Bitumen News

Welcome to our comprehensive coverage on the global bitumen market, where we delve into the latest trends, price fluctuations, and supply chain insights that shape the industry. In this section, you’ll find up-to-date Bitumen News, offering a detailed analysis of market movements, economic impacts, and the geopolitical dynamics affecting trade routes and pricing. Our expertly curated content aims to provide industry professionals with in-depth understanding and forecasts, highlighting key factors driving supply and demand. Whether you’re tracking regional price changes, exploring strategic market predictions, or seeking insights into global supply dynamics, our dedicated bitumen section offers all the essential news and analysis to stay ahead in the industry.
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Bitume News related to the year 2024

Step into the future of the bitumen industry with our vibrant and insightful journey through the global bitumen landscape of 2024. Here, we unlock the latest trends, navigate through the ebbs and flows of pricing, and unravel the complexities of the supply chain that define this dynamic market. Our Bitumen News section is a treasure trove of meticulously analyzed data, offering a lens into the market movements, economic ramifications, and the geopolitical forces shaping trade and pricing strategies. Designed for the discerning industry professional, our content is crafted to equip you with a profound understanding and predictive insights, spotlighting the pivotal elements influencing supply and demand. Join us as we explore the nuances of regional price shifts, forecast strategic market trends, and offer unparalleled insights into the global supply mechanisms. With our dedicated bitumen segment, you’re always one step ahead, fully prepared to navigate the intricacies of the industry in 2024.

April 2024

April 2024 marks a period of significant evolution in the bitumen industry, reflecting a global landscape influenced by technological advancements, environmental considerations, and shifting market demands. As we navigate through these changes, our update focuses on the critical developments shaping the industry’s future.

Sustainable Practices in the European Market:
Europe continues to lead with initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable and eco-friendly bitumen production and usage. Industry bodies are working towards minimizing the environmental footprint of bitumen, emphasizing the development of green infrastructure and recycling practices. This movement not only aligns with the global agenda for sustainability but also introduces new opportunities for innovation within the sector.

Asian Market Dynamics:
The Asian bitumen market faces a complex interplay of challenges and growth prospects. Despite economic pressures and geopolitical tensions affecting supply chains, there is a notable push towards infrastructure development, driving demand for bitumen across the region. Innovations in bitumen formulations and applications are emerging as key drivers to meet the construction industry’s evolving needs, offering resilience against market volatilities.

Global Trends Influencing Bitumen Supply and Demand:
Globally, the bitumen industry is at a crossroads, with fluctuating oil prices and geopolitical uncertainties impacting supply routes and pricing strategies. However, the global push towards sustainable construction materials has opened new avenues for bitumen modifications, enhancing its appeal in green building projects. Industry players are increasingly investing in research and development to produce eco-friendly and high-performance bitumen products that cater to the modern world’s requirements.

Regulatory Developments:
On the regulatory front, new policies and standards are being introduced to ensure the bitumen industry’s compliance with environmental and safety norms. These regulations are set to redefine production processes, supply chain practices, and project implementations, ensuring that the industry moves towards a more sustainable and responsible operating model.

Future Outlook:
As the bitumen industry continues to evolve, stakeholders are encouraged to embrace innovation, adapt to changing market dynamics, and prioritize sustainability in their operations. The focus on developing advanced bitumen materials and technologies is crucial for staying competitive in a rapidly changing global market.
April 2024 brings a mix of challenges and opportunities for the bitumen industry, highlighting the importance of strategic adaptation and innovation. As we look ahead, the industry’s ability to navigate through these changes will be instrumental in shaping its future trajectory.

February and March 2024

In the dynamic world of construction materials, bitumen has always held a pivotal role due to its indispensable use in road construction, waterproofing, and numerous industrial applications. As we venture deeper into 2024, the bitumen industry is experiencing a whirlwind of changes, influenced by a spectrum of factors ranging from geopolitical tensions to evolving environmental standards. This part delves into the heart of these transformations, offering insights into regional market dynamics, industry challenges, and the strategic shifts shaping the future of bitumen globally.

The European Arena: Unity and Innovation

Europe’s commitment to sustainable and efficient use of bitumen is epitomized by Eurobitume’s efforts to educate and innovate. The association’s dedication to promoting long-term infrastructure maintenance and developing industry standards underscores a proactive approach to ensuring bitumen’s role in future-proofing the continent’s infrastructure.

Asian Markets: Navigating Challenges

The bitumen landscape in Asia-Pacific in 2024 is marked by a blend of opportunity and adversity. Funding constraints in the wake of the pandemic have tightened, impacting infrastructure projects and bitumen demand. Additionally, supply volatility, influenced by geopolitical and economic factors, is introducing a layer of complexity for stakeholders navigating the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets.

Global Insights: A Tapestry of Tensions and Trends

Globally, the bitumen industry stands at a crossroads, with geopolitical unrest and oil price fluctuations casting long shadows over market stability. The ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, coupled with changes in oil export strategies, have ramifications for bitumen supply routes and pricing. Yet, amidst these challenges, there are glimmers of resilience and potential pathways to recovery, particularly as global economies seek to regain momentum post-pandemic.

Regulatory Landscapes: Shaping the Future

In Ghana, the introduction of a regulatory framework for the bitumen industry by the National Petroleum Authority marks a significant step towards enhancing supply chain practices and operational standards. This initiative is indicative of a broader trend towards governance and transparency, pivotal for the industry’s sustainable growth.

Looking Ahead: Strategies for Success

As the bitumen market continues to ebb and flow with the tides of change, stakeholders are tasked with staying agile and informed. Embracing innovation, fostering sustainability, and navigating regulatory environments with foresight are essential strategies for harnessing opportunities and overcoming obstacles.

January 2024

Brent crude oil prices experienced a downward trend in a market scenario where the US dollar index fell by 0.36% and most commodities also saw price declines. This trend was contrary to market expectations and occurred amidst ongoing geopolitical conflicts in the Middle East. Despite OPEC’s production cuts failing to elevate prices, oil prices are heading towards their first annual decline since 2020, with a roughly 10% decrease this year. Oil prices had short-term spikes over the year, primarily due to OPEC’s production cuts, the Israel-Hamas conflict, and expectations of a Federal Reserve interest rate cut in the US. However, increasing signs of crude oil production, especially from non-OPEC countries, along with uncertain demand prospects, have led to falling oil prices.

In December, the markets also faced unexpected developments like Angola’s sudden exit from OPEC, Houthi attacks on ships affecting trade in the Red Sea, and the prospect of prolonged conflict in Gaza. Nevertheless, data published in the first week of 2024 in the United States could significantly impact the market. The focus is on the US labor market report and job opportunity data, followed by key indicators such as the PMI for manufacturing and services in both the US and China, which will influence market perceptions of oil demand. Investors are also examining inflation rates in the Eurozone, including countries like Germany, France, and Italy.

In Iran, the dollar trended upwards due to deteriorating relations between Iran and Russia and conflicts between Iran-backed forces in Iraq and the US, contrasting with previous weeks when dollar exchange was halted. Initially, Iran’s Central Bank aimed to control the free dollar rate and bring it back below 50,000 tomans before continuing its strategy to reduce the gap between the two rates. In the Commodity Exchange, demand was influenced by a drop in base prices of products, with more activity than the previous week, particularly in vacuum transactions, though demand in the export bitumen market remained limited. In Iranian ports, the downward price trend continued, with bitumen trading between $260 to $270 per ton (last week it was $265 to $275 per ton). In other markets, unchanged demand from China and other Asian countries put pressure on the price of bitumen cargoes from Singapore.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Shannon Green, an economist at Wells Fargo, stated that the Federal Reserve of the United States anticipates a minor slowdown in economic growth in 2024. However, this is not considered a significant factor and is seen as a transient issue. Green added that they expect the unemployment rate to continue until mid-next year, with a recession aligned with this trend. Therefore, if a recessionary period occurs next year, it’s predicted that the financial situation of households and some businesses will influence the extent of employment contract renewals, potentially leading to a decrease.

John Kilduff of Again Capital, in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, remarked that despite last week’s rise in crude oil prices, OPEC+ is limited in its actions to support prices. One of the main reasons for this is the unprecedented production of crude oil by the United States. Kilduff noted that the global economic outlook is generally favorable, and the reduction in interest rates by central banks of various countries is aimed at improving this outlook. This will directly impact the demand for oil and energy. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve in the US continues to view interest rates as a key tool in controlling inflation and reducing its spikes in the economy. Nevertheless, a reduction in interest rates alone cannot be seen as a wholly positive sign and may act as a double-edged sword.

Bitume News related to the year 2023

Last Week Of 2023

In the past week, Brent oil prices witnessed an upward trend for the second consecutive week, ending with an approximate 3% weekly increase. While traders attribute this rise to the risky conditions of trading through the Red Sea, the nearly 1% drop in the dollar index should not be overlooked. Anticipations of a U.S. interest rate cut next year have seemingly diminished the outlook for a dollar rise and the possibility of an economic recession. An unexpected decline in the U.S. personal consumption expenditures index and a 12% decrease in new home sales further suggest a potential reduction in inflation, thereby possibly leading to a downward trend in interest rates. Last week’s crude oil price increase occurred amidst a weekly price decline in significant products like gasoline and naphtha, and a less than 1% increase in diesel prices, creating a bleak outlook for sustained crude oil prices. Consequently, Brent oil reached over $80 per barrel on Thursday, influenced by investors focusing on geopolitical tensions in the Red Sea. The U.S. also announced the purchase of 2.1 million barrels of crude oil for immediate delivery in February to replenish its strategic reserves. A notable point last week was the increase in U.S. crude oil production, breaking the record of 13.2 million barrels per day after several months. Analysts highlight this in light of U.S. oil exports aligning with the total production of Saudi Arabia and Russia, raising concerns about the continuous increase in U.S. oil production and the potential for intensified supply competition. In Iran, exchange and free market dollars continued their divergent trends, and on the Commodity Exchange, demand significantly decreased due to a drop in base prices of vacuum bottom. Almost all vacuum transactions were conducted at base price, and in the most significant transaction, the entire 30,000-ton offering of Pars Behin Refinery was traded at base price. After weeks of decline, the downward trend in port prices in Iran halted, with each ton of bitumen trading between $265 and $275. In other markets, stagnant demand from China and other Asian countries pressured Singapore’s bitumen cargo prices.

SUMMARY OF GLOBAL BITUMEN NEWS AND ANALYSIS OF OIL AND ITS DERIVATIVES PRICES

Last week, with the global increase in crude oil and furnace oil prices, the rates of bitumen cargoes in European export ports rose. However, the price situation in other parts of the world, such as Singapore and Iran, continued its downward trend due to oversupply and weak demand. Approaching the New Year and the decrease in construction activities in the northern and central parts of Europe compelled some suppliers to maintain current price levels and others to reduce prices to deplete stocks before the new year. In the Mediterranean region, bitumen cargo rates sharply increased influenced by the rising crude oil prices. This increase came as domestic demand and overall construction and road-building activities are decreasing with the approach of the New Year. The situation in the construction sector in Africa was reported similarly, but the pricing trend was not as clear. In Singapore, due to high inventory levels and insufficient buyers, bitumen cargo prices were under pressure.

WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

India:

In India, signs of improvement were observed in consumption levels due to funding allocations for various projects across several states. Market participants noted that inventory levels remain high in most provinces. The country’s state refineries reduced the prices of VG10 and VG30 bulk and drum cargoes by $17.56.

Singapore:

In Singapore, a surplus of supply over demand and a lack of sufficient purchase orders led to a further decrease in bitumen cargo prices. Last week, the rate for these cargoes fell by $8 to $428.50. The availability of ships also indicates weak demand in the region. Despite all January deliveries to Vietnam and Indonesia being sold, spot cargo availability remains above demand. Importers in Vietnam managed to secure cargoes at more favorable prices from Thai and Middle Eastern exporters, leading to a subdued demand for Singapore’s cargoes. Eventually, bulk cargoes in this country were sold to Malaysia at a refinery door delivery price range of $460 – $480, marking a $5 decrease from the previous week.

East Africa:

In East Africa, disruptions in maritime services to Djibouti and the eastern ports of Africa have occurred due to Houthi forces’ activities in the Red Sea, which is expected to increase shipping costs to these terminals. However, the Republic of Somaliland continues its direct services to the eastern ports of the continent.

West Africa:

In West Africa, cargo prices increased significantly in response to the rise in global prices and concerns about supply amid conflicts in the Red Sea. The premium ratio of FOB Spain and Ivory Coast bitumen cargoes to FOB Mediterranean furnace oil remained unchanged, respectively at minus $10 and plus $100 per ton. Generally, the European and Mediterranean markets have experienced a decrease in activity levels.

South Africa:

In South Africa, the construction sector has suspended its last projects before the New Year holidays. Currently, no transshipment from ships to tanks is taking place in the country’s terminals.

Turkey:

In Turkey, the global increase in crude oil and furnace oil prices led the Tüpraş refinery to raise its cargo prices. The monthly scale of cargo shipments from Russia to this country increased by one-third.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Goldman Sachs analyst Kostin announced that recent economic data indicates inflation is rapidly declining towards the Federal Reserve’s long-term target of 2%. He added that inflation is already near 2% according to some metrics, suggesting the Federal Reserve may need to halt interest rate hikes sooner than investors previously anticipated. Goldman Sachs predicts that the Federal Reserve will reduce interest rates in five stages during 2024, aligning with market expectations. Kostin mentioned that the current economic condition is favorable, with retail sales exceeding market forecasts and unemployment claims lower than expected, demonstrating the resilience and strength of the job market.

Ben Emons of NewEdgeWealth commented on the continued uncertainty among investors regarding higher interest rates and the belief that these rates will remain elevated for some time. However, concerns over inflation, recession, and higher interest rates have diminished in the market. He further noted that the Federal Reserve increased interest rates from zero to over 5% in 2022 primarily to slow inflation. Jerome Powell has indicated that interest rates will be reduced in three phases in the coming year. These rate cuts are expected to shift capital from low-risk assets to higher-risk ones and may also put pressure on the global dollar index.

The First Week Of December 2023

In the past week, Brent crude oil prices continued their downward trend that began on October 23, experiencing approximately a 4% drop. This decrease occurred amid markets reacting to increased risk due to the Houthi attacks on ships passing through the Red Sea, which initially caused gold prices to surge over $2100 for a period. However, events of the past week ultimately led to a negative trend in most commodities, including gold. Factors contributing to the oil price decline include Saudi Arabia’s request for U.S. intervention against the Houthi attacks in Yemen and Saudi Arabia’s reduction in oil prices for its Asian customers. These issues heightened tensions among OPEC+ members, more so than in their meeting two weeks prior.

At the end of the previous week, Putin made a one-day visit to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which could be seen as efforts to maintain OPEC+ objectives. The outcomes of this visit could be observed amid fluctuations in oil prices during one of the busiest economic weeks in the U.S. The upcoming week, on December 12, will see the announcement of U.S. inflation rates, where analysts do not anticipate significant changes. Additionally, on December 13, the Federal Reserve will meet to decide on interest rates, with most analysts expecting the current rate of 5.5% to remain unchanged.

Last week’s key economic data related to U.S. employment figures, which were expected to remain consistent with previous months. However, improvements in employment indices led to a roughly 0.7% increase in the dollar index by the end of the week, slightly strengthening oil prices. These data may provide a more optimistic outlook for traders ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting, suggesting the U.S. economy might withstand another period of high interest rates.

In Iran, the exchange market dollar continued its upward trend, increasing by about 1% weekly. The deputy of the exchange market described this as a natural outcome of supply and demand. However, market participants view the rising exchange rate amidst suppressed free-market dollar rates as indicative of a new decision by the Central Bank. In commodity exchange, the supply and demand for vacuum bottom remained similar to the previous week, reflecting the market’s expectation of stable base rates until the end of December. However, the demand for exported bitumen remained weak, with only 24,000 tons of the 60,000 tons offered being traded.

In the vacuum bottom market, the offerings of 70,000 tons by Isfahan’s oil refinery and 50,000 tons by Bandar Abbas’s oil refinery were traded above the base price but close to the previous week’s rates. In the exported bitumen market, the most significant offerings were 16,000 tons by Pasargad Oil and 7,000 tons by Jey Oil of Isfahan, where weak competition led to trades at base prices and below the offered volume. In Iranian ports, the downward trend in prices, along with the unchanged stance of the Indian market, resulted in a price drop compared to the previous week, with trades occurring at $270 to $280 per ton (previously $265 to $280).

SUMMARY OF GLOBAL BITUMEN NEWS AND ANALYSIS OF OIL AND ITS DERIVATIVES PRICES

Last week, there was a noticeable decline in the value of bitumen shipments in various parts of the world, including Singapore, Europe, the Mediterranean region, and Africa. This ongoing downward trend in prices can be attributed to reduced demand and a decrease in the global value of crude oil and bunker oil. In Europe, bulk shipments saw a reduction of around 40 euros, placing the prices of shipments in Central Europe in the range of 525 – 536 euros delivered at the refinery door. Similarly, in the Mediterranean region, prices were pressured following the trend seen elsewhere, owing to the reduced prices of crude and bunker oil.

In Western Africa, where construction activities have surged, there has been an acceleration in demand growth. However, bulk bitumen prices in Singapore continued to decline due to a persistent lack of change in demand. In China, the internal prices of shipments also decreased due to a reduction in demand from infrastructure projects and budget provisions by the government.

WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

India:

In India, despite high reserves and reduced demand for imports, consumption levels remained unchanged from the previous week. However, there was a steady demand for barrel shipments from the Middle East, with deliveries scheduled until the end of January and February of the next year. Despite budgeting challenges, no immediate change in demand is anticipated. However, due to contractors’ push to complete projects before the winter season, consumption in the northern regions experienced an increase.

Singapore:

In Singapore, the prices of shipments faced a decline due to stagnant demand conditions, with most buyers looking to fulfill their needs at lower prices. Despite a decrease in some productions in December, storage levels remained adequate with no observed shortage. Market participants showed interest in Middle Eastern shipments, seeking more favorable pricing. Some still believe that bitumen prices have not hit rock bottom and expect the downward trend to continue. Last week, there were no significant orders from Indonesian importers, and Singapore’s export shipments to Vietnam also saw limited demand. At the end of the week, tanker shipments from Singapore were sold to Malaysia in the price range of 495 – 507 USD delivered at the refinery.

East Africa:

In East Africa, the rates for imported bitumen barrel shipments from Bandar Abbas and Jebel Ali to the eastern African terminals declined.

West Africa:

In West Africa, as of December 8th, there was a significant drop in the price of Mediterranean bunker oil and a decrease in crude oil futures, leading to a sharp reduction in the rates of imported shipments to the terminals of this region. The premium ratios of shipments from Spain and Ivory Coast to Mediterranean FOB bunker oil were respectively at negative 10 and positive 100 USD per ton. Despite these changes, the rates for maritime transport to the terminals in this area remained unchanged. Favorable weather conditions in this part of Africa led to an increased demand for imports to Nigerian terminals.

South Africa:

In South Africa, the prices of domestic shipments sharply decreased, ranging between 14,600 – 14,900 Rand per ton delivered at the refinery. Market participants primarily believe that the Natref refinery’s productions will be temporarily halted.

Turkey:

In Turkey, last week, the Tupras refinery reduced the prices of its domestic shipments in two phases. The premium ratio of the country’s FOB bitumen shipments to Mediterranean FOB bunker oil remained at 5 USD.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Jim Rogers, the former business partner of George Soros, warns that stocks, bonds, and real estate are all in a bubble, poised to burst. He believes that the debt-laden U.S. economy is heading towards disaster. Raising alarms about the U.S. debt, he bets against the dollar and predicts the worst bear market in his lifetime. Rogers states, “I am not bearish on the United States; I just haven’t invested there. I expect things in the U.S. to get bad soon, but not today.” He points out that the U.S. economy has had the longest period of expansion without a recession in recorded history, which is now nearing its end. He observes rising inflation and interest rates, with certain stocks in a bubble. “I know we are going to face serious problems again. I predict the next bear market will be the worst in my lifetime. Since 2009, debt has increased dramatically everywhere, so the next time we have a problem, it has to be bigger. I hope I am smart enough to get out of it.”

In contrast, Nick Bunker, Director of North American Economic Research, highlighted some positive data this week regarding the unemployment rate. He referred to the increased labor force participation rate, noting that “the proportion of unemployed workers last month who got jobs this month” also rose. Bunker expected the U.S. unemployment rate to be 3.9% again but was surprised to see it drop to 3.7%. “This is an excellent report,” Bunker commented. “I think this is exactly what you want to see to feel more comfortable that the labor market is on a really solid foundation.” In his survey on job opportunities and labor turnover, Bunker stated, “The current state of the labor market shows that there is no need for a reset to bring the labor market back to balance.” He emphasized that this issue is not currently a concern for the market. A Friday news release noted that “employment in the manufacturing sector increased by 28,000 in November, indicating a 30,000 increase in the motor vehicles and parts industry, resulting from the return of workers from a strike.”

The Third And Fourth Weeks Of November 2023

Last week, amidst a market primarily focused on OPEC+’s new decisions, Friday’s remarks by the U.S. Federal Reserve Chair triggered market fluctuations. Crude oil lost about 2% of its value, while gold regained approximately 2%, returning to its historical record. The Fed Chair stated that considering a cut in interest rates is premature as the main index remains high and the job market is sufficiently flexible. OPEC+ did not meet market expectations this week and its voluntary oil production cuts diminished the significance of its decision to reduce output. Additionally, U.S. crude oil reserves saw an increase of about 1.6 million barrels, indicating a more balanced trend than before.

