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First vessel passes through Baltimore channel

  • Spanish Market: Agriculture, Coal, Freight, Oil products
  • 02/04/24

A barge carrying jet fuel was the first vessel to pass through a temporary channel around the wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge blocking the Port of Baltimore late Monday.

The temporary 11-ft deep, 264-ft wide channel on the northeast side of the main shipping channel was opened to allow for movement of "commercially essential" vessels, as well as ships involved in the salvage operation. The channel is too shallow to allow for passage of larger ships responsible for much of the cargo movement through Baltimore.

A second temporary channel is being established on the southwest side of the main channel that will be a bit deeper, about 15-16 ft, according to the federal Unified Command.

The jet cargo that left the harbor Monday through the temporary channel was destined to supply Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

Salvage operations continue at the site with several crane-mounted barges removing sections of bridge that are being cut away. A 4,000 ton section of bridge still lies on top of the containership Dali, which struck the bridge nearly a week ago, leading to the deadly collapse.


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Sonatrach restarts Skikda bitumen plant after 4-yr halt


11/07/24
11/07/24

Sonatrach restarts Skikda bitumen plant after 4-yr halt

London, 11 July (Argus) — Algeria's state-owned oil firm Sonatrach has resumed production at its Skikda bitumen plant after shutting it back in 2020 when it ran short of supplies of heavy refinery residue feedstock. The company received a 10,000t cargo of atmospheric straight-run residue from a Mediterranean refiner in recent weeks, enabling bitumen production at Skikda to restart. Sonatrach plans to produce up to 100,000 t/yr of bitumen at Skikda, matching current output at its bitumen unit in Arzew. This will help meet domestic demand in Algeria, which is largely dependent on imports. Demand was an estimated 600,000-700,000t last year. Demand has risen in recent months ahead of Algeria's presidential elections, which were brought forward earlier this year by three months to 7 September. Local suppliers expect bitumen consumption in the country to peak in July and August this year at 80,000-90,000 t/month, driven by a concerted push by the government for contractors to complete road and highway projects before the elections. Sonatrach imported its large-scale bitumen cargo volumes into a string of terminals that it runs along the Algerian coast in annual tenders up until 2021 when Spain's Cepsa was awarded the volumes. But bitumen and other trade between Algeria and Spain was suspended the following year after Madrid publicly recognised Morocco's autonomy plan for Western Sahara. Sonatrach has since mainly relied on flows from its 198,000 b/d Augusta refinery in Sicily. Algeria has also imported cargoes from other places in the Mediterranean including Greece. By Keyvan Hedvat Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Port Houston fully reopens, others to follow


11/07/24
11/07/24

Port Houston fully reopens, others to follow

New York, 11 July (Argus) — Port Houston fully reopened today in the wake of Hurricane Beryl after the US Army Corps of Engineers and US Coast Guard gave the all-clear, with other Texas ports soon to follow, according to the Greater Houston Port Bureau. "As of this morning, we are lifting all restrictions for the Houston ship channel — no more draft restrictions," port bureau president Captain Eric Carrero said. Draft restrictions remain in place at 35ft for the port of Galveston, at 30ft for Texas City, and at 36ft for Freeport, according to Carrero. Freeport is also restricted to daylight operating hours. "We are reviewing the surveys for Texas City, Galveston, and Freeport and we are hoping to lift those restrictions as well," Carrero said. The return of Port Houston to full capacity three days after Hurricane Beryl made landfall on 8 July will likely assuage concerns that damage to Texas ports would cut the supply of refined product shipments from the region at a time when refineries along the US Gulf coast hit 97pc utilization in the week ended 5 July, the highest rate since June 2023, according to US Energy Information Administration data. Any vessel glut that had built up outside of Port Houston is likely to clear quickly now that full operating conditions have been restored, according to vessel piloting services in the region. The port of Freeport was the closest of the Houston-area ports to Hurricane Beryl's landfall, which could explain additional caution given to the port in maintaining its daylight hours, given the larger potential for the storm to have blown obstructions into the port's waters. The reopening of Port Houston will likely help to shift additional Army Corps and Coast Guard personnel to the other Texas ports to help complete the necessary surveys and ensure that critical aids to navigation are where they should be before giving the all-clear. By Ross Griffith Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

US June inflation slows to 1-year low of 3pc


11/07/24
11/07/24

US June inflation slows to 1-year low of 3pc

Houston, 11 July (Argus) — US inflation slowed in June to the lowest in a year while core inflation hit a more than three-year low, signs of easing price pressures that may prompt Federal Reserve policymakers to begin cutting borrowing costs in the fall. The consumer price index (CPI) slowed to an annual 3pc in June, lower than economists' estimates for a 3.1pc reading, from 3.3pc in May and 3.4pc in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. So-called core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose by 3.3pc in June, the lowest since April 2021, and slowing from 3.4pc in May. The energy index rose by an annual 1pc in June, down from 3.7pc in May, while the gasoline index contracted by 2.5pc in June compared with a 2.2pc gain in May. Energy services rose by an annual 4.3pc, slowing from 4.7pc the prior month. After the report, the CME's FedWatch tool signaled an 81pc probability that the Fed will cut its target rate by a quarter point in September from near 70pc odds Wednesday. Probabilities of three quarter point cuts by December rose to 38pc today from 26pc the prior day. Food costs rose by 2.2pc in June from 2.1pc the prior month. Shelter rose by 5.2pc from 5.4pc the prior month. Transportation services rose by 9.4pc in June following a 10.5pc gain the prior month. Airline fares fell by 5.1pc in June after a 5.9pc decline. Headline inflation had risen from 3.1pc in January to as high as 3.5pc in March as economic data, especially job gains, had come in stronger than expected. That had prompted the Federal Reserve to delay widely expected rate cuts as it said it needed "greater confidence" that inflation was on a "sustained" path towards its 2pc target. The Fed hiked its target rate to a 23-year high of 5.25-5.5pc in July 2023 and has kept it there since to rein in inflation that hit a high of 9.1pc in June 2022. The Fed, in its latest policy meeting last month, penciled in one likely quarter point cut this year, down from three penciled in last March. CPI contracted by a seasonally adjusted 0.1pc in June from the prior month, after a flat reading in May, a 0.3pc monthly gain in April and 0.4pc gains in February and Marhc. Core CPI was up by 0.1pc for the month after a monthly gain of 0.2pc in May. By Bob Willis Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Brazil ups outlook for 2023-24 crop to 299mn t


