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Market Movers

Market Movers, Mar 27-31: OPEC/non-OPEC committee meeting, Malaysia's bauxite export, thermal coal loading delays

With Pamela Sumayao

March 27, 2017 10:00:37 EST (2:34)

Members of the OPEC/non-OPEC monitoring committee will be observing oil supply and demand fundamentals for another month. How will oil prices be affected by this plan? In metals, will the possible return of Malaysia's bauxite supply shake up the market? And in petrochemicals, how low can styrene prices go? Associate editor Pamela Sumayao looks at this and other factors that could drive commodity markets this week.

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Video Transcript

Welcome to Platts Market Movers, your three-minute look at what the week ahead holds for the Asian commodity markets.

In the highlights this week, styrene prices hit a four-month low, Malaysia's ban on bauxite exports is due to end Friday, and coal loadings in East Kalimantan face further delays.

First, in oil, the market is digesting the outcome of a meeting Sunday to review the impact of production cut agreements. Crude oil prices recently gave up most of the gains that followed OPEC and non-OPEC producers committing to the cuts late last year.

Japanese refiners set to trim capacity

In Japan, refiners are set to trim capacity this week as new rules on cracking capacity take effect. The rules require them to raise residue cracking ratios to 50% by end March from 45% three years ago.

In the bunker fuel market, all eyes are on an annual forum in Fujairah this week, where the introduction of a strict global sulfur cap rule in 2020 will be the focus of discussion.

Moving to petrochemicals, styrene prices in Asia hit a four-month low last week on a surprise surge in stocks in East China. With demand weak, the question the market will be asking this week is: how much further are styrene prices likely to fall?

In agriculture, corn farmers in Argentina have started locking in deals as the harvest continues to go well in good weather. However, prices are likely to fall on an FOB basis in coming weeks as traders in Asia take positions.

Malaysia's bauxite export ban due to end Friday

Over in metals, Malaysia's ban on bauxite exports is due to end on Friday after being extended by more than a year. If the ban is lifted, the return of Malaysia's supply is set to shake up the bauxite market.

In thermal coal, a government crackdown on a labor union last week is delaying coal loadings at ports in East Kalimantan. This has yet to impact thermal coal prices, but traders said it could add upward pressure this week in an already tight market. What do you think?

Send us your views on Twitter with the hashtag PlattsMarketMovers. Thanks for kicking off your Monday with us and have a great week ahead.

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