Energy and commodities highlights: Steel and sanctions, war on plastic, EU coal power decline

The effects of Iran sanctions and the US-China trade spat were showing in several Asian commodity markets in late May. Market sources told S&P Global Platts that major steel billet buyers in Thailand and Indonesia were avoiding Iranian material in favor of sources like Russia, Vietnam and Malaysia. The shift in purchasing patterns has caused offers for Russian billet to rise by about $10/mt, or 2%, over the past two weeks. US President Donald Trump on May 8 imposed sanctions on Iran’s iron, steel, aluminum and copper sectors. The move followed sweeping sanctions on Iranian oil that aim to bring the country’s exports of the commodity to zero. The US State Department on May 30 reiterated its policy to bring purchases of Iranian oil to zero, despite earlier speculation that enforcement would be less rigid. Meanwhile, tensions between China and the US have benefited Australian LNG exports. China imported a record 2.79 million mt of LNG from Australia in April. GRAPHIC OF THE WEEK US oil and natural gas rigs fell by 13 to 1,061 for the week ended May 29, continuing a downtrend that has been prevailing since November, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics data. Click for full-size… continue reading

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