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Market Movers Europe, June 4-8: Iran sanctions focus of oil meetings; tariffs trump carbon at European Steel Day

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Watch: Market Movers Europe, June 4-8: Iran sanctions focus of oil meetings; tariffs trump carbon at European Steel Day

US tariffs on imported steel and aluminum are likely to take center stage as industry leaders gather in Brussels later this week for European Steel Day 2018.


This leads us to our social media question: What will be the market impact of Europe's response on steel? Join our conversations on Twitter - use #PlattsMM and connect with us.


The oil industry's attention will be focused on the impact of renewed sanctions on Iran by the Trump Administration as S&P Global Platts hosts its 11th Annual Crude Oil Summit in London.


Elsewhere, in the container market, shipping lines have sought to cover their increased costs by hitting customers with emergency bunker surcharges.


Finally, in generating fuels, markets are expected to gain greater clarity this week on the prospects for new nuclear power plants in Great Britain.

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Video Transcript


In this week’s highlights: The oil market will be watching reactions to the return of US sanctions on Iran; fuel surcharges are making waves in the container shipping sector; and a key government decision looms for the British nuclear industry.


But first: US tariffs on imported steel and aluminum are likely to take center stage as industry leaders gather in Brussels later this week for European Steel Day 2018, hosted by European steel association Eurofer. The tariff discussion will probably upstage the agenda’s focus on sustainability and low-carbon innovation.


Beyond the conference, markets will be watching and waiting for the EU’s response. The bloc is already seeking WTO intervention against the US as a result of the tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum imports. Further details of additional safeguards and countermeasures are likely to be revealed this week.


This leads us to our social media question: What will be the market impact of Europe’s response on steel?


Send us your thoughts using the hashtag #PlattsMM.


And it is not only the metals sector which will be eying the effect of US trade measures. The oil industry’s attention will be focused on the impact of renewed sanctions on Iran by the Trump Administration as S&P Global Platts hosts its 11th Annual Crude Oil Summit in London. Tullow Oil CEO Paul McDade and Goldman Sachs’ head of commodity research Jeff Currie will give keynote speeches at the event.


On Saturday, the Saudi, Kuwaiti and UAE energy ministers met in Kuwait, where they were expected to discuss increasing oil supplies to offset the potential impact on Iranian output from sanctions, as well as the crisis in Venezuela. But ministers were tight-lipped and would not confirm whether they had discussed possible production increases.


Crude prices, which are hovering close to 80 dollars a barrel, are increasing pressure on OPEC and its allies in an agreement to cut production to pump more oil.


However, there are 24 countries in the alliance. Getting them all to sign up to a quota change is easier said than done.


Buoyant oil prices are also being felt in the shipping industry through sharply higher fuel prices. ICE Brent futures began the year at close to 67 dollars a barrel but recently breached the 80 dollars mark for the first time in three and a half years, as you can see in this chart.


In the container market, shipping lines have sought to cover their increased costs by hitting customers with emergency bunker surcharges. Several container lines have imposed surcharges in the past two weeks to compensate for rising fuel bills. However, the Global Shippers’ Forum trade body has called the move an unwelcome legacy of the cartel era. It argues that existing pricing arrangements already reflect higher bunker costs.


Finally, in generating fuels, markets are expected to gain greater clarity this week on the prospects for new nuclear power plants in Great Britain.


Japanese conglomerate Hitachi has proposed to build a new plant in Wylfa, North Wales, and a statement on the project is expected from the UK government. This could mean the UK backs a second new nuclear plant after EDF's Hinkley Point C, which was approved in 2016 and is now under construction. What’s different this time is that Hitachi appears to need the government to take a financial stake in Wylfa to proceed, as well as extending loan guarantees and a 35-year power purchase contract.


Thanks for kicking off your Monday with us, and have a great week ahead.