11/07/24
11/07/24

Brazil ups outlook for 2023-24 crop to 299mn t

Sao Paulo, 11 July (Argus) — Brazil raised the outlook for its 2023-24 grain and oilseed crops for the third consecutive month in July, driven by favorable weather supporting the second corn crop. National supply company Conab now expects 2023-24 output at 299.3mn metric tonnes (t), up by 1.7mn t from a month ago. But the projection for the current cycle is 6.4pc — or 20.5mn t — below the record 319.8mn t in 2022-23, following the negative effects of the El Nino weather phenomenon over main producing states earlier in the season. The 2023-24 crop is set to yield 3,752 kg/hectare (ha), 7.9pc below the 4,072 kg/ha in the last cycle. That also compares with the 3,739 kg/ha forecast in June. Estimated sowed area expanded by 170,200ha to 79.8mn ha this month, which is a 1mn ha tumble from the prior season's acreage. Corn crop leads monthly gain Conab expects Brazil to produce over 115.9mn t of corn in 2023-24, including the country's first, second and third crops. Estimated volumes rose by 1.8mn t from the previous estimate of 114.1mn t, as the average yield outlook increased to 5,553 kg/ha from 5,478 kg/ha and the projection for planted area was up by 25,000ha to 20.9mn ha. The 2022-23 corn crop produced a record 131.9mn t, with 22.3mn ha sowed and average yields of 5,923 kg/ha. The 2023-24 second corn crop — also known as the winter crop — accounted for most of the upwards revision this month. The production forecast rose to 90mn t from 88.1mn t, but remained below the 2022-23 crop's 102.4mn t record. Expected yields rose to 5,556 kg/ha from 5,478 kg/ha in June. That is also 6.7pc below the prior cycle's yields. As for planted area, the forecast increased by 47,000ha and was maintained at almost 16.2mn ha. The 2022-23 second corn crop was sowed in 17.2mn ha. The summer corn cycle — also known as the first crop — is set to reach almost 23.4mn t, down by nearly 180,000t from a month prior and 3.9mn t below the last season. The estimate for acreage decreased by 23,900ha, but remains at around 4mn ha, approximately 438,000ha below the 2022-23 planted area. Projected yields dropped to 5,852 kg/ha from 5,862 kg/ha, also down from last season's 6,160 kg/ha. The outlook for the third corn crop — sowed exclusively in northern and northeastern states — continues at 2.4mn t, surpassing the prior cycle by 254,800t. Planted area is now set to reach 657,800ha, up by 2,800ha from the prior month's estimate and 632,500ha in 2022-23. The outlook for yields was down to 3,663 kg/ha from 3,670 kg/ha but is 7.5pc up on the year. Soybean output decreases slightly Brazil's 2023-24 soybean crop is set to total approximately 147.3mn t, following a 16,900t reduction from a month ago. That is a 4.7pc drop from the 2022-23 season's record of 154.6mn t, but the cycle remains on track to be the second largest crop in the country's history. The monthly output decrease reflects damage caused by floods in the Rio Grande do Sul state, which reduced its outlook by 540,000t to 19.7mn t. Losses were then mostly offset by an upwards revision in Para state, where higher yields and an increase in expected area rose the output forecast to almost 4.1mn t. National average yields are now estimated at 3,202 kg/ha, down from 3,205 kg/ha in June and 3,507 kg/ha in 2022-23. Conab projects that the 2023-24 soybean crop was sowed at a record of 46mn ha, compared with 44.1mn ha in the prior cycle. Wheat, cotton down Brazil's 2024 wheat production is now set to total almost 9mn t, down by 109,500t on the month and 859,000t above last year's output. Yields are down to 2,917 kg/ha from 2,945 kg/ha, while the expected planted area continues at approximately 3.1mn ha. That compares with 2,331 kg/ha and almost 3.5mn ha in 2023. The monthly downwards revision was driven by a lower outlook in Goias state, which struggled with excessive rainfall in the beginning of the cycle, fungal diseases and most recently water stress during the grain filling stage of crops. The forecast for 2023-24 cotton lint fell by 20,900t and is now at 3.6mn t, which is 462,900t — or 14.6pc — above the prior season's output. The yearly increase is driven by a higher expected acreage of 1.9mn ha, almost 17pc above the 2022-23 season and roughly stable from a month ago. Yields were down to 1,870kg/ha from 1,881kg/ha in June, which is 2pc below the prior season. Corn, soybean exports stable Conab continues to project 2023-24 corn exports to total 33.5mn t, despite an increase in expected production. Volumes remain below the 54.6mn t shipped in the prior cycle. But the outlook of domestic consumption rose to 84.3mn t from almost 84.2mn t a month ago — about 5.7pc above the prior season — led by a record demand from the corn ethanol and animal feed sectors. Soybean exports also continue set to reach 92.4mn t, down from almost 101.9mn t of soybeans exported in the 2022-23 season. By Nathalia Giannetti Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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