The highlights on S&P Global Platts Market Movers - Asia with Agriculture Editor Mugunthan Kesavan:
*Brent crude futures rise above $70/b as Ras Tanura attack extends rally
*Asian refiners hopeful for resumption in Iranian oil trade
*Ten years on, lessons from Fukushima in focus as Japan plans to become a carbon neutral country by 2050
*Strong ABS demand drives prices to record high
*Buyers await Brazil's Conab and USDA's WASDE data for updates on grain and oilseeds supply and demand
This week: Oil prices in focus as Brent crude futures rise above $70, refiners start preparing for Iran oil's return to the market, and we'll also remember the 10th anniversary of Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster.
But first, ICE front-month Brent futures start the week above $70 per barrel – the first time since January 2020 – after news of an attack at Saudi Arabian oil facilities. No damage was reported.
The attacks come as oil prices continue to climb following the OPEC+ decision last week to rollover supply cuts amid recovering demand. The move will keep about 8 million barrels per day of crude production off the market.
The approval of the US stimulus plan was also seen as a factor supporting the oil price rally. Fiscal relief in the US is widely expected to energize US economic recovery, improving demand for oil and energy.
Meanwhile, Asian refiners and petrochemical makers have started to prepare for a possible resumption in buying Iranian crude. This is amid growing optimism that tensions between Washington and Tehran could improve under the Biden administration. Our sources said several Asian oil companies and trading firms have recently started to track back and study the recent months' Iranian crude OSP differentials and Platts South Pars condensate assessments, which you can see on this graph, to analyze the adequate market value of Iranian oil.
Do you expect a thaw in the US-Iran relationship in the near future? Share your thoughts on Twitter with the hashtag PlattsMM.
Now, March 11 marks the 10th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The incident was triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and the subsequent tsunami that killed thousands and displaced millions.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster was a turning point in Japan's energy sector as it shut the country's entire fleet of nuclear power plants.
Fukushima was also a gamechanger for the global LNG market. It forced Japan to use gas-fired power generation at very high costs to make up for lost nuclear power. The incident pushed global LNG market mechanisms to evolve to meet sudden disruptions in supply and demand.
Lessons from Fukushima are now significant as Japan plans to become a carbon neutral country by 2050. Later this year policy makers will decide on a revised Strategic Energy Plan by 2030 that lays out the roadmap for its energy future.
Explore the state of nuclear power in Japan and beyond using the Energy Transition Atlas on our website.
Moving to polymers, market participants in the styrenics chain will closely watch acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene prices.
The CFR China price reached a record high of $2,460/mt at the Asian close on March 3 -- the highest since the weekly assessment was first launched in 1996. The strength in CFR China ABS values was driven by persistently strong demand and feedstock prices. Asia has been experiencing a tightness in ABS supply since the third quarter of 2020 as demand continues to outstrip supply.
Finally in agriculture, feed buyers in Asia, who account for over 40% of coarse cereals and 63% of major oilseeds imports, will be eagerly awaiting Brazil's Conab and USDA's WASDE data for any change in grain and oilseeds supply and demand projections, especially for soybean and corn. Also any fresh cases of African Swine Fever in China could weigh on soybean prices.
Thanks for kicking off your Monday with us. Have a great week ahead!