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After ten years of Piracy in the Indian Ocean region, is Somali Piracy still a threat?

On 6 November the United Nations (UN) Security Council renewed the authorization for international naval forces to carry out anti-piracy measures off Somalia’s coast. It is now 10 years since the first resolution was passed in 2008 to respond to piracy and robbery against humanitarian and commercial ships in the region. At the time, piracy was considered a major threat to both local and global peace and security. Since then, and especially since 2013, the number of attacks and hijackings has dropped. Recent incidents have however raised concerns over the ...

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IMO 2020 will cause upheaval for shippers and refiners

With fuel oil recently trading at a premium to motor gasoline, one may be excused for asking what all the fuss is about the forthcoming fuel oil specification changes for the shipping industry? Those changes, adopted by the International Maritime Organization, still pose the largest and most disruptive change that the shipping and oil refining industry have had to face. Those changes, which go into effect in 2020, will require ships to shift to cleaner fuels to meet environmental standards. In less than 10 months, we forecast an immediate drop ...

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RSGUM marine head says GCMS testing the ‘best step’ for proactive ship owners

In the past year, more than 100 ships have suffered engine complications after taking off-specification fuel supplies, known as bunkers, from major shipping territories around the world. The Houston area – which is one of the most reputable bunker hubs in the marine industry – has been accused of supplying contaminated bunkers to at least 100 vessels. The issue is also affecting other major maritime jurisdictions, such as Panama, Singapore and Hong Kong. “The challenge with this type of contamination is that it’s not identified as a contaminant under the ...

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DP World likely to shift to new terminal in 2019

DP World said it is likely to start using the fourth terminal at its flagship Jebel Ali port in the second half of 2019, after utilisation of the terminal was delayed due to a softening market. The ports operator said the terminal is essentially ready for operations and has more cost efficiencies than Terminal 1. “Whilst the intention was that this (Terminal 4) was supposed to take in new cargo, given the current slowdown in the market place, we will use this opportunity to refurbish Terminal 1 … and move ...

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Largest U.S. tonnage port expects closer U.S.-China cooperation

Stable U.S.-China trade ties are vital to the U.S. port industry as China is a key trading partner of the United States, said a senior port official. “A lot of trading we do is with China. We export more to China than any other country,” Paul Aucoin, executive director of the Port of South Louisiana, the largest tonnage port in the United States, told Xinhua in a recent interview. China is the port’s top trading partner in terms of exports and ranks fifth in imports, statistics from the Port of ...

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Brazil import quota for U.S. wheat could come with Bolsonaro visit: source

Brazil is considering granting an import quota of 750,000 tonnes of U.S. wheat per year without tariffs in exchange for other trade concessions, according to a Brazilian official with knowledge of the negotiations ahead of President Jair Bolsonaro’s visit to Washington. That is about 10 percent of Brazilian annual wheat imports and is part of a two-decades-old commitment to import 750,000 tonnes of wheat a year free of tariffs that Brazil made during the World Trade Organization Uruguay Round of talks on agriculture but never adopted. Bolsonaro is scheduled to ...

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Indonesian coal faces uphill struggle to diversify exports away from China

China represents a huge market for thermal coal, and for regional suppliers there is no way to avoid the dragon. That’s especially true for Indonesia, the world’s largest exporter of the commodity. According to the Bank of Indonesia, in 2017 the mining industry contributed about 4.7% to the Indonesian economy, if the commodity is priced in US dollars. “It is China, China, China, then number four perhaps is India, followed by Korea, Japan and Taiwan,” said a market source when asked about the demand for Indonesian thermal coal. China is ...

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Iron ore supply disruptions spike demand for low-grade Indian fines

Iron ore fines of inferior grade accumulated at the mines heads in Odisha and Jharkhand are finding their way into the export markets amid the global supply turmoil created by the shutdown of a string of mines held by Brazil-based Vale, the world’s largest iron ore miner. Demand for lower grade iron ore fines (iron content of less than 58 per cent) had evaporated as Chinese steel mills showed a proclivity to buy higher grade ore or even pellets to feed into their blast furnaces. China’s steelmakers were spurred by ...

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China’s VAT cuts from April 1 set to boost commodities demand

China’s announcement Friday that April 1 will be the implementation date for value-added tax cuts aimed at stimulating manufacturing activity and lowering input costs for companies drew a positive response from commodities market players. Beijing unveiled stimulus policies on March 5 including VAT cuts in manufacturing to 13% from 16%, and for transportation and construction sectors to 9% from 10%. In general market sources were optimistic after the announcement, saying it increased certainty around Beijing’s stimulus measures, although some traders said the impact had already been factored into benchmark prices. ...

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Middle East producers maintain full allocation to Asian refiners for April

The Middle East crude producers led by Saudi Arabia will supply full contractual term volumes to the Asian refiners for the fourth month in a row in April, despite committing to production cuts late last year to balance oil markets globally, refiners from China, India, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan as well as two producers told S&P Global Platts this week. Still, premiums for the Middle East cargoes are likely to remain well supported as some Middle East producers have continued to decline request for additional term volumes from the ...

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Oil pulled two ways by economic slowdown, OPEC-led supply cuts

Oil prices were mixed on Monday, weighed by concerns that an economic downturn may dent fuel consumption, but supported by supply cuts led by producer group OPEC and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela. Brent crude oil futures were at $67.24 per barrel at 0737 GMT, up 8 cents from their last close, and not far off the $68.14 per barrel 2019-high reached last week. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $58.43 per barrel, down 9 cents from their last settlement, but also still close to last week’s ...

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Here’s what may shake OPEC’s commitment to oil production cuts

Oil is among the biggest commodity gainers in 2019, with prices up by more than 20% — a testament to the success of the output cuts agreed to by major crude producers at the start of the year. However, the cuts eventually may run head-on into the effects of increased U.S. shale production and more output from other sources. That could test the resolve of some members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, as well as their nonmember allies, which include Russia. “High compliance with the OPEC production ...

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Oil Bulls Stick to Their Guns Ahead of Make-or-Break OPEC Summit

OPEC can make or break oil’s bull run, and hedge funds are betting the cartel will keep fueling the rally. Money managers increased wagers on rising West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude prices to the highest since October ahead of a key meeting of top exporters in Azerbaijan over the weekend. “As long as we come out of the weekend with stasis, the hedge funds will consider that a positive sign and will continue to support the bull run,” said Ashley Petersen, an oil analyst at Stratas Advisors LLC in ...

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Analysis: US HSVGO-LSVGO inversion ends on switch to summer gasoline

High sulfur VGO in the US has finally shifted back to pricing at a discount to its low sulfur counterpart, with the transition to summer-grade gasoline supporting FCC margins and stoking demand for low sulfur feedstocks. US Gulf Coast LSVGO was assessed flat to or below HSVGO from January 10 through March 7, which is highly unusual and the longest period that has ever occurred in S&P Global Platts data going back to 2008, when the assessment for HSVGO started. Low sulfur products tend to trade at a premium to ...

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Natural gas market eager for China’s next move

China is the thread that keeps the gas wheel spinning. That’s a key takeaway from this year’s CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference that wrapped up Friday in Houston. The world’s most populous nation is expected to surpass Japan within the next decade as the biggest importer of LNG. Developers of liquefaction terminals on the US Gulf and West coasts are depending on that forecast as they scurry to sign offtake contracts and secure financing or equity partners for their projects. There are risks, from price volatility to trade tensions to ...

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