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Watch: Market Movers Asia, Oct 8-12: Iran OSP expected; Norsk Hydro's Brazil refinery to resume alumina production

China is due to announce its September trade data this week and markets are watching closely to see if its crude oil imports will extend the growth momentum seen in August.

Asian crude oil buyers are digesting new monthly official selling prices released by ADNOC and Saudi Aramco last week. Iran is due to release its its prices later this week amid ongoing uncertainty due to the impending US sanctions.

High domestic gasoil prices are driving Chinese buyers to keep buying palm oil biodiesel into the winter season for gasoil blending.

The US-China trade war and and tight soybeans supplies in Brazil are starting to push up Chinese soybeans prices this week.

Norsk Hydro's alumina refinery in Brazil granted exceptional authorization to resume 50% operations.

View Full Transcript

This week industry players eye fresh direction from China as the country returns to the markets after a week-long holiday, the US-China trade war plays out in the soybean markets, and markets assess the impact of Norsk Hydro's alumina operations coming back online in Brazil.

China is due to announce its September trade data this week and markets are watching closely to see if its crude oil imports will extend the growth momentum seen in August.

Also in oil, Asian crude oil buyers are digesting new monthly official selling prices released by ADNOC and Saudi Aramco last week, and are waiting for Iran ‘s prices later this week amid ongoing uncertainty on cargo flows because of Washington's decision to re-impose sanctions.

Due to impending these sanctions, surging bunker prices and a widening WTI-Brent spread, VLCC Persian Gulf-China freight rate hit another year's high last Friday, breaching the 80 Worldscale points mark.

Freight rates of Asia Pacific Panamax and Supramax are expected to be stronger this week, with the Chinese back from holidays and tighter vessel availabilities with the poor weather conditions in north Asia.

In agriculture, high domestic gasoil prices are driving Chinese buyers to keep buying palm oil biodiesel or PME cargoes into the winter season for gasoil blending. PME can cause engine clogging in cold weather, but the PO-GO spread between palm oil futures and ICE Gasoil futures has gone into minus $230s/mt territory, so despite blending difficulties, buyers are still buying PME.

Malaysian producers are sold out for November and are expected to offer December cargoes, while Indonesian producers are not offering anything yet. They are busy with the extended Indonesian domestic biodiesel mandate.

The US-China trade war continues to play out in the world of soybeans and tight soybeans supplies in Brazil are starting to push up Chinese soybeans prices this week. CFR China basis for December shipment has increased by about 8.5% 30 cents/bushel on week to 382 cents/bushel over November Chicago futures contract. Price increases are expected to continue as supply gets tighter.

To help understand the changes in grains markets due to the trade war, please join us at the S & P Global Platts Asia Pacific Grains Forum on October 9.

In metals, Norsk Hydro has been granted an exceptional authorization to resume 50% operations at its 6 million mt/year Alunorte alumina refinery in Brazil. The Platts Australian alumina price gained 30% on the week to $600/mt last Friday. All eyes are on the effect the impact of how this would impact the prices in the coming week. The social media question of the week is How do you expect alumina prices to move given the announcement?

And that's it for this week. Thanks for kicking off your Monday with us. Have a great week ahead!