In this week's Platts Market Movers Asia with Yuchen Huo: The Middle East tanker attack could tick off a bullish momentum for clean products rates. Participants would track the situation closely for new signs of volatility.
Also in Asia's commodity markets:
*Chinese refiners wait for new oil export quotas (00:50)
*Two-ethyl hexanol prices in China hit record highs (01:33)
*Asian spot LNG crosses $15/MMBtu (02:07)
*Iron ore prices slump (02:40)
37th Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference (APPEC 2021) | September 27-29, 2021
APPEC 2021 is Platts Asia's first hybrid event, featuring more than 100 speakers from over 20 countries, with a single platform for global delegates and exclusive sessions with top decision makers. Tune in as we shape and map the future of energy as an APPEC community.View agenda
This week: Record high CFR China two-ethyl hexanol prices in focus, Asian spot LNG prices cross 15 dollars per MMBtu, and China's steel output curbs roil iron ore prices.
But first, market participants said the drone attack on a tanker off the coast of Oman July 29 has imparted fresh bullishness into the clean tankers market.
Mercer Street, the Liberian-flagged unladen oil products tanker operated by Israel-controlled Zodiac Maritime, was heading to Fujairah in the UAE to load diesel over the weekend for delivery into East Africa at 130 Worldscale points for a trading company.
Owners are now seeking rates above w100 on the PG-Japan route, said a source with one among them. The route was July 28 assessed by Platts at w95.
On to oil, Chinese refiners and trading firms are eagerly waiting for the release of new oil product export quotas for 2021, as many have already used up their first batch of quotas.
Refinery and trading sources in China told S&P Global Platts that they expect Beijing to release the second batch of quotas soon.
The total export allocation volume is forecast to be as low as 4.5 million metric ton to as high as 9.5 million metric ton.
Market participants across Asia will watch the matter closely, as the export quotas typically set the tone for trends in regional margins for middle distillates like fuel oil, diesel and jet fuel/kerosene, crack spreads and spot cargo price differentials.
Moving to petrochemicals, the price of CFR China two-ethyl hexanol -- used in the production of plasticizers, coatings, adhesives and other specialty chemicals -- hit a record high of 2,300 dollars per metric ton on July 29 -- the highest since Platts began assessing the product in June 1996.
According to industry sources, four 2-EH plants, including China's Shandong Bluesail Chemical, Tianjin Bohua Yongli and two others located in eastern China, were planning to shut for turnarounds or reducing run rates in August.
In LNG, Asian spot LNG prices are on a tear, with the Platts JKM for September crossing the 15 dollars per MMBtu mark the previous week.
This is the highest spot LNG price for peak summer since 2013 -- driven by a production outage at the PNG LNG project in Papua New Guinea, and warmer temperatures across the region.
Many Asian utilities are already feeling the pinch of high LNG feedstock prices as they can't pass on high costs to consumers due to government regulated downstream power prices.
In metals, China continues to rein in steel output -- leading to a slump in iron ore prices.
The country removed VAT rebates on a number of steel products Aug. 1, following a similar move earlier in May.
The Platts 62% Fe Iron Ore fines index has dropped 41.80 dollars per dry metric ton since July 15 to reach 180.50 dollars per dmt on July 30, as demand from Chinese mills plummeted.
China has stepped up efforts to cut steel output across the country as it aims to keep 2021 production below that of 2020 in a bid to curb carbon emissions.
For our social media question this week: Do you think the iron price will fall further on production controls in China? Share your thoughts with the hashtag PlattsMM.
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Thanks for kicking off your Monday with us. Have a great week ahead.