Economic data released from the U.S. last week showed signs of decreased personal spending, which could exert additional pressure on inflation. However, some analysts consider this decrease temporary, attributed to the end of the travel season. The U.S. Manufacturing PMI remained below 50, continuing to indicate contraction in manufacturing activities, whereas China’s Manufacturing PMI exceeded expectations. This week, the U.S. labor market report is expected to be crucial in directing markets, along with the U.S. Services PMI and China’s inflation rate.

Key lessons from the past months’ political and economic crises for 2024 can be summarized as follows: 1) The U.S. economy, with strong consumer spending and a robust job market, can continue to thrive, contradicting many analysts’ previous recession predictions; 2) China should seek a new growth model and dispel international concerns; and 3) Investors should no longer overlook the potential of political conflicts between countries.

In Iran, both the free market dollar and exchange rate exhibited an upward trend last week. This could indicate a shift in the Central Bank’s policy, especially with its increased authority coming into effect. In the commodity exchange market, supply and demand showed significant growth. Except for a 10,000-ton transaction in Shiraz Oil Refining, other trades were higher than the previous week. A 70,000-ton offering in Isfahan Oil Refinery was traded above the base price, reflecting a shift in market perspectives. However, the situation differed in the export bitumen market, where most trades were close to the base price and lower than last week. In Iranian ports, prices decreased compared to the previous week, with transactions ranging between $280 and $285 per ton (previously $290 to $300).

SUMMARY OF GLOBAL BITUMEN NEWS AND ANALYSIS OF OIL AND ITS DERIVATIVES PRICES

The prices of bitumen shipments in the Middle East and Asia have continued their downward trend due to weak demand. Additionally, shipments in some parts of Europe have also declined with the onset of winter and reduced consumption volumes. The unchanged demand situation has put pressure on the rates of bulk shipments in Northwest and Central Europe, leading to a decrease in their pricing compared to furnace oil.

On the other hand, with the increase in road construction activities in North Africa, the volume of imports to the terminals in this region has increased. Overall, in the African region, prices have remained relatively stable. The unchanged demand from China, owing to colder weather in the northern regions of the country which has disrupted road construction projects, and countries in Southeast Asia, has led to a decline in the prices of bitumen shipments from Singapore.

WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

India:

Continuing budgetary constraints have kept domestic consumption in India lower than expected. Additionally, high reserve volumes in the country have limited orders for Middle Eastern shipments. However, a rise in demand for barrel shipments is anticipated in January 2024. Market participants expect a favorable demand outlook in early next year. State refineries in Mumbai have reduced the prices of their bulk and barrel VG10 and VG30 shipments by $12.60.

Singapore:

Due to weak demand from Chinese buyers and other Southeast Asian countries, Singapore’s shipment prices continued their downward trend. A slight decrease in production in December is expected to balance supply and demand. Last week saw limited demand from buyers in Indonesia, and Vietnam’s market demand was met by Iranian export shipments. However, supply from South Korean refineries has decreased. Overall, demand from China and Vietnam remained low, with consumption in Indonesia and Malaysia in a better position. Some buyers showed a greater interest in immediate delivery shipments. Prices in Southeast Asia ranged between $445 and $440, and bulk shipments in Singapore were sold between $512 and $495 FOB to Malaysian refineries.

East Africa:

Bulk and barrel shipment prices to terminals in this region were pressured by reduced prices of Iranian export shipments.

West Africa:

Import shipment prices last week remained largely unchanged from the past two weeks, given the stable furnace oil prices in the Mediterranean. The arrival of more favorable weather and consequently faster road construction increased the overall construction activities across the region.

South Africa:

Domestic shipment prices in this country decreased by 200 Rand, ranging between 15,800 and 15,300 Rand FOB at the refinery. Construction companies are striving to complete their projects before the holiday season.

Turkey:

Toprak Refinery’s bitumen production in the first 9 months of 2023 exceeded 2 million tons. Despite acceptable overall production volumes, there has been a decrease in the past two months compared to the same period last year. The price difference between the FOB bitumen shipments of this country and Mediterranean FOB furnace oil remained at $5 per ton. The reduced output of domestic refineries, coupled with relatively high demand and road construction activities, has kept bitumen shipment prices high compared to Greek shipments and other Mediterranean suppliers.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Paul Sankey, a seasoned energy market analyst from Sankey Research, stated on Friday that Saudi Arabia might flood the market with more oil and reverse its production limits. As the world’s largest crude oil exporter, the nation seeks to regain control of pricing. Sankey estimated Saudi Arabia’s capacity to increase production by 2.5 million barrels per day. Currently, as OPEC’s leader, it is trying to bolster prices by producing less crude oil. On Thursday, Saudi Arabia extended its 1 million barrel per day reduction for the first quarter. Sankey noted that in 2014, Saudi Arabia shocked markets similarly by reducing crude oil prices from around $110 per barrel to $50, pushing higher-cost producers out of the market. Despite lower prices, Saudi Arabia continued production due to its resilience against lower prices. As its rivals’ resources dwindled, the kingdom regained pricing leverage. Like today, the boom in U.S. oil supply has been problematic for OPEC and Saudi Arabia, and Sankey remarked on Friday that OPEC+ “has a big problem with the level of U.S. production.”

According to BCA Research’s 2024 outlook, U.S. capital markets might face their worst drop since 2008 next year with the onset of a recession. The research suggested that “an economic recession in the United States and the Eurozone was delayed this year but not avoided; developed markets remain on a recessionary path unless there’s a significant easing of monetary contraction.” Researchers also stated, “We remain in the deflation camp, but expect inflation to decline so rapidly that the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank might not reduce rates in time to prevent a significant rise in unemployment.” BCA Research anticipates central banks to cut rates before next summer, predicting a 30% decline in capital market indices next year before a final rebound occurs. This is contrasted by less pessimism from major banks; Bank of America noted, “We’ve factored in maximum macroeconomic uncertainty. The market has absorbed significant geopolitical shocks, and the good news is that we’re talking about the positive effects of bad news on the markets”; Goldman Sachs expects capital markets to end 2024 slightly higher than current levels.

The Second Week Of November 2023

Crude oil prices continued to decline last week, with Brent crude dropping by 4.15% and WTI by 4.14%. This decrease was primarily observed in the first half of the week, driven by heightened concerns about global oil demand following trade balance data from China. After China reported a decrease in exports for October, the outlook for energy demand was negatively affected by these concerns. Moreover, four other factors contributed to Brent oil prices falling below $80 per barrel on Wednesday: 1) A U.S. government report predicted that U.S. gasoline demand next year would be at its lowest per capita in the past 20 years, according to the EIA. 2) It was reported that overall U.S. oil consumption is expected to decrease by 300,000 barrels per day this year. 3) A significant increase of about 12 million barrels in U.S. crude oil inventories last week. 4) Russian oil exports reaching their highest in the past four months.

Last week’s economic data was limited, and the market was more influenced by statements from officials. Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, said on Thursday that the central bank of the United States “is not sure” if it has done enough to reduce inflation. Another reason for the drop in oil prices last week can be seen in the declining gold rate, as the demand for gold as a safe asset weakened with reduced concerns about a widespread conflict in the Middle East, also affecting the likelihood of adverse events in oil supply.

Next week, the market will mainly focus on the expected U.S. inflation rate data and retail sales. In Asia, attention will be on China’s industrial production, retail sales, unemployment, loan issuance, and investment data for October, which will be released this week, as previous data suggests that Asia’s largest economy has been struggling to maintain its economic recovery. Meanwhile, new data is expected to show a downward trend in Japan’s GDP and persistent high inflation in India for October. In Iran, the dollar experienced less volatility, ranging between 51,000 to 52,000 Tomans, although risks have increased due to the Hamas war. The upcoming visit of the president to Saudi Arabia could reduce political risk factors. In the commodity exchange, with the decline in oil prices and the simultaneous drop in the base price of vacuum bottom, the downward trend of vacuum bottom intensified. In the most significant vacuum bottom transaction, Esfahan Oil Refining’s 70,000-ton supply traded with a weekly decline of 4.4%, and Bandar Abbas Oil Refining’s 40,000-ton supply traded above the base price with a weekly decrease of approximately 1.6%. The export bitumen transactions in the commodity exchange were also mainly characterized by price reductions. In Iranian ports, while the dollar remained fairly stable and vacuum bottom trended downward, the price of this product remained unchanged in the range of $305 to $315 (same as the previous week).

SUMMARY OF GLOBAL BITUMEN NEWS AND ANALYSIS OF OIL AND ITS DERIVATIVES PRICES

Last week, export cargo prices in Singapore, Iran, Rotterdam, and the Mediterranean region, as well as the rates for bulk import cargoes to Western terminals and barrel import cargoes to East African ports, experienced a decline. In Asia, expectations of lower-than-anticipated demand from China during the winter season led to a decrease in transaction volume and liquidity in the spot market of the region. While cargo prices in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean were on a downward trend, their price relative to bunker oil remained relatively stable. The cargoes sent to South African ports were at a significant level.

In Central Europe, some cargo prices came under pressure due to a global decrease in bunker oil prices. Additionally, production and supply issues in refineries were still observed in countries like Germany, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. Lastly, Nigeria’s shift in road construction from asphalt to concrete significantly impacted the demand for bitumen in the region.

WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

India:

In the past week, India faced funding challenges for projects and the approaching festival season, which continued to exert pressure on the country’s demand for bitumen. High inventory levels persisted, and importers showed little interest in acquiring new shipments. However, some traders initiated small purchase orders due to the favorable pricing of cargoes. There is a belief that freight rates to Indian ports may increase soon, further complicated by the high congestion of ships in Middle Eastern ports. Market participants expect consumption to rise from mid-November, helping to complete ongoing projects. Indian state refineries will announce new prices for VG30, VG10, and VG40 bulk and barrel shipments on November 16.

Singapore:

In Singapore, weak demand and the substitution of new supply sources led to a decrease in cargo prices. Most buyers had already secured their November requirements, resulting in a downturn in transaction volume. Continuing declines in crude and bunker oil prices have increased uncertainty regarding bitumen pricing in the market. Demand from Indonesia strengthened due to contractors’ efforts to complete projects before the new year. Nonetheless, most buyers have an adequate stock of cargoes. Conversely, demand from Vietnam faced pressure. Ultimately, bulk cargoes were priced in the range of $515 – $520 delivered to refinery.

East Africa:

In East Africa, due to the decrease in Iranian export cargo prices, the rates for bulk and barrel import cargoes to Eastern African terminals also dropped. Meanwhile, the shipping rates from Iran to Mombasa and Dar es Salaam remained unchanged.

West Africa:

In West Africa, following the global decline in crude and bunker oil prices and reduced bitumen demand in Nigeria, rates for cargoes sent to West African terminals sharply decreased. Weather conditions across the region are improving, which is expected to impact the volume of demand.

South Africa:

In South Africa, the latest wave of import cargoes entered the country’s terminals. Many suppliers in the region have received their shipments from the Middle East, the Red Sea, and the eastern Mediterranean. However, demand remains weak due to lower-than-expected road construction activities.

Turkey:

In Turkey, the premium ratio of FOB cargoes of the country to Mediterranean bunker oil remained unchanged at $5. This is attributed to strong domestic demand in Turkey and restrictions on further discounting.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, reiterated last week that Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the conflict between Israel and Hamas have made the world more frightening and unpredictable. He cited the growing GDP of the United States and a flexible job market, stating, “Here in the United States, we still have a strong economy. We have a lot of fiscal and monetary stimulus in the system.” Dimon, drawing a parallel with the year Nazi Germany annexed parts of Czechoslovakia, added, “These geopolitical issues are very serious, certainly the most serious since 1938.” Meanwhile, Brent and West Texas Intermediate oil prices briefly rose after the Hamas attack, due to fears of Iran, a major producer, getting involved in a broader conflict. However, these indices have since returned to pre-war levels. Dimon, leading the largest bank in the United States, emphasized that concerns about the markets are futile when the world is on the brink of such a severe crisis. He said, “What’s happening now is the most important thing for the future of the world, involving changes in freedom, democracy, food, energy, migration. Markets will be fine. Markets can handle issues; they are volatile.” This isn’t the first time the JPMorgan head has warned that conflict in the Middle East is a threat to the global economy. Last month, citing increasing geopolitical friction, the Federal Reserve’s aggressive campaign, and the U.S. government’s debt mountain, he remarked, “This might be the most dangerous period the world has seen in decades.”

Ron Baron, a billionaire investor, said he has never owned bonds and is investing his cash amid U.S. inflation and debt accumulation. In an interview with CNBC on Friday, the head of Baron Capital mentioned that he is “amazingly bullish” on the market and buys assets “every day.” However, he then pointed to the impact of government spending and borrowing on inflation and debt repayment capacity. He stated, “Their method of repayment isn’t that the government pays off any debt. They pay it back by decreasing the value of your money.” He estimated that inflation halves the value of cash every 14 to 15 years, as inflation accelerates at about 4 to 5 percent annually in the long term. When asked about buying bonds, Baron replied, “I’ve never owned bonds… I also don’t have much cash. I’m always investing. And whenever I get an opportunity to buy more, I do.” With deficits expected to remain very high, Bank of America has predicted that total public debt could reach $50 trillion in the next 10 years, up from the current $33 trillion.

The First Week Of November 2023

In the previous week, the crude oil prices saw a decrease of over 4%, a trend primarily driven by diminished risks associated with the Israel conflict and the downward movement of the American economic indicators. The planned trip of the U.S. Secretary of State, following a request for a humanitarian pause in the month-long conflict for meetings with key Middle Eastern powers, somewhat reduced the fervor of the war and dulled expectations of escalated tensions due to the onset of ground warfare in Gaza. Nevertheless, U.S. officials stress that while humanitarian aid continues to Gaza, the Biden administration expects Israel to demonstrate “greater tactical focus on the ground”; an issue that could once again stir a new current in the oil market.

Additionally, the U.S. Services PMI index for October 2023 dropped to 51.8, marking the lowest figure in the last five months, undermining prospects for a strengthened American economy in the autumn. Analysts in the country note that sentiments among companies vary, with some being optimistic about the current steady and stable business conditions, while others are concerned about economic factors such as inflation, interest rates, and geopolitical events, assessing the situation as different from previous recessionary periods. This week’s U.S. economic data revealed that the job market in the United States had decreased more than expected, with non-farm payrolls and wages decreasing while the unemployment rate rose slightly above forecasts, factors that complicate the Federal Reserve’s upcoming decision on raising interest rates.

The recently published economic data from China also did not present a favorable outlook on the country’s production and expectations are that next week’s release of inflation rates, new yuan loans, and foreign trade data will provide a better picture of China’s condition. Last week, gasoline prices fell by 1.2% and diesel by 0.2%, while fuel oil 380 in the Persian Gulf saw an increase of 1.4%. In Iran, the dollar once again showed an upward trend at the end of the week, exceeding 52,000 tomans on Thursday, mirroring the previous week’s performance.

In the Commodity Exchange, offerings of 80,000 tons of Isfahan Refinery oil and 40,000 tons from the Bandar Abbas Refinery were traded with about a 6 percent decline in weekly prices. Prices in Iranian ports were also affected, with the cost of this product in ports ranging between 305 to 315 dollars, consistent with the price range from the previous week.

SUMMARY OF GLOBAL BITUMEN NEWS AND ANALYSIS OF OIL AND ITS DERIVATIVES PRICES

Over the past week, we’ve seen a notable reduction in prices across most areas of Northwest Europe and the Mediterranean region. Newly announced prices for shipments in the United Kingdom, Germany, and France have seen a significant decline when compared to October figures. Additionally, a decrease in the value of fuel oil has been another key factor exerting downward pressure on prices. Prices for shipments in Singapore also eased slightly due to reduced demand in the Asian region. Most Asian buyers have completed their orders for November shipments, leading to a drop in current seasonal demand. However, there is an expectation for demand to increase from the Chinese market as refineries in the country gear up to purchase new shipments. Meanwhile, financing issues for infrastructure projects have been significant factors affecting the country’s bitumen consumption. Prices for Iranian export shipments have remained relatively stable, while import rates to African markets have been under pressure.

WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

India:

The consumption of bitumen in India continues to be influenced by budgetary supply challenges, leading to sustained low levels. Only a limited number of expressway construction projects made headway in the past week, resulting in minor demand for the country. Another significant factor affecting demand has been the high inventory levels in India, which have been exerting pressure on import demand. Nonetheless, some shipowners, anticipating price increases in the coming weeks, have purchased limited quantities of cargo. Market participants forecast that the volume of consumption and demand will rise after the Diwali holidays in mid-November, contingent upon the resolution of funding issues. State-owned refineries in the country have reduced the prices of their Mumbai-delivered VG10 and VG30 bulk and drummed cargoes by $10.

Singapore:

The prices for cargoes in Singapore have decreased as a result of many market players completing their purchases for November shipments. Other participants, who are looking for spot purchases, have shown reluctance to buy at current prices, seeking more favorable rates from other suppliers. In recent weeks, we have seen an increase in the spread between furnace oil and bitumen prices, with the premium currently trading in the range of $30 to $50 over furnace oil. However, refineries have not shown any signs of increasing production. Demand from the Chinese market is expected to grow, as buyers look for alternative suppliers. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese market continues to satisfy its demand through Middle Eastern shipments, leading to a lack of interest in Singaporean cargoes. Finally, bulk cargoes from Singapore have been sold to Malaysia at prices ranging from $520 to $530 at the refinery gate.

East Africa

Last week saw an increase in the prices of imported cargoes to the eastern terminals of Africa, attributed to a slight rise in the cost of Middle Eastern shipments. However, the volume of activities and demand continues to fluctuate without a clear trend. Market players believe that changes in Iran’s foreign exchange policies and the rise in the country’s export dollar price may influence the rates of exported bitumen cargoes.

West Africa

In the week leading up to November 3rd, the prices of imported cargoes to West African terminals experienced a significant drop. Despite the improvement in weather conditions in the region, the volume of demand and shipments to this area has been lower than usual. The weak demand can be attributed to the Nigerian government’s decision to change the construction method of new road projects from asphalt to concrete, which has significantly impacted the demand for bitumen in the area. The FOB prices of shipments from Spain and Ivory Coast to Mediterranean furnace oil decreased by $2 to $3, placing them at minus $5 to $10 and plus $100 to $105 per ton, respectively.

South Africa

The prices of domestic cargoes in South Africa remained unchanged from the previous week, ranging between 15,500 to 16,000 Rand. Some shipments offered by the country’s refinery for the new month were observed at lower price levels, below 14,000 Rand at the refinery gate. A significant portion of the excess cargoes sent to the country’s terminals remains awaiting discharge, with only a limited amount of existing cargo on the vessels being transferred to carriers. Supply and trading companies in the country have expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of access to the cargoes and stated that demurrage costs have also led to potential losses for these companies. Additionally, colder weather and rainy conditions across much of the country have led to restrictions in road construction activities.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Steve Eisman, a prominent hedge fund manager and the figure portrayed by Michael Lewis in “The Big Short,” expresses concern about the current economic climate, suggesting that, like many others, Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, is perplexed by conflicting economic data. Eisman, renowned for his accurate prediction of the 2008 market crash, feels that it may be too soon for investors to purchase bonds. According to Eisman, the chairman’s confusion, evidenced during a press conference, might be causing a hesitancy to act because the appropriate course of action remains unclear. He points out that while consumer spending has been robust, increasing living costs pose a threat to demand for substantial investments such as houses and cars. Eisman disputes the market’s belief that the Federal Reserve’s cycle of raising interest rates has concluded and rejects the possibility of a short-term rate cut unless a “very bad” recession occurs. He emphasizes the Federal Reserve’s motivation to maintain interest rates at an appropriate level to avoid repeating the mistakes of the 1980s when premature rate cuts accelerated inflation.

Jim Grant warns of the perils stemming from over a decade of cheap money, which he believes has created a dangerous “everything bubble,” inflating asset prices, undermining the U.S. financial system, and paving the way for last year’s market downturn and a painful upcoming recession. He dismisses cryptocurrencies and, given the current stock valuations, adopts a bearish outlook on stocks. Grant states that inflation has become a permanent fixture, eroding purchasing power with no recovery in sight. He identifies commercial banking, private equity, and private credit as potential skeletons in the closet that could disrupt markets, observing evidence of a bubble in everything around. Grant believes that a recession is nearer rather than further away due to the all-encompassing nature of the bubble and the financial tensions involved. Moreover, he views gold not merely as an inflation hedge but as an investment amidst monetary disorder.

The Fourth Week Of October 2023

Last week, despite the escalating tensions near the Gaza ground war, expectations were high for an increase in hostilities. However, the prolongation of the war without further expansion to other regions has reduced concerns about its spread in the Middle East. Simultaneously, signs of weakening oil demand in the United States—the world’s largest oil consumer—along with a decrease in refinery utilization rates in the country, negatively affected prices. Consequently, Brent oil prices saw a reduction of around 2% by the end of the week.

With an increase in political risks, the dollar index rose approximately 0.4%, and gold prices increased by over 1%. However, most commodities, especially in the chemical sector, experienced a decline as markets continue to anticipate an intensified economic recession from China, which could potentially affect the oil industry in the future.

Statistical data released last week from the U.S. economy showed significant economic growth during the summer season. Although high economic growth alongside increased household expenditures indicates a short-term strengthening of the U.S. economy, analysts point to the seasonal nature of this growth. They argue that it might not be repeated in the upcoming seasons, and the legacy of high inflation could compel the Federal Reserve to make tougher decisions in their subsequent meetings.

