According to CW Research’s Petcoke Country Market Data, during November 2017, petcoke production kept improving in important markets, such as China and India, despite environmental constraints over its usage in cement production.
Conversely, in Brazil, petcoke consumption mirrored a contracting cement output.
In China, a high demand for fuel is keeping petcoke prices strong. On November 15, measures to combat smog started to be implemented, meaning that some industrial facilities shut down or are operating at low capacity, thus driving fuel consumption downwards. Nonetheless, during the month, petcoke production rose 3.8 year over year. Furthermore, in Shangdong, China’s region recording the highest petcoke production, year-to-date production expanded 6.6% YoY in November.
Filipe Gouveia, analyst with CW Research, observes: “in the upcoming months, the measures implemented by the Chinese government to address smog-related issues are expected to lead to a temporary slowdown in petcoke consumption. Nevertheless, due to the country’s dependence on imports, Chinese refineries are expected to operate at high capacity, as production will remain insufficient to fully meet domestic petcoke demand.”
Indian petcoke production boosted by strong demand; Brazil still struggling
Meanwhile, in India, domestic petcoke production improved 32.0% year on year. Petroleum coke stocks are rising, as production levels and insecurity increase. Discussions on further regulations on fuel grade petcoke usage are shaking consumer confidence, but a strong demand for fuel is keeping prices high. Consequently, higher stocks of petcoke are expected to assist in driving prices downwards.
In Brazil, low cement production is driving petcoke consumption downwards. For the first 11 months of 2017, petcoke production declined by 0.5 million tons, reflecting a slow macroeconomic environment. Nevertheless, São Paulo, Brazil’s region with the highest output of petcoke, recorded a 17.3% increase in petcoke production in November.
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