&P Global Platts editors.

1. US rig count declines slow as WTI rebounds…
 

What’s happening? Since oil prices plunged in mid-March, upstream producers have cut their capital budgets and sharply curtailed drilling activity, resulting in a collapse in rig counts. But oil rig count declines have slowed in recent weeks as WTI futures have climbed back into the mid $20/b range.
Go deeper: Rig count in detail and map of key US basins
What’s next? Total US crude output averaged at 11.6 million b/d in the week ending March 9, down 1.5 million b/d from its mid-March peak and the weakest since December 2018.

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Commodity Tracker: 6 charts to watch this week

May 4, 2020

Oil producers in North America have announced vast cuts in output, led by ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Chevron. Plus, contrasting gas market signals from both sides of the Atlantic, Brazilian corn exports under pressure and more, in S&P Global Platts editors’ pick of key trends in energy and commodities this week.

1. North American crude output set to decline in reaction to low oil prices…
 

 
What’s happening? Global oil companies have announced production cuts of roughly 4 million b/d in response to a collapse in prices. Of that total, around 1.8 million b/d has been announced by producers focused in the US and Canada, with ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Chevron leading the way. Production cuts could even be higher, as only some of the dozens of companies announcing spending cuts

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Commodity Tracker: 5 charts to watch this week

April 27, 2020

A look at crude oil quality across countries that have committed to cutting production, tumbling global gas prices, and trends in steelmaking raw materials all feature in this week’s pick of visuals.

1. As OPEC+ agreement kicks in, heavier crude could see bulk of cuts
 
Click to enlarge
What’s happening? The OPEC+ production cuts go into effect May 1, and the beleaguered oil market will be watching to see if the 23-country alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Russia fulfills its commitment to rein in 9.7 million b/d of crude output.
What’s next? The market will also be counting on economically forced shut-ins by other key producers, such as the US and Canada, to bring global supply down in line with coronavirus-hit demand. Crudes towards the heavier end of the quality spectrum are likely to

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Commodity Tracker: 6 charts to watch this week

April 20, 2020

A revived agreement from OPEC+ on oil production cuts, China’s gradual restart after lockdown, and power markets in the doldrums are illustrated in charts picked by S&P Global Platts editors, in this week’s selection of trends from energy and raw materials markets.

Oil price wars
1. OPEC+ pulls a deal out of the bag, but will cuts be deep enough?
 
Click to enlarge
What’s happening: The 23 oil producing countries that make up OPEC+ have secured historic global support for cuts to remove around 15 million b/d from the market over the next few months. Saudi Arabia and Russia are set to lead by example by taking on a bigger share of the cuts, which come into effect from May 1 and include output reductions from countries outside the pact, including the US and Canada. The North American

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Commodity Tracker: 6 charts to watch this week

April 6, 2020

In this week’s pick of energy and commodity charts to watch, super tankers are in high demand to store oil while prices remain at historic lows. Plus, regional gas prices converge around all-time lows, European steel and aluminum demand plummets, and Asian gasoline markets expect little relief from oversupply.

1. Global crude oil glut creates demand for long-term floating storage
 

 
What’s happening? Some super tankers are being booked to store crude for up to three years—potentially the longest ever duration for floating storage—as traders seek to profit from hoarding oil to cope with the current oil demand and supply shocks. The race to secure floating storage has picked up significantly in recent weeks, with up to 40 VLCCs and 20 Suezmaxes already placed on long-term chartering,

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Commodity Tracker: 5 charts to watch this week

March 30, 2020

Demand destruction from the coronavirus outbreak will be top of mind for power and gas traders this week, while the ripples in the oil market are being felt in Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, albeit in different ways. The iron ore market, which is faring better, rounds out this week’s pick of commodity charts by S&P Global Platts news editors

1. Lockdowns in Europe, Asia push TTF gas price to 16-year low…
 

 
What’s happening? The coronavirus lockdowns in Europe and now India are hitting gas prices hard, with the TTF month-ahead falling to its lowest level since S&P Global Platts began assessments in 2004 of just Eur7.15/MWh. Reduced industrial activity in Europe has led to lower gas demand while declarations of force majeure by Indian LNG buyers mean deferred cargoes are likely to land on

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Commodity Tracker: 5 charts to watch this week

March 23, 2020

US oil exports are under pressure as WTI’s differential to Middle Eastern offers narrows, reducing its appeal in Asia. Meanwhile, the gut-punch to global demand from the coronavirus pandemic is playing out across markets, putting EU carbon prices high on traders’ watchlist after last week’s nosedive.

