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Market Movers Asia, Dec 10-14: OPEC coalition agrees to cut output; refiners, traders focus on Feb crude oil loading programs

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Watch: Market Movers Asia, Dec 10-14: OPEC coalition agrees to cut output; refiners, traders focus on Feb crude oil loading programs

This week, oil markets will be assessing the impact of OPEC and its allies' agreement to cut output by 1.2 million b/d, under a preliminary deal reached on December 7. Iran, Libya and Venezuela will be effectively exempted from the cuts. The 24-country OPEC and non-OPEC coalition will meet in Vienna again in April to assess progress amid concern over the health of the global economy and the impact of trade wars on demand.

Meanwhile, Asian oil refiners and traders will be shifting their focus on February crude oil loading programs. Saudi Aramco last week cut the price differential for January-loading Arab Light crude bound for Asia by $1/b from the previous official selling price, making it attractive to Asian buyers.

The petrochemicals market is looking at China's Dalian Commodity Exchange, which has launched June to November 2019 futures contract for monoethylene glycol. Market views were divided on whether the new launch could boost market confidence amid the already bearish sentiment.

In agriculture, Australian premium white wheat prices hit a one-month high on the back of reduced crop production and tighter supply, despite the harvest being in full swing.

In thermal coal, several Chinese buyers are anticipating that Beijing's import restrictions for seaborne thermal coal cargoes will be lifted at the end of December.

View Full Transcript

The highlights this week: OPEC cuts production by 3% for six months, Australian APW wheat prices hit one-month high despite the harvest season, and Chinese thermal coal market sees prices rebounding.

Let's start with oil: OPEC has committed to cut output by 800,000 barrels per day, while the 10 non-OPEC producers led by Russia will slash another 400,000 b/d for six months from January, under a preliminary deal reached on December 7. Iran, Libya and Venezuela will be effectively exempt from the cuts. The 24-country OPEC and non-OPEC coalition will meet in Vienna again in April to assess progress amid concern over the health of the global economy and the impact of trade wars on demand.

So here's the social media question of the week: do you think the 1.2 million barrels per day cut is enough for crude prices to recover? Share your thoughts on Twitter with the hashtag PlattsMM.

Still in oil, Asian oil refiners and traders will be shifting their focus on February crude oil loading programs, as market digests news on the OPEC and non-OPEC meeting. One of the key highlights is Saudi Arabia's level of incremental term supplies seen in recent months for January. Last week, Saudi Aramco cut the price differential for January-loading Arab Light crude bound for Asia by $1/b from the previous official selling price. Aramco's steep cuts on its OSP for the January loading program is looking attractive to Asian buyers and Asian importers of Iranian oil are also considering taking up incremental supplies from Saudi Arabia to make up for the supply shortfall in Iran.

In petrochemicals, China's Dalian Commodity Exchange has launched June to November 2019 futures contract for monoethylene glycol on December 10. Market views were divided on whether the new launch could boost market confidence amid the already bearish sentiment, though most people were not as optimistic.

Moving to agriculture, Australian premium white wheat prices hit a one-month high on the back of reduced crop production and tighter supply, despite the harvest being in full swing. Due to the drought on Australia's east coast earlier this year, wheat prices have jumped on concerns of grain supply tightening as a result. Sources said selling interest from Australian growers appear to be slow this year, which could be a possible reason for higher wheat prices.

And finally in thermal coal, several Chinese thermal coal buyers are anticipating that Beijing's import restrictions for seaborne cargoes will be lifted at the end of December. Chinese buyers have booked some December loading Capesize cargoes of FOB Newcastle 5,500 NAR thermal coal, with prices rebounding to $60/mt FOB last week in the spot market.

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