In this list
Electric Power | Energy Transition | Natural Gas | Oil | Metals | Petrochemicals | Shipping

Commodity Tracker: 5 charts to watch this week

Shipping | Marine Fuels

Platts Bunkerwire

Energy | Electric Power | Oil | Refined Products | Metals | Non-Ferrous | Steel | Shipping | Containers

Market Movers Americas, Oct. 2-6: Regulatory talks ongoing for power, metals markets

Oil | Energy Transition | Energy

APPEC 2024

Metals | Energy | Energy Transition | Oil | Non-Ferrous | Renewables | Crude Oil

Fragmented markets from geopolitical conflict threaten to throw energy transition off track

Energy | Oil | Shipping | Marine Fuels

Bunker Fuel Price Assessment

Metals | Energy | Coal | Energy Transition | Electric Power | LNG | Natural Gas | Steel | Steel Raw Materials | Coking Coal | Emissions | Carbon | Electricity | Renewables

Commodity Tracker: 5 charts to watch this week

For full access to real-time updates, breaking news, analysis, pricing and data visualization subscribe today.

Subscribe Now

Commodity Tracker: 5 charts to watch this week

  • Featuring
  • S&P Global Commodity Insights
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power Energy Transition Natural Gas Oil Metals Petrochemicals Shipping
  • Tags
  • United States

Low-carbon methanol's growing popularity as an alternative bunker fuel has spurred the interest of producers. In pricing, mined uranium rose to its highest level in at least four years, while lower gas prices are putting pressure on drilling activity in the Haynesville Shale. India's steel production capacity and US plant-based protein exports are also in focus.

1. Methanol forecast to be top low-carbon bunker fuel within this decade

What's happening? The maritime industry has been seeking alternative fuels to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, and methanol has emerged as a front-runner. In its reference case, S&P Global Commodity Insights expects low-carbon methanol demand from the shipping sector to jump from 94,700 mt in 2022 to nearly 2.5 million mt in 2030. SunGas Renewables, Carbon Sink and WasteFuel, three new US-based producers, said they target to produce up to 4.4 million mt/year later this decade and in the 2030s. More of their planned sites will be in the US, where the Inflation Reduction Act is expected to offer large subsidies to clean hydrogen and carbon capture projects.

What's next? The US companies, like many other aspiring green methanol producers, are planning to commit large chunks of their volumes to A.P. Moller-Maersk. The Danish container line has invested in 36 containerships that can burn methanol, all to be delivered by the end of 2027. To achieve its interim goal of halving emissions per transported container from 2020 levels by 2030, Maersk estimated it would need at least 5 million mt/year of green fuels. More deals could be announced in the coming months and years as the size of methanol-capable fleet continues to grow.

Related content: Global initiatives shaping the future of green methanol production

2. High demand pushes uranium to hit record price

What's happening? The price of mined uranium rose to the highest in at least four years, climbing 8% the week ending Sept. 15 to $66.30/lb, as an investment fund buying physical uranium raised tens of millions of dollars to spend on purchases. Investors have bid up the price of uranium in the form of U3O8 when the Canadian investment fund has raised cash. U3O8 rose to the highest since Platts began assessing the material in 2019. Platts is part of S&P Global.

What's next? Some market participants believe more financial investors are likely to enter the market for physical uranium, driven by positive news in the nuclear sector and supply concerns. U3O8 prices have increased for 10 weeks straight as utilities, producers, intermediaries and financials see high demand and low supply heading into Q4. Many governments and private companies see an increasing role for nuclear power in the fight against climate change, and a recent report from the World Nuclear Association says longer lifetimes for nuclear plants and limited uranium supplies will require investment in new mines.

3. Lower Henry Hub gas prices pressure Haynesville drilling activity

What's happening? Lower gas prices in 2023 continue to put pressure on drilling activity in the Haynesville Shale. Year to date, benchmark Henry Hub gas has averaged about $2.57/MMBtu in the NYMEX prompt futures market and just $2.44/MMBtu in the daily cash market, data from S&P Global shows. After reaching a record-high 85 rigs in late February, the number of drilling rigs in the Haynesville has moved steadily lower this year along with new well starts and completions.

What's next? Gas production in the Haynesville Shale is coming under pressure recently as in-basin activity there slows. In September, modeled output has dropped below 16 Bcf/d on average – down from late summer highs around 16.3 Bcf/d. Assuming the Haynesville's slowdown persists through Q4, gas production there may continue to stagnate or even decline modestly. Considering pipeline capacity limitations in the Appalachian Shale basin, it seems likely that the Permian could emerge as the US gas market's growth engine heading into 2024.

4. India's steel capacity could hit 200 million mt/year by 2030

What's happening? India's crude steel production capacity is on track to breach the 200 million mt/year mark by end-2023, according to S&P Global analysts, underpinned by expansion plans from established producers including JSW Steel and Tata Steel India. This is 45% higher than current levels, but lower than the government target of 300 million mt/year of crude steel capacity by 2030.

What's next? S&P Global has forecast Indian GDP at 6.9% in 2025 and 7.0% in 2026 and believes India will overtake Japan and Germany to become the world's third largest economy by 2030. This economic growth outlook supports India's stronger steel production and consumption. But there would need to be a slew of new project announcements made in the next year or two for the government's 300 million mt/year mark to be in any way realistic. Long lead times are involved in building new facilities, and a lack of access to land and complex approval processes have been perennial hurdles in India.

5. US plant-based protein exports fall 20% on year in Q2: Global Trade Atlas

What's happening? US plant-based protein export volume and value in Q2 fell 20% year on year and 12% year on year to 16,613 mt and $161.3 million, respectively, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence's Global Trade Atlas. The decline in exports is due to waning demand for plant-based meat, which is a result of inflation and negative perceptions of value. Average export prices for US plant-based proteins rose 10% year on year to $9.71/kg in Q2. Key markets of US plant-based protein in Q2 include Canada (5,798 mt), Norway (1,966 mt), and Mexico (1,220 mt).

What's next? While analysis by US cooperative bank CoBank suggests that sales of plant-based meat peaked in 2020, growing competition and scaling up production is likely to reduce prices for plant-based meats, even if they may not achieve parity with animal-based proteins. Consumer concerns also remain surrounding plant-based protein's nutritional content due to the often highly processed nature of many such products.

Learn more about our Food and Agricultural Commodities coverage

Reporting and analysis by Max Lin, William Freebairn, Jennifer Gray, J. Robinson, Paul Bartholomew, Eugene Ong