1. WTI loses competitive edge in OPEC+ price war
 

 
What’s happening? US crude suppliers could fall victim to the price war triggered by Saudi Aramco’s latest move to slash official selling prices in Asia, as WTI’s discount to Middle East crude benchmark Dubai is being eroded. The spread between the front-month WTI swap and same-month Dubai crude swap has averaged minus $2.34/b to date in March, on course to register the narrowest monthly discount since minus $1.99/b in April 2018,

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Commodity Tracker: 7 charts to watch this week

March 16, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic continues to play havoc with commodity markets, but while many products have been pummeled by the weak demand outlook and the eruption of an oil price war, others are proving more resilient. S&P Global Platts news and pricing editors sort the bullish from the bearish in raw materials and energy markets.

1. VLCC rates spike on Saudi crude deluge, floating storage demand
 

What’s happening? Asian VLCCs were hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, with the benchmark Persian Gulf-China rate down by over 50% since the start of this year. This was due to a drop in crude purchases from China. But almost overnight, oil prices headed south towards the $30/b mark and Saudi Arabia decided to flood the market with crude. Saudi Arabia’s shipping company Bahri chartered more

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Commodity Tracker: 4 charts to watch this week

March 9, 2020

As oil markets and the wider commodities complex digest the breakdown of the OPEC+ alliance, they are also assessing the demand-side damage wreaked by coronavirus. In the European power sector, it’s the weather that is holding markets in thrall: wind generation continues to smash records as March proves almost as stormy as February.

1. No reprieve for oil markets as OPEC talks flounder
 

What’s happening? Oil majors will be hoping the carnage on the oil markets doesn’t last too long after the alliance between OPEC and Russia fell apart. The tone is set for increased supply from all oil producers and in particular Saudi Arabia amid coronavirus-led demand weakness. While analysts believe Big Oil will keep investment plans intact in the coming months, this really depends on whether oil

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Commodity Tracker: 4 charts to watch this week

March 2, 2020

From crude oil to gas to gold, commodities markets continue to be affected by the outbreak of coronavirus and the impact it has had on global economic sentiment. Read on for our pick of unfolding market trends from S&P Global Platts news editors.

1. Oil traders brace for weak demand
 

What’s happening? A state of contango – where prices for forward delivery are higher than those for nearer delivery dates – has spread through the Dubai crude oil market, implying traders are bracing for unusually weak demand in the second quarter and beyond. Oman crude also fell into contango at the end of last week, ending the month at parity with Dubai.
What’s next? Market conditions will increase pressure on OPEC and its non-OPEC allies to agree to extend and deepen production cuts at their meeting in

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Commodity Tracker: 6 charts to watch this week

February 24, 2020

As the global coronavirus (COVID-19) case toll rises, what can Chinese refinery activity reveal about the state of oil demand? S&P Global Platts editors examine this and other energy and commodity market trends, including Asian bunker sales, Americas corn exports and more.

1. China, crude and COVID-19: are low prices the best cure for low prices?
 

 
What’s happening? The COVID-19 outbreak and resulting economic slowdown has seen refineries slash their run rates, impacting demand for refining feedstocks. This has seen a collapse in the price of crudes sold delivered ex-ship to ports in China. The premium for Lula, a Brazilian crude popular with independent refiners, DES Qingdao over ICE Brent fell to a low of just 66 cents/barrel last week, down from an average of just under $6 a barrel

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Commodity Tracker: 5 charts to watch this week

February 17, 2020

The ongoing outbreak of coronavirus, known officially as COVID-19, continues to dominate commodity and energy market developments, as illustrated by this week’s pick of charts from S&P Global Platts news editors. Plus, key trends in EU and US electricity markets.

1. COVID-19 stalls Chinese workers’ return to manufacturing centers…
 

 
What’s happening? China’s coastal provinces are heavily dependent on migrant labour from other provinces. Every year millions of these migrant workers go home for the Lunar New Year, travelling back to the coastal cities when the holiday ends. They go back to jobs on construction sites, in factories and across the service sector. This year the annual migration has stalled due the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, as shown by data from Chinese technology

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Commodity Tracker: 6 charts to watch this week

February 10, 2020

Global gas price convergence tops this week’s pick of energy and commodities charts to watch. Plus: US LNG exports, coronavirus impact on Asian crude oil and bunker fuel trade, emerging European power market dynamics, and global steel price trends.

