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Market Movers Asia


Market Movers Asia, Mar 5-9: Thailand mulls US oil imports

With Joyce Zhang, Editor, Metals, Asia

March 05, 2018 09:40:00 EST (3:00)

In oil, Thailand could be next in line for crude oil imports from the US this year, with PTT seeking up to 1 million barrels of low sulfur crude for delivery in late April. Will it be following the footsteps of China, South Korea and Japan?


Meanwhile, key industry leaders are expected to assess trends driving the oil market at the 5th S&P Global Platts Asian Refining Summit in Singapore this week.


In LNG, the closure of the Papua New Guinea LNG facility following an earthquake last week pushed up prices for prompt cargoes last week. Analysts say a protracted outage could exert more pressure on spot prices.


In steel, details of US President Donald Trump's 25% tariff on steel imports are expected to emerge. Traders in Asia expect some countries to be more affected than others.


Joyce Zhang looks at these and other factors that could move the energy and commodity markets this week.


Join our conversations on Twitter - use #PlattsMM and connect with us.

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5th Annual Asian Refining Summit
March 8-9, 2018 | Singapore

As the leading refining conference in the region, the must-attend Platts Asian Refining Summit is back again on its 5th run with an all-new agenda. Join key industry leaders and market movers to assess critical trends driving markets and benefit from fresh perspectives on strategic opportunities in Asia’s downstream sector.

Close to 200 delegates attended the previous S&P Global Platts Asian Refining Summit in 2017

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Video Transcript


This week, Thailand mulls US oil imports, an LNG plant looks to restart after an earthquake, and steelmakers digest US tariffs.


First, in oil, Thailand could be next in line for crude oil imports from the US this year, with PTT seeking up to 1 million barrels of low sulfur crude for delivery in late April.


The recent lofty Brent pricing structure would make regional light sweet grades less attractive than some North American crudes, so it might pick up distillate-rich US oil for the second quarter.


If it does, it will be following in the footsteps of China, South Korea and Japan. Its tender result is expected later this week.


S&P Global Platts is also holding its 5th Asian Refining Summit in Singapore this week, where key industry leaders will assess how such trends are driving markets.


Elsewhere in oil, China is due to release preliminary February import and export data for both crude oil and refined products on Thursday.

The country's crude oil imports hit a record high in January, but buying interest has since slowed for March and April deliveries due high inventory and narrowing margins for independent refiners due to tax changes.


In LNG, all eyes are on the restart of the Papua New Guinea LNG facility following an earthquake in the country's highlands early last week. The week-long closure has already pushed up prices for prompt cargoes, and a protracted outage could exert more pressure on spot prices.


In thermal coal, domestic Chinese prices could fall further this week, after sliding 8 per cent last week, on expectations of stronger domestic production and reduced coal burn by power utilities.


Indonesian coal prices are also under pressure from China’s slow return after the Lunar New year holidays. But miners are still optimistic, as supply is tight after severe weather affected production and logistics.


In metals, steelmakers this week will find out the details of US President Donald Trump's 25 per cent tariff on steel imports. Traders in Asia expect some countries to be more affected than others.


In China, mills in the steel hub of Tangshan will be required to cut blast furnace rates by 10 to 15 per cent from March 16 to November 14. This is expected to swell port stocks and dent demand for raw materials.


Seaborne iron ore hit a 10-month high last week. Do you think it will hit 80 dollars per dry metric ton soon? Join our conversation on Twitter with #PlattsMM.


In shipping, the outlook for Capesize freight rates in the Asia Pacific and Atlantic is mixed this week after a retreat last week. Some sources said as long as the price of iron ore remains firm, it is highly possible prices could rally.


Thanks for kicking off your Monday with us and have a great week ahead!





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