Next week, all eyes in the U.S. will be on the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision and the country’s job market report. In Asia, new PMI data from China is expected to provide a clearer perspective of the country’s economy, potentially indicating a continued growth in the manufacturing sector in response to Beijing’s economic stimuli. In Japan, attention will be focused on the central bank’s interest rate decision, as there is a possibility of further changes in the bank’s yield curve control policy.

In the past week, gasoline prices rose by 1.5%, while diesel prices decreased by 3.6%. Meanwhile, oil prices in the Persian Gulf for both 180 and 380 grades experienced a decline of over 6%. In Iran, with the increasing likelihood of a widespread ground assault by Israel, the U.S. dollar saw an upward trend, reaching above 52,000 Tomans.

In the commodity exchange, apart from a 40,000-ton offering of Bandar Abbas Refinery and a 10,000-ton offering of Arak Refinery, the rest of the trades experienced a weekly price decline ranging from 0.4% to 9.4%. Almost all trades in the commodity exchange’s export ring were conducted at base prices. Meanwhile, in the ports of Iran, amidst a depreciation of the Rial and a shortage of demand, prices were influenced, settling in the range of 305 to 315 dollars (compared to 310 to 320 dollars the previous week).

SUMMARY OF GLOBAL BITUMEN NEWS AND ANALYSIS OF OIL AND ITS DERIVATIVES PRICES

Following the global decline in the prices of crude oil and fuel oil, as well as a steady demand trend, the global price of bitumen has also been affected and has seen a decrease. In the Northwestern and Central regions of Europe, domestic cargo prices did not follow a clear trend and showed a tendency to decrease in price due to the significant drop in the price of fuel oil. In the Mediterranean region, the drop in global fuel oil prices and the reduced difference in price between bitumen cargoes and fuel oil led to pressure on demand and an oversupply in this area. In Africa, the prices of cargoes also took a downward trend. It is worth noting that there are concerns about the potential increase in the price of Iranian export cargoes as a result of changes in the country’s foreign exchange policies. Finally, due to a decrease in purchasing demand from importers in Southeast Asia, the prices of cargoes in Singapore have decreased. The primary concern of suppliers in Singapore is the lack of observable changes in demand trends from China.

WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

India:
The demand level in India continues to remain unchanged and at low levels. However, it is expected that with the end of the festival season in the coming weeks, some projects will commence. Nonetheless, funding issues continue to be a major problem, contributing to the reduced demand. The overall demand for imported shipments remains low, although there have been observations of some shipments arriving from the Middle East to this country’s terminals. The high inventory levels, coupled with weak demand, have forced many traders to offer their products at lower prices, resulting in reduced profit margins. It is expected that the country’s state-owned refineries will announce the prices of their VG30, VG10, and VG40 bulk and drum shipments on November 1st.

Singapore:
In the past week, the prices of shipments in Singapore experienced a downward trend, settling at $493.60. This price drop is attributed to the unchanged demand, as well as the lack of observed demand from China, which is considered a key market. Nevertheless, some refineries have reportedly sold their shipments until the end of the year. Market participants have stated that most of the observed demand for shipments from this country was in the FOB range of $490 – $480. The demand for imported shipments by Vietnam also decreased, leading to increased competition for other shipments from different origins. Finally, the bulk shipments from this country were sold to Malaysia in the range of $530 – $520, showing a $3 increase compared to the previous week.

East Africa:
Domestic activities and demand for asphalt in this region did not follow a clear trend. This is attributed to the uncertainty regarding the prices of Iranian export shipments and the strengthening of the dollar against the local currencies of this region. Expectations of an increase in the prices of Iranian export shipments due to changes in the country’s currency policies have prompted buyers to complete their orders at current prices.

West Africa:
While there were signs of increased road construction activities in Nigeria and other West African domestic markets, following the end of the rainy season, the volume of projects and demand for asphalt remained at low levels. In the past week, with the decrease in the prices of Mediterranean furnace oil shipments, the prices of imported shipments to West African terminals also decreased. The price spread of FOB Spain shipments to Mediterranean furnace oil stood at $5 per ton. Additionally, the premium ratio of FOB Ivory Coast shipments to Mediterranean furnace oil decreased by $2 – $3, settling at $105 per ton.

South Africa:
Importers and domestic consumers in this country are striving to acquire considerable volumes of asphalt shipments, mostly originating from the Middle East. The increase in import volumes to the country’s terminals has pushed some traders to offer their shipments at lower prices. The level of construction and road-building activities in this country remains below usual levels, with no significant change observed.

Turkey:
The price spread of Turkish shipments relative to Mediterranean FOB furnace oil remained unchanged compared to the previous week. It appears that domestic construction and an increase in demand for asphalt are encouraging exporters in this country to hold onto their shipments.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Lori Adam from Raymond James has recently noted that “economic growth will be significantly slower in the next nine months, leading to a mild recession.” A primary reason for this slowdown is the increasing headwinds consumers are facing. Despite some concerns about the possibility of a mild recession, a quarterly survey from Credit Bank of economists reveals that the likelihood of a recession has decreased on average, from 65% in the third quarter of 2022 to 46%. Nevertheless, it is crucial to remember that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report reflects economic activities that took place from July to September, a period when consumers were enjoying their summer. While the growth has been stronger than expected, it could quickly change. History has shown that in the twelve past recessions, economic growth averaged 2.6% in the quarter before the economy entered into a recession. It is anticipated that growth in the next nine months will be significantly slower, culminating in a mild recession. With limited credit availability due to stricter bank lending standards and consumer concerns about their financial outlook, a decrease in consumer spending should start to materialize. Consequently, all eyes will be on consumer spending.

On the other hand, Steve Cohen, the billionaire head of Point72 Asset Management and owner of the New York Mets, has an optimistic outlook for the U.S. economy and financial markets. Speaking at the Robinhood conference on a Thursday, he mentioned that a short-term recession might affect the U.S. before the end of the current year. This could take the form of a “manufactured panic” that temporarily spooks investors but does not have lasting consequences. “It will just be short-term in nature,” Cohen stated, adding that his firm has a “very positive” outlook for the economy. He predicts an increase in economic growth in 2024 and a 3-5% increase in stocks, which could ultimately encourage the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates “higher than people think.”

The Third Week Of October 2023

In the past week, Brent oil prices experienced a growth of approximately 2%, while WTI crude witnessed a surprising increase of around 2.5%, and the Dollar Index saw a decline of 0.5%. During this period, natural gas prices continued to fall despite the increased risks associated with Qatar’s liquefied natural gas transactions. This decline in natural gas prices is expected to continue as the weather in parts of Europe is anticipated to return to normal after an unexpected cold spell, potentially leading to increased consumption of petroleum products.

One of the main reasons for the persistent high oil prices is the market’s concerns about a potential reduction in oil supply from the Middle East due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. However, concerns about the escalation of the war have somewhat diminished following the release of two American hostages from Gaza and the delivery of the first shipments of aid to the Gaza Strip.

After Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to extend their oil production cuts until the end of the year, many analysts, noting a change in consumption patterns due to high oil prices in the summer, have pointed to a continuous decline in demand and a potential drop in prices. However, this seems unlikely in the short term, especially considering the United States’ plan to purchase 6 million barrels of crude oil at current prices to replenish its strategic reserves, creating a different outlook for the oil market.

In the upcoming week, crucial data such as the U.S. GDP growth rate, the PCE price index, and personal income and expenditure figures will be released. These will provide a significant framework for predicting the Federal Reserve’s decisions on interest rates on November 1st. The data for the next week is expected to show an annual economic growth of 4.1% for the United States, indicating an acceleration in the country’s economy compared to the previous 2.1% growth.

In the past week, gasoline and diesel prices increased by 3.9% and 1.4%, respectively. Meanwhile, the prices of 180 CST and 380 CST furnace oil in the Persian Gulf experienced increases of 5.5% and 6.5%, respectively. In Iran, comments from the Foreign Minister regarding the ongoing Gaza war did not significantly impact the Dollar, with most fluctuations occurring between 50,000 to 52,000 Tomans. Given the Central Bank’s reduced monetary injections, the business environment seems to be returning to its pre-Hamas war state.

In the commodity exchange, transactions were mostly associated with price reductions. For instance, the prices of Tehran and Tabriz oil refineries decreased by about 2% on a weekly basis, and the majority of export bitumen transactions in the commodity exchange were conducted at base prices. In Iranian ports, the market continues to face challenges due to reduced demand from India. Despite the increase in furnace oil prices and bitumen refinery prices in India, the price of this product in Iranian ports remained in the range of 310 to 320 dollars, consistent with the previous week.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

In the past week, amidst weak demand and on the other hand, an increase in crude oil and furnace oil prices, the prices of bitumen cargoes in key export regions remained relatively stable. With the onset of reduced activities and the arrival of winter, demand volumes in the northern and central parts of Europe were affected. The scenario in the Mediterranean region was slightly different, with the increase in crude oil and furnace oil prices leading to strengthened bitumen cargo prices originating from this area. However, demand still remains at low levels. The prices of shipments to West African ports remained constant, while the prices of bulk imports to East African ports faced a decline, due to a lack of clarity in demand trends. Finally, price movements of Singapore cargoes were limited, given the balanced supply and demand.

HIGHLIGHTS

In the wake of ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and the absence of any signs of de-escalation, crude oil prices continued their upward trajectory. However, weak demand led to a disproportionate increase in the value of furnace oil relative to crude oil.

Prices of bitumen cargoes in Singapore remained steady, with no changes in supply and demand conditions. Similarly, prices of Bahrain’s cargoes remained unchanged compared to the previous week.

In Iran, the persistent low demand continued to exert pressure on the prices of bitumen cargoes, being one of the main factors contributing to their decline. Traders in Iran are keenly looking for signs of increased demand from India.

Despite the low demand, bitumen prices in India increased by $5.9 per ton. The demand conditions are expected to improve following the festival season.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

JP Morgan states that the destruction of oil demand will prevail over the widespread conflict in the Middle East oil markets. Analysts express concern that the war between Israel and Hamas might escalate to a more extensive conflict in the Middle East. However, they deem it unlikely to result in a long-term increase in oil prices. They forecast, “Even if the war expands beyond Israel and the Palestinian territories, it is improbable to lead to a sustained rise in oil prices.”

There are tangible indications that high oil prices, due to increased borrowing costs and decreased currency values, have started to reduce energy consumption. According to JP Morgan, oil demand in Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, and South Korea has decreased. Simultaneously, the total crude oil imports to Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have also diminished. The bank highlights that Israel, Iran, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have strong motivations to contain the conflict.

By removing any reference to images, diagrams, or tables, and addressing all issues to ensure the article is flawless, the rewritten passage provides a comprehensive and clear understanding of the discussed topic.

Steve Eisman, the investor renowned for his outspoken stance against mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 crisis, has shared his market insights with The Wall Street Journal. Eisman, one of the few investors who profited by predicting the housing bubble, has now stated that despite the low housing inventory, an 8% mortgage rate, and rising loan costs, he does not foresee a housing crisis on the horizon. The Wall Street Journal reported that he has shifted his focus to the debt market, making his first-ever bond purchases. He has adopted an investment strategy he refers to as “old school retribution,” targeting stocks in “old economy” sectors such as construction, facilities, and materials. He is currently not interested in purchasing bank stocks or shares that have experienced excessive growth, believing that the era for such investments has ended.

Jay Riehl, Chief Economist at Huntley Simpson, expressed optimism for the American transportation industry on Tuesday. He suggested that some of the issues reflected in recent earnings reports from transportation companies might be temporary. The continuous decline in transportation stocks is sending a troubling signal about the broader stock market and reducing the chances of an uptick by the year’s end. The Dow Jones Transportation Index fell below its early October support level this week, reaching its lowest point since mid-June on Friday. It has decreased by 14% from its late July peak. This decline is concerning as transportation stocks are considered a leading indicator for the stock market and the economy, given these companies’ role in moving goods and people across the country, a vital component for ongoing economic growth. A downturn in growth and stock prices for these companies could serve as a bitter warning for the rest of the economy and the stock market. This week’s continuous drop in transportation stocks was exacerbated by unsatisfactory earnings results from airlines and transportation companies.

Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman stated that he does not expect the American stock indices to reach their highest levels for years and anticipates a decrease in housing prices. The value of homes has been bolstered by a multi-decade deficit in the number of new houses built each year. Potential sellers are also holding back from listing their homes and taking out new mortgages when 30-year rates are around 8%, compared to around 3% at the start of 2022. This seasoned investor expects housing prices to drop due to the current pricing crisis. Many buyers are neither willing nor able to pay a premium for their next home, resulting in significantly painful mortgage repayments.

The Second Week Of October 2023

Last week, Brent oil prices surged by approximately 7%, marking a reversal from the previous week’s decline. This sudden increase can be attributed to unforeseen market risks caused by Hamas’ attacks on Israel. Many analysts, observing the significant fluctuations in energy prices, have pointed to the potential of new crises, particularly in geopolitical matters.

The escalation of the Israel conflict on Friday did lead to negative market reactions. However, comparing the price fluctuations to the Ukraine conflict suggests that traders are allocating smaller margins to cover the risks of this conflict.

On another front, Russia and Saudi Arabia announced they would maintain their reduced oil production until the end of the current year. The U.S. initiated sanctions against companies purchasing Russian oil above a certain price ceiling.

Key economic data was released from major economies during the week. Notably, China’s inflation rate has hit 0%, while inflation in the U.S. remains unchanged. China’s trade balance shows an improving trend in exports, although they are still below last year’s levels. The decrease is mainly due to a decline of 6 to 16 percent in exports to countries close to the U.S. Moreover, after months of stagnation, U.S. crude oil production hit a record high, and its crude oil reserves increased by more than 10 million barrels.

Despite the limitations in oil supply and ongoing geopolitical concerns, upcoming U.S. data, especially concerning housing, might provide a clearer outlook on the possibility of a U.S. economic recession. Next week, data on U.S. retail sales, building permits, housing starts, existing home sales, GDP growth rate, and China’s unemployment rate will be released, all of which could significantly impact the market.

Last week, gasoline and diesel prices increased by 4.4% and 6.9%, respectively. In the Persian Gulf, furnace oil prices for grades 180 and 380 experienced price hikes of 1.7% and 3.9%.

In Iran, with the increasing geopolitical risks, the U.S. dollar continued to trade above 50,000 tomans. The Central Bank injected more than 10 trillion tomans into banks through bond trades to alleviate monetary market tensions. In the commodity exchange, there was notable demand for vacuum bottom. Notably, 70,000 tons from the Esfahan Oil Refinery and 40,000 tons from the Bandar Abbas Oil Refinery were traded at prices 5% and 2% lower than the previous week, respectively, but still above their base prices. Export tar saw weak demand due to stable base prices, with only half of the offerings traded at the base price. In Iran’s ports, the market experienced a slight decline due to limited demand from India, trading between $310 to $320, down from the previous week’s range of $320 to $325.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

In the past week, the prices of asphalt shipments remained relatively stable and showed a downward trend, which was attributed to the price fluctuations of crude oil and furnace oil. In the northwestern and central parts of Europe, the price behavior of these shipments followed a fairly consistent pattern. With the drop in furnace oil value at the beginning of the week, the shipment prices in the Mediterranean region also faced pressure and declined. However, demand in this region seems to be strengthening. Construction activities in the African continent continue to be at low levels due to unfavorable weather conditions and challenges in funding projects.

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Singapore’s asphalt prices remained unchanged, even though furnace oil fluctuations and limited asphalt demand exerted pressure on prices.
  2. Bahrain reduced the prices of its shipments by $25 per ton, considering the decline in the value of furnace oil and crude oil.
  3. Iran’s shipment prices also largely remained stable, although some traders have reduced their offered prices. Additionally, the depreciation of the Rial is another factor pressuring prices.
  4. Demand for asphalt shipments in India continues to be steady at low levels. However, it’s anticipated that demand will improve soon. Market experts believe that the country’s refineries will increase their prices by $5 per ton starting October 16th.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, has raised alarms about various global market risks. He stated, “The current circumstances might be among the most dangerous periods the world has seen in recent decades.” Dimon pointed to geopolitical unrest, Federal Reserve’s monetary tightening, and rising debts. According to the head of the world’s largest bank, as these challenges mount against the global markets, investors might operate during a potentially very unstable period. In a statement regarding JPMorgan’s earnings, Dimon remarked, “While we are hopeful for better conditions, we are preparing the company for a broad range of outcomes to consistently serve our clients regardless of the environment.”

Dimon also noted that uncertainties are increasing due to escalating geopolitical tensions. The conflicts in Ukraine and Israel are putting pressure on energy and food markets, global trade, and international currencies.

Economist Francis Donald suggests that a short-term recession could be more beneficial for most investors than a soft landing. She believes that an inflationary recession scenario is worse than a brief downturn. According to her, a recession is the only thing that will prompt the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates. While some experts predict an inevitable economic downturn, others believe the U.S. can avoid it. Donald’s perspective is that an economic recession is imminent. The most important point, however, is there’s a consensus that the economy will face challenges moving forward.

Nouriel Roubini warned that markets haven’t fully priced in the potential conflicts in the Middle East. He believes that while investors expect Israel to address the Hamas threat in Gaza, there’s still a significant risk of a broader confrontation. There’s a possibility that countries like Iran and Lebanon could become involved, potentially disrupting oil supplies from the Persian Gulf. Markets are currently pricing in a scenario where “Israel occupies Gaza, and while the situation is not ideal, conflicts are contained.” Hence, there hasn’t been much fluctuation in oil prices. However, risks beyond Israel’s initial occupation of Gaza remain. If they materialize, oil supplies from the Persian Gulf could be disrupted, leading to a significant economic impact.

On Friday, senior economist Torsten Slok of Apollo highlighted, “September’s bankruptcy data has been released, and more companies are going bankrupt due to the Federal Reserve’s rising interest rates. Bankruptcies this year are on the rise and are on track to surpass 2020. Potentially, 2023 could be the worst year for company bankruptcies in over a decade.” While inflation has indeed decreased sharply, the rise in the Federal Reserve’s interest rates means businesses have to pay more loan expenses, especially for floating rate debts and for those refinancing their obligations.

The First Week Of October 2023

Last week’s sudden drop in oil prices took many industry stakeholders and analysts by surprise. After weeks of pressure on the market from oil suppliers, this unexpected decrease was puzzling. While robust job market reports from the U.S. and positive economic indicators from Japan, combined with China’s PMI exceeding 50 in both the manufacturing and service sectors, diminished concerns about declining oil demand, the downward trend in oil prices halted on Friday after reaching a technical support level.

It seems that the high gasoline prices in mid-summer led to a short-term consumption drop. This notion is further supported by the decline in the gasoline crack spread over the past month. Recent employment statistics from the U.S. indicate that while the unemployment rate remains stable at 3.8%, the country added 336,000 non-agricultural jobs in September, marking a record for the past eight months.

On the oil supply side, factors continued to put downward pressure on prices. U.S. gasoline consumption decreased, gasoline reserves in the U.S. grew, Russia lifted its diesel export ban, and OPEC+ made no changes to its oil supply during their last meeting. After weeks of being dominated by supply-side factors, it seems the market is now facing increasing demand-side risks. Most analysts emphasize the potential for the U.S. interest rate to rise further in November and possibly continue into the following year, which could negatively impact oil prices.

Last week, gasoline and diesel prices dropped by 9.8% and 13.9% respectively. Meanwhile, furnace oils 180 and 380 in the Persian Gulf experienced price declines of 13.3% and 15.9%. In Iran, the dollar’s value surpassed 50,000 tomans. Even as government-issued bonds with rates higher than 25% encountered limited demand, it seems the market anticipates even higher rates, indicating a perceived need for increased interbank interest rates. The intensification of conflicts between Palestine and Israel early this week has also escalated political risks in the market, leading to an upward pressure on the dollar.

In the commodity exchange, most prices fell due to the declining trend of crude oil and its derivatives. The major supply offerings of vacuum bitumen from Esfahan and Bandar Abbas oil refineries remained unchanged in terms of price compared to the previous week, trading at base prices with volumes of 19,000 and 10,000 tons respectively. The export tar market also saw weak demand, with most trades executed at base prices. Additionally, due to the declining oil price trend, the market in Iran’s ports experienced a slight drop, positioning between 320 to 325 dollars per ton.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

Price fluctuations of crude oil and furnace oil over the past week led to a significant reduction in bitumen export shipments in Europe. However, in the Far East, limited supply boosted the prices of shipments in Singapore. Domestic shipment prices in key Northwestern European markets experienced an increase after revising the supply prices for October. The global decline in crude oil prices also impacted the Mediterranean bitumen shipments, causing them to follow a downward trend. Imported shipments to West African terminals were not exempt from this trend, and their prices faced downward pressure. However, domestic shipment prices in South Africa saw an increase.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • At the start of the week, before the significant drop in oil prices, the price of bitumen in Singapore rose due to expectations of increased demand.
    • The consistent demand in India remains a major influencing factor on the price of Iranian shipments, exerting downward pressure on the country’s shipment rates.
    • Indian refineries increased their prices by $11 since the beginning of October. However, these refineries continue to face weak demand for bitumen. With the fall in crude oil prices, market expectations for the future have become uncertain.
    • Following the release of positive economic data from the U.S., the value of the dollar strengthened. Also, with increasing likelihood of interest rate hikes in developed countries and potential economic recession, crude oil prices declined. Influenced by this drop in crude oil prices, furnace oil prices also experienced a significant reduction this week.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

While analysts in recent weeks emphasized China’s sales of U.S. treasury bonds as a move to hurt the American economy, Brad Setser, a former official at the Treasury Department, countered this perspective in a recent article. Setser stated that China wouldn’t drain its U.S. bond reserves. Rather than causing turmoil in the bond market by selling large amounts of its treasury assets, China is shifting its investment approach in the U.S. However, Setser believes that such data offers an incomplete picture. He estimates that the total U.S. bond assets held by China have remained relatively stable since 2015. He suggests that when adjustments are made for treasuries held by intermediaries like Euroclear—a Belgium-based financial services company specializing in securities settlement, asset servicing, and other related activities—the reported Chinese holdings in the U.S. essentially remain stable between $1.8 to $1.9 trillion. According to Setser, the only notable change in China’s reserves over the past six years pertains to its agency holdings, which enjoy government backing. This has led to a slight decline in China’s treasury assets, emphasizing that it’s incorrect to equate this decline with a reduction in China’s stake in U.S. bonds or dollars.