1. Globalized gas prices race towards rock bottom…
 

 
What’s happening? Global gas spot prices have converged again in recent weeks to the downside as the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on Chinese LNG demand adds to already very bearish sentiment across the world. Spot prices in Asia, Europe and the US have converged in an extremely narrow $1.10/MMBtu range as the global gas glut looks set to worsen amid weak demand, high storage stocks and mild winter temperatures. The JKM Asian spot price has fallen to an all-time low of just

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Commodity Tracker: Coronavirus and commodity markets

February 3, 2020

The spread of coronavirus outside China and the WHO’s escalation of the outbreak to emergency status last week continue to stoke fears over weaker energy demand and disruption to key mineral resource supply chains.  In this special edition of Commodity Tracker, S&P Global Platts editors take a look at the impact across a number of energy products and raw materials.

1. Key benchmarks fall
Click to enlarge
Dated Brent lost approximately 5% of its value during the course of last week (January 24-31), while copper – seen as a barometer of economic health – saw an even larger slide. However, by the end of the week market participants were seeing the metal as oversold, with some looking to take long positions in anticipation of China returning to the market.
 
2. No blue skies for jet
 

Key

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Commodity Tracker: 6 charts to watch this week

January 27, 2020

Traders of oil products and iron ore have their eyes trained on China’s supply-side dynamics, as the country grapples with the coronavirus outbreak. Also in the spotlight this week: Permian gas output, Germany’s coal plant closures, US corn exports and European gas prices.

1. China oil product demand pressured by Wuhan travel curbs…
 

 
What’s happening? China’s oil product consumption growth could face a setback in the first quarter, with the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus limiting both road and air traffic flows during the Lunar New Year festive period, one of the country’s busiest travel seasons. Wuhan City Council has suspended all public transport including city buses, subway, ferry and coach. It also shut the city’s airport and railway stations, effective Thursday.
What’s next?

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Commodity Tracker: 7 charts to watch this week

January 20, 2020

This week’s pick of energy and commodity market trends kicks off with EU biofuels demand prospects and a window of opportunity for Australian crude oil grades. US and European gas market dynamics and Brazilian corn prices are also in the sights of S&P Global Platts news editors this week.

1. Renewables goals boost global biofuels demand
 

 
What’s happening? In 2020, each EU member country will need to meet specific national renewable energy targets set by the European Commission. One route is to blend more biofuels into road fuels, with more countries adopting E10 gasoline, which contains up to 10% ethanol, twice as much as the current E5 standard. In 2019, the Netherlands became the latest European country to introduce E10 gasoline, following Finland, Belgium, France and Germany.

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Commodity Tracker: 5 charts to watch this week

January 13, 2020

In this week’s pick of energy and commodities trends, European wind generation storms into 2020 and oil refiners in Asia and Europe feel the impact of US-Iran tensions. Plus, S&P GSCI index performance in 2019 reveals investors’ darlings among commodities. 

1. European wind charge sweeps away nuclear concerns
 

 
What’s happening? Wind generation records tumbled across Europe last year and 2020 got off to a flying start in week 1 with fresh output highs across Nordic markets. There are now over 200 gigawatts of wind capacity installed across Europe, up from 189 GW a year ago. Stormy weather, further spikes in green generation and continuing low gas prices are expected in the short term. These factors drove week 3 German power down 30% in value year on year versus January 2019’s average

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Commodity Tracker: Middle East special edition

January 6, 2020

Geopolitical risk has heightened in the wake of the US killing of Iran’s General Qassim Soleimani, with shockwaves being felt across commodities. S&P Global Platts news editors present the latest in this special edition of the Commodity Tracker

1. Business as usual in the Strait of Hormuz

S&P Global Platts Analytics cFlow showed vessels continuing to move through the Strait of Hormuz normally during the morning in Europe. But the fallout from Soleimani’s killing continues, with Iran promising retaliation and US President Donald Trump warning of sanctions against Iraq in response to the country’s parliament voting to expel foreign troops.
2. Tensions elevate Brent crude oil prices

Front-month ICE Brent crude oil futures traded at $69.22/b on Monday lunchtime in Europe, having earlier

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Commodities and energy in 2019, in infographics

December 30, 2019

In a volatile year for commodities and energy, S&P Global Platts’ news, pricing and analytics teams explored many of the biggest themes and trends through infographics. Here are a selection.

Tariff disputes weigh on commodities trade
After around two years of trade tensions between the US and China, S&P Global Platts analyzed the impact on global product flows.
Click for full-size infographic
 
How to replace Iranian oil?
After US sanctions on Iran tightened with the non-renewal of waivers for oil importers, there were still plenty of options on the table to replace specific Iranian crude grades.
Click for full-size infographic

The biggest carbon emitters
Ahead of COP 25 in Madrid, S&P Global Platts crunched the numbers to show carbon emissions of the biggest global economies, and their

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Commodity Tracker: 4 charts to watch this week

December 16, 2019

OPEC and allies may have reached a deal on crude oil production cuts, but the hard work to achieve a balanced market starts now. S&P Global Platts editors look at the challenge OPEC faces in early 2020, as well as key trends in global LNG, marine fuels and lithium. 

