World steel production update
The latest figures from the World Steel Association for January 2019 show that global steel production has grown by 1% year on year. Unsurprisingly, much of this growth can be attributed to Chinese steel production that has lead the way once again with a increase of 4.3% to 75 Mt from this time last year.
Despite India’s steel production being down 1.9% from January 2018, the country has recently overtaken Japan to become the world’s largest steel producer, churning out 9.2 Mt of steel in January 2018. Except for China, the trend in Asia points towards a decline in steel production with Japan down 9.8% on January 2018 to 8.1 Mt and South Korea’s steel production also fell to 1.5% year on year to 6.2 Mt.
Crude imports from China to Venezuela rise
Data published by the General Administration of Customs earlier this week show that crude imports to China from Venezuela have increased for the fifth consecutive month. Whilst Russia remains the main supplier of crude oil to china, with imports rising 25% year-on-year. Last month Venezuelan imports to China had a boost of 50.7% month on month to 411,000 b/d, the news follows US sanctions on Venezuelan state owns oil company PDVSA.
There were no crude shipments from the US to China as a result of ongoing trade tensions.
Meanwhile, it is estimated that 16 tankers carrying over 8 million barrels of crude from Venezuela remain off the coast of the country struggling to find buyers.
OPEC crude production cuts may be extended
OPEC has hinted that it will extend the current crude production cuts through to the second half of 2019. In December, OPEC and top non- OPEC countries such as Russia agreed to curb crude production by 1.2 million barrels a day for the first half of 2019, commencing on 1 January 2019. Saudi Arabia has suggested that it is likely that the production cut agreement will continue until the end of the year, despite complaints from President Trump earlier this week that oil prices were rising too high off the back of the current production cuts.
A recent report released by Goldman Sachs predicts that oil prices could reach $70-75/barrel soon and estimates that oil prices will remain right at least until Q3 2019.
US crude production hits record 12 million barrels/day
The latest figures from the EIA show that US crude oil production hit a record 12 million barrels/ day in the week ending 15 February, up 100,000 barrels/ day from the previous week. Weekly EIA data indicates that US crude production is growing faster than forecasts predicted a few months ago.