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As the dust settles on November crude exports, the impact of winter storms appears to have halted a three-month consecutive streak of record monthly exports. But there is one record achieved in November – that of a high watermark for daily crude exports. On 17 November, after a lone 693 kb loading on the previous day from Houston, some 12.45 Mb were loaded across five ports – the highest volume since the US crude export ban was lifted in late 2015.
Russia’s single largest export pipeline to the EU, Nord Stream 1, will remain unavailable this winter. The pipeline’s unplanned outage was extended until April. The EU is striving to replace the lost Nord Stream 1 supplies and overall most of the lost Russian pipeline supplies with global LNG.
Oil markets have rallied last week despite a yet still hawkish tone from Jerome Powell, the FED governor. Rumours around China potentially lifting its sticky zero-covid policy have helped propel front-month prices for Brent by 6% in four days to just under $99/bbl. However, markets could be jumping the gun too early. Chinese authorities have tempered some hope about a turnaround in the country’s zero-covid policy.
Front month calendar spreads show that Friday's selloff hit crude harder than products. That being said, hedge funds likely continued to liquidate long positions in ICE gasoil, after selling 6,200 contracts in the week ending November 15th.
Crude ton-miles began the year trending below the five-year average, but since VLCC exports began to rise in June, growth has been rapid. While the order of the major VLCC routes has been consistent compared with previous years, there have been upheavals in the Suezmax and Aframax markets following the Russian war in Ukraine. Crude tanker demand is on course to finish the year on a high, but the prospects for next year are less rosy.
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