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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Steel Mills News

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Dalian iron ore rises, supply crunch concerns persist

China's iron ore futures extended gains on Friday after touching a record high in the previous session, as concerns persisted over tight supply amid declining shipment from Rio Tinto and expectations of strong demand.Mining giant Rio Tinto on Wednesday night lowered its guidance on volumes of iron ore it expects to ship from the key Pilbara producing region in Australia for the third time since April.It now puts the upper limit as much as 5.7% under its original forecast, giving…

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Iron Ore Spikes on Shipment Concerns

China's iron ore futures extended gains on Friday after touching a record high in the previous session, as concerns persisted over tight supply amid declining shipment from Rio Tinto and expectations of strong demand.Mining giant Rio Tinto on Wednesday lowered its guidance on volumes of iron ore it expects to ship from the key Pilbara producing region in Australia for the third time since April.It now puts the upper limit as much as 5.7% under its original forecast, giving a window…

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China's Commodity Imports Tepid, but Improving

If you were looking for evidence that China's economy has lost momentum, you may be tempted to think that you've found it in the unimpressive growth, or lack thereof, in imports of major commodities in the first quarter.Customs data for the first quarter show only crude oil has recorded significant growth in import volumes in the first quarter, with copper data mixed and iron ore and coal dropping.This would seem to confirm the narrative of slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy amid the ongoing trade and tariff dispute with the United States.But as usual the devil is in the deta

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LNG Import: China is World's No. 2 buyer in 2018

China's imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in December soared 25 percent from the same period a year earlier to a monthly record of 6.29 million tonnes, customs data showed on Wednesday.The previous record of 5.99 million tonnes was set in November.For the whole of 2018, imports grew 41 percent from 2017 to a record 53.78 million tonnes, according to the data from the General Administration of Customs. That saw China retain its position as the world's second-buyer buyer of the super-chilled fuel after Japan…

Peter Sand, BIMCO

BIMCO: Global Shipping Scouts for Future Growth

Reflections 2019 – Market Analysis Section By Peter Sand, Chief Shipping Analyst.This article contains extracts from BIMCO’s Reflections 2019, which will be available in full on 2 January 2019 on www.bimco.org and will be sent out to all BIMCO members alongside their free member copy of BIMCO’s Holiday Calendar 2019.Where do we go to find economic growth that spurs shipping demand in the next five years? According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), we should look towards emerging and developing countries.

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Chinese Steel Mills Chase Iron Ore Contracts with Brazil's Vale

Chinese steel mills and traders are rushing to secure long-term contracts for high-quality iron ore ahead of winter steel output cuts, a boon for the main supplier of such grades of the commodity, Brazilian mining giant Vale.China, the world's biggest consumer of the steelmaking ingredient, needs higher-quality, less polluting grades of iron ore as it battles to clear its notoriously smoggy skies.That demand highlights how China's prolonged war on pollution is shaking global markets for iron ore…

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China's Hebei Plans More Rail, River Freight to Cut Truck Pollution

The smog-prone Chinese province of Hebei is aiming to slash road freight in favor of rail and river transport over the next two-and-a-half years as part of efforts to improve air quality, officials said.Hebei, which surrounds the capital Beijing, is on the front line of China's efforts to improve it's poor air quality, and has been under pressure to restrict industrial output, cut coal consumption and curb traffic.The province has vowed to cut concentrations of hazardous airborne particles known as PM2.5 by a further 15 percent over 2017-2020…

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As Trade War Escalates, China's Steel Exports are Rising

The European Commission will this week unveil its proposed provisional "safeguard" measures to limit steel imports in response to the imposition of 25 percent tariffs on steel imports by the United States.The European Union fears that the U.S. tariff barrier will simply divert more steel into its marketplace. Others are equally concerned, with India also planning its own "safeguards".Such is the ripple effect of tariffs. Walls beget more walls.As the steel trade war heats up,…

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Oil Tanker Scrapping to Hit Multi-year High

The shipping industry will this year scrap the largest number of oil tankers in over half-a-decade, driven by weak earnings, firm prices for scrap steel and the need to prepare fleets for strict new environmental regulations.The surge in scrapping underscores how the sector is grappling with one of its worst-ever crises, hit hard after rates for transporting oil plunged to multi-year lows in the wake of excess tanker supply and tepid demand as OPEC production cuts bite."The tanker markets are definitely in a trough at the moment…

