The highlights this week with S&P Global Platts Metals Editor Fay Gao: China is set to release GDP growth, industrial output and fixed asset investment data for the first half of the year on July 15, along with other key economic indicators; indicators on the outlook for Asia's bunker market and the International Maritime Organization's impending sulfur cap rules in focus at the Platts Bunker and Shipping Asia Conference in Singapore; Chinese steel profit margins amid iron ore price rally and domestic steel supply glut; and seasonal autumn demand lull in the Asian LNG market is facing unexpected challenges.
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This week: China to release half-year GDP growth and production data, a key shipping conference gets under way in Singapore, LNG market keeps an eye on JKM-TTF spreads, and profit margins under pressure for steelmakers in China.
But first, Beijing is set to release GDP growth, industrial output and fixed asset investment data for the first half of the year on July 15, along with other key economic indicators. The government has set China's GDP growth target in the 6 to 6.5 per cent range for 2019, down slightly from 6.5 per cent for 2018. This implies that growth in commodities consumption will also be slower this year. Market participants will also be watching the numbers closely for cues on the outlook for the Chinese economy in the second half of the year amid ongoing trade tensions with the US.
In oil an shipping, market participants will be keenly watching developments at the Bunker and Shipping Conference that opens in Singapore on July 15. Delegates will be looking for indicators on the outlook for Asia's bunker market and the IMO's impending environmental rules for global shipping, as well as risk mitigation plans as the deadline for the IMO's global sulfur limit rule approaches, and ship owner perspectives on compliance strategies.
Moving on to steel, and Beijing is scheduled to publish China's crude steel output data for June on July 15. The country's crude steel output hit an all-time high at 89 million metric tons in May. However, due to a recent rally in iron ore prices and a domestic steel supply glut, profit margins for Chinese steelmakers have been under pressure recently, and industry players will be watching raw material prices closely this week.
So, with steel prices rangebound and costs rising, do you expect this latest data to show China's crude steel output continued to rise in June? Join our conversation with the hashtag PlattsMM.
And finally, in LNG, the seasonal autumn demand lull in the Asian LNG market is facing unexpected challenges this year due to a resurgence in European gas prices and increased portfolio optimization demand. Market players will be closely watching the JKM-TTF price spread this week, which could determine if spot LNG prices continue to linger at multi-month lows or experience a rebound.
Still on LNG, and the 2020s look set to present LNG stakeholders with immense opportunities. As increasingly elastic supply and demand challenges traditional business models, and the trend towards LNG commoditization gathers pace, what lies ahead? Find out in S&P Global Platts latest special report, featuring market insight and analysis, infographics and exclusive interviews with International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol and International Gas Research president Joe M. Kang.
Thanks for kicking off your Monday with us. Have a great week ahead!