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Lower runs at China’s refineries, higher in Japan

China’s crude throughput fell slightly in December due to some maintenance works toward the year-end, the latest industry data and information collected by S&P Global Platts showed. The average run rate of the four state-owned oil majors, Sinopec, PetroChina, CNOOC and Sinochem, stood at around 78% to date in December, from an 80% average in November, according to the data. The reduction comes despite a rise in gasoline and gasoil sales since mid-November, as refineries try to clear product inventories ahead of year-end book closures, refiners and analysts said. PetroChina’s ...

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Asian prices jump to six-year highs on record imports

Asian spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) jumped 17% this week, riding six-year highs, as a cold spell in some countries prompted record imports into the region. The average LNG price for February delivery into Northeast Asia was estimated at about $14.60 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), up $2.10 from the previous week, sources said. Asia is set to import nearly 27 million tonnes of LNG in December, far surpassing the previous monthly high set in December, last year at about 23.6 million tonnes, mainly led by China ...

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Oil and gas sector outlook for 2021 more optimistic: Federal Reserve survey

Fourth quarter oil and gas sector activity jumped, energy executives said in the survey of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas released Dec. 30, while about half of those surveyed said they expect spending to improve in 2021 compared to the current year. Moreover, the quarterly survey of 146 upstream oil and gas producers and oil service providers found that the WTI price the executives would use to plan their 2021 capital budgets was $44/b on average, less than the $50/b that E&P chiefs have used as a base planning ...

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Investors bullish on stocks, hoping for a brighter 2021

U.S. stocks are closing 2020 on a strong note, and many investors are betting the party will continue after a tumultuous year that marked both the end of the longest bull market and the shortest-lived bear market ever. Risks abound, including a resurgent coronavirus pandemic, concerns about the speed of rollout of vaccines and a high-stakes Jan. 5 U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia for the balance of power in Congress. Still, many investors are looking past these threats. “We are going to continue to see a push higher,” said Commonwealth ...

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COVID-19 shook, rattled and rolled the global economy in 2020

When 2020 dawned, the global economy had just notched its 10th straight year of uninterrupted growth, a streak most economists and government finance officials expected to persist for years ahead in a 21st Century version of the “Roaring ‘20s.” But within two months, a mysterious new virus first detected in China in December 2019 – the novel coronavirus – was spreading rapidly worldwide, shattering those expectations and triggering the steepest global recession in generations. The International Monetary Fund estimates the global economy to have shrunk by 4.4% this year compared ...

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After a harrowing 2020, Asia tiptoes into the New Year

As Asia says goodbye to 2020 – a tumultuous year that saw the planet roiled by a deadly pandemic – celebrations will be smaller, shorter and more muted amid fears of coronavirus flare-ups. In Beijing, the capital of the world’s most-populous country, an annual New Year light show at the China Central Television Tower scheduled for Thursday through Sunday has been called off. The Beijing Yonghe Lama Temple, a tourist site, has also cut the number of visitors allowed by half since Thursday. Many Chinese tourists are staying home or ...

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Container lines question claims of unreasonable rates, poor service

The World Shipping Council (WSC) has pushed back against allegations by two Federal Maritime Commissioners (FMC) that the container lines are not meeting service obligations — particularly to U.S. agriculture exporters — citing a lack of evidence. In a Monday letter to FMC Commissioners Carl Bentzel and Daniel Maffei, WSC President and CEO John Butler pointed out that the customer bases of his members — which account for 90% of global liner vessel capacity — are too varied for the association to speak to specific operational and commercial procedures between ...

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Castor Maritime Inc. Receives 180-day Extension from Nasdaq to Meet Nasdaq Minimum Bid Price Rule; Announces entry into binding commitment letter for financing of two dry bulk carriers

Castor Maritime Inc., a global shipping company specializing in the ownership of dry bulk vessels, announces today the receipt of a notification letter from the Nasdaq Stock Market (“Nasdaq”) granting the Company an additional 180-day extension, or until June 28, 2021, to regain compliance with Nasdaq’s minimum bid price requirement (the “Second Compliance Period”). The Company can cure this deficiency if the closing bid price of its common shares is $1.00 per share or higher for at least ten consecutive business days during the Second Compliance Period. The Company intends ...

