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Market Movers Asia


Market Movers Asia, Apr 9-13: Fears of escalation in US-China trade row sparks concerns in commodity markets

With Avantika Ramesh, Associate Editor, Oil, Asia

April 09, 2018 09:45:00 EST (2:38)

Fears of an escalation in the trade row between China and the US could impact many commodity markets this week as trading resumes in China after the Qingming holiday.


In agriculture, the trade tension could benefit Brazil and Argentina, with premiums for soy beans and corn expected to rise this week.


In the steel and metals sector, market participants could turn cautious and hold off purchasing.


In other news, Asian crude oil buyers are waiting for Iraq to release its monthly official selling price later this week. Last month, the OSP differential for Basrah Light was set 20 cents a barrel below its rival Saudi Arab Medium crude.


Lotte Chemical's aromatics plant in Daesan in South Korea remains shut this week after a fire last Thursday caused minor damage to pipelines. The blaze was quickly extinguished, but the restart date remains unclear. A prolonged shutdown could boost the prices of affected aromatics this week.


Associate editor Avantika Ramesh looks at these and other factors that could drive commoditiy markets this week


Related event: S&P Global Platts Singapore Commodity Market Insights Forum, April 11-12


Join our conversations on Twitter - use #PlattsMM and connect with us.

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Video Transcript


This week, markets await China’s reaction to a further increase in US import tariffs, and an aromatics plant in South Korea remains shut after a fire.


First, fears of an escalation in the trade row between China and the US could impact many commodity markets this week as trading resumes in China after the Qingming holiday.


In agriculture, the trade tension could benefit Brazil and Argentina, with premiums for soy beans and corn expected to rise this week.


In the steel and metals sector, market participants could turn cautious and hold off purchasing.


Do you think China will retaliate by imposing more tariffs? Join our conversation on Twitter with the hashtag PlattsMM.


Turning to oil, Asian crude oil buyers are waiting for Iraq to release its monthly official selling price later this week.


Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization has been luring Asian refiners over the past few trading cycles with attractive price tags on its flagship Basrah Light crude.


Last month, the OSP differential for Basrah Light was set 20 cents a barrel below its rival Saudi Arab Medium crude.


In petrochemicals, Lotte Chemical's aromatics plant in Daesan in South Korea remains shut this week after a fire last Thursday caused minor damage to pipelines. The blaze was quickly extinguished, but the restart date remains unclear. A prolonged shutdown could boost the prices of affected aromatics this week.


For styrene monomer, a big fall in East China inventories and emerging restocking demand from downstream ABS makers ARE expected to keep CFR China prices on an uptrend this week.


Moving to thermal coal, China has reinstated import restrictions in Fujian province, adding to bearish sentiment in the Asian thermal coal market. Market participants are looking to an industry gathering in Bejing this week for more clarity on the situation.


Indonesia has delayed the introduction of a requirement that coal exporters use only national vessels for two years until 2020. The country's fleet still lacks the capacity to carry all of its annual coal exports of more than 200 million metric tons a year. The delay gives coal sellers some time to prepare to meet the requirement.


Also, join us if you can at the Singapore Commodity Market Insights Forum on April 11 and 12, where Platts editors and analysts will discuss issues facing Asian commodity markets.


Thanks for kicking off your Monday with us and have a great week ahead!





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