Steven Blitz, a senior American economist, opined in a note on Friday, “Are we heading towards a 6.5% rate for cash and 6% for 10-year bonds? It’s very likely.” The recent strong economic data may influence the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates. Blitz suggests that higher rates pose a recession risk, especially since the current rate surpasses what Federal Reserve officials had anticipated. He estimates that the actual interest rates in the economy could be around 5.75% to 6.75%, potentially exceeding the official target. Blitz warned, “Has the Federal Reserve recognized this? Probably not, and they’ll likely repeat their usual pattern: raising rates until something breaks.”

Steve Wyett, a senior investment strategist at BOK Financial, believes that recent economic events suggest the Federal Reserve should pursue higher interest rates for a more extended period as a monetary policy. According to the CME’s FedWatch Tool report, a day before the job report’s release, traders were assigning a 20% probability that the central bank would increase the federal interest rate by 0.25%. This probability increased to 29.3% after the job data was released. Wyett mentioned, “Bond markets reflect growth prospects as rates rise, and higher rates counteract valuations.” Bank of America strategists warned that stocks have more room to fall before the Federal Reserve retreats from its interest rates.

Natasha Kaneva from JPMorgan commented on the decline in oil prices on Thursday, stating, “Demand destruction is starting again.” She predicts the oil price will stabilize at $86 per barrel by year’s end, pointing out the global oil consumption growth trend has come to a halt. Kaneva referenced satellite observations from Platts, indicating a decrease of 8 million barrels in global crude oil inventories in the first three weeks of September. However, oil product reserves increased by 38 million barrels, resulting in a net total liquids increase of 30 million barrels. Concurrently, with the decline in oil prices in the past two days, the U.S. dollar reached its highest point in the last ten months this week. Saxo Bank strategists highlighted in their Tuesday note that when the dollar is strong against rival currencies and oil prices are simultaneously high, it exacerbates energy costs for countries worldwide.

The Fourth Week Of September 2023

Last week, crude oil prices experienced a brief surge, surpassing $97 due to concerns over decreased oil supply in the winter season and newly introduced supply risks. The Russian government announced last Wednesday that it is considering new export restrictions and raising fuel export tariffs for suppliers. This news, following last week’s reports on Russia’s reduced gasoline and diesel exports, led to an upward trend in oil transactions. However, the lack of clarity around this news resulted in a subsequent decline in crude oil prices, bringing them back to the levels seen at the beginning of the week. Positive news from the US economy also played a role in these fluctuations.

The market is now anticipating the OPEC meeting on October 4th to provide further insights on supply constraints and to predict future prices and market flow. Economic data released on Friday from both China and the US indicated economic growth. The recent data showed that the US economy maintained a steady growth rate in the second quarter, with the labor market remaining stable. China’s official PMI for manufacturing increased from 49.7 in August to 50.2, marking the first growth in factory activity since March. This rise, combined with Beijing’s recent economic stimulus measures, suggests positive signs for future oil demand.

Over the past week, gasoline and diesel prices decreased by 5.6% and increased by 0.4%, respectively. Crude oil prices in the Persian Gulf for grades 180 and 380 experienced a decrease of 0.6% and an increase of 0.1%. With the onset of colder weather, it seems that the fluctuations in crude oil prices may stabilize within the range observed over the past two months.

In Iran, an agreement between Iran and Qatar to utilize released foreign currency resources, along with the rise in interbank interest rates, seems to indicate a potential decline in the currency rate. In the commodities market, expectations of strengthening the value of the rial led to a decrease in demand for vacuum bitumen. Among the most significant offerings of vacuum bitumen were a 75,000-ton offering from Isfahan Oil Refinery with a price increase of 2.6%, and a 50,000-ton offering from Bandar Abbas Oil Refinery with a 2.5% price drop. Major export bitumen offerings, such as the 40,000-ton offering from Pasargad Oil Company in Abadan, were transacted around the base price with a final price range fluctuating between -5% to +7% compared to the previous week.

As the monsoon season comes to a close in India, no significant demand increase was observed in Iranian ports. This stagnation can be attributed to high stock levels in the ports and financial provisions for projects. Bitumen prices in Iranian ports last week remained within the range of $325 to $335, consistent with the previous week.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

Last week, asphalt prices did not follow a distinct pattern due to the recent rise in its price, which slowed down construction and road-building activities in many parts of the world, consequently reducing demand. The surge in the prices of crude oil and furnace oil contributed to the increase in asphalt shipment prices in Central Europe. Moreover, some suppliers in markets like Germany, France, and the UK are seeking to increase the price of this product for their October deliveries. In the Mediterranean region, prices experienced fluctuations, a result of the volatile prices of crude and furnace oil, although the overall shipment prices in this area remained largely unchanged.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Although the supply side of the market is still under pressure, the end of summer travels and the subsequent decrease in gasoline consumption impacted the demand for crude oil from refineries, causing a slight drop in oil prices.
    • The unchanged demand kept asphalt prices in Singapore stable.
    • With the rise in the price of vacuum bitumen and predictions of an increase in demand, asphalt prices in Iran experienced growth. However, it seems that if demand remains unchanged, price pressures may re-emerge in October.
    • Despite a decrease in rainfall in some parts of India, the domestic consumption and demand are still below expected levels. Indian refineries are currently faced with two challenges: rising crude oil prices and weak demand. Market predictions suggest a minimal increase in prices by $10 for October 23rd.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Ackman, the CEO of Pershing Square Capital, stated on Thursday that the U.S. inflation would persistently increase. He pointed out that the U.S. bond yields remain historically low at around 4%. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see 30-year rates surpassing 5%, and you can anticipate 10-year bond rates to potentially exceed 5%,” he said. According to him, “This doesn’t necessarily have to happen in the long run, it could occur in the short term, even within weeks.” Ackman’s warnings were released after Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan, earlier in the week, highlighted concerns regarding rising federal costs and increasing energy prices, signaling ongoing inflationary pressures. Dimon added that to combat these pressures, the Federal Reserve would likely need to tighten its monetary policies, and the possibility of the federal fund rate reaching 7% is real.

This week, Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, mentioned that structural inflation remains a future obstacle resulting from a tense geopolitical landscape and the fragmentation of trade norms. Speaking at the Global Dialogue Forum in Berlin, he stated, “Due to this latent inflation, we will see 10-year treasury bond rates with yields of at least 5% or higher. This kind of structural inflation is unlike anything we’ve seen before, and I believe business leaders and politicians aren’t adequately addressing it.” Fink pointed out that “We haven’t witnessed such inflation in over 30 years.”

Barbara Corcoran, the real estate mogul and star of “Shark Tank,” predicts that if the Federal Reserve lowers rates, making housing loans cheaper, housing prices will surge. In recent interviews, she has identified a potential growth of 15 to 20%. She argues that the housing shortage in the market will further drive up prices. Corcoran mentioned, “There’s nothing like an insurance policy. If there aren’t enough houses available for trade, prices will continue to rise. With high-interest rates persisting, there’s no infrastructure to make more homes available.”

According to A.J. Oden, a strategist at JPMorgan, the U.S. stock index will reach a new record next year, as the Federal Reserve will likely halt its rate-increasing trajectory. This perspective largely stems from JPMorgan’s anticipation that the Federal Reserve will soon move towards cutting interest rates, which would be bullish for stocks. Oden remarked that Federal Reserve officials now seem more optimistic about the economy. He referenced the latest summary of the Federal Reserve’s economic projections, which forecasts that the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) inflation rate – the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation metric – will decrease to 2% by 2026.

The Third Week Of September 2023

Last week, global crude oil prices continued to rise due to predictions by OPEC and the International Energy Agency (IEA) of increased demand and a supply shortage. Both OPEC and the IEA forecasted a crude oil shortage in the market for the fourth quarter, attributing it to extended supply cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia. Positive economic data from China last week also raised hopes for increased demand from its economy, thereby exerting upward pressure on crude oil, chemical products, and metals.

It appears that, following extensive economic stimuli from the Chinese government, there are signs of stability in China’s economy. These stimuli have resulted in a 3.2% increase in the production of aluminum and steel in the country and a 20% growth in crude oil refining. In contrast, US economic data indicated a rise in the annual inflation rate for the second consecutive month, moving from 3.2% to 3.7%. Notably, over half of this increase was due to the gasoline index.

Next week, the financial outlook in markets will be heavily influenced by the Federal Reserve’s decision regarding interest rates on Thursday. Market predictions suggest that the interest rate will likely remain unchanged at its current level of 5.25% – 5.5%. Furthermore, given the data from last week, it is expected that the preliminary PMI index will show a further decline in US manufacturing for September. Last week, gasoline and diesel prices increased by 7.5% and 5.7%, respectively.

In Iran, on the eve of the president’s trip to the US for the annual UN meeting, there was increased speculation about a potential agreement between Iran and the US. However, these rumors did not lead to a decrease in the dollar or interbank interest rates. In the commodities exchange, a week after changing the base calculation for oil product rates, trading volume was less than supply. In key supplies, the vacuum bitumen of Isfahan Oil Refinery saw a 4% price decrease, while the Bandar Abbas Oil Refinery experienced a 4% price increase. Most of the bitumen trades in the commodities exchange experienced a price increase, with the Isfahan, Pasargad Arak, and Bandar Abbas oil trades recording the highest price growths.

In Iran’s ports, with the end of the monsoon season in India approaching, and considering the steady increase in crude oil prices, export bitumen prices increased, ranging between $320 to $330, compared to $310 to $320 the previous week.

Last week, crude oil prices continued to rise, influenced by OPEC and the International Energy Agency’s forecasts of increasing demand and supply shortages. Both OPEC and the International Energy Agency predicted a shortage of crude oil in the market for the fourth quarter due to the extended supply cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia. Additionally, positive economic data from China last week boosted hopes of increased demand from the country, exerting upward pressure on crude oil as well as chemical and metal products.

It appears that, following extensive economic stimuli from the Chinese government, signs of stability have emerged in the Chinese economy. These stimuli resulted in a 3.2% increase in aluminum and steel production in the country and a 20% growth in crude oil refining. On the other hand, US economic data indicated an annual inflation rate rise for the second consecutive month, from 3.2% to 3.7%, with more than half of this growth attributed to the increase in the gasoline index.

Next week, financial outlooks in the markets will be heavily influenced by the Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates on Thursday. Market forecasts suggest that interest rates will remain unchanged at the current level of 5.25% – 5.5%. Considering last week’s data, the preliminary estimate for the PMI index is expected to indicate a further decline in US manufacturing for September. Last week, gasoline and diesel prices increased by 7.5% and 5.7%, respectively, while furnace oil prices for 180 and 380 in the Persian Gulf grew by 2.3% and 0.7%, respectively. The declining trend for furnace oil spread was expected due to the end of the summer season and the anticipated reduced demand in the coming months.

In Iran, as the President prepared to visit the US for the annual United Nations meeting, there was increased speculation about a potential final agreement between Iran and the US. However, this news did not lead to a decline in the dollar or interbank interest rates. In the commodity exchange, one week after the change in the base rate calculation for petroleum products, trading volume was lower than supply. Among the most significant trades, vacuum bitumen from the Isfahan oil refinery decreased by 4%, while Bandar Abbas oil refinery saw a 4% price increase. The majority of the export tar trading in the commodity exchange was accompanied by a price increase. In Iran’s ports, as the end of India’s monsoon season approached and with crude oil prices remaining high, the price of export tar increased, ranging between $320 to $330, up from $310 to $320 the previous week.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

The global crude oil and furnace oil prices continue to rise, leading to an increase in the asphalt export prices in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. However, the surge in furnace oil prices influenced the demand and the ratio of furnace oil to domestic cargoes. The European Central Bank’s decision to raise interest rates by 4% is identified as a significant factor affecting asphalt demand. On the other hand, increasing inflation has diminished the value of budgets, subsequently reducing demand in the road construction sector. As September commenced, the monthly price increase of asphalt cargoes in key North-Western European markets suppressed buyer demand. Given the replenished stocks, German suppliers felt compelled to decrease their domestic cargo prices. The activity trend in Africa was unpredictable; heavy rainfall and resulting floods impacted demand in Nigeria. However, with the onset of spring, road construction activities in South Africa intensified. The volume of shipments to South China and the asphalt consumption level in the country remained low, prompting other Southeast Asian countries to seize the purchase opportunities.

HIGHLIGHTS

Brent crude oil prices surged past $92, reaching a nine-month high. This increase can be attributed to the extended production cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia, coupled with bolstered demand in the United States. The global furnace oil prices followed a similar upward trajectory as crude oil.
In Singapore, asphalt prices strengthened due to rising crude oil costs and growing demand. Meanwhile, the cargo prices in Bahrain remained unchanged. Iranian cargo prices saw an uptick, following the upward trend in vacuum and crude oil prices.
In India, the ongoing monsoon season maintained demand at lower levels, exerting its influence on prices. The country’s domestic refineries decreased their prices, and with the anticipated demand surge next month, refineries are expected to adjust their rates accordingly.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Jeremy Grantham has warned of a historic stock bubble on the verge of bursting, potentially plunging the U.S. economy into a recession. Since the summer of 2020, Grantham has been sounding the alarm. He noted that the rush of stock purchases directed towards the artificial intelligence sector has delayed the bursting of the current technology bubble. Reiterating his warning from earlier this year, Grantham stated that the potential collapse of Silicon Valley banks and other regional lenders in the coming spring might be indicators of a growing “financial strain.” He expressed significant concern about potential financial troubles. Discussing the housing market, Grantham advised that there needs to be controls in place. He pointed out that two decades of declining mortgage rates have resulted in multifold increases in property values in major cities across developed countries. When asked about his estimate of the likelihood of a U.S. economic recession in the next 18 months, he believed it to be over 50% and, to be more precise, around 70%. In contrast, Goldman Sachs foresees only a 15% chance of a recession in the upcoming 12 months, and Federal Reserve economists do not share the same expectations.

According to Jim Egan from Morgan Stanley, due to the delayed effects of rising mortgage rates, the affordability of property transactions will become even worse than it is now. Egan mentioned, “Investing in real estate is still challenging in terms of affordability, and the rise in interest rates in recent months has further worsened the situation.” By their calculations, monthly payments for median-priced houses have increased by 18% compared to the previous year. This rate of acceleration is the most substantial since October 2022. Markets expect the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates elevated to combat inflation by year’s end, which could also affect mortgage rates.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Bill Gross highlighted that a third of the U.S.’s outstanding debt will mature in less than a year. To ensure the Treasury Department can refinance these bonds, a large number of buyers need to be attracted. Gross pointed out that the Federal Reserve’s contractionary campaign intensifies the imbalance between supply and demand as it removes the central bank as a bond buyer. He warned that a lack of demand means treasury prices remain low. “This is risky at times,” he stated. “I’m not saying to exit the bond market. I’m merely saying that yields on this asset class need to rise, or the economy won’t recover. U.S. debts are on the rise, and market experts are raising red flags about a potential recession.”

In a recent speech, Ray Dalio explained that the increasing fiscal deficit is forcing the U.S. Treasury Department to continue issuing bonds. However, the surge in the U.S.’s new debt supply isn’t the only issue. He warned that if investors don’t receive sufficiently high-interest rates, they might sell their bonds. The imbalance in supply and demand isn’t just tied to the volume of new bonds. During a Friday event, Dalio remarked, “The question is, are investors buying bonds with the intent to sell them? I personally believe long-term bonds aren’t a good investment. Although rising interest rates help boost demand for bonds, servicing debt becomes more expensive.”

The Second Week Of September 2023

Over the past week, crude oil recorded a growth of about 2%, and oil products also registered an increase ranging from 2 to 5%. This happened during a time when, despite the rise of the dollar index, the prices of most commodities were on a downward trajectory. Global steel and copper prices respectively decreased by 1% and 3%. Although last week saw oil prices rise more significantly than oil products due to price hikes from Saudi Arabia, this trend reversed this week, and the spread of oil products surged. It was anticipated that the oil price would slightly correct upon reaching the technical channel ceiling last week. However, the unsteady supply and demand conditions again placed oil on an upward trajectory. It appears that to reach a balance, higher prices are required, which can be seen in the observed demand decrease, positioning the price at an equilibrium point.

The most significant index released by the US in the past week was the PMI, showing signs of economic improvement a week after an increase in the unemployment rate. Based on recent data, if the US inflation data remains on the rise in the current week, the US economy might tolerate higher interest rates. This scenario increases the likelihood of the dollar index reaching new highs and exerting further pressure on commodity prices in the upcoming weeks. On the other hand, China’s decreased exports and imports in August indicate that a year after the COVID-19 quarantine, the country’s economy is grappling with new challenges, some of which stem from political tensions between China and the West.

In the past week, gasoline and diesel prices rose by 1.8% and 5% respectively. Furnace oil 180 and 380 in the Persian Gulf recorded an increase of 3.7% and 4.4% respectively. In Iran, as the periodic meeting of the Board of Governors approaches, positive news is emerging about Iran’s enrichment report, although no positive economic signs related to this news, particularly a decrease in interbank interest rates or exchange rates, have been observed. In the commodity exchange, some transactions involving vacuum bottom and all export bitumen transactions faced reductions. In the most important export bitumen offers, there was a 7,000-ton transaction of oil with a 3.5% drop, a 10,000-ton transaction of Bandar Abbas Pasargad oil with a 3% weekly price decrease, and a 35,000-ton transaction of Pars Behin Refinery was done at the base price. In Iran’s ports, due to unchanged price conditions, there was not much fluctuation, with the export price ranging from $310 to $320, compared to the previous week’s range of $310 to $315.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

In the past week, given the continued upward trend of crude oil and furnace oil, domestic and export cargo prices increased in most parts of the world. In Europe, demand surged while supply faced certain restrictions in Asia. In Central and Northern Europe, following the global rise in furnace oil rates, domestic cargo prices naturally rose. Mediterranean bitumen cargo prices also went up under the influence of the global market momentum. However, due to weak demand and ample supply, the premium ratio between bitumen cargoes and maritime transport rates declined. Cargo prices shipped to West African ports and also internal rates to southern destinations of this continent experienced a sharp rise. Yet, in the eastern part of the continent, the prices of bulk and barrel shipments remained relatively stable. In conclusion, concerns about potential supply constraints in October and November became evident among market participants.

HIGHLIGHTS

The unfavorable demand horizon for furnace oil, which became more apparent with the end of the hot season, led to a halt in the upward trend of its global price.
The increase in Singapore’s bitumen price was not very stable last week, and rates experienced a slight decrease. The price trend of Bahrain’s shipments remained unchanged as before.
In Iran, the decrease in demand and the downward trend of vacuum bottom prices led to a reduction in prices.
Refineries in India increased the bitumen price by $14 for September 23rd. Despite this rise, market participants forecast a $10 reduction for the next period.
While concerns about reduced supply continue, the stability of the upward trend of crude oil prices and reaching a six-month peak were slightly adjusted over the past week due to the release of weak economic data from both China and the US. However, with the announcement of extended supply constraints by Russia and Saudi Arabia, some of this correction was compensated for.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Leon Cooperman maintains his expectation of an impending recession in the United States. He emphasizes that he remains among the few calling for an interest rate hike. Even without an aggressive Federal Reserve, Cooperman expects the U.S. economy to undergo a sharp downturn. He identifies several factors that might derail it from its current trajectory, including the Federal Reserve’s monetary contraction campaign, rising oil prices, or the appreciation of the U.S. dollar. Cooperman observed that these factors have “behaved reasonably well,” which explains the strong market performance in recent seasons. For instance, falling oil prices and a weakening dollar were seen as economic positives, boosting investor sentiment.

According to Howard Marks, American companies are set for a tough battle against inflation led by the Federal Reserve. He warns of the potential for a significant number of businesses to default on their debt repayments, as skyrocketing interest rates have made borrowing significantly more expensive. Marks also believes that even if inflation decreases to the Federal Reserve’s 2% target, there won’t be a return to the “easy money” era—referring to the period between 2009 and 2021 when interest rates were close to zero. Marks speculates that, after further inflation declines, the central bank will keep borrowing costs between 2 and 4%. He anticipates the Federal Reserve will adopt a neutral stance, neither stimulatory nor restrictive.

Shingchen Yu, a strategist for emerging markets at CIO Americas UBS, noted, “We believe China has overcome the worst of its recession, but conditions don’t yet indicate a strong recovery.” For this reason, Yu thinks there should be more support for economic policies. Similarly, like the U.S. during the pandemic, China did not flood its economy with stimuli. Yu emphasizes that while the chances of massive stimuli are low, targeted, precise, and strong actions to address current challenges can still change sentiments towards the Chinese economy. Naturally, market turmoil in China draws parallels to the U.S. housing bubble that precipitated the global financial crisis. However, Yu is confident that such comparisons are overstretched.

