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Macro Macchiato: Covid, China and the Future for US Oil Exports

As US shale producers struggle with a slump in demand related to the pandemic and a glut of crude oil in the global market, US national crude oil production has fallen to around 10.5 million barrels per day (Mn bpd). Future production is also endangered as the ratio of mature wells to new finds grows as oil prices remain low. The number of active wells is down considerably year on year according to data from Baker Hughes which showed 830 a year ago, a nadir of 254 in the middle of September and slight growth to 287 on 26 October. US oil refiners are also facing difficulties. Data from the Energy Intelligence Administration, part of the US Department of Energy, shows that refineries across th

Middle Kingdom Comes Out on Top

The Chinese National Bureau of Statistics (CNBS) has released economic data for the first three quarters of 2020. These are important statistics for the shipping industry as China is the biggest importer of iron ore, driving the Capesize bulker market (and thus sentiment across the bulk carrier sizes). It is the biggest importer of crude oil, driving the VLCC market (and thus sentiment for all crude oil carrier markets). It is the biggest exporter of containerised goods, driving sentiment for the liner markets. This year of all years, as Coronavirus rages around the planet, as populists and nationalists in former and decaying democracies take sledgehammers to free trade, and these maleficent

Macro Macchiato: Trust Me, I'm an Analyst

The Six Million Dollar Man...and then Some.... In Autumn 2018 I gave a presentation to an audience of financiers and investors in New York entitled “The Best Value Ship to Buy Today?”  I considered historical variations in earnings and values, including their spread and limits. I looked at recent and forecast changes to trade patterns and vessel flexibility for different cargoes. I took into account changes to ship design and engine efficiency, plus suitability for burning low-sulphur fuels from 1st Jan 2020. And I considered ship owner appetite for newbuildings and the potential size of the second hand market. After all, I would want to profit from asset play with this investment. My analys

Is President Xi going to save the world? What will that do to shipping?

The world's largest PV solar cell array at Qinghai Province, China. Pic: Sungrow On 22 September, President Xi announced that the Chinese economy will decarbonise within forty years. “We aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060,” he said via videolink. To understand the scale of his commitment, consider that China will have to cut its emissions more rapidly than all other nations. Of the three big global economies, China emits 28% of global greenhouse gases (GHG), the US 13% and the EU 9%. What’s more, Xi has committed China to a programme of investment that outstrips current climate change agreements. The Kyoto Protocol in 1997 only covered develo

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