Archive for Coke

Maybe as many as 15 Years of Weak Crude and other energy prices

“WHAT IF:

What if the world is shifting from an “investment phase” of a 30-year commodity cycle to an “exploitation phase?” 

How does this professional assessment of future markets cause you as a railroad or freight carrier to change from Plan A to maybe Plan B or even Plan D?

 

From Bloomberg, Sep 17, 2015

A glut of crude may keep oil prices low for the next 15 years, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. That is a very long period.

This strategic commodities report cites in part Jeffrey Currie in an interview at Lake Louise, Alberta.

Goldman’s long-term forecast for crude is at $50 a barrel, he said. He also observed that “the risks are to the downside given what’s happening in the other commodity markets and the macro markets more broadly.”

Lower iron ore, copper and steel prices as well oil and natural gas –PLUS weaker currencies in commodity-producing countries — have reduced costs for oil companies, according to Currie.

The world is shifting from an “investment phase” of a 30-year commodity cycle to an “exploitation phase,” with shale fields as an important source of output, he said.

To read the entire article, go to http://bloom.bg/1JcGYJu

Another bad sign for the South African steel industry and future rail related traffic as AMSA reports

The South African Steel Industry is hit hard by he global slowdown in the market DEMAND for steel.

Reports today from multiple sources say for example that South Africa’s largest steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) is giving notice that it is weighing the partial or full closure of its Vereeniging Works, in southern Gauteng. The Vereeniging mill is perhaps South Africa’s oldest steel plant — going back to 1911 as the Union Steel Corporation of South Africa.

Some market sources suggest that ArcelorMittal may soon make a trading statement indicating that the company might report a large loss per share in the half year to June 30. One source, Mining Weekly, has its reporters suggesting that it could be as much as “1,400% worse than the 2c/share loss incurred during the corresponding period last year.” Other South African steel companies like Highveld Steel and Vanadium are also reporting depressed commercial results.

This marks a continuing pattern of global declining prospects for ore, met coal, and scrap plus lower future business revenues for the railroads and ports that handle the steel related inputs and outputs.

Are the transporters changing their strategic plans or hoping their customers’ business patterns will suddenly change?

Go here for more reported details: http://m.miningweekly.com/article/poor-citizen-amsa-promises-to-mend-ways-as-it-seeks-support-to-save-vereeniging-and-company-2015-07-23

A railway freight traffic rally? // Not with this 13 year record drop in Commodity Prices

Published by Bloomberg, Jul 20, 2015

Oil has been reeling for about a year; now gold is getting slammed—

Commodities are at a 13-year low.

How will this affect your strategic plans?

To read the entire article, go to http://bloom.bg/1MDRHk3

The Bloomberg Commodities Index dropped to a 13-year low Monday…

That is weaker than after the banking meltdown of 2008 and the euro-zone crisis of 2012.

From wheat, to copper, to natural gas, little has escaped the rout.

If your waiting to start your new commodities based railway, it is time to review your strategic assumptions..

Mining stocks // Valuation strategic drop is huge

The Big Three iron ore producers havebbeen particularly hard hit.

World number one BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) fell again in New York, bringing its losses since Friday to more than 8% before some late buying limited some of the damage. Melbourne-based BHP stock value is down 45% over the last year.

BHP total market worth dipped briefly below $100 billion last Tuesday. BHP peaked at a market cap of $280 billion in 2011.

The cumulative $180 billion loss in that one company’s value is almost impossible to comprehend.

HOW MUCH? In railroad terms that is about the equivalent as a loss in value to the total current value of about two BNSF railroads.

The BHP loss in value is about three to four times the assumed infrastructure investment that all of Africa says that it needs over the next two decades.

In South Africa the recently spun off by BHP named South32 is trading nearly 20% below its May 2015 listing value.

The drop in the shares of Vale continued with the Brazilian company tanking 4% to a decade low on Tuesday. Vale as the world’s top iron ore miner has lost 34% of its market value in 2015.

The globe’s second largest miner based on revenue Rio Tinto (which relies on copper and iron for nearly 80% of its earnings) dropped 4% in heavy volume. The Anglo-Australian giant’s stock is down more than 18% since February.