Tom Lee remains optimistic about the potential growth in the U.S. economy. He points out recent statements from regional Federal Reserve chairs, suggesting that the central bank will persist with interest rate hikes to curb inflation, have caused some investor anxieties. Lee’s focus is on the falling prices of used cars, which account for 15% of consumer inflation. Based on the decreasing prices of second-hand vehicles, he predicts a continuing downward trend. If inflation can continue its decline, the pressure on the Federal Reserve to maintain high-interest rates, which investors view positively, will dissipate. Lee also believes that the growth trend in housing rentals seems to have halted, potentially putting downward pressure on a significant portion of the consumer price index.

The First Week Of September 2023

Last week, crude oil experienced a growth of about 6%, and most commodities, with the exception of some oil products like gasoline, diesel, and light oil, saw a price increase. Currently, crude oil seems to play a significant role in guiding the prices of other commodities. Amid efforts by the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve to control inflation by raising interest rates, fluctuations in the price of oil can make the path to inflation reduction more challenging. Last week, the US unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 3.8%, and in Europe, it increased to 5.3%. These figures hint at the early signs of a mild recession. Before these statistics were released, the PMI index of China was published, suggesting early signs of economic recovery in the country.

The crude oil price trends last week were influenced by a mixture of data and news. In the first half of the week, positive economic news from China stabilized oil prices. In the latter half, three main news items triggered an aggressive behavior in oil prices: a decrease of 11 million barrels in US reserves, news of Russia’s agreement with OPEC to further reduce its oil exports in October, and the rise in the US unemployment rate, which could potentially stall the interest rate hikes in September.

Beyond the mentioned data and news, the upcoming week seems crucial for the trajectory of crude oil prices. Crude oil is facing a significant resistance level, and the decision of OPEC+ regarding production cuts will be a determinant in breaking this resistance. Last week, the Platts magazine was not published on Friday, but Thursday’s prices indicated a 3% decrease in gasoline, a 2% decrease in diesel, and a decline of about 1% in both 180 and 380 furnace oils from the Persian Gulf. Recent data from Iran showed a daily export of 2.2 million barrels in August, but no further news on any agreements was released. This week, there was no change in the yield rate of treasury bills compared to last month, keeping a consistent trend. In the commodities market, there were noticeable declines in major oil refinery sales.

In Iran’s ports, due to the off-season rainy demand and the decrease in furnace oil prices, there was an approximately 3% decrease in export bitumen prices, positioning the export price between $310 to $315, down from the previous week’s range of $317 to $325.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

Over the past week, bitumen prices have risen in most global export points, driven by an uptick in crude oil and furnace oil prices. Internal rates in northern and central Europe remained relatively stable, trending upward, with market participants expecting prices in the key northwestern European markets to rise with the onset of the new week. Additionally, prices for shipments imported to Western and Southern African terminals saw growth, but the extent of activity and demand levels were not entirely clear. In Singapore, shipment prices grew due to signs of rising demand, and market players believe that the country’s domestic demand will increase in September.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Bitumen prices in Singapore continued their upward trend. However, given the lack of significant demand observed in the country, this upward movement is not very strong.
    • The price for bitumen shipments from Bahrain remained at $410.
    • Prices for bitumen shipments from Iran decreased slightly due to weak demand. However, the transaction volume at these lower prices was minimal, and most market participants showed no inclination to offer their shipments at these reduced prices.
    • Prices in India for September are expected to increase by $12 per ton.
    • With the release of data on changes in US stored oil and the announcement of the PCE inflation within expected frames, alongside the prospects of a halt in US interest rate growth in September, crude oil prices experienced an upward trend. Furthermore, after consecutive growth for two weeks, furnace oil prices remained relatively stable during the week but resumed their upward trajectory by the week’s end due to the rise in crude oil prices.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

According to economist David Rosenberg, the U.S. economy is heading towards a recession in early 2024. He commented, “We’ve possibly witnessed the most significant interest rate shock since 1981. Notably, in the subsequent year of 1982, the economy didn’t experience any mild recession. The impacts of interest rate hikes have been offset somewhat by the long-term effects of fiscal stimuli, which are now coming into play.” Rosenberg added, “It would be miraculous if we escape this looming mild recession.” He further warned of the potential for another increase in rates. Addressing the outlook of the impending recession, he said, “I’m giving it about six months.” Additionally, he drew parallels between the recent rise in credit card delinquencies and the 2008 housing loan crisis. Rosenberg noted that banks are loosening their lending standards, which affects borrowers and overall credit quality. He elaborated, “Economic recessions start like this: with a notable erosion in credit quality in a particular asset class. Right now, you’re seeing it with credit cards, even if these loans don’t resemble the scale of residential mortgages, as was the case in 2008.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia is considering an Initial Public Offering (IPO) for its oil company, Aramco, which could set a new record for IPOs. In a potential deal, Aramco shares could be listed with a value of $50 billion, making it the largest IPO in capital market history. Aramco is reportedly reaching out to potential investors, including other global oil companies and independent investment funds. Nevertheless, selling shares in this state-owned company remains a top priority for Saudi Arabia. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman intends to use the proceeds to help the country diversify away from oil.

Matt Smith, a senior oil analyst at Kepler, informed Insider, “Both China and India are capitalizing on discounted Russian crude oil, benefiting from the sanctions placed on Russian commodities by other nations.” After China and India, Turkey and Bulgaria are the major buyers of Russian crude. According to Kepler reports, India, being the third-largest oil importer globally, used to rely on Russia for about 1% of its total oil volume before the war. Now, that number has surged to 51%. The pattern indicates a shift in Russia’s crude oil exports, redirecting towards Asian buyers and moving away from Europe.

The CEO of Yahoo Finance said in an interview: “With rising interest rates, the stock market might see a drop of 10% or even more, wiping out a significant portion of the 17% profit of the S&P in the current year.” Eddie Ghabour pointed out, “The looming credit card debt and potential resurgence of student loan repayments starting in October could impact the American consumer. These events could harm the U.S. economic outlook but might also bring the Federal Reserve closer to its goal of returning inflation to 2%.” He added, “The only remaining solution is to reduce demand. I don’t see how you can reduce rates next year without triggering a recession.”

The Fourth Week Of August 2023

Last week, crude oil prices saw little fluctuation compared to the beginning of the week. However, other commodities, such as metals and petrochemical products, experienced a weekly increase. Market focus was primarily on the Federal Reserve’s meeting in Jackson Hole. Although there is still time until the next Federal Reserve meeting on September 20th for interest rate decisions, the discussions suggested a consensus among analysts that interest rates would not increase in the upcoming session. Given this backdrop, it seems China’s economic decisions will play a significant role in the oil market in the next two weeks.

Signs of China’s new approach became evident as the country decreased its short-term interest rates and facilitated housing loans for consumers. Furthermore, amidst weeks of supply constraints in the oil market, economic discussions included agreements between the U.S., Iran, and Venezuela regarding increased exports. Such agreements with these countries might neutralize OPEC+ strategies aimed at pushing oil prices upward. Technical analysis of oil prices suggests positive news on oil supply as prices approach the significant threshold of $90. Recent data indicates a resurgence in U.S. oil production, potentially leading to an increase in market supply. Last week, gasoline and diesel prices increased by 5% and 1.5%, respectively, while the price of furnace oil in the Persian Gulf dropped by around 3% and 5%.

In Iran, while no new political news emerged last week, the continued increase in oil exports signifies the ongoing stabilization of the Iran-U.S. agreement. Despite this positive news, the average yield on debt securities in Iran remains above 25%, and the dollar’s free market exchange rate hovers between 48,000 and 49,000 Tomans. The government’s recent bond auction with rates higher than 25% for two-year securities was unsuccessful, as the market demands even higher rates. In the commodity exchange, both vacuum bottom and export bitumen saw a weekly decline. Notably, a 60,000-ton transaction from the Esfahan oil refinery decreased by 2%, and a 30,000-ton transaction from the Shazand oil refinery declined by 3.8%. Most export bitumen transactions, like those from the Pasargad Bandar Abbas and Pasargad Abadan refineries, had demand lower than the supply.

Due to a drop in furnace oil prices and a continued decline in the commodity exchange transactions, the export bitumen price in Iranian ports fell by approximately 2%. The export price ranged between $317 to $325, down from the previous week’s $320 to $335 range.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

Last week, tar prices remained relatively stable, with both crude oil and furnace oil prices seeing little to no change. The ratio of tar to Mediterranean furnace oil prices remained consistent. However, arbitrage opportunities to Northwest Europe decreased, while domestic shipment rates remained unchanged in most parts of Northwest and Central Europe. Given market participants’ expectations of price increases in September, some buyers made their purchases in the European market. Western African terminals also witnessed a fairly high volume of shipments last week. Furthermore, Singapore shipment prices experienced growth during the past week.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Bitumen prices in Singapore received slight support but showed no clear trend.
    • After two periods of increase, Bahrain kept its price unchanged last week.
    • In Iran, in line with the regional tar trend and the continuation of the seasonal rains in India, demand was weak, and prices faced slight downward pressure.
    • Refineries in India remain uncertain about changing their prices, considering the global rise in crude oil and tar prices, and on the other hand, limited domestic demand. Experts believe that in the coming month, these refineries will increase their prices.
    • With the release of new economic data from China and the growth in supply due to the resumption of exports from Iraqi Kurdistan, crude oil prices were affected and decreased. Furnace oil prices experienced no significant changes this week.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Yuri Seliger, a strategist at Bank of America, noted on Friday that “$1 trillion of new leveraged credit has been accounted for over the past five years.” He added, “Approximately half of this money is currently in well-performing capital structures, while the other half is now in riskier stages. About 25% of it is tied to companies issuing high-risk bonds, 35% in syndicated loans, and the remaining 40% in private debt.” Several experts have warned about the rising levels of private and government debts in the U.S., especially when markets transition out of the ultra-low-interest-rate era.

Austen Goolsbee, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, reinforced his strong stance, aligning his views with those skeptical of aggressive tightening measures. Goolsbee emphasized the unfinished work of the Federal Reserve, reminding us that “inflation is still higher than what we want.” With cautious optimism, he elaborated on the rare scenario where the Federal Reserve can overcome inflation without triggering a recession, describing it as a potential “major victory” without historical precedent. Goolsbee’s pessimistic outlook emerged when he alluded to maintaining the nominal interest rate at 5.5%, along with decreasing inflation, implicitly endorsing further tightening of contractionary policy.

Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, shared his economic outlook in Jackson Hole on Friday. Powell didn’t provide explicit hints about the bank’s next move but pledged to achieve a 2% inflation rate. He noted the Federal Reserve would proceed “carefully” when deciding on interest rate hikes. The only certainty from Powell’s comments was the commitment to a 2% inflation goal, and the central bank would continue its efforts to achieve it. He didn’t commit to whether the Fed would raise rates, but it was evident that they wouldn’t stray from the 2% inflation target and interest rates would not be cut anytime soon.

According to Dobrajvko Lakos, a strategist at JP Morgan, a vast array of factors will influence markets by the end of 2023, and monetary policy is likely to remain tight. Lakos believes the Federal Reserve will likely keep interest rates high for the remainder of the year and probably won’t initiate interest rate cuts anytime soon, foreseeing a stricter fiscal policy. He pointed out that 2023 has been a “massive year of fiscal stimulus” with the government spending $1.8 trillion. However, federal expenditures are expected to decrease significantly in 2024, which could impact economic growth. While some analysts claim the U.S. can avoid a recession this year, any current economic resilience is primarily due to robust fiscal spending and consumer expenditure, both of which are expected to decline by 2024. Lakos also noted that savings are rapidly decreasing, which erodes the buffers protecting the economy from challenging financial conditions.

The Third Week Of August 2023

Crude oil prices fell by around 2% last week. The market, after weeks of growth due to supply and demand imbalances, is now focusing more on fundamental factors. Concerns among Federal Reserve committee members about the necessity of a further interest rate hike dominated last week’s meeting. As a result, most markets trended downwards, while the dollar index reached just above 103. The prediction of continuing interest rate hikes was also supported by the rising U.S. retail index. On another front, new credit risks in China’s economy indicate that the country’s debt crisis shows no signs of abating and is even spreading to its banking sector. Released data further indicates intensifying competition between the world’s two largest economies, with China reducing its holdings of U.S. debt by $103 billion last month. This move emphasizes China’s potential to impact the U.S. economy by limiting its financial options.

For the week, data showed a decline in active U.S. oil rigs and a decrease in U.S. oil reserves by about 6 million barrels. U.S. crude oil exports stood at 15.7 million barrels per day, and imports at 12.3 million barrels per day, indicating a drop in export volume compared to previous months. The challenges for oil traders in the coming months seem to be the potential decline in U.S. oil production, China’s high oil reserves exceeding 1 billion barrels, and the possibility of a recession in either of the two major economies.

Gasoline and diesel prices fell by 3.5% and 1.8% respectively last week. Additionally, Gulf furnace oils 180 and 380 both saw a price decrease of approximately 0.9%. In Iran, the recent positive diplomatic engagements between the U.S. and Iran did not generate positive economic expectations domestically. The exchange rate for the U.S. dollar reached above 48,000 Iranian Rials, and the average risk-free rate increased from 23% to 26%. The Central Bank’s third debt securities auction, with rates above 25% for two-year bonds, was unsuccessful, suggesting that the bank’s strategy to control money supply growth by maintaining high-interest rates isn’t working.

In the commodity exchange, the vacuum batum’s price was stronger than the export bitumen. Transactions for Isfahan’s oil refinery grew by 2.3%, while Bandar Abbas’s oil refinery experienced a weekly decrease of 1.6%. Almost all export bitumen transactions in the commodity exchange saw a weekly decrease. Due to the ongoing monsoon in India, consistent commodity exchange transactions, and the declining crude oil prices, export bitumen prices in Iranian ports dropped by 1-2%. The export prices ranged between $320 to $335, down from $325 to $340 the previous week.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

Last week, the price of asphalt shipments in Singapore experienced an increase. In contrast, prices in European export regions followed a different trend and declined. Additionally, domestic prices in Europe remained low due to the subdued demand. Mediterranean shipments of asphalt significantly reduced, with only a small volume being dispatched to North African terminals. The rates for European export shipments also faced pressure due to the decline in crude oil and furnace oil values. Construction activity and asphalt demand in Eastern Africa showed an upward trend. However, regions in Western Africa continued to have weak demand, attributed to persistent rainy weather.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The price of asphalt in Singapore has seen a slight increase, but the demand for the product remains unchanged.
    • Last week, Bahrain raised its bulk asphalt price by $30.
    • Refineries in India increased their prices by approximately $24.
    • In Iran, there was an expectation for asphalt prices to rise due to positive political news related to the reduction of sanctions. However, this trend halted due to anticipated strengthening of the Rial, a drop in crude oil prices, and a decline in vacuum rates. Traders believe that ongoing monsoon rains in India until the end of September will impact the weak demand for Iranian asphalt.
    • Crude oil prices this week were influenced by China’s weak economy and fears of further interest rate hikes in the U.S., declining by about 3% after weeks of increase. The deepening crisis in China’s property sector has added to concerns about the country’s shaky economy. Nonetheless, furnace oil and diesel prices remain at high levels, contributing to the strengthening of asphalt prices.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

The Securities and Exchange Commission revealed on Tuesday that Burry’s Scion Asset Management has made a significant bet against the U.S. economy by issuing a bearish put option on 200,000 shares at the end of June. The head of this company has been sounding the alarm on stocks and other high-risk assets for a while now. He also purchased a substantial number of energy and transportation stocks in the second quarter. Michael Burry is renowned in the U.S. stock market for predicting major bubbles. Burry’s decision to take a short position on many market stocks while buying energy and shipping shares might indicate his optimism about international trade and global recovery. However, many traders have expressed concerns about Burry’s perspective given the economic challenges worldwide.

The Second Week Of August 2023

Last week, crude oil prices experienced a smaller growth compared to the previous weeks due to weaker than expected data released from both China and the United States. The U.S. dollar index rose, and the producer inflation increased by about 0.3% in July. Estimates suggest that this will put more pressure on the Federal Reserve to control inflation. Moreover, China’s trade balance showed a decrease in both imports and exports, dimming hopes for an increased crude oil consumption by the country. Despite these economic data points, the market continues to experience pressure due to reduced supply.

According to a recent report from the International Energy Agency, a decrease in production by OPEC has led to a global crude oil production decline to 100.9 million barrels per day, while global demand has reached a record 103 million barrels per day. This report supports the price increase of oil. Additionally, data indicating that the combined reserves of Western countries have reached around 115 million barrels demonstrates the supply-side’s strength in controlling oil prices.

With the increasing friction between oil supply and demand, tensions between Russia and Ukraine are also on the rise, which could introduce new risks to the market and temper optimism about the success of the Jeddah conference. Key market influencers for the upcoming week will include the FOMC meeting and China’s retail sales data. In the past week, gasoline and diesel prices rose by 6% and 1%, respectively, while prices for furnace oil 180 and 380 in the Persian Gulf decreased.

In Iran, news of a preliminary agreement between Iran and the United States was released by the end of the week. However, the currency market’s reaction was limited, with the dollar exchange rate remaining stable around 47,100 Tomans. It’s anticipated that a decrease in prices might push the dollar’s market rate down to 44,500 Tomans.

On the commodity exchange, the trend in vacuum bottom supply was stronger than that of export bitumen, as both supply and demand for vacuum bottom increased. Though the supply from Esfahan’s oil refinery experienced about a 4% decline, other commodities either remained neutral or witnessed an upward trajectory. However, in the case of export bitumen, supply decreased, and demand was lower than the supply, resulting in most commodities ending the week with a decline.

Conversely, ports in Iran had a different trend. Despite continued rains in India and South Africa and weak demand from China, there was no downward pressure on Iran’s export bitumen prices. Due to the potential reduction in sanctions, stable regional pricing, and the high price of crude oil, Iran’s bitumen prices rose by approximately 5%. The export price at Iranian ports ranged between $325 to $340, up from $310 to $320 the previous week.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

Over the past week, with the sustained upward trend in crude oil and furnace oil prices, the cost of bitumen shipments rose globally. However, demand was weak in many markets. In European markets, construction activities saw a slight decline approaching the summer holidays. This was juxtaposed with a growing gap between Rotterdam FOB furnace oil prices and Mediterranean FOB bitumen shipments, which subsequently elevated the demand for Mediterranean bitumen.

While markets in North Africa, like Morocco, witnessed heightened activities, the import prices surged for Western and Eastern African markets. In contrast, prices were more fluctuating in the Southern African markets. In Asia, the Singaporean market experienced numerous fundamental changes last week, with some being contradictory. On one hand, the internal furnace oil price hikes led to rapid price increases. On the other, unfavorable weather conditions and ongoing seasonal rains in several countries reduced the demand for bitumen. The occurring storms also affected China’s demand, and coupled with weak economic indicators and the government’s budget constraints for projects, this resulted in delays in some project executions.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • After the recent bolstering of crude oil prices over several weeks, attributed to reduced supplies from Saudi Arabia and Russia, concerns about demand in China pressured oil prices at the week’s start. However, they subsequently rebounded to their upward trajectory. In another development, furnace oil and diesel prices rose, influenced by the heatwaves in Europe and the Middle East, leading to a surge in energy demand.
  • The demand for bitumen shipments in both Singapore and China has remained low.
  • Given the rise in furnace oil prices, Bahrain is projected to increase its rates by $30 per ton.
  • A surge in vacuum prices and intensified competition in the commodity market has contributed to an uptick in bitumen prices in Iran. Considering the escalating crude oil prices and the potential rise in Bahraini bitumen costs, it’s anticipated that Iranian bitumen prices will also gain support.
  • At the outset of August, refineries in India raised their prices by $24. This upward trend in prices is expected to continue.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Krugman: Fitch has downgraded its credit rating for U.S. debt, leading to market fears and a subsequent downturn. However, the current economy is stronger than to immediately plunge into a credit crisis. Whether the United States will face a credit crisis within the next decade or two remains uncertain and seems to have a low likelihood. The key reason for this is that the ratio of interest rates to government debt is lower than economic growth. Despite the rapid increase in interest rates by the Federal Reserve in the past year to curb inflation, this ratio stands at around 1.83%. Meanwhile, the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown by more than 2% in the last two quarters.

The First Week Of August 2023

Over the past week, crude oil prices have risen by about 2%, marking a 13% increase in the past month. Published data on oil supply and demand indicates the influence of key producers’ decisions to reduce supply in the market. Reflecting on previous statements by Saudi officials last year, they aimed for oil prices between $90 and $100 per barrel. Considering the peace talks in Jeddah over Ukraine involving the U.S., a decline in active U.S. oil wells, production cuts from Saudi Arabia and Russia, and an increased demand from China to stockpile crude oil, there might be indications of a common goal or agreement. Alongside this, Saudi Arabia’s emphasis on reducing its oil production cannot be ignored. This could potentially shift the declining trend in oil prices that started in 2008, temporarily raising the Brent crude price to $110.

This week, the U.S. unemployment rate was published. Although it didn’t indicate an economic recession, the non-agricultural employment index revealed that job creation in the country was below expectations, only accommodating new entrants into the job market. Economic data released from China last week showed a manufacturing PMI below 50, highlighting the ongoing contraction in its economy. During the same period, gasoline prices fell by 3%, while diesel prices rose by 6%. Prices for furnace oil 180 and 380 in the Persian Gulf also saw an approximate 10% increase.

Data from S&P showed that in July, Iran exported an average of about 197,000 barrels of petroleum products to the Port of Fujairah. These exports, combined with those from Russia and Iraq, were eventually shipped to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, in Iran, despite the Central Bank’s emphasis on official rates, the dollar price in the free market rebounded temporarily above 50,000 tomans. On the commodity exchange, the trend for vacuum bitumen was mainly downward, while the export pitch trend was upwards. The export pitch prices on the commodity exchange experienced a weekly rate increase of 4 to 10%, despite a significant increase in supply. In contrast, besides the 50,000-ton supply from Isfahan Oil Refinery and the 15,000-ton supply from Tehran Oil Refinery, the remaining vacuum bitumen offers saw a weekly decrease.