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Dry Bulk Shipping: No Room for Newbuilds

DemandThe improved fundamentals during 2017 are clearly seen in the freight rate levels during the first four months of 2018. Freight rates for Handysize, Supramax and Panamax went up by 25-27 percent as compared to the same period of last year. All three sectors moved from loss-making average earnings in the full year of 2017 to a profitable level in first four months of 2018.Meanwhile, capesize freight rates improved by only 5 percent as compared to the same period last year…

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China and Shifting Seaborne Iron Ore Dynamics

The seaborne iron ore market appears to be in something of a sweet spot currently, with largely steady demand and prices that have been flatlining for the past couple of months. Of course, another way of saying that a market is enjoying relatively stable and good times is that it's boring, but in iron ore there is plenty of action bubbling beneath the seemingly calm exterior. It's not so much that iron ore prices or volumes are expected to shift dramatically in the coming months, it's more that structural changes in the world's biggest importer, China, are re-shaping how the industry works.

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China to Cut Steel Capacity by 2025

China will shut down more outdated steel plants and bring total capacity to less than 1 billion tonnes by 2025, the president of the country's steel industry association said, adding that national demand for the metal is set to decline gradually. With more than three quarters of firms suffering losses as a result of a price-sapping capacity surplus, China vowed in early 2016 to shut 150-150 million tonnes of annual production in five years in a bid to raise profitability and utilisation rates in the sector. Its capacity then was estimated at 1.2 billion tonnes.

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Great Lakes/Seaway Iron Ore Trade Behind 2017

Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 5.5 million tons in April, a decrease of 6.3 percent compared to a year ago but nearly 15 percent ahead of the month’s five-year average, the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) reported.Shipments from U.S. Great Lakes ports in April were down 4.5 percent at 5.1 million tons, LCA said. The mine that shipped through Escanaba, Mich. has been permanently idled, meaning all the iron ore shipped to U.S. steel mills in April had to transit the Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

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China's Thermal Coal Futures Rally on Tight Import Policy

China's most-active thermal coal futures jumped 2.9 percent on Monday, marking the biggest gain since August 2017, as concerns of tightening the import policy dampened outlook for foreign coal supplies ahead of summer.Coal futures prices ended at 570 yuan per tonne after touching a two-week high of 578.8 yuan per tonne earlier in the session.Futures rallied as traders took cues from a wider ban on coal imports after some ports in Fujian province put a temporary halt on them."Our company received instructions that Chuanshan anchorage under Ningbo port has banned docking by any vessel, which car

Photo provided by Duluth Seaway Port Authority

Duluth-Superior Shipping Season To Open Today

The anticipated departure of six vessels this week signals a strong start to the 2018 commercial shipping season for the Port of Duluth-Superior and the entire region. All will be leaving their winter berths to load iron ore for delivery to steel mills on the Lower Great Lakes—this nation’s industrial heartland. U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alder made several passes through the ice in the shipping channels last week, and, starting today, Heritage Marine tugs will be assisting with breakout operations in the harbor.

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Iron Ore Stockpiles at China Ports near Record High

Chinese iron ore futures struggled to regain ground on Tuesday after recent sharp losses that drove the steelmaking commodity to its weakest since November and pulled down spot prices to below $70 a tonne for the first time in three months. Lean demand in top consumer China has kept iron ore stocks at its ports near a record high around 159 million tonnes, enough to build Australia's Sydney Harbour Bridge almost 1,900 times over. Iron ore demand has been slow amid a mountain of…

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Port Hedland May Clear Ships as Storm Builds off Australia

Giant iron ore port may close as Australian storm builds. Vessels may be cleared from Australia's Port Hedland, the world's biggest iron ore export terminal, as early as Thursday as a safety precaution because of a tropical storm, port manager Pilbara Ports Authority said on Wednesday. The authority said Port Hedland may start clearing vessels on Thursday morning if the tropical low builds overnight into a cyclone off the Western Australia coastline. Port Hedland is used by three of Australia's top four iron ore miners - BHP,, Fortescue Metals Group and Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting.

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Bulkers to Benefit as China Iron Ore Appetite Grows

It has been quite awhile since the global bulk carrier market has had much to cheer about, but U.S. dry bulk shippers are set to post strong revenue growth in the next two years thanks to soaring Chinese demand for high-grade iron ore from Brazil and Australia. To combat severe winter smog, China has slashed iron ore output, pushing steel mills in the world's second biggest economy to import more high-grade ore. China also wants to make pollution control a priority for the next three years.