For more, read http://www.mining.com/china-panic-crushes-mining-stocks/

Miners’ focus shifts from investor returns to maybe survival

July 10 (Reuters) –

Hit hard by the accelerated downturn in metal prices, most global mining companies preparing to report results are likely to announce another round of austerity measures to cut costs and thereby convince investors to remain committed to the mining sector.

Outside of BHP and Rio Tinto, credit ratings and dividends are being pressured by a rout in prices on any commodity from iron ore to platinum. Directors are pressured by major stock holders to force reductions in capital expenditure, operational costs and jobs. Firing top managers is not out of the question.

Collectively, miners have been among the worst performers on London’s FTSE 100 index of blue-chip companies so far this year. The FTSE 350 mining index has fallen by about 15 percent since the start of the year. That is after a bad year in 2014.

“The picture has shifted to survival”… says Nik Stanojevic at British wealth manager Brewin Dolphin. High dividend yields and a boom in metal prices boosted mining shares from the turn of the century (2001 to 2011 with one interruption…

The downturn in prices since 2011 has exposed companies’ failure to allocate capital effectively and to shore up balance sheets, prompting many investors to take flight. Planners for ports and railways to support the old boom year should take note. New strategies need to emerge “or more heads may role” and investors walk away.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/10/mining-results-preview-idUSL8N0ZM22720150710

Commodity Global Surpluses Persists — means weak demand for rail services

A Bloomberg report on Jul 8, 2015

The analysis of the demand for port and rail freight always begins with an examination of the market supply/demand at the buyers level. China and India are the major demand markets. But the long term surplus of supply means tough times ahead for suppliers in the emerging nations.

According to a Bloomberg report, the world is still mired in a surplus of most commodities, which means tough years ahead for prices and shipments of added materials. The actual source is from analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. led by Jeff Currie.

“Long-term surpluses in most commodity markets require prices to remain lower for longer,” the Currie team wrote. The markets are contending with declining costs, a strengthening dollar and slowing growth in emerging economies like China that use a lot of raw materials, the bank said.

Patrick Pouyanne, the chief executive officer at French oil giant Total SA, told a parliamentary commission in Paris that the oversupply of oil will last into 2016. A sustained long term recovery this year isn’t likely, Societe Generale said in a report today.

Despite the long term slide in prices and the lowered market demand, most emerging nations have still not adjusted their strategic plans for rail,and port growth. Their current tactics seem to be “damn the torpedoes, and full speed ahead”. That kind of thinking over the past decade resulted in Greece’s economic headache.

Who will step up and change investment strategy first? Who is going to be that leader?

To read the entire article, go to http://bloom.bg/1Hbu7HR Sent from my iPad

Mongolia premier pledges to end Tavan Tolgoi coal mine & railroad delays

From the Financial Times news report comes this upbeat news from Mongolia.

The headline:

Is this just more public relations political hype? Another “junk” rated bond issue to please voters? Is this necessary? Probably a bad idea. Again.

More long delayed plans for the east-west low margin financial feasibility railroad towards Japan? These sound more like a belief in Santa Clause than a sound strategic recovery for the nation.

I would wish more then this for my many Mongolian friends I have worked with.

The good news is that there is a way to make Mongolians strategic winners” if they pull together on tactics and engineering that are sound best practices.

Cheers!

For the FT report, log onto: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/6e7a241a-20c7-11e5-ab0f-6bb9974f25d0,Authorised=false.html?_i_location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcms%2Fs%2F0%2F6e7a241a-20c7-11e5-ab0f-6bb9974f25d0.html%3Fsiteedition%3Dintl&siteedition=intl&_i_referer=#axzz3erCpC6bE

Here are a few of the reported public relations statements in the news report. ——- Saikhanbileg Chimed indicated that “Mongolia planned to launch another sovereign bond as the country seeks to get “back to business” following two years of slowing growth in gross domestic product, plummeting foreign direct investment and rating agency downgrades of its junk-rated “Chinggis” bonds.”

“Official approval for investors to start work on the Tavan Tolgoi (TT) coking coal mine in the Gobi desert should follow soon after a review of the investor agreement in parliament this month, Mr Saikhanbileg told the Financial Times in an interview.”

Investors in the project include China’s Shenhua Energy and Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. “TT will be unlocked in the very near future,” he said.

