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November 2022

Capesize shipments of Guinean bauxite jump 27.4% YTD 

High energy prices in Europe have shifted aluminium production to China. Due to China’s increasingly depleted bauxite reserves, this shift has resulted in an increase in bauxite shipments, benefitting the capesize segment. Guinea, the world’s largest exporter of bauxite, accounts for around half of traded volumes and has seen a 14.9% increase in bauxite shipments so far in 2022.  

October 2022

EU clean oil product imports up 18.3% y/y on increased Asian volumes  

Excluding intra-EU trade, the European Union’s average monthly clean oil product imports amounted to 10.0 million tonnes in 2019 but declined to 9.3 million tonnes in 2020 and 2021. Due to the high import volumes in July to October, the 2022 year-to-date average monthly volumes have reached 10.3 million tonnes, exceeding 2019 volumes.  

Russian coal exports fall 7.0% as EU sanctions bite, tonne miles up

As a part of European Union sanctions against Russia, the block banned coal imports from Russia starting 10 August. About two months have passed and Russia has struggled to redirect its coal exports, with export volumes down 7.0% y/y in this period and down 5.0% year to date.

Supply/demand balance at 2019 level as container volumes fall 4.6% y/y

Since July 2020, the container market has benefitted from a surge in consumption of goods compared to pre-COVID levels, and head-haul and regional trade volumes have followed. Compared to the same period of 2019, container volumes in the second half of 2020 were up 5.7% while full year 2021 volumes were 9.0% higher. Volumes in the first half of 2022 were up 8.3%, also compared with H1 2019. Despite a growing fleet, capacity supply was unable to keep up as port congestion absorbed as much as 14% of the fleet, data from Sea-Intelligence shows.

China’s 15m tonnes oil products export quota could boost tonne miles to EU

On 30 September 2022, China added 15 million tonnes to its 2022 export quota for oil products. The quota includes 13.25 million tonnes for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel as well as 1.75 million for low-sulphur marine fuel. If headed for the EU, it could be a welcome addition to the block seeking to replace on average 2 million tonnes of diesel imports from Russia when sanctions take effect from February 2023 and demand for heating increases in the winter months. It could also add some attractive tonne miles for product tankers.

September 2022

China soybean imports drop 6.2% y/d, potential short-term recovery ahead

On 26 September, soymeal prices in China surged 8% to CNY 5,500 (USD 739) per tonne compared to Monday last week. Following a jump in demand ahead of China’s national day on 1 October some crushers have had to stop production due to a shortage of soybeans. This could signal a recovery in imports after months of lacklustre demand and high soybean prices which have caused a 6.2% y/y drop in soybean imports so far in 2022.

Crude oil tonne miles out of the Gulf of Guinea down 5.9% so far in 2022

Gulf of Guinea crude oil exports have year-to-date contributed 13.7% of VLCC’s tonne miles demand and 16.5% of Suezmaxes. A 13.5% y/y drop in Nigerian year-to-date crude oil output has been the main drain on demand and caused a 5.9% decline in tonne miles. A further decline in Gulf of Guinea exports can be expected from mid-2023 when Nigeria’s Dangote refinery begins operation – requiring a sizeable portion of the country’s crude oil – and possibly add to rate volatility.

Head-haul and regional container trade volumes fall 1.5% m/m in July

Container volumes in head-haul and regional trades are the key drivers of container vessel demand, average container rates, liner operator profits, and, since 2020, port congestion. According to Container Trade Statistics, combined head-haul and regional trade volumes fell 0.4% y/y in the first half of 2022. Head-haul volumes were 1.3% lower than a year ago while regional volumes were 0.6% higher. Under normal market circumstances the peak season in key head-haul trades should lift Q3 volumes. However, recently released volume statistics indicate that there may be no peak season in 2022 but it is very likely that volumes will slow in Q4. 

Ukraine exports reach 2.1 mln tonnes under grain deal, Russia raises fresh concerns

On 22 July, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement to allow grain exports from three ports in Ukraine during a period of 120 days. On 7 September, Putin expressed concerns over the agreement, giving rise to uncertainty about its scope and renewal.

Fresh stimulus could boost Chinese iron ore imports, down 3.3% YTD

Preliminary shipping data from Oceanbolt shows a 1.7% y/y drop in Chinese iron ore import volumes in August. The volumes are, however, the highest since January and follow a 3.1% y/y increase in July. Year-to-date, Chinese iron ore imports are down 3.3% y/y, making up around 20% of global dry bulk volumes, but could be in for a bounce, benefitting the struggling Capesize segments.