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Watch: Market Movers Europe, Aug 5: Oil market reports expected; difficult earning season for steel

In this week's Platts Market Movers with Mark Pengelly, oil markets are on the lookout as the IEA is to publish its monthly report on Friday, and Platts OPEC survey is expected on Tuesday. Steel giant Thyssenkrupp's quarterly result will shine light on a difficult earning season for steel. EU carbon prices continue trending up, as thermal coal market is oversupplied. Finally, the sugar market closely watches the results of the first round of sugar beet sampling announced this week.

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In this week's highlights: A difficult earnings season for Europe's steelmakers continues; carbon emissions prices are set to remain buoyant; and will sugar beet tests leave a sweet or a sour taste in the market's mouth?

But first, the oil market will be eying the publication of the International Energy Agency's monthly oil market report Friday for indications of market direction.

It comes as supply and demand are both under pressure.

US President Donald Trump announced last week he would be levying a 10% tariff on 300 billion dollars' worth of Chinese goods from September 1.

He threatened future levies unless Chinese President Xi Jingping accelerates steps to reach a trade deal.

The comments triggered the sharpest one-day drop in crude prices in four years on demand fears.

Elsewhere, there's reduced production from OPEC and continued uncertainty around maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran said it had seized a vessel carrying 700,000 liters of smuggled fuel in the Persian Gulf Sunday.

S&P Global Platts may shed some light on the supply outlook with the publication of its monthly OPEC survey Tuesday.

This should give some indication as to whether Saudi Arabia is cutting any further and the impact of an outage at the key Sharara field on Libyan production.

In European steel, earnings season continues this week with results generally affected by weak demand as well as high imports and costs.

The main focus will be on engineering and steel giant Thyssenkrupp when it publishes its earnings Thursday.

The market will be looking for signs of how the company's strategy will develop after the European Commission blocked its plans to merge with Tata Steel Europe in May on competition grounds.

Any clues from ThyssenKrupp on when it might hold an IPO for its elevators business will be eagerly sought.
Analysts have described the unit as the German company's "crown jewel." As far as steel goes, CEO Guido Kerkhoff said the company may seek partners for some operations after the proposed merger with Tata fell apart.

One cost Europe's steelmakers have to worry about is the price of emissions allowances.

EU allowance prices hit a 13-year high in July, and traders will be watching closely this week to see if prices break above the psychologically important 30 euros a metric ton mark.

The carbon market faces tight supply in August, with governments set to cut auction supply by 56% from July.

Total primary supply in August is expected to drop to a little over 29 million metric tons from slightly over 67 million in July.

Higher carbon prices are already pushing Europe's power generators away from coal and lignite toward cleaner fuels, including natural gas, wind, solar, nuclear and hydroelectric.

No surprise then, that the European thermal coal market is oversupplied.

This week, the coal market will be closely watching imports of Russian coal from the Baltic region.

Tighter supply is expected, which market sources say could lift thermal coal prices from close to multi-year lows.

The supply cut is understood to be a result of Russian export prices being close to, or even below, the cost of production.

Sources say this could be part of a wider supply-side rationalization in the global thermal coal market.

Russian coal accounted for more than half of imports into the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub in 2018, so any cut from the region should provide some support.

And finally, the sugar market will be closely watching the results of the first round of sugar beet sampling, which will be announced this week.

Tough growing conditions during the recent heatwave have threatened to reduce sugar beet yields, in a year in which European planted area has also been reduced.

If yields do fall on the year, it could leave production below the 17.6 million metric tons produced in the 2018-19 season, pushing the market into a deficit.

MARS, the European Commission's crop monitoring unit, has already forecast sugar beet yields will be 1.7% below the five-year average.

That's 73.9 metric tons a hectare.

That's it for now. Thanks for kicking off your Monday with us, and have a great week ahead.