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China's Steel, Coal Curbs a Double-edged Sword for Imports

China's determination to tackle its choking pollution by cutting steel and coal capacity should be a long-term negative for exporters of iron ore and coal to the world's biggest commodity importer, but the reality is likely to be far more nuanced. "We will make our skies blue again," Premier Li Keqiang told the opening of parliament on Sunday. That's an unequivocal statement that gives political impetus to Beijing's plans to shutter more excess steel and coal capacity. The policy…

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US-flag Lakes Cargo Volume Dips in September

U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) moved 9.1 million tons of cargo in September, a decrease of 7 percent compared to a year ago, according to the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA). The September float was also 8.7 percent below the month’s five-year average. Iron ore cargos for the steel industry totaled 4.3 million tons, a virtual repeat of a year ago. Coal shipments to power plants and steel mills fell to 1.8 million tons, a decrease of 14.3 percent. Limestone for construction projects and steel production totaled 2.5 million tons, a decrease of 15.2 percent compared to a year ago.

China Iron Ore Imports Rise in September

Chinese iron ore imports rose in September, according to Reuters data, as its steelmakers ramped up output in the face of global trade tensions about the country's steel exports. Thomson Reuters Supply Chain and Commodity Forecasts data showed 82.5 million tonnes of iron ore, which is used in steelmaking, arrived at Chinese ports in September - up 2.5 percent on August and not far off July's near record levels. The data, based on ship tracking and port figures, does not completely tally with official Chinese customs figures, but typically doesn't vary from them by more than 4 percent.

US-flag Lakes Cargos Down Almost 10% in July

U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) moved 9.85 million tons of cargo in July, a decrease of 9.5 percent compared to a year ago, the Lake Carriers’ Association  (LCA) reports. The July float was also 9 percent below the month’s five-year average. Iron ore cargos for the steel industry totaled 4.6 million tons, a decrease of 3.4 percent compared to a year ago. Coal shipments to power plants and steel mills fell to 1.7 million tons, a decrease of 25 percent. Limestone loads for construction projects and steel production totaled 2.9 million tons…

Graph: BIMCO

Dry Bulk Shipping: Improved Frieght Rates Despite Continues Fleet Growth

On 10 February 2016, the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) hit 290. At that point, a bulk carrier regardless of its size, age and fuel-efficient qualities earned a time charter average of USD 2,417-2,776 per day. Whereas the three smaller segments have seen higher earnings since then, capesize earnings lost ground up until the end of March. By mid-April, the gap closed and capesizes are back on par with the pack. Despite the fact that earnings have doubled in those two months, they remain below OPEX levels for the largest part of the fleet.

Photo: AKF

Damen Anchor & Chain Factory Demonstrates Welding Expertise

Damen Anchor & Chain Factory (AKF) has shown it remains expert in welding following the renewal of its ISO certification. The certificates; ISO 9001 and ISO 3834 welding procedure show AKF follows stringent quality management systems and has strict procedures in place for its welders and welding procedures. “The ISO 3834 welding procedure is a foundation for Damen Anchor & Chain Factory for its future strategy in meeting the market demands in custom made towing chains and the repair of towing and hoisting equipment,” explained Laurens van Gelder, General Manager of AKF.

Aerial view of the Soo Locks Photo Wikipedia

Soo Locks Open for 2016

At 12:01 a.m. today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officially opened the Soo Locks for the start of the 2016 shipping season. The locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan are among 16 locks that form the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway navigation system which extends from Duluth, Minnesota to the Atlantic Ocean. Together these 16 locks lift or lower ships 600 feet – the height of a 60 story building. Since the Soo Locks closed in January, the Corps has been busy executing winter maintenance, repair and rehabilitation projects.

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Bulk shippers hit by perfect storm as global economic doldrums take toll

Off the coast of a nearly deserted island below the southern tip of Hong Kong, at least 10 massive ships that normally carry hundreds of thousands of tons of coal or iron ore lie idle near one of the world's busiest sea routes. These empty vessels paint a grim picture for the dry bulk shipping business that veterans of the industry say is grappling with an unprecedented crisis of too many ships and not enough cargoes. The hollow boats underscore the global economic doldrums that policymakers are struggling to overcome. "This is the worst we have seen in recent times.