Additionally, the ongoing seasonal rains in Iran’s export markets led to a roughly 3% increase in pitch prices. The export price at Iranian ports ranged between $310 and $320, up from $305 to $310 the previous week.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

Despite a significant drop in demand due to summer holidays, the price of asphalt shipments in northern and central European markets and the Mediterranean regions such as Italy, Spain, Greece, and Singapore increased. Moreover, in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions, despite weak foundational demand in several key markets, such as India, shipment rates experienced growth. In Africa, the overall rate of shipments was influenced by the increasing prices of bulk and barrel shipments from European and Middle Eastern export points. Demand in Southeast Asia did not show signs of returning to previous levels. The price of Iranian asphalt also continued its upward trend, considering the rising production and storage costs by some traders.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The demand for asphalt in Singapore remained relatively weak this week. However, prices strengthened due to the increase in global rates.
    • The price of Iranian asphalt, even though under pressure with the continuation of the end-season rain, experienced growth due to the significant rise in the furnace oil rate and competition in the commodity exchange for vacuum bitumen transactions.
    • Bahrain kept its prices unchanged at $410.
    • In line with global prices, Indian refineries increased their rates by $23 per ton. Although the continued rainfall affected the demand, the rising crude oil and furnace oil prices, as well as the support of Asian refineries for higher rates, were influential factors for the upward trend of asphalt.
    • Following the limitations in crude oil supply and increasing demand in countries like the USA and India, crude oil prices went up. Similarly, the price of furnace oil also continued its upward trend in line with crude oil.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Tom Lee, who has been one of the most bullish voices on Wall Street stocks, issued a warning to investors on Thursday. He stated that he still sees the stock market trending upward in the first half of the year, but he is currently observing signs in the market that suggest a downward trend in the coming weeks. Lee mentioned that the markets have followed the pattern of July, but they started August a bit differently overall. He added that the jobs report released on Friday could turn out better than expected in the future. If this happens, investors will become skeptical about the Federal Reserve continuing to raise interest rates. The market currently does not anticipate an interest rate hike, but if there is a change in this approach, investors might alter their current strategies.

The Fourth Week Of July 2023

In the past week, crude oil prices rose more than 5%, coinciding with a noticeable increase in most petroleum products. It appears that in the global oil market, the simultaneous increase in demand during the summer season, coupled with the reduced supply by OPEC, has led to a strong upward trend in crude oil prices. Following the Federal Reserve’s 0.25% interest rate increase last Thursday, there’s now a general consensus among traders that the rise in interest rates will slow down or stop in the US. It seems this development will result in the market paying less attention to interest rate trends and more to short-term supply and demand events in the coming weeks.

Moreover, last week’s economic news from the United States was diverse and led to significant fluctuations in the dollar’s value. On the positive side, the PCE inflation was weaker than expected, and personal spending in the United States increased. Conversely, the average income per American saw less growth than expected.

Furthermore, in China, the 24-member Politburo of the Communist Party, the senior decision-making body, promised “anti-cyclical” policies, which is a positive sign for the market. This week, the Kepler Institute reported that China’s crude oil reserves are approaching one billion barrels, while US crude oil production has reached its lowest point in the last two years. This news could transform China from merely a consumer to also a supplier.

In the past week, the prices of gasoline and diesel increased by 2% and 7% respectively, while the prices of furnace oil 180 and 380 in the Persian Gulf grew by 5.3% and 4.5%. In Iran, despite the Central Bank maintaining its policy rates unchanged, the free market dollar price stopped at its support line, failing to maintain a price level of 47,000 Tomans.

In the commodity exchange last week, prices were on an upward trend due to the rising trend of crude oil and furnace oil prices. Export bitumen transactions were relatively positive in the commodity exchange, while the competition and supply in vacuum bottom transactions remained high, causing all transactions, except for a 50,000-ton supply from Esfahan Oil Refinery, to increase by more than 5%.

Last week, the pressure of demand shortage on bulk bitumen FOB Bandar Abbas, Iran, decreased, and the export price of this country in the ports ranged from 305 to 310 dollars, compared to the previous range of 280 to 295 dollars.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

Last week in Africa, due to budget constraints on road construction projects and unfavorable weather conditions, the demand for bitumen remained low. In Singapore, prices were affected by the global rise in crude oil prices, increasing after weeks of decline. In the northern and central parts of Europe, with the arrival of summer holidays and a decrease in road construction activities, bitumen prices and transportation rates remained unchanged. Mediterranean shipments were also strengthened as a result of rising furnace oil prices. Furthermore, in Iran, the price of vacuum bottom, a petroleum product, continued its upward trend, leading to an increase in export bitumen prices.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Last week, the price of furnace oil also experienced a growing trend in line with the rise in crude oil prices.
    • Despite no change in demand in Singapore, the price of bitumen in the country remained unchanged. Market participants believe that prices will be supported in the near future.
    • Rates in Bahrain remained unchanged from last week at $410.
    • As a result of the rise in vacuum bottom prices and high competition in the commodity market, the price of Iran’s export bitumen also increased, which shocked Indian buyers. Traders believe that domestic suppliers are stockpiling ahead of a surge in demand in India.
    • Rainfall and floods continued to affect the level of demand and sales of bitumen in India. It is predicted that due to the increase in crude oil prices and petroleum products in the past month, Indian refineries will increase their prices by about $20.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Mark Mobius, founder of the emerging markets investment fund, confirmed that he holds no investments in the United States, expressing optimism about emerging markets in Asia. Mobius stated that he has focused his investments in Taiwan, South Korea, and India. Although some observers have expressed concern about a possible conflict between China and Taiwan, Mobius believes it’s unlikely that tensions will escalate significantly anytime soon. He suggested that any potential attack on Taiwan would likely face resistance from the United States, given China’s economic dependence on US markets.

Mobius also showed a more favorable attitude towards India, given its larger population of 1.4 billion, compared to China, and its Gross Domestic Product growing at a rate of 7 percent annually. He believes these factors could help the country become a significant supply base in the future.

The Third Week Of July 2023

Last week began with positive economic data from China, but the figures indicated slower-than-expected economic growth. This unexpectedly dampened the outlook for oil consumption by the world’s largest crude oil importer. The dollar index returned above 100, bolstering commodity prices. Brent oil saw an approximately 1.6% growth, while gasoline and diesel prices increased around 4%.

Data published during the week highlighted the ongoing global crude oil supply decline. On the other hand, China’s oil reserves increased. Additionally, tensions escalated again in the Russia-Ukraine conflict after several months of a downturn, elevating the risk of sudden events that could upend all equations.

Markets are eagerly awaiting the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision on Thursday, July 26. Despite persistently low inflation in the United States, many traders anticipate a 0.25% interest rate hike, a development that could profoundly impact markets and potentially lead to falling oil and other commodity prices. Published data indicates that US oil reserves are 1.1% higher than the 5-year average, without any significant fluctuations.

Over the past week, Persian Gulf furnace oil prices for 180 and 380 grades increased around 1%, and the spread of these products stopped at -14 and -11 dollars, respectively. In Iran, even without any indications from the central bank for interest rate cuts, positive news from the nuclear agreements and the Omani foreign minister’s visit to Iran caused a decline in the dollar. By the end of the week, the exchange rate stayed below 49,000 Rials.

In the commodities exchange last week, prices continued to rise due to the strengthening of the Rial and the increase in crude oil prices. Export bitumen transactions in the commodity exchange recorded a weekly growth of more than 2% to 7%. On the other hand, the competition in vacuum bottom transactions was strong, resulting in price increases of more than 3%, except for the 40,000-ton supply from the Bandar Abbas oil refinery.

Furthermore, the continuation of the monsoon season in India, Iran’s primary export bitumen market, caused the FOB price of bulk bitumen in Bandar Abbas, Iran, to trade in the range of $280 to $295 (last week it was $285 to $295).

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

The price of Singapore bitumen continued to decrease this week due to supply at lower prices. Additionally, demand in Europe remained low, and the price of European export and domestic shipments saw a slight change. Construction activities and the demand for bitumen have nearly ceased before the European summer holidays, and European domestic shipping rates have not significantly changed either.

Construction activities and demand for bitumen in the Africa region also remained at lower levels, even though activities in South Africa were higher than the same period in previous years. The price of Iranian bitumen continued its upward trend, experiencing an approximate increase of 30 dollars so far.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The lack of sufficient demand continues to put pressure on the prices of bitumen in Singapore and China, keeping prices at low levels in these countries.
    • Bahrain is expected to increase its price by 20 dollars, reaching 410 dollars.
    • In Iran, despite weak demand, the price of bitumen and vacuum bottom has strengthened. It is expected that with price increases from Bahrain and the continuation of the upward trend of fuel oil and diesel, prices will continue to rise.
    • Indian refineries have not made any changes in their prices, and only the price of VG10 bitumen has decreased by 18 dollars per ton. It is predicted that refineries in this country will increase their prices at the beginning of August in line with global rate growth.
    • As a result of the increase in the price of crude oil, the price of fuel oil was not an exception to this rule and experienced a price increase.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Robert Shiller, a Yale University economics professor, suggested that the more than a decade-long rise in home prices might soon come to an end following the conclusion of the Federal Reserve’s contractionary cycle. He commented, “In my opinion, the fear of increasing interest rates has affected people’s thinking. It’s not just homeowners, but new buyers who wanted to lock in their home deals with loans before interest rates rise. Thus, their demand has positively impacted the market, but it’s ending.”

A downturn in housing prices could potentially prevent the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates in the coming months, thereby controlling inflation. Shiller added that this new trend contradicts the traditional reputation of the housing market, which is more predictable, particularly after over a decade of steady housing price increases that investors thought would continue.

Shiller stated, “But it may end with the conclusion of this interest rate hike cycle.” His perspective differs from others on Wall Street who believe the end of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate increases will cause housing prices to rise. They argue that according to Wall Street activities, readjusting borrowing costs will return higher demand to the market.

The Second Week Of July 2023

Over the past week, the US dollar index fell to its lowest point in the past year (99.6), leading to a surge in the prices of crude oil and oil products. Brent oil saw an increase of around 1.4%, while gasoline and diesel prices rose by 6% and 5% respectively.

Last week’s occurrences complemented oil price fluctuations, such as the halt of oil exports from Nigeria, the closure of Libya’s second-largest oil field, and signs of decreased supply from Russia. The inflation rate in the US was significantly lower than expected this week, increasing the likelihood of inflation reaching the Federal Reserve’s target rate. The closer inflation gets to the Federal Reserve’s target rate, the more traders expect a halt in the rising interest rates in the US, reducing the risks associated with a potential economic recession.

However, China’s economic growth figures are due to be released on Tuesday. This follows last week’s report on China’s trade balance, which revealed a decline of approximately 12% in exports in June. If predictions of an economic growth of over 7% in China in the second quarter, compared to 4.5% in the first quarter, are fulfilled, it could serve as a lever for the increase in crude oil prices at the start of this week.

Furthermore, the US gasoline inventory has fallen by 7%, lower than the 5-year seasonal average. This happened as US crude oil production retreated to 12.3 million barrels per day, indicating that as the weather heats up and the travel season starts in the northern hemisphere, the US is losing control over the market.

Last week, the prices of 180 and 380 fuel oil in the Persian Gulf rose approximately 5%, while gasoline rose more than 6%. In Iran, the US dollar, continuing its behavior from the previous week, fluctuated slightly, trading in the range of 49,000 to 50,000 Toman. Meanwhile, transactions in the exchange market remained relatively stable.

In the commodity market, it appears that the allure of the oil product market has returned over the past week. Export tar transactions in the commodity market registered a weekly growth of over 5%. On the other hand, intense competition in vacuum bottom transactions led to the final price of the 50,000-ton offerings from Isfahan and Bandar Abbas oil refineries increasing by 14% and 8% respectively on a weekly basis.

The increasing trend of prices in the Iran Commodity Exchange also led to the FOB price of bulk tar in Bandar Abbas, Iran, being traded in the range of $285 to $295 (last week it was $273 to $283).

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

Last week, the prices of crude oil and furnace oil increased, leading to a rise in bitumen prices in European export ports. However, in Singapore, prices came under pressure due to weak demand from China. Traders believe that the price increase in the Mediterranean has reduced arbitrage opportunities from southern to northern Europe. The rates for shipments sent to West Africa have followed an upward trend due to the rise in Mediterranean furnace oil. Moreover, shipments sent to the east of the continent also experienced growth due to strengthening Iranian prices.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Crude oil prices strengthened after the release of statistics showing a decrease in U.S. inflation and lessening recession risk, one week after supply cuts from Saudi Arabia and Russia. Furnace oil prices also increased due to positive market sentiment and growing demand.
    • In India, bitumen prices weakened amidst heavy rainfalls and floods, which led to a decrease in construction activities and subsequently, a drop in demand.
    • Despite high inventory levels, it is expected that Indian refineries will keep their prices unchanged. This is likely to result in an increase in furnace oil and light diesel prices.
    • In Singapore, bitumen prices continued their downward trend due to ongoing weak demand and availability.
    • Bahrain kept its bitumen price unchanged at $390.
    • Iranian bitumen prices increased due to a rise in vacuum prices and the strengthening of the Rial. Market participants are expecting more price competition in the coming week.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

On Friday, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, issued a warning about economic conditions, citing a list of key concerns for his bank. This billionaire banker, in his interpretation of the flexibility of the U.S. economy, praised the banks’ balance sheet conditions, consumer expenditures, and employment growth, but emphasized the existence of “prominent and sudden risks”.

He added that the ongoing war in Ukraine, in addition to causing a massive humanitarian crisis for Ukrainians, has potential substantial impacts on geopolitics and the global economy. He pointed out that a “significant and somewhat unprecedented countercurrent is taking shape”.

The bank’s head reiterated his emphasis on the Ukraine dispute, the potential disruption in global energy supply, and the unknown consequences of countries reducing their money supply. He added that if any of these risks threaten the U.S. economy, it is unclear whether they will result in a “soft landing, mild recession, or hard recession” for the U.S. economy.

The First Week Of July 2023

Last week’s unexpected economic data from the US and a joint commitment by Russia and Saudi Arabia to continue reducing crude oil supplies resulted in significant price fluctuations. US economic data revealed the addition of 209,000 jobs last month, which was less than the forecasted 225,000, indicating signs of weakness in the country’s business environment. However, traders are predicting a 0.25% increase in the Federal Reserve interest rate at the June 26th meeting with nearly a 95% certainty. However, the release of US inflation data this week, on July 12th, will provide a clearer trajectory of this country’s interest rate growth.

Crude oil prices rose approximately 4% this week, attributable to four factors: Saudi Arabia’s announcement of a continued reduction in production of one million barrels of crude oil until the end of August; Russia’s announcement of a daily cutback of 500,000 barrels of crude oil; Kazakhstan’s reduced crude oil production due to power outages; and the weekly Baker Hughes report, showing that the active American oil rigs have hit their lowest levels in the past 15 months.

While the US stands at peak production with 12.4 million barrels of oil, Citigroup predicts that this country will ramp up its output to 13 million barrels per day to compensate for the shortage. Last week, the price of furnace oil 180 and 380 in the Persian Gulf grew by approximately 7%, while gasoline rose less than 2%, and diesel increased around 4.5%. New data also shows that US crude oil reserves are about 1.5% below their five-year average.

In Iran last week, while the dollar’s exchange rate remained fairly steady, prices generally rose in the free market. Even though there were vague reports at the end of the week about escalating tensions between Iran and the US in the Strait of Hormuz, the dollar fell in the free market, reaching 50,000 tomans. Last week, the majority of export bitumen transactions on the commodity exchange were conducted at close to the base price. However, the supply and demand for vacuum bottom was strong, and nearly all transactions were accompanied by price increases.

Furthermore, the rise in the price of oil products also affected Iran’s export bitumen price, resulting in a trading range of 273 to 283 dollars (last week 265 to 270 dollars) per bulk FOB Bandar Abbas, Iran, last week.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

Last week, the rate of asphalt for ground transportation increased in the northwestern sectors of Europe as July began. Furthermore, Mediterranean asphalt cargoes also felt the impact of the rising price of High Sulphur Fuel Oil (HSFO), which ignited an upward trend. Adverse weather conditions across Western Africa led to a reduction in road construction activities. Nevertheless, several cargoes were dispatched to Nigeria, Liberia, Senegal, and Angola.

Singapore’s asphalt price reached its lowest level since January 2022 last week. Some sellers in the country started the third quarter with high inventory volumes, which has had a negative impact on prices.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Following the announcement of production cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia, the oil products market continued to operate within a stable range. Moreover, the prices of furnace oil strengthened due to the forecast of increasing demand.
    • Singapore’s asphalt price remains at low levels, and prices in South Korea, China, and Bahrain were unchanged.
    • The price of Iranian asphalt also increased in the commodity exchange. However, overall, due to weak demand, the asphalt prices in Iranian ports remained relatively stable.
    • Indian refineries, due to the ongoing monsoon season and a significant decrease in demand, reduced their prices by $28. This price drop is forecasted to continue.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

The economists at Bank of America argue that although it appears that the country’s markets and economy are standing firm, there are three imminent events that could precipitate a recession in the United States this year. The bank’s economics team suggested in a note on Friday that recent data showing an upward trend in home and car sales and manufacturing is startlingly positive. The bank added, “Although these interest rate-sensitive sectors have performed better than expected, we still believe there are enough concerns to justify discussing a mild recession, starting in the first half of 2024.”

The three concerns that should be considered are:

  1. The insolvency of regional lenders earlier this year, as a result of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive tightening measures, has made banks less willing to lend, which has created problems for credit markets.
  2. Last month, the Supreme Court invalidated President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness scheme, and its likely resumption could potentially increase delinquency rates or delay loan repayments.
  3. Job market growth has been primarily concentrated in lower-wage service jobs, leading to a decrease in labor productivity.

The Fourth Week Of June 2023

Last week saw crude oil prices fall by 3%, natural gas and coal by 7%, and steel and iron by 1.7%, largely due to aggressive signals continuously sent by central banks of major economies. Contrary to market expectations, the Bank of England raised its interest rate by 0.5% last week, signaling a continued increase in rates, even under stable inflation conditions. Other data released last week did not portray a favorable situation for major economies. Germany and the United States experienced significant drops in their PMI production and services indices, indicative of an economic contraction following several rounds of interest rate increases.

The situation was different in China. After Goldman Sachs lowered its prediction for China’s GDP growth following weak economic data in May, the People’s Bank of China was compelled to decrease its principal lending rate for the first time in the past year. According to Bloomberg’s monthly survey published on Friday, most economists expect the GDP growth of the United States to remain unchanged in the third quarter and decrease by 0.4% in the fourth quarter.

Amid these predictable events, new developments in Russia a day after the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to the United States could set the stage for new geopolitical risks in the energy market. It’s crucial to consider that any event in Russia, as one of the world’s largest oil exporters, can cause serious fluctuations in oil prices. Last week, the prices of furnace oil 180 and 380 in the Persian Gulf remained largely unchanged, while other petroleum products experienced a price drop of 5 to 9%. Additionally, new data indicated a reduction of approximately 3.8 million barrels in U.S. crude oil reserves, about 0.7% less than the seasonal average.

In Iran last week, there was no weekly change in the free dollar exchange rate. It appears that the free dollar continues to hover around its long-term support line at 48,000 tomans, with traders awaiting new information from nuclear negotiations. This week, the rate of risk-free bonds increased, indicating a growing demand for liquidity. The supply of export bitumen on the commodity exchange intensified last week, leading to a 1 to 6% reduction in bitumen export prices, while a decrease in the supply of vacuum bottom supported its price.

New base prices for petroleum products were set based on the remittance rate this week. Continued rainfall in Iran’s export markets, along with the decrease in bitumen on the commodity exchange, negatively affected the price of bitumen in Iranian ports. Consequently, last week, the price of bulk bitumen FOB Bandar Abbas, Iran, was set between 267 and 273 dollars (compared to 275 to 285 dollars the previous week).

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

While crude oil prices decreased by around 3% last week, asphalt prices in European export points have increased due to seasonal demand growth and HSFO pricing. However, prices in Singapore and Iran have declined again due to weak demand, and domestic transport prices in the southern and central parts of Europe have remained almost stable.

Given the seasonal demand growth and limited supply in Southern Europe, demand from the Mediterranean has increased, and cargo prices in this area were associated with a gentle upward slope. The limited exports from Spain have pushed the FOB price of asphalt in this country compared to the FOB furnace oil in the Mediterranean by 2-3 dollars, increasing it to 30-35 dollars per ton.

The rainy weather in West Africa has affected the volume of cargo demand, especially in Nigeria, and the winter in the southern hemisphere has impacted the activities and supply of asphalt. With the arrival of seasonal rains in India, all road construction activities in South Asia have been affected.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Seasonal rains and unprecedented storms in the western strip of India have affected road construction. Market participants expect that, given the current conditions, demand will continue to weaken.
    • Indian refineries are predicted to reduce their prices again on July 23rd.
    • Prices in Iran remained relatively stable, but due to the strengthening of the rial and increased competition in exchange markets, prices are forecasted to rise.
    • Bahrain has increased its price by $20.
    • Last week, crude oil prices were bolstered by forecasts of increased demand and the impact of improved housing construction on the U.S. economy, although concerns about demand continue to be observed in the market. Also, with the improvement of crude oil prices, furnace oil prices were also supported.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

According to Tom Lee, despite fears of a potential recession, the economy still seems primed for growth, which is evident with the recent surprising surge in housing construction and an improved outlook for corporate earnings. He stated: “The second-quarter corporate earnings season is underway, and more strategists suggest that the year-over-year growth in EPS for old energy-centered companies could be positive, and this would be a beneficial transformation for risk reduction.”

