Energy & Resources Talking Points 11-11-15

New restrictions on commodities futures trading

The Chinese government is tightening control on commodities futures trading. Chinese commodities exchanges have seen rapid growth in recent years for two reasons. Firstly, investors are confident of the long-term demand for natural resources. Secondly and more recently, the Chinese government has implemented new restrictions on stock market trading since the sharp stock market tumble this summer.

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Two Chinese crude tankers stranded off Qingdao

Two large crude carriers are carrying four million barrels of crude oil for China’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) are stranded off Qingdao port. Log-jams have become more common at key Chinese crude handling ports as global prices are still low. This year crude oil imports have increased 9% y/y. China is aiming to increase its crude oil stockpile so that holds a 90 day deserveof its oil demand by 2020.

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China’s coal imports down

Coal imports into China, including lignite, thermal and metallurgical coal, were 13% lower in October y/y. ANZ analysts note that this is lowest level of imports in 4.5 years.

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Earlier this year, The Guardian attributed the drop in demand for coal to be due to anti-pollution policies, read the full article here.

More recently, Reuters has linked the drop in coal demand in October y/y imports to the new quality regulations and a supply glut from local producers, read the full article here.


Santos announces new CEO and plans to reduce debt

Kevin Gallagher, the current CEO of Clough an Australian engineering services group, will become the new MD and CEO of Santos in early 2016. Santos has also announced the completion of its strategic review, including the sale of $3.5 billion worth of assets to cut net debt. $500 million will come from a China-based international private equity firm, Hony Capital that will hold a 7.9% share.

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MOFCOM sets 2016 non-state fuel oil quota

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has set the 2016 non-state fuel oil quota at 87.6 million mt, or 1.76 b/d. This quota is marginally higher than the original quota for 2015, but slightly lower than the amount actuallyimported by China in 2015. The change was due to the extra quotas given to teapot refineries since mid-2015.

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