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Special Reports:



In these papers, Platts' specialists take an in-depth look at various issues affecting the energy, petrochemical & metals industries; highlighting current trends, looking at what price history can tell us and drawing attention to things in the future that will be important for market participants.


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Oil

Japan's oil and LNG price evolution: On the path to transparency

Published September 2016

In this special report, Platts looks at the ongoing changes in Japan’s refining sector, potential development of new spot oil products price benchmarks, and the possible development of a spot LNG price benchmark.

The Final Countdown? The last stages of European oil-fired power generation and the coming marine LSFO market

Published September 2016

The writing is on the wall for the low sulfur fuel oil used in power generation – at least, that has been the narrative for many years. But even as European oil-fired power generation looks set to disappear within a decade, increasingly stringent shipping emission regulations are expected to create new demand for LSFO on a global scale. Can refineries adapt to this swiftly changing environment? Platts’ latest analysis distils the technical and regulatory developments across the region.

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Natural Gas

US LNG vs pipeline gas: European market share war?

Published September 2016

With the first LNG cargoes having arrived in Europe, S&P Global Platts looks at how the traditional suppliers to Europe are reacting.

Gas Crunch: The UK faces a rough winter 2016-17

Published July 2016

This report examines both the short and medium-term implications for the UK gas system of the extended maintenance at Rough, and analyses the opportunities open to other supply sources that could cover the loss of UK storage capacity during the next winter season.

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Electric Power

Hinkley Point C: The long march to FID

Published July 2016

The UK’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power project's twin reactors are set to be the first built in the UK for over 20 years and could launch a nuclear renaissance in the country. In this report, S&P Global Platts summarizes the project’s development to date, places it in the context of the UK’s ageing reactor fleet and assesses the remaining uncertainties in the run-up to and after a Final Investment Decision, which came July 28, 2016.

Flexibility, optionality and the challenge facing Europe's power utilities

Published July 2016

Europe’s baseload power business model is dying. Conventional thermal plant operators have seen once-profitable generation operations turned upside down by renewables. There are, however, emerging opportunities for controllable plant in flexibility and optionality.

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Coal

Coking coal: Coming to terms with the end of the China bull run

Published April 2016

This report examines the challenges and opportunities that the global coking coal market faces amid changing supply ownership, slowing steel demand in China and the fundamental basis of pricing.

Metallurgical coal markets to remain China-centric

Published September 2014

It’s no surprise that shorter-term pricing and China’s emergence as a large coal importer have occurred at the same time. These can be seen as mutually reinforcing trends.

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Shipping

Dry bulk tonnage at a crossroads

Published May 2016

The dry bulk market is in a sorry state. It is going through the worst downturn in decades and its main scourge -- tonnage oversupply, is projected to get even worse in 2016-2017. So, does that mean that the future only holds more disappointment for shipowners in this troubled sector? In this special report, Platts shipping editors explore the challenges of tonnage overcapacity, give an outlook for the global dry bulk fleet and identify opportunities that may still be there for the right investors.

A bittersweet '16 for Supramaxes

Published February 2016

While the Atlantic dry bulk Supramax market is in the grip of exceptionally weak freight rates, there are signs of support in 2016. This report takes an in-depth look at what has caused the negative freight environment Supramax owners have been dealing with in the Atlantic since the end of summer 2015, while looking at what loading areas still hold promise of strong flows in 2016, as well as providing analysis of the global Supramax fleet profile and orderbook.


Petrochemicals

Tail wagging the dog: Is China's MTO the driving force behind methanol pricing?

Published September 2016

Over the last five years, the use of methanol in China has undergone a radical shift with the introduction of methanol-to-olefins technology. Now an exclusive S&P Global Platts statistical analysis shows that changes in polypropylene prices in China can be used to help understand changes in methanol prices in a statistically significant manner, with evidence from industry sources pointing to Chinese MTO plants as the mechanism.

A failed coup in Turkey could lead to drastic plastic concerns

Published July 2016

A failed coup attempt launched in July by a wing of the Turkish army had little impact on the polymer market. However, the coup attempt has raised concerns on the unstable state of politics as well as the Turkish economy in the near future, especially regarding the volatility of its currency. This report examines key factors affecting the country’s political and economic landscape and potential impact on the plastics sector.

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Metals

Iron ore market turns attention to benchmark-brand relationship

Published September 2016

Market participants are increasingly looking at the premium or discount at which an iron ore grade – or brand – with identifiable qualities and characteristics, trades at versus an underlying index value. This approach to grade assessments has long been the norm in other commodity markets, where differentials are priced against benchmarks according to type, origin and qualities. But, it’s rapidly gaining currency now in iron ore and related markets, such as metallurgical coal.

Steel futures keep the price party going

Published September 2016

In China’s steel markets this year, there has often appeared to be a growing disconnect between underlying fundamentals and steel prices. Market sentiment has always played a major role but has become even more the case with the rapid uptake of steel and iron ore futures on Chinese exchanges, in large part from retail investors. Buoyed by higher steel prices this year, investors and mills have been making better returns. No one wants to return to the dark days of 2015 and, as a result, there has been a tendency to jump on anything deemed to be supportive of steel.

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Agriculture

The China corn problem: What will the country do with its strategic reserves?

Published September 2016

While it had been limping along for a while, China's corn stockpiling policy was well and truly buried on March 28, 2016, when a senior official provided details of a new mechanism of "marketized purchases". Less than six months from the next harvest, and with a year's worth of production sitting in stockpiles, the news generated quite a buzz.

India and the potential for growth

Published August 2016

With a 2% increase in world sugar consumption predicted by 2020, this report aims to assess the sugar production potential of India, the second largest sugar producer in the world. We also examine Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and some smaller sugar producing states to gage fully the country’s medium-term potential.

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