HOWEVER—

“Several members of Mongolia’s parliament have raised objections to financial and legal aspects of the TT investor agreement, raising the possibility that the mine… …could suffer a similar fate to that of Oyu Tolgoi, a $5bn copper mine, where an expansion project was unblocked in May only after two years of wrangling. This year, Mongolia resorted to a mobile phone referendum to shore up public support for the project…

The minister still believes in 220km rail line from the mine into China — delayed now for more than three years.

Mr Saikhanbileg also told the FT reporters that he also believes in a second potential rail project that would run east-west about 1,300km to reach coal markets in Japan and the US, a Mr Saikhanbileg said.

BEWARE:

This E-W rail line is a much higher investment risk according to my due diligence research on Mongolia rail options dating back to 2006.

Investors need to carefully reexamine these projects with updated due diligence.  Mongolia needs a real heavy haul big train design to make their expectations a reality.  That means trashing most of their prior rail designs.

It also means a fresh due diligence review of the feasibility options. In particular, it is a bad idea to depend upon a due diligence feasibility report that is prepared by the builders.  They are not exactly Independant.

Botswana – South Africa heavy-haul rail project almost ready | reports IRJ

This railway news report is focused on the expected physical construction of new railway. That is the SUPPLY side story.

The rest of the technical story will be found in the depth of the awaited economic feasibility study.

Is the shifting global market DEMAND going forward going to require the added transport supply? Reports from Independant market analysts like Goldman Sachs suggest a much lower market demand for coal.

Can this new Botswana project compete in a slowing growth market and still pay off the railway future debt?

On the supply side, the report says: The new railway line would ultimately be part of a new 560km heavy-haul railway linking Botswana and South Africa’s Waterberg coalfield with Lothair, near Ermelo, where it would meet the planned 146km Swazilink line. This would create a new route via Swaziland for coal traffic and general freight to both Richard’s Bay and Maputo in Mozambique.

The expected market demand is for about 100 million annual coal tons?

Is that a realistic market forecast based on current economic due diligence? Let’s see what the promised feasibility report says when it is released.

http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/africa/botswana-south-africa-heavy-haul-study-nearly-complete.html?channel=538

Competition for met coal sales to China in the summer of 2015

Reuters data http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSL3N0Z823E20150622?irpc=932

China’s imports of coking coal fell 24.2% to 14.7 million tonnes in the first four months of the 2015 from the same period last year.

Australia has about a 50% share of China’s imports Yet, shipments dropped 26.2 percent in the first four months as China’s steel production has fallen.

China’s imports from Mongolia increased by 9% to 4.5 million tonnes. It could have been higher if only Mongolia had a working export railway by now.

The next two largest coke coal suppliers are Canada and Russia. This year their shipments to China fell 14% and 39% respectively.

My technical observations.

MONGOLIA FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEMS as a COMPETITOR

The Mongolia customs price in northern China is about $46 a tonne as of April 2015. To that has to be added the rail cost to reach eastern Chinese steel producing markets. That adds a lot to the price given Mongolia’s poor rail infrastructure. It has zero heavy haul rail capability.

The quoted price from competing sources are $105 to $106 from Australia ~ $110 from Canada, ~ $93 from Russia mines Price to Japan Third quarter contracts for delivery from Australia to Japan were settled at $93 a tonne for premium hard coking coal, according to two people familiar with the negotiations says Reuters.

Back in 2012, the price was $330 a tonne.

The contract price tends to influence the spot price.

However, sellers need to price to a more reasonable long term contract rate to survive periodic economic down cycles.

Bloomberg reports negative China steel growth.

From Bloomberg, Jun 18, 2015

“Chinese steelmakers are deepening the first production cuts in a quarter century”…

As manufacturing steel production drops, there are economic signs to look for.

Possible “dumping” of finished steel.

Stockpiling of Chinese imported iron ore and coke.

More investor uncertainty about emerging nation blueprints for new mines, ports, and railways.

To read the entire Bloomberg news report, go to http://bloom.bg/1GTU0PI

Crude steel output will shrink as much as 2 percent this year, according to the China Iron & Steel Association. That is the first contraction since at least 1990.

A recent up tick in raw material costs for steel and a collapse in steel prices has pushed the Bloomberg Intelligence China Steel Profitability Index to the lowest in almost seven years.

To understand more about the prospects for adding more to the supply side of global trade, we need to know even more about the market demand side.  As China’s growth slows…    …so too will the need for more and more imported resources from greenfield projects.

So which greenfield projects will still be needed?