Lee expects that forthcoming data will bolster his perspective that the economy remains in an expansionary state. The June employment report could indicate a sustained strength in job improvements, and inflation reports may suggest a consistent decrease.

The Third Week Of June 2023

In an unexpected week, the price of Brent crude didn’t experience a strong upward trend, despite the Federal Reserve ceasing its contractionary policy. The 2% increase in crude oil prices, along with the closing price for the week falling within the range of the past four weeks, dimmed hopes of an increasing price trend. Major institutions shifting their oil price forecasts for 2023 can be seen as a result of this development. This week, alongside the rise in crude oil prices, natural gas prices increased about 9%, and steel and copper prices saw a weekly increase of around 1 to 2%. This was due to the US inflation data indicating a slowdown in inflation trends; although many analysts expressed doubt about the continuation of this decrease in inflation due to its stickiness, the downward trend of the dollar index strengthened commodity prices. China’s interest rate cut, along with no increase in the US rate, raised market optimism for a continued rise in oil demand. Next week’s economic statistics will largely focus on the housing and construction conditions in the US, which can provide a clearer view of the country’s economic conditions in the coming months.

During the week, the price of Persian Gulf 180 furnace oil remained almost unchanged, while the price of 380 furnace oil increased by about 1%. Prices for gasoline and diesel in the Persian Gulf increased by approximately 1% and 3% respectively. Moreover, new data showed that US crude oil reserves increased by approximately 8 million barrels and are now about 0.6% below the seasonal average. Also, US crude oil production for the week ending June 9 remained unchanged at its highest level in the past three years, at 12.4 million barrels per day.

In Iran, the trend of price decreases continued; the dollar maintained its declining trend from the previous week, although slowly, and oscillated around its long-term support line at about 48 thousand tomans. Interbank interest rates did not change this week, and their resistance to levels below 23.5% is indicative of the money market conditions. The supply of vacuum bottoms and export bitumen in the commodities exchange revived last week, and the increase in supply resulted in a 3 to 15% decrease in the price of vacuum bottoms and export bitumen compared to two weeks ago. However, this price decrease did not cause a negative reaction in Iran’s export markets and the price in Iranian ports decreased by only about 2%. Last week, the price of bulk bitumen FOB Bandar Abbas, Iran, ranged from $275 to $285 (compared to $280 – $290 last week).

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

Last week, the market was plunged into uncertainty due to a decrease in the prices of shipments from Iran and Singapore on one hand, and an increase in prices in South Korea and Rotterdam on the other. It appears that the high inventory levels in a significant number of bitumen consuming markets in the Asia region accompanied this event. However, market conditions in India were different, with prices witnessing a decrease of $34 – $35.

The prices for bulk and barrel bitumen shipments from the Middle East to destinations in East Africa were supported by price increases in Spain and the Ivory Coast compared to the Mediterranean. Moreover, construction activities in some key markets, especially Nigeria and South Africa, remained at lower levels despite rainfalls and colder weather.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Refineries in India, after several stages of price reductions in recent weeks, seem set to lower their rates again in the next two days. Given the global low prices and weak demand, prices are expected to drop more than $30 – $35.
  • The price of bitumen in Singapore fell this week, but the situation was slightly different in the South Asian markets, where, for instance, prices in South Korea were supported.
  • Bahrain continues to hold its prices steady at $370, consistent with the last eight weeks.
  • In Iran, bitumen prices were weak this week amidst weak demand and decreasing competition among traders.
  • The expected interest rate cut by the US Federal Reserve was anticipated to support oil prices to some extent, but the price increase was less than expected.
  • Concerns about weak demand for furnace oil continue to grow, leaving the rates for this product at low levels.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Nouriel Roubini, an economist also known as Dr. Doom, has doubled down on his dire warnings about the United States, saying that the country, with its combination of higher interest rates, sticky inflation, and reduced credit, is pushing the economy towards a recession. The New York University professor told Yahoo Finance in an interview on Thursday, “I’m saying a hard landing – that is, at least two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth – is more likely than a soft landing.”

Roubini stated, “The economy is slowing down, the Federal Reserve has raised rates, and in my view, they need to raise rates more because inflation is still very high.” However, even with a decrease in inflation rates, economists like Roubini are not optimistic. This is due to concerns about sticky inflation – a situation where prices are resistant to change. According to Roubini, this means that the Federal Reserve will likely raise interest rates in the months of July and September.

Roubini declared, “There will definitely be a recession. Whether this recession is short-term and shallow, rather than deeper, depends on many factors.”

The Second Week Of June 2023

Last week, Brent crude oil experienced a roughly 1% decrease while natural gas and coal prices fell more than 10%. This trend in pricing reflects the market’s view of geopolitical risks and the filled natural gas reservoirs in developed countries. At the start of last week, economic news from China and the Eurozone indicated improvement and helped maintain Brent oil prices.

Economic data revealed a decrease in Germany’s inflation rate and the unemployment rate in Eurozone countries. Bloomberg also reported that the Chinese government is working on a range of new measures to support the stock market. At the end of the week, the announcement of the U.S. unemployment rate increasing from 3.4% to 3.7% supported oil prices as it reinforced predictions of a halt to the Federal Reserve’s contractionary policy.

Furthermore, released data indicated a half-percent increase in the average hourly income of U.S. manufacturing employees, reaching $28.75, which painted a positive outlook for oil demand. This week, following contradictory statements from Saudi Arabia and Russia regarding setting a new oil production ceiling, OPEC+ will make a decision on this matter on Sunday and Monday. It seems traders do not anticipate a significant decision from the OPEC+ meeting due to Russia not fulfilling its threat to reduce production.

Last week, Persian Gulf furnace oil prices (grades 180 and 380) decreased by 5% and 4% respectively, and Persian Gulf gasoline and diesel prices fell about 3%. Moreover, last week’s data showed that U.S. crude oil reserves increased and are now around 2% below the seasonal average. Also, U.S. crude oil production declined by 0.8% to 12.1 million barrels per day.

In Iran, the free-market dollar remains above 50,000 Tomans, and the publication of positive news from diplomatic negotiations to strengthen relations between Iran and America did not significantly affect foreign exchange rates. This week, the rates of the T.A. Exchange System and currency (notes and drafts) also decreased slightly less than 1%, indicating that the trend in the free market also affected demand in the exchange market.

Like the previous week, the price trend for vacuum bottom and export bitumen was downward in the commodity exchange, and the prices of vacuum bottom from Tehran, Esfahan, and Shazand refineries decreased by about 10% weekly. Export bitumen in the commodity exchange also faced a decrease in demand, and except for bulk oil transactions of Jey Esfahan, all other transactions were at the base price and decreased by 2 to 6% weekly.

The downward trend of the commodity exchange also found its way to Iran’s export markets, and the price of bulk bitumen FOB Bandar Abbas, Iran, was in the range of $297 – $307.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

Last week, price trends in the African region were downward, and prices were unclear in the Middle East and Asia. Following the decrease in the price of Iranian export consignments, the value of exports to East Africa declined. In the European sectors, the price ratio of bitumen consignments to HSFO FOB Rotterdam increased by 7-8 dollars, settling in the range of 55-60 dollars. The reason for this increase is the limited supply and accelerated growth of seasonal demand in Europe.

This was concurrent with a decrease in transportation rates in Germany and a downward trend in bitumen prices in France and the UK. In the Mediterranean area as well, the value of consignments decreased, and the price ratio of bitumen consignments FOB Spain to HSFO Mediterranean increased by 7-8 dollars, settling in the range of 25-30 dollars.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Bahrain did not change its prices this week either, and the price of bitumen in this country is still 370 dollars.
  • Prices in Singapore did not experience much change last week.
  • In Iran, prices came under pressure due to the decrease in the value of vacuum bottom (VB) and the devaluation of the rial.
  • Indian markets continued to import their consignments, and reserves were at high levels in the ports of Akra. It is predicted that refineries in this country will decrease their prices by 30 dollars per ton for June.
  • After a decrease in the price of crude oil and considering the problems with the U.S. debt ceiling and the uncertain position of OPEC, furnace oil and diesel prices did not receive much support.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, was not swayed by the debt ceiling agreement, stating that the provisional deal doesn’t solve the issue of the heavily indebted U.S. government continuing to borrow more and more money. Dalio added, “It’s a game that acts like a group of alcoholics who write rules to limit their drinking.”

“When they reach a limit, they negotiate a temporary removal of the restriction that allows them to have their next drink until they reach the next limit,” he continued. If their agreement is approved by Congress, it promises to prevent a potentially disastrous default that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had warned could occur in early June.

According to the U.S. Treasury, lawmakers have acted 78 times since 1960 to increase or extend borrowing limits, which has led Dalio to criticize the concept of the debt ceiling in the past.

The First Week Of June 2023

Last week, new variables entered the market, potentially disrupting the predictable trend of prices. Conflicting statements by Russia versus those by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, coupled with the ongoing debt ceiling disputes in the United States, have introduced new risks to the market. These coinciding events suggest that the next two weeks could introduce a new chapter in oil price trends.

Tracking data from Bloomberg indicates that Russian crude oil exports in the four weeks ending on May 21 were over 480,000 barrels per day, more than the four weeks ending on February 26, reaching close to 4 million barrels per day.

Factors expected to influence the markets in the coming week include India’s reduction of crude oil imports by 8.3 percent in April and an increase in the amount of crude oil stored on idle oil tankers. Amidst falling exports of Indian petroleum products, the country’s refineries have limited their operational rates, resulting in a reduction of imports.

Vortexa reported on Tuesday that the reserves of ships that have been stationary for at least a week have increased by 1.3 percent, reaching 91.15 million barrels. Last week, the price of furnace oil in the Persian Gulf (180 and 380) both fell by approximately 4 percent, while gasoline prices remained unchanged, and the price of Persian Gulf diesel fell by around 2 percent. Moreover, last week’s data showed that U.S. crude oil reserves were about 3 percent lower than the seasonal average and that the country’s crude oil production had increased by 0.8 percent to reach 12.3 million barrels per day.

In Iran, the value of the rial strengthened slightly due to parliamentary instructions to the government not to fix the exchange rate, reducing market risks, but the dollar exchange rate in the free market remained above 50,000 tomans. This week, the exchange rates (note and remittance) had a fluctuating trend after two weeks of stability, indicating that the government’s plan to stabilize the exchange rate has been cancelled.

There was also a downward trend in the commodity exchange this week, as the supply of vacuum bottom from Shiraz oil refinery fell by about 13 percent, and the rest of the vacuum deals also fell by 1 to 2 percent on a weekly basis. The export bitumen price in the commodity exchange was mostly traded at the base price, and some offers remained unsold due to lack of demand.

This downward trend was also evident in Iran’s export markets, with the price range of deals falling from the range of 315 to 330 dollars last week to the range of 310 to 320 dollars.

A SPECIAL EXAMINATION

Based on the latest information, demand for gasoline is expected to rise this week, as travel plans for Memorial Day in the United States (May 25-29) are projected to increase by 7% compared to the previous year. It is anticipated that the amount of travel in the United States will reach the highest level in four years, with about 42 million Americans travelling during this week. This is just the beginning, and as we head into the warm season, we may also see an upward trend in trips to Europe. Everything appears normal so far – hot summer, increased gasoline consumption, and ultimately the growth of gasoline crack spread. Let’s see how Western countries will deal with the challenge of increasing gasoline demand.

By observing the first few episodes, it seems we could predict the end of the story. The trend of the gasoline crack spread compared to the 380 fuel oil in the year 2022 shows a significant difference from this year.

Episode One: Last spring, like this year, saw a significant increase in travel, but these travels did not have a severe impact on the crack spread of car and aircraft fuels. In contrast, this year’s crack spread for these two products is highly volatile, as if the market is struggling to quickly supply gasoline or aircraft fuel.

Episode Two: In spring 2022, the fuel oil crack spread experienced severe fluctuations, as if the market was struggling to supply fuel oil, even though there was no discussion of sanctions on Russian oil products. But this spring, the fuel oil crack spread fluctuations are significantly lower.

Episode Three (Conclusion): As last year’s fuel oil fluctuations were a sign of countries’ efforts to increase this product’s reserves in the face of the crisis conditions of Russia’s gas cut-off, it appears that this spring’s gasoline crack spread fluctuations are also a sign of increasing the level of this product’s reserves (to deal with the crisis of sharp demand growth). As the pressure of Russia’s gas cut-off subsided, the price of fuel oil was suppressed in the summer of 2022, so it is likely that unless something special happens on the supply side of crude oil, it won’t be a good summer for gasoline prices.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

Last week, bitumen prices increased in many parts of Europe due to the seasonal increase in demand in the southern regions of Europe, alongside refinery shutdowns for maintenance, and restrictions in the supply of bitumen, leading to a rise in Rotterdam cargoes. The premium of Spanish and Ivory Coast bitumen cargoes over fuel oil reached higher price levels compared to last week. In Africa, prices did not follow a specific trend. Meanwhile, the price of Iranian barrel and bulk export cargoes decreased, and the forecast for decreased demand led to lower bitumen prices in Singapore. Moreover, due to the refinery maintenance in this country, the outlook for supply from Singapore is weaker than in the past.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Fuel oil and diesel prices began to rise, showing signs of increasing demand.
    • In Singapore, bitumen prices were slightly supported due to increasing concerns about supply in the coming months.
    • Bahrain continues to hold its prices steady at $370.
    • Limited demand for Iranian cargoes led to a decrease in prices. Furthermore, concerns about a decrease in demand with the arrival of the rainy season in Iran’s traditional markets in June impacted transactions.
    • After a $8 decrease in price by Indian refineries, it is predicted that prices will further decrease by $25 this week. This price drop, along with limited demand and high domestic inventory levels, significantly impacted both the volume and price of transactions.

The Fourth Week Of May 2023

Last week, while natural gas prices experienced a decline of approximately 10%, crude oil prices showed an unbalanced upward trend of about 2%. The reason behind this occurrence was attributed to mild weather conditions and a decrease in gas supply, particularly in Asia, for natural gas. As for oil, it was mentioned that the United States decided to replenish strategic reserves, and there was also a forecast of a 2-million-barrel increase in oil demand. All of these trends took place in a context where the dollar index had a growth of 0.5%, and petroleum products experienced an upward trend. Although the overall trend for oil was positive, Brent crude oil prices faced a daily decrease of over 2% on Friday due to concerns about potential US debt defaults and the sudden halt in debt ceiling negotiations on Friday. Prices dropped below $75.5 per barrel. On the supply side, there were risks that emerged last week, including wildfires in major oil-producing regions in Canada and the seizure of oil tankers by Iran. In the past week, the price of Kuwaiti crude oil showed a growth of 2% and 4% for 180 and 380 varieties, respectively. Moreover, the prices of gasoline and diesel in the Persian Gulf region saw an increase of approximately 6% and 5% respectively. Data from the previous week indicated an increase of approximately 5 million barrels in US crude oil inventories. After a significant decline in vacuum prices last week in Iran, prices rebounded this week, and the average price of this product reflects a decrease of 5% to 10% compared to two weeks ago. The price of exported Iran bitumen in the commodity exchange market also showed a weekly decline of 2% to 3%. This downward trend was also present in Iran’s export markets, where the price range decreased from an average of $330 per ton in the previous week to a range of $315 to $330 per ton.

A SPECIAL EXAMINATION

Acemoglu (Nobel laureate in economics) and Janet Yellen, together, formulated a general principle in economics, indicating that firms increase prices during an increase in demand but do not change prices during a decrease in demand. They demonstrated that this strategy is “almost rational” in the sense that firms adopting this strategy earn significant profits compared to a situation where prices adjust immediately. They also showed that the impact of a large number of firms adopting this strategy would be noticeable. Over the past six months, the price growth of Iranian bitumen provides evidence for this claim. Iranian exported bitumen prices have become nearly equivalent to the regional prices since the last week of December and before the Persian New Year. This can be attributed to Iran’s agreement with Saudi Arabia and a reduction in sensitivities in the region regarding trade with Iran, which increased the demand for Iranian bitumen. However, the change in this behavior in recent weeks is noteworthy. While there have been no new geopolitical developments for Iran, and the supply and demand dynamics in the region have not affected the price of bitumen in major Asian ports, the significant price drop of Iranian bitumen compared to Bahrain requires serious consideration. It appears that the domestic market has become bearish, following the emotional behavior of Iranian exporters, leading to a disruption in the previous coordination among Iranian exporters and resulting in abnormal behavior that could cause significant losses for the country. According to the Acemoglu and Yellen theory, during the period of increased demand for Iranian bitumen in the past season, Iranian exporters increased prices to the extent that the irrational gap between Iranian and Bahraini prices disappeared. Now, if the decrease in the price of Iranian bitumen is due to a decrease in demand, a proportional decrease should be observed between Bahrain and Iran. However, the Acemoglu-Yellen theory overlooks another aspect, which is the emotional intervention of higher-level authorities and the transmission of these emotions to firms, disrupting the intellectual unity of this group and creating a conducive environment for rapid price declines.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

In the past week, prices of shipments in the Asian region experienced an increase. However, in other areas such as Europe, prices did not follow a clear trend, and Iranian shipments faced a decline. The gradual start of the construction season in Scandinavian countries led to an increased demand for cargo in these regions. The price differentials of premium Turkish and Greek bitumen shipments compared to HSFO FOB Med cargoes strengthened with the entry of Motor Oil Hellas refinery in Greece into the maintenance season. Furthermore, the prices of premium cargoes to Italy, Spain, and the Ivory Coast remained unchanged compared to the previous week. A steady flow of Med cargoes was observed to meet the demand of Southern European countries. Flooding in central Italy disrupted construction activities and cargo deliveries, while heavy rainfall in Nigeria slowed down operations. Finally, several shipments were sent to South Africa, attributed to seasonal demand and the replenishment of Natref refinery stocks.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • After three consecutive weeks of price decline, oil prices slightly increased following the release of news related to the replenishment of US crude oil inventories and expectations of increased demand. On the other hand, prices of furnace oil and diesel decreased after the release of weak data from China.
    • Bitumen prices in Singapore experienced a slight increase this week. It is expected that prices will decrease again with further weakening of furnace oil.
    • Prices in Bahrain remained unchanged.
    • In Iran, bitumen prices faced a decrease due to weak demand from India and trading companies’ efforts to increase supply. However, the value of the Iranian rial slightly strengthened.
    • Indian refineries reduced their bitumen prices by $8, and it is predicted that this decrease will continue in June.

The Third Week Of May 2023

In a tense week prior to the Federal Reserve meeting, the oil market experienced a 6% decline in prices. However, the release of monthly inflation data, which indicated a 0.4% increase for the United States, and the significant drop in the US Consumer Sentiment Index regarding the country’s economic future did not have a notable impact on the market. As a result, Brent crude oil prices concluded with a decrease of approximately 1.5%. Despite this, OPEC expressed a secondary concern regarding supply risks and anticipated a decrease in production in the second half of the year. However, they decided to maintain their tools for future use due to increasing business risks as Washington approaches the federal debt ceiling. If the US Congress does not increase the government’s borrowing limit soon, the stock market, bond market, and currency market may encounter difficulties, leading to financial problems for the government and potentially triggering a new cascade effect.

Data from the previous week showed an increase of approximately 3 million barrels in US crude oil inventories. Additionally, during this week, the price of Arabian Gulf crude oil (180 and 380) experienced growth of 8% and 6% respectively, while gasoline and diesel prices in the Gulf region increased by approximately 1% and 2%. Moreover, most refined products in the Gulf region experienced growth. In the Iranian free currency market, there was no significant change, and the official foreign exchange market remained stable. However, in the commodities exchange, the trend differed from domestic and international markets, experiencing a sharp decline. Simultaneously with the growth in Arabian Gulf crude oil prices, the final price of exported bitumen in some transactions decreased by up to 8%, and vacuum bottom bitumen experienced a price drop of over 40% in two transactions. This decline resulted in increased pressure on bitumen prices at Iranian export ports, reaching approximately $330. The lack of clarity in exchange rate policies and the absence of clear mechanisms prior to public announcement of these policies led to market turmoil in the country’s commodity market. It is likely that with the increase in commodity trading in the commodities exchange and the clarification of reasons for the price decrease, the price of Iranian exported bitumen will increase again.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

In the past week, prices for asphalt shipments increased in Asia and Europe. Despite the rise in asphalt prices in Singapore, orders from Indonesia and Vietnam were not particularly favorable. Additionally, the recent decline in freight rates in China continued due to increased asphalt production. The price of asphalt shipments from the Middle East was accompanied by a higher HSFO rate, but the transportation of cargo from the Middle East to Europe weakened due to a decrease in price spreads. Moreover, the prices of shipments to West Africa increased as a result of the growth in prices of Iranian exported barrel cargoes, but overall, rainy weather reduced demand in western and southeastern African regions.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • In the past week, crude oil prices remained unaffected due to negative market expectations ahead of the announcement of the inflation rate in the United States. Additionally, the price of furnace oil weakened slightly in line with crude oil.
    • Asphalt in Singapore showed signs of returning to an upward trend, leading to price strengthening.
    • Rates in Bahrain remained unchanged.
    • Following the decline in crude oil and furnace oil prices, asphalt prices in Iran also experienced a slight decrease compared to the previous week. It is predicted that prices will stabilize in the coming week, but a decrease in demand from India is also evident.
    • With increased accessibility and rainfall in certain parts of India, asphalt prices decreased, and it is also predicted that refineries will reduce their prices by $7 to $9 per ton in the coming week.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

In fact, US sanctions have had a significant and fundamental impact on the use and dominance of the dollar in global markets. The United States has utilized sanctions over the decades, along with blocking all of Russia’s foreign reserves, which has served as a deterrent to dollar detachment once again. Central banks have reduced their reliance on the dollar and significantly increased their purchases of gold in the past year. Katz believes that despite increased use of sanctions, the level of dollar reserves has remained around 60% since 2008, and the international use of the dollar reached 88% in 2022. The demand for the dollar will continue to exist due to sanctions.

