Dry Bulk Commodity News (July 5, 2018)

Black Sea grain producers have been showing mixed results so far this year. An ongoing dry period throughout the region could adversely impact the harvest in 2018 with experts saying it may affect Ukraine’s harvest by as much as 50%. Russia recently revealed that its exports over the past 12-month period amounted to 51.2 Mt, a 48% increase from the previous season. Russia conversely expects to see lower results this year with domestic agriculture agencies estimating the crop will be as much as 15% lower this year than last year due to poor weather conditions. Last year’s 134 Mt harvest was an all-time record and unlikely to be bested in the near term. Reductions in volume this year may be even lower than previously expected with analysts Sov­Ekon having reduced their estimates for the year from 200 Mt to 124 Mt. IKAR reduced its estimates for the Russian grain crop from 117 Mt to 114 Mt.

Strong consumption of coal in Asia has boosted de­mand for Australian thermal coal this year, this week pushing the spot price for prices at Newcastle to US$ 120/mt FOB, the highest they’ve been in six years. Demand has been brisk to China, which con­tinues to burn coal for power and industry, as well as Japan, which buys 40% of Australia’s total thermal coal exports for its own utilities. The price surge has been further exacerbated by limited supply from mines, many of which have closed or wound down operations in recent years, even as the summer months are demanding more power consumption due to rising cooling requirements around the globe.

The EU is to make a ruling on whether to lift anti-dumping duties on Russian ammonium nitrate following the results of two interim revives on AN duties on Russian exported product last year. The results are expected in early-mid August. At issue is a current duty on Russian AN, which is considered significantly cheaper than European AN, with duties ranging from EUR 24/mt to EUR 47/mt, depend­ing on trade conditions. One argument for lifting the duties would be providing cheaper fertilizer costs for European farmers. The first AN anti-dumping meas­ures were issued in 1995 and have been intermit­tently reinstated at different periods ever since.

Prices for Turkish scrap imports remained largely stable in the past week after a period of increasing in the last weeks of June. There are reports, however, that at least one buyer of auto bundle scrap increased its buy price to about US$ 331/mt FOB last week.

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