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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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JAPAN DATA: Refiners ramp up light crude imports in Nov for kerosene output

Japan’s crude oil imports in November increased from October, with shipments from Qatar, Russia and Malaysia posting sharp gains as refiners favored middle distillate-rich crude grades in an effort to boost kerosene output amid colder-than-average temperatures nationwide. November crude oil imports rose 1.9% month on month to 2.3 million b/d in November, latest data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed. However, the total was down 21.7% year on year as overall refinery run rates remain lower than in 2019 amid tepid transportation fuel demand due to the ...

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China must reduce steel output in 2021, says industry minister

China’s sprawling steel industry must ensure it produces less crude steel in 2021 compared with this year’s record level, the country’s industry minister was reported as saying by the official Xinhua news agency on Tuesday. The world’s biggest steel producer is set to churn out more than 1 billion tonnes of crude steel for the first time in 2020 and a government consultancy recently estimated output would rise a further 1.4% next year amid rapid economic growth and increased fixed-asset investment. However, Xiao Yaqing, Minister of Industry and Information Technology, ...

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China’s Shanxi closes 163 coal mines in five years

Shanxi, a major coal-producing region in north China, has shut down 163 coal mines and eliminated 146.05 million tonnes of annual coal production capacity over the past five years. The province closed 57 coal mines and cut 30.19 million tonnes of coal production capacity this year, according to the provincial energy bureau. The number of closures hit a record high since Shanxi started cutting outdated coal capacity in 2016. The coal industry once brought prosperity to Shanxi but also led to a series of problems including resource waste by excessive ...

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Oil set for 20% drop in 2020 as lockdowns weigh, market eyes more stimulus

Global crude oil markets have lost about a fifth of their value in 2020 as strict coronavirus lockdowns paralysed much of the global economy, but prices have rebounded strongly from their lows as governments rolled out stimulus. On Thursday, the last trading day of 2020, Brent was down 8 cents, or 0.2%, at $51.55 a barrel, as of 0756 GMT and U.S. West Texas Intermediate lost 13 cents, or 0.3%, to $48.27 a barrel. “It is kind of year-end quiet but a weaker dollar is helping keep a floor under ...

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Global oil industry write-downs to exceed $150b in 2020

The total write-downs of the world’s seven supermajor oil companies and independent producers in the US and Canada are expected to exceed $150 billion in 2020, their highest level in at least a decade. Oil industry pundits say expectations that oil demand will not see a V-shaped recovery in 2020 and longer-term industry challenges, including the rise of renewables and electric vehicles, had nearly every oil and gas company in the world significantly write down the value of its assets this year. In 2020, dozens of billions of dollars in ...

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IHS Markit: Global Investment in Renewables to Bounce Back in Coming Year to Pre-COVID Levels

Global capex spending on renewables is poised to bounce back in 2021, rising 8.5% to $255 billion—in line with 2019 levels, according to Roger Diwan, vice president, financial services and the IHS Markit Energy Advisory Service. Annual spending is expected to remain at those levels through 2025. This adds up to a $1.3 trillion cumulative 2021-2025 spend—a 9% increase over cumulative capex in 2015-2019. At the same time, sharply declining capital costs across renewable technologies mean that just a 9% increase in spending will be associated with a 45% increase ...

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Asian gasoline facing fragile new year as COVID-19 impact lingers, supply transitions

The Asian gasoline market is facing a fragile 2021, plagued by issues on the demand side carried over from 2020 while grappling with a wave of fresh supply from new outlets in the region while more refinery closures loom on the horizon. The pace of recovery from the pandemic will be the primary focus in early 2021 as the strength of regional gasoline demand for transportation hinges on the development, distribution and effectiveness of newly available vaccines. Malaysia has secured 12.8 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, while other Southeast Asian ...

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European stocks retreat, set to end 2020 with losses

European stocks retreated on Thursday as investors squared positions on the last trading day of the year, while tighter coronavirus restrictions in Britain and a move by the United States to raise tariffs on some EU products dampened sentiment. Trading volumes were thin, with many traders away on New Year’s Eve and major European bourses closed. The pan-European STOXX 600 index recorded a 3.8% drop in 2020 – lagging its Asian and Wall Street peers that traded near record highs – as a rapid surge in coronavirus cases and concerns ...

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Stock markets in 2021: A bumpy ride for investors?

It’s not just the number of coronavirus infections in the US that are rising inexorably, the country’s leading stock indices are also continuing to shake off the pandemic. In recent weeks, the optimism that took hold over the efficacy of COVID vaccines has turned into euphoria. Even the likely long-term economic effects of the health crisis have been largely priced in by investors. The rising expectation that things will soon return to normal is driving the market, analysts say. “The major vaccine breakthroughs in November and December have reduced uncertainty,” ...

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Yuan set to end 2020 stronger by 6.5%, state banks buy dollars to slow rise

The yuan was set to post a gain of 6.5% against the dollar for 2020, firming again on the last day of the year despite traders reporting that some state banks bought dollars earlier trade to prevent the Chinese currency from rising too fast. The onshore spot yuan finished its domestic trading session at 6.5398 per dollar, and barring a calamitous fall in the late night trading the yuan was set to show its first annual gain after two years of falls. The yuan owes its strength this year to ...

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The virus that shut down the world: Economic meltdown

With millions forced to work from home this year, offices and shops closing as part of containment measures, and travel severely curtailed everywhere, it was inevitable that the economy would suffer. In part five of our look back at 2020, we focus on the seismic effect that COVID-19 has had on the global economy. Even before the virus had officially been declared a pandemic, it was clear that the shutdowns, travel bans and other restrictions on movement would be serious. Back in March, the UN trade agency, UNCTAD, was forecasting ...

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China: Changing face of consumption

China is the first major economy to register positive economic growth after the onset of the global public health crisis in 2020. With the macro economy rebounding, the consumer market in China has gradually recovered, new business formats and modes have emerged, consumer behavior and habits have changed, and the consumer market has adopted new features and highlights. As China has got a grip on the novel coronavirus, its consumer market is recovering and showing an accelerating trend. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the year-on-year growth rate of ...

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What happened in the economy in 2020

The coronavirus pandemic defined the course of the economy in 2020. Enacted to stem the spread of the virus, the social distancing measures that swept the country this year took a historic toll on the U.S. and global economy. And even with a start-and-stop recovery under way, the pandemic has left in its wake scars that will take time to fully fade. At its worst point this year, gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter this year sank by a record 31.4% on an annualized basis, or more than ...

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Yearender: 2020 in review, China pursues green growth despite COVID-19

The year 2020 witnessed a series of remarkable moves in China’s history, including a 10-year fishing ban along the Yangtze River, a total ban on importing solid waste, and the conclusion of a three-year action plan on fighting against air pollution. China has put ecological protection at the heart of its policy considerations and made notable achievements in pursuing green growth this year, even in the face of the great pressure of navigating the COVID-19 slump. These efforts indicate an evolving landscape of environmental conservation and regulation in China, as ...

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