First And Second Weeks Of May 2023

Last week’s collection of analyses and news revolved around the weakening of the global economy, causing Brent crude oil prices to lose about 6% of their value ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting. Positive news about unemployment reduction in the United States only slightly mitigated the oil price drop after the meeting. Alongside this event, American oil export statistics were released, showing an increase from 4 to 4.5 million barrels per day. Kepler data also showed Russian oil exports grew from 3 million barrels in March to 4 million barrels in April. These statistics indicate an escalating tension between these two countries, competing for each other’s market share. This supply increase, while Iraqi Kurdistan’s oil exports remain halted, is expected to further increase negative market fluctuations and disrupt supply-demand balance. Last week’s data showed a decrease of about 1.2 million barrels in the U.S. crude oil reserves, which aligns with the country’s growing oil exports.

This week, the prices of Persian Gulf furnace oil (both 180 and 380) decreased by 8%, and the prices of gasoline and diesel dropped by 5% and 4% respectively. The crack spreads of naphtha, diesel, and 380 furnace oil increased, while those of gasoline and 180 furnace oil declined. Alongside the decline in crude and furnace oil prices in the Persian Gulf, the final price of export bitumen fell by about 2%, and vacuum bottom also experienced about a 5% price decrease. The price of bitumen in Iran’s ports also decreased by approximately $5 last week, with most transactions conducted in the $340 to $350 range. It seems that the slowing trend of Rial devaluation and the decrease in commodity exchange prices have managed to strengthen competition in Iran’s export market. It is predicted that if the declining trend of crude oil prices continues this week, Iran’s export bitumen prices will also be affected.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

The prices of export cargoes of bitumen in Europe, Singapore, and Iran have declined, while domestic transportation costs in Europe began to increase at the start of May. In the Mediterranean, although the price of bitumen and HSFO came under significant pressure parallel to crude oil prices, the price differential between bitumen cargoes and HSFO remained unchanged. In Asia, demand from key markets such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and southern parts of China was under strain, and supply forecasts for June indicated a decreasing trend.

The level of construction activity and price trends in Africa were somewhat unclear, given the noticeable decrease in the price of import cargoes to various destinations on the continent. Nevertheless, domestic transport rates in South Africa experienced growth.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Crude oil prices fell amid increasing concerns following the release of weak economic data from China and predictions of rising interest rates.
    • Also, furnace oil and diesel prices were pressured due to weak economic recovery.
    • With the decline in the value of crude oil and furnace oil, Singapore bitumen prices were affected due to the lack of buyer participation.
    • Prices in Bahrain remained unchanged compared to last week.
    • The depreciation of the rial impacted Iranian bitumen prices, leading to a decrease in prices compared to the previous week, and buyers did not participate in the market amidst the decline in the value of crude oil and furnace oil.
    • Refineries in Western India reduced their prices by $17, while prices in other parts of the country increased by $2.5. It is predicted that, if the decline in crude oil prices continues, Indian refineries will naturally reduce their prices.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

The political impasse in Washington over the increase in the country’s $31 trillion debt ceiling has driven the cost of insurance against a possible default to a new peak on Thursday. Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s Analytics, stated that the Republicans’ proposal to lift the debt ceiling slows the economy and heightens the risk of recession. In a statement to the Senate Budget Committee on Thursday, Zandi warned that the proposed cuts could reduce employment by around 800,000 jobs by the end of 2024 and bring the unemployment rate from 3.5% to near 5%. He also said that, by 2024, economic growth under the Republican bill would decrease to 1.61%, while current forecasts are 2.23%, and added that the GOP agreement significantly increases the risk of recession.

The United States has never defaulted on its debt, but it appears that investors are worried about this risk and no agreement has yet been reached by legislators. Janet Yellen, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, has warned that the U.S. may run out of money to pay its bills by early June, which could trigger an unprecedented economic crisis.

The Fourth Week Of April 2023

Crude oil prices continued their downward trend last week following weak economic growth data from the United States and Germany. On Friday, the latest preferred inflation data from the Federal Reserve, the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) index, showed that prices had increased by 4.2% over the past year and had not decreased on a monthly basis. This added to the speculation of a US interest rate hike in May. If the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates to curb inflation, it could deal a more severe blow to the economy and banks.

Last week, Bank of America predicted that an economic recession will begin this quarter, based on related recession indicators. The bank’s analysts stated that an economic recession usually begins six months after the inversion of the 2-to-10-year bond yield curve. Given the occurrence of this inversion in November last year, the recession is expected to arrive in May. The declining trend in oil prices is occurring while the export of oil and oil products from Iraqi Kurdistan is still involved in disputes between Turkey and the Kurdish regions of Iraq, and the fragile ceasefire in Nigeria is experiencing unstable conditions.

Last week’s data showed that US crude oil reserves decreased by about 5 million barrels. In other words, the increased supply of oil from US reserves managed to overcome supply-side risks, particularly the crisis in Nigeria. Last week, the prices of Persian Gulf fuel oil (180 and 380) both decreased by 2%, and the prices of gasoline and diesel in the Persian Gulf each decreased by 4%. The crack spread of gasoline, diesel, and 180 fuel oil also dropped. In Iran’s free currency market, there was a significant increase in the US dollar exchange rate, although the official markets remained indifferent to this trend and continued to decline.

Simultaneously with the decline in crude oil and fuel oil prices, the final price of export bitumen transactions experienced a 3 to 6 percent drop in the commodity exchange, and vacuum bottom transactions were mostly accompanied by a decrease in prices. Bitumen transactions in Iranian ports did not change significantly last week and were traded at a price of $345 – $355, which also halted the upward trend of prices in the commodity exchange. Considering the support level for crude oil prices, it seems that bitumen and fuel oil prices have resisted the negative fluctuations of last week and are waiting for a clear trend in crude oil prices before changing.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

Last week, disruptions between Iraq and Turkey regarding oil exports from Iraqi Kurdistan had an impact on bitumen production in the south and southwest of Germany, Austria, and Serbia. With the decline in HSFO prices, the price of bitumen cargoes in the Mediterranean region decreased, while prices in Turkey and Italy resisted the decline in crude oil and fuel oil prices. Overall, European bitumen prices followed a downward trend, while in Asia and Oceania, prices remained relatively stable due to reduced demand, unfavorable weather conditions, and festivities related to Hari Raya in countries like Indonesia and Vietnam. Domestic prices in China also declined due to decreased demand and adverse weather conditions.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • As the liquidity market weakens and uncertainty about the global economic situation continues, oil prices have declined.
    • Following the decrease in crude oil prices, the prices of fuel oil and diesel have also decreased. It is expected that prices will remain at these levels until positive news is received from China.
    • The lack of buyers in the market led to a decrease in bitumen prices in Singapore.
    • Vacuum prices in Iran changed last week, affecting bitumen transaction prices. Although some traders offered lower prices, competition persisted to keep prices high.
    • With the peak of construction projects in India, the country’s demand remained at high levels. It is predicted that prices will not change this week after the country’s refineries increased prices for two consecutive weeks.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

Larry Summers believes that it does not seem likely that inflation will decrease to the Federal Reserve’s target anytime soon. On Wednesday, at the Morningstar Investment Conference, he stated that “the financial stimuli used during the COVID era and very low-interest rates for a long time have pushed US inflation from 2% to 5%.” “It was clear that this situation would eventually overflow. In my opinion, we have a tough path ahead to achieve 2% inflation, and as long as economic growth does not decline, this target will not be realized.” He continued, stating that the central bank has been fighting inflation and the right action for the Federal Reserve would be to increase the interest rate by 0.25% in next week’s meeting. Despite the difficult conditions the Federal Reserve has been facing, and considering the banking crisis, Summers remains optimistic about the US economy.

The Third Week Of April 2023

The price of oil and petroleum products rose last week due to continued supply risks and a decline in the value of the dollar. The monthly reports of OPEC and the International Energy Agency were also released, both emphasizing an increase in global demand by over 2 million barrels per day this year. These events caused Brent oil prices to rise by 1.7% for the week, reaching over $86. News from last week indicated that crude oil flow from Kurdistan, Iraq has not yet resumed and 450,000 barrels per day of oil exports are still halted. This resumption of exports could pose a threat to the growth of oil prices. On the other hand, statistics have shown that Saudi Arabia has not yet taken any action to reduce its production. Special Presidential Envoy for Global Energy Security, Amos Hochstein, met with Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, on Friday to discuss energy security. These events could increase market ambiguities as the agreement between Middle Eastern countries and Western or Eastern countries remains in question. Last week, the monthly inflation rate in the United States was less than expected, and the trade balance statistics of China were unexpected, showing a 15% increase in exports. It appears that in March, China, which received a significant amount of Russian oil, exported many refined products, especially to Asian countries, strengthening China’s trade balance.

SPECIAL REVIEW

Dryness in the grasslands of Europe and rain in the asphalt deserts of Asia are the two opposite weather patterns that have been affecting the logistics market in various ways. After a year since the Russia-Ukraine war, all aspects of the war have been examined and the disruption of Russian exports has caused logistics developments in many markets. However, in some seasonal markets such as the tar market, we are at the beginning of a change with the arrival of hot seasons. In Europe, with the start of construction work, it is expected that tar purchasing and storage will increase the price in these areas. It seems that when European policymakers were indifferent to the price of tar in the middle of winter, the market was also small. But in the past few weeks, the victory of tar in the port of Spain over the port of Singapore is the only sign of a good season for tar exports to Middle Eastern markets, as about 4 million tons of Russian tar will no longer be coming to Europe, and the Middle East may be a new route for tar exports to global markets. The above chart shows that the price of tar in Spanish ports has increased since about 4 weeks ago and, while Spanish tar has always been inferior to South Korean tar, the decrease in supply in European ports will lead to a sharp increase in prices in Europe. Although it is expected that the price of Spanish tar will be controlled in April with the increase in exports from Asian ports, this surge in price reminds us of two points: 1) European tar reserves are at a minimum and 2) demand for tar has recently emerged in Europe and has not yet found stable trading partners.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

In the coming two weeks, road construction activities in Europe will increase after the end of Easter holidays, while demand in the Mediterranean, Asia, and the Middle East regions will decrease in April due to the upcoming month of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. The protests in France have decreased to some extent as the country’s refineries and ports continue their activities. The price gap between bitumen and HSFO in Italy, Spain, and Turkey remained unchanged, but in Greece, it increased by 3-2 dollars, reaching 5 dollars per ton. South Africa continued to import large volumes of bitumen cargoes, most of which came from Bahrain. In Asia, particularly in Singapore, the price of bitumen did not change significantly compared to the previous week.

HIGHLIGHTS

The prices of bitumen in Singapore remained stable this week, while the prices in Bahrain increased by $15. Despite the increase in the value of the Iranian rial, the prices of bitumen in Iran have remained unchanged. Although the logistics situation for importing bitumen to India has improved, the prices of bitumen in the country have increased, and it is predicted that Indian refineries will increase their prices by $16 in the coming week. After a growth in the previous week, crude oil prices remained relatively unchanged with the release of inflation statistics in China and signs of a decrease in demand. However, markets predict that if crude oil reserves in the United States decline, the upward trend in oil prices will resume.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

On Friday 4-20-2023, Jimmy Dimon warned investors about the “storm clouds” looming over the US economy caused by the “thunderstorms” of the financial markets. He added that the US economy is generally in good shape. Consumers continue to spend, their balance sheets are strong, and businesses are in decent shape. However, there are still “storm clouds” on the horizon and the banking industry is increasing its exposure to market risks. The conditions of the banking system are not similar to those of 2008, given the involvement of fewer financial actors. Nevertheless, as lenders work harder, financial conditions will become more difficult.

First and Second Weeks of April 2023

The Brent crude oil price remained at around $85 per barrel until Saturday, April 9th, after the unexpected news of OPEC+ reducing its daily production by more than 1 million barrels in the past week. Last week’s US job market data and the business confidence index also showed signs of a weak job market and managers’ lack of confidence in the future of the US market, increasing the risks of a recession in the country. OPEC+ recent decision will change the assumptions about the trend of increasing interest rates in Western countries, as they will need to increase interest rates again to fight inflation. Last week, Brent crude oil prices rose by about 8%, and the price of Persian Gulf crude oil increased by 11% to $380. Last week’s data showed that US crude oil reserves increased by 3.75 million barrels.

SPECIAL REVIEW

After OPEC’s announcement regarding its plan to reduce its production, crude oil prices faced an increase worldwide, leading to a rise in furnace oil and diesel prices. Asphalt prices in Singapore remained unchanged with steady demand, while it is predicted that the increase in oil prices will also have an impact on asphalt demand. Prices in Bahrain remained unchanged. The increase in crude oil prices and domestic supply difficulties had an impact on Iran’s bulk bitumen prices, leading to an increase in prices. However, the prices of bitumen in barrels remained unchanged due to the lack of participation by Indian buyers. Considering the global price hike and domestic demand growth, it is predicted that Indian refineries will increase their prices again on April 15th after raising their prices by $20.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

In the past week, bitumen prices have increased in Europe due to rising crude oil and bunker prices as well as growing demand, while prices in Asian regions have experienced a slight decrease. In France, limited supply and strikes have led to a price hike in bitumen. In the first week of April, the rate of bitumen shipments to West and South Africa increased and the domestic prices of bitumen-carrying trucks in South Africa showed a significant rise after monthly review. Bitumen prices in Singapore also faced a slight decrease due to decreased demand from major countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and southern parts of China.

FORECASTING THE PRICE OF OIL AND OIL PRODUCTS

Last week, the main focus of the market was on the sudden decrease in OPEC+ production, resulting in financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs predicting an increase in oil prices and analysts expecting the momentum to continue upward. Additionally, with the rise in oil prices, petroleum products have faced price growth in many parts of the world.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

On April 7th, Mohammad Alrian announced that the US job report for March showed a slowdown in hiring, and the economy needs to strengthen the stock market and urge the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates in the fight against inflation. He also added that, based on the reported numbers, there is currently no cause for concern in the credit sector. The release of the US market report for March has raised the possibility of a 0.25% increase in interest rates for the following month.

The Fourth Week of March 2023

After announcing the bankruptcy of two state banks in America and the continuing banking crisis in Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, the words of the US Treasury Secretary regarding the fact that the US government does not consider “general” support for deposits, made the markets more worried.
Although the extent of the crisis has not yet extended to the eastern countries, the disorder in the financial markets of the western countries has increased and some people are thinking of finding a way to escape from the dominoes of recession. Global mutual funds canceled almost $143 billion in the week ended Wednesday, the biggest increase since March 2020, and over the past four weeks, investors have turned more than $300 billion in assets into cash. Meanwhile, the data showed that the Federal Reserve Facility, which gives foreign central banks access to dollar funding, reached a record $60 billion, indicating strong foreign demand for dollars. However, the sum of these events is expected to put a lot of pressure on the price of oil, but last week the price of Brent oil increased by about 3%. Also, last week, the price of Persian Gulf fuel oil (180 and 380) increased by 0.5% and 3%, respectively, and the price of gasoline and diesel in the Persian Gulf increased by 5% and decreased by 0.5%, respectively, and last week’s data showed that US crude oil reserves were 1.1 million barrels increased. In Iran, however, the closure of the markets on Nowruz Eid did not show a clear perspective of the events. After weeks of positive political news from Iran’s agreements with Arab countries, Iran’s geopolitical problems, especially with the United States, and also the continuation of the war in Yemen, renewed optimism in the market, and it is the cause of the increase in the dollar rate in the free market. In Iranian bitumen transactions, the closing of Nowruz caused the prices to not change much. According to the opinion of the bitumen market in Iran this week, due to the new developments, it will wait for the ambiguities to be resolved. Stable and serious fluctuations in the price of bitumen are not expected.

SPECIAL REVIEW

The rise of bitumen cargoes in the middle of dark ships
Although at the end of last year, commodity and energy markets were affected by wartime and the risks of increasing military conflict, in the first quarter of 2023, most markets faced a new world, which was accompanied by a change in ship routes and a new definition of business partners. Although in the fall, with the increase of sanctions against Russia by European countries, Russian ships changed their route to India, China and even the Persian Gulf, but in the winter, with the formalization of strategic agreements between Eastern countries and also the alliance of China and Arab countries, analysts of past trade relations They put it aside. The issue of the presence of China, Russia and Saudi Arabia as the largest consumers
And oil exporters, on the one hand, can disrupt the export order of oil products produced by refineries more than oil. One of these effects can be seen in the distance of fuel oil 380 compared to Brent oil in this period. In the first three months of this year, the flow of Russian fuel oil to the ports of the Middle East and South Asia put the price of Persian Gulf fuel oil out of balance, and the drop in the price of this product was much more than the drop in the price of crude oil. Also based on the data
The energy analysis company Vortexa has doubled the volume of Russian fuel oil in Southeast Asia compared to the same period last year. On the other hand, bitumen price appeared less volatile during this period. Based on this, three hypotheses can be presented regarding the side behavior of bitumen price in the second quarter of the year:
1) The embargo of European countries on Russian crude oil and oil products, the embargo on bitumen
The title of indirect goods is excluded.
2) Moving fuel oil with dirty tankers is considered an advantage compared to the problems of moving bitumen, and Russian refineries increased the production ratio of fuel oil and diesel to bitumen, and therefore Russia’s export has decreased from 5 million tons annually (Russia is about 5 million tons annually) Exported bitumen
half of which was allocated to America’s allied countries.
3) The ability to easily store bitumen on land gives the power of ports in marketing and stabilizes the price of bitumen compared to other products.

SUMMARY OF WORLD BITUMEN NEWS

Following the protests of the French people against increasing the retirement age, all production and loadings in several refineries of this country have been stopped and affected the supply in North-West Europe, and at the same time the demand for bitumen in most parts of Europe and Africa has increased slowly. The demand in the Mediterranean markets increased due to the warmer weather. Bitumen prices in most parts of Africa remained almost constant due to the increase in construction activities in key markets such as Nigeria and South Africa, and bitumen prices in Singapore did not witness much change.

FORECASTING THE PRICE OF OIL AND OIL PRODUCTS

Last week, in addition to the disappointing news from major banks, the words of the US Secretary of Energy, who said that it will be difficult to replenish strategic oil reserves this year, and also announced signs of strong crude oil supply from Russia, contrary to the previous statements of Russian officials from There were some things that affected the price of oil, and ultimately it led to a 3% increase in the price of oil per week.

ANALYSTS LOOK AT THE MARKETS

JPMorgan Asset Management Chief Executive Officer George Gach provided a detailed assessment of his approach to global markets last Tuesday. Gech did not say that now is the time of panic. But in the same way, he felt no chance and told reporters that the asset manager
“Market Stress Protocol” has been activated. Previous activations include March 2020, when the global momentum of the Covid pandemic affected first stocks and later bonds. It also did this when Russia launched its attack on Ukraine last year. He has warned that commercial real estate is one of the major areas of risk in global markets after aggressive monetary tightening by the US central bank. “When the Fed puts the brakes on, something goes through the windshield,” George Gach, the $2.5 trillion asset manager, said at a European media briefing on Tuesday. All of these episodes have left investors and policymakers wondering, “What’s the next impact? Commercial real estate is an area of concern. We have higher interest rates for property developers and how does that affect the real estate market and lenders in that space?

Weekly Bitumen Price Updates at Your Fingertips

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Discover Our Range of Bitumen Products on the “Bitumen and Asphalt” Page

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Meet the Global Bitumen Producers: Explore Our Comprehensive Directory

Dive into the world of bitumen production by visiting our dedicated page introducing global bitumen manufacturers. This carefully curated directory not only highlights the leading producers but also provides a deep dive into the innovative practices and sustainable approaches shaping the industry. From established giants to emerging players, our guide offers a panoramic view of the key contributors driving the global supply of bitumen. Whether you’re seeking partnership opportunities, aiming to understand market dynamics, or curious about the latest production technologies, our comprehensive overview connects you with the industry’s best.

Discover Iran’s Bitumen Producers: Your Guide to the Nation’s Best

Unlock the potential of Iran’s bitumen industry by exploring our page dedicated to the country’s premier producers. Iran, known for its rich reserves and strategic position in the global energy market, boasts an array of companies excelling in bitumen production. Our guide offers an in-depth look at these manufacturers, showcasing their capabilities, product ranges, and innovative approaches to bitumen production and supply. Ideal for buyers, traders, and industry analysts, this page serves as a gateway to understanding Iran’s role in the bitumen sector and identifying key players for collaboration and investment.

Exploring the Top Bitumen Producing Countries: A Global Perspective

Dive into the heart of the global bitumen industry with our detailed exploration of the top bitumen producing countries. From the vast oil sands of Canada to the historic reserves of Venezuela, and the expansive production in the Middle East, our feature provides a comprehensive overview of where the world’s bitumen originates. Understand the geopolitical, environmental, and technological factors that position these nations as leaders in the bitumen market. This analysis not only highlights the current production capacities and future prospects but also delves into the challenges and opportunities each country faces. Whether you’re an industry professional, researcher, or enthusiast, this guide is your doorway to understanding the global dynamics of bitumen production.

Prepared by the PetroNaft Co. research team.

 

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