Freight & Bunkers News

Jan 27 - South Africa's RBCT coal exports hit 29-year low in 2022
Coal exports from South Africa's Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) hit their lowest level since 1993 last year, at 50.35 million tonnes, reflecting a lack of trains to carry coal from mines to port. However, exports to Europe from Africa's largest coal export facility showed a more than six-fold increase to 14.3 million tonnes from 2.3 million tonnes in 2021, RBCT said on Thursday, as European countries scrambled to secure alternatives to Russian supply.  

Jan 27 - South Korea’s NOFI buys 11,000 tonnes U.S. feed wheat in private deal
Leading South Korea's animal feed maker Nonghyup Feed Inc. (NOFI) purchased around 11,000 tonnes of animal feed wheat expected to be sourced from the United States in a private deal on Thursday after earlier making no purchase in an international tender for feed wheat, European traders said. Price in the private deal was estimated at $350 a tonne c&f for unloading in one port.

Jan 26  - Beware Indonesia's coal export heft in 2023: Maguire
The