1. Can OPEC deliver a balanced oil market in 2020?
 

 
What’s happening? OPEC has its work cut out to rebalance the market in the first half of 2020, despite the International Energy Agency lowering its forecast for non-OPEC oil supply growth on reduced expectations for US, Brazil and Ghana along with planned aggressive output cuts from OPEC’s allies.
What’s next? OPEC and its allies will be implementing their 1.7 million b/d production cut deal in January with potentially another 400,000 b/d in voluntary cuts from Saudi

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Commodity Tracker: 5 charts to watch this week

December 9, 2019

Oil markets are digesting the latest OPEC announcement on production cuts this week, while regional LNG prices converge and nickel continues on a bearish streak, in S&P Global Platts editors’ pick of energy and commodity trends.

1. OPEC, allies agree to new oil output cuts at eleventh hour
 

 
What’s happening? OPEC, Russia and nine other allies delivered a new production cut deal November 6, just hours after it appeared their pact was close to unravelling. OPEC+ will deepen collective output cuts by 503,000 b/d to 1.7 million b/d from January through March, with Saudi Arabia voluntarily slashing another 400,000 b/d of production beyond its new quota. “We already believed market fundamentals warrant $66/b Brent in January, even assuming the existing agreement simply rolled over through

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Commodity Tracker: 6 charts to watch this week

December 2, 2019

As COP25 kicks off in Madrid, S&P Global Platts editors take a look at the CO2 impact from OPEC oil production. European gas and nuclear, and IMO 2020’s impact on commodities as diverse as fuel oil and iron ore, are also on the agenda in this week’s pick of charts.

1. OPEC oil-only CO2 output dwarfs EU total emissions
 
Click to enlarge
 
What’s happening? OPEC is meeting this week to decide on output quotas, but climate change isn’t on the agenda for the group of 15 major oil producers. OPEC’s total crude output for 2018 would have been responsible for carbon dioxide pollution equal to 5 billion mt, calculated based on average emissions figures for oil from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That exceeds Europe’s total emissions of the greenhouse gas, from all sources, last

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Commodity Tracker: 5 charts to watch this week

November 25, 2019

In this week’s pick of energy and commodity charts, Asian jet fuel suppliers feel the pinch from Hong Kong’s weak demand as protests in the city persist. Plus: Fujairah stocks and IMO 2020, global gas exporters meet in Equatorial Guinea, and more.
1. Hong Kong unrest causes jet fuel demand to nosedive
 

 
What’s happening? Prolonged political protest in Hong Kong appears likely to continue taking a heavy toll on the city’s oil consumption. Aviation fuel demand in particular has trended sharply lower in recent months, on faltering air passenger and cargo traffic volumes. Hong Kong has been gripped by social unrest since June, with protests prompting a major airport shutdown on August 12. Aircraft activity, freight and passenger figures all sharply fell in October as the demonstrations

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Commodity Tracker: 6 charts to watch this week

November 18, 2019

Nuclear generation in the US and France faces contrasting challenges of power market prices and safety concerns, as this week’s graphics show. Other top trends picked by S&P Global Platts editors include China’s falling LNG imports, stuttering gold prices, refinery margins and coking coal prices.

1. US nuclear sector struggles amid weak power prices…
 

 
What’s happening? Across the US Northeast, largely in states with deregulated power markets, nuclear power plants are being slated for retirement. Their owners are contending with low to flat power demand and depressed wholesale power prices, partly as a result of robust shale gas supply that has lowered gas prices. In deregulated markets, power generators compete to sell electricity in wholesale markets, as opposed to earning a

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Commodity Tracker: 5 charts to watch this week

November 11, 2019

Precious metals top this week’s selection of energy and commodity charts, as palladium prices continue to climb, but provide little upside for platinum. Plus: US natural gas prices, Middle East economies’ oil dependency, European coal-to-gas generation switching and Chinese LNG imports.

1. Palladium continues to roar: eyes on $2,000/oz
 

What’s happening? Palladium, the darling of the precious metals world for the past 18 months, continues to power forward, leaving sister metal platinum in its wake. Both are used in auto catalyst technology to lower emissions. Platinum has suffered from the downturn in diesel vehicle sales, and the stigma following the “diesel-gate” scandal that surfaced in 2015. Conversely palladium, used in petrol engines, has seen demand accelerate on tightening

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