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Yangzijiang bags US$350 mil contracts to build containerships, deck carriers

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding (Holdings) has bagged contracts to build two 24,000TEU containerships and two 690FEU deck carriers. The contracts, which are worth a total of about US$350 million ($464.7 million), have raised the China-based company’s year-to-date order wins to 53 vessels worth about US$1.77 billion. Ren Letian, executive chairman and CEO of Yangzijiang, says he considers the total new order wins as “decent even for a normal year”, in addition to the “many challenges” faced during the year. “We are pleased to wrap up 2020 with such achievements,” he says in ...

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FUJAIRAH DATA: Oil product stocks dip just 0.2%, as year-end trading slows

Oil product inventories at the UAE port of Fujairah remained relatively stable in the week to Dec. 28, drawing just 53,000 barrels, or 0.2%, from the previous week, the latest data from the Fujairah Oil Industry Zone showed. Builds in light distillates and heavy residues offset a draw in middle distillate volumes, with total stock levels standing at 23.595 million barrels, according to the data provided exclusively to S&P Global Platts. Light distillate stocks increased 295,000 barrels, up 4.2% week on week, and now total 7.350 million barrels. Market sources ...

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How Germany’s Cuxhaven port is navigating Brexit

The German port of Cuxhaven has felt every twist and turn of the Brexit saga, from the shock of the referendum result to the interminable negotiations. Now, with the end of the transition period that has effectively kept Britain in the EU fast approaching, port manager Hans-Peter Zint has only one wish: “It has to finally happen.” But Brexit will remain an unprecedented challenge for the North Sea port long after Britain’s newly agreed deal with the EU kicks in on January 1. Around 85 percent of maritime freight to ...

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Antwerp: New intermodal connections January 2021

Swissterminal is offering a new barge connection between Basel and Birsfelden and the port of Antwerp from December 2020. In addition, the existing rail connection from Swissterminal between Antwerp and Basel – Frenkendorf and Niederglatt will be improved from January 2021: it will be switched from an indirect service (via Neuss) to a direct service. You can find the details below. New barge connection between Basel and Birsfelden and the port of Antwerp: • Destination: Switzerland • Mode: barge • Operator: Swissterminal • Starting date: December 2020 • Frequency: 2x ...

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Saudi Arabia: Two-third hike in container handling fee from Friday

The Saudi Ports Authority (MAWANI) will introduce new fee structures for cargo handling service from Friday, Jan. 1. The fee for handling containers of 20 or less cubic feet in length will be raised to SR450 from SR270, an increase of 66.67 percent. The handling fee for containers with a length ranging between 20-40 cubic feet will be SR700 instead of the existing rate of SR415, an increase of 68.67 percent, while containers exceeding 40 feet in length will increase their fees to SR740 from SR415. The MAWANI will impose ...

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Cai Mep International Terminal receives massive container ship

MSC Oliver, one of the world’s largest container ships, has docked at the Cai Mep International Terminal (CMIT) in Ba Ria – Vung Tau province earlier this week. The MSC Oliver, one of the biggest vessels of Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, was the largest ever ship to dock in Vietnam. It has a dead weight tonnage (DWT) of 199,273, with a capacity of more than 19,224 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). The ship docked at CMIT to handle nearly 6,000 freight containers, equivalent to 10,000TEUs of exported, ...

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Asia to draw more naphtha arbitrage cargoes on increased steam cracker capacity

Asian naphtha is set to begin 2021 on a bullish note, with the market firm on demand recovery from the successful restart of South Korean Lotte Chemical’s Daesan steam cracker. Looking forward, fresh steam cracker capacity is expected to come online in the north Asian petrochemicals hub, which would further increase overall Asian naphtha demand. “We forecast demand will be strong for 2021 because [South Korea’s] YNCC and LG Chem will restart [from turnarounds] in January. The total increase in naphtha demand should be at least four-six cargoes per month ...

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