Best in Energy – 28 April 2022

India cuts electricity to industrial users

EU importers to pay for gas in roubles ($FT)

China’s major problem with vaccines ($BBG)

Poland/Bulgaria alternatives to Russian gas

Automakers revert to vertical integration

China’s passenger rail traffic down (trans.)

U.S. gas production areas

INDIA’s electricity consumption climbed to a record of more than 201,000 megawatts at the peak on April 26. But grid stability is deteriorating with average frequency trending lower and prolonged under-frequency excursions pointing to insufficient generation. Frequency is now so low for so much of the day controllers no longer appear to be trying to maintain it close to 50.0 Hz and have instead accepted a lower frequency as normal. States have begun to restrict supplies to industrial users during peak hours to maintain stability and reduce the risk of a cascading failure:

U.S. PETROLEUM inventories fell by -2 million bbl to 1,697 million bbl last week and are now down by -421 million bbl since the start of July 2020:

U.S. DISTILLATE inventories fell -1 million bbl to just 107 million bbl last week, the lowest seasonal level since 2008:

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Best in Energy – 14 April 2022

Global industrial metals inventories very depleted

China to stimulate consumer expenditure (trans.)

U.S. central bank tries to avoid hard landing ($FT)

China’s coal shipments hit by long delays ($BBG)

Oil traders set to reduce purchases from Russia

U.S. Haynesville gas production rises

Amazon adds fuel surcharges ($BBG)

U.S. PETROLEUM inventories including the strategic petroleum reserve rose +3 million bbl to 1,712 million bbl last week. Inventories have risen by a total of almost +5 million bbl in the two most recent weeks after declining by -81 million bbl over the previous twelve weeks:

U.S. DISTILLATE stocks fell by almost -3 million bbl to just 111 million bbl, the lowest for the time of year since 2008:

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Global distillate stocks stabilise as consumption falters

14 April 2022

Chartbook: https://tmsnrt.rs/3M1dK96

Global distillate inventories remain low but have shown some signs of stabilising as the business cycle slows in response to inflation, coronavirus outbreaks and increased uncertainty following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In the United States, distillate fuel oil inventories fell by 3 million barrels to 111 million in the week to April 8, according to high-frequency data from the Energy Information Administration.

Distillate stocks are 28 million barrels (20%) below the pre-pandemic five-year seasonal average and at the lowest level for the time of year since 2008 (“Weekly petroleum status report”, EIA, April 13).

Based on stock movements in previous years, inventories are expected to fall as low as 105 million barrels before the end of June, with the forecast minimum ranging from 97-111 million barrels.

Stocks have been tight since the start of the year but the situation has stabilised since early March with some of the more extreme downside inventory scenarios receding.

High prices for all petroleum products but especially middle distillates such as diesel, heating oil, jet fuel and gas oil are blunting consumption growth.

More importantly, there are signs consumer and business spending has started to decelerate under pressure from inflation, increased uncertainty and supply chain disruptions.

As the pandemic has receded, consumer pending has also begun to rotate from distillate-intensive manufactured products to less distillate-intensive services.

In Europe, too, distillate stocks are low but have stabilised since the start of March in response to high prices and slowing consumption.

Europe’s distillate inventories amounted to just 392 million barrels at the end of March, the lowest for the time of year since 2015, according to estimates compiled by Euroilstock.

But inventories had risen by more than 12 million barrels compared with the end of February, the largest seasonal increase for more than two decades.

The last time stocks rose this rapidly between February and March was in 2008, when surging crude and diesel prices and diminishing economic activity also caused stocks to start rising from a very low level.

In Singapore, stocks have fallen to just 7.6 million barrels, the lowest seasonal level since 2008, and the storage hub is the tightest of all the regions.

Distillates are the most cyclically sensitive of the major petroleum products and a slowdown in consumption growth is normally associated with a mid-cycle slowdown or an end-of-cycle recession.

There are some early signs inventory depletion has slowed or even stopped altogether, with stocks broadly stable since the middle of March, but it will take a few more weeks before any turning point is confirmed.

Related columns:

Global diesel shortage pushes oil prices higher (Reuters, March 24)

Global diesel shortage raises risk of oil price spike (Reuters, March 11)

U.S. diesel stocks set to fall critically low (Reuters, Feb. 17)

Diesel is the U.S. economy’s inflation canary (Reuters, Feb. 9)

Depleted U.S. distillate stocks show supply chain pressure (Reuters, Feb. 4)

Best in Energy – 8 April 2022

China struggles to suppress outbreak (trans.)*

China manufacturers hit by outbreak ($WSJ)

EU bans Russia coal imports from August 2022

Japan plans to wind down Russia coal imports

Russia’s oil and diesel export blending ($BBG)

LME stocks fall to multi-decade low ($BBG)

LME zinc inventories set to deplete rapidly

Shell’s hedging related outflows of $7 billion

Russia/Ukraine war and removing sanctions

White House invokes defence production law

Coal buyers scramble for Russia replacements

* Xinhua’s lead article on the coronavirus outbreak in Shanghai illustrates the scale of the challenge, with more than 100,000 cases in the latest outbreak in the megacity, as well as the government’s decision to stick with the “dynamic clearing” zero-coronavirus suppression strategy.

BRENT’s six-month calendar spread has fallen to a backwardation of less than $5 per barrel from a record high of more than $21 a month ago, as the pledge by IEA members to offer 240 million barrels of oil from government-controlled strategic reserves over the next six months has eased traders’ concerns about short-term availability:

U.S. MANUFACTURERS reported new orders for nondefense capital equipment excluding aircraft were up +11% in cash terms in the three months from December to February compared with the same period a year earlier. But growth has decelerated significantly with nominal orders advancing at an annualised rate of only +6.48% in the latest three months, the slowest increase since July 2020, when the economy was emerging from the first wave of the pandemic and lockdowns:

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Best in Energy – 6 April 2022

EU/Russia coal ban would strain supply ($BBG)

U.S. central bank signals rapid move to neutral

U.S. Treasury warns of economic shock ($BBG)

Europe’s economy faces energy shock ($BBG)

India’s coal imports to rise in 2022/23

Argentina’s gasoil consumption rises

Crude physical benchmarks weaken

LME sees sharp reduction in positions

California’s emissions price increases

Reuters has created new web pages where you can find all the columns by our commodities experts in one place:

* Industrial metals www.reuters.com/authors/andy-home

* Asian markets www.reuters.com/authors/clyde-russell

* Agriculture www.reuters.com/authors/karen-braun

* Energy markets www.reuters.com/authors/john-kemp

EUROPE’s midsummer-midwinter gas futures calendar spread from July 2022 to January 2023 has narrowed sharply to a backwardation of less than €4/MWh down from a record €72 in early March. To ensure inventories can be accumulated over the next six months for use next winter, without incurring large losses, the spread needs to move into contango to cover storage costs. The July 2022 futures price must fall, the January 2023 price must rise, or both. So far, both prices appear to be adjusting in the expected direction:

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Best in Energy –4 April 2022

[MUST READ] Sanctions and a long conflict

[MUST READ] Wars and settlements ($BBG)

SPR sale – formal announcement and details

France’s electricity grid calls for conservation

China to buy Russia LNG via middlemen ($BBG)

Australia’s export earnings boosted by conflict

EU/Russia standoff over gas payments

U.S. jet fuel prices surge on East Coast

Aviation recovery at risk from fuel prices ($FT)

Sri Lanka leader imposes state of emergency

United Kingdom takes Russian diesel delivery

U.S. MANUFACTURERS reported a less-widespread increase in business activity last month. The ISM composite index fell to 57.1 in March from 58.6 in February and the lowest reading since Sep 2020 as the expansion decelerates. There was also a sharp deceleration in new orders growth in March. The ISM new orders index slipped to 53.8 from 61.7 the month before, consistent with a slowdown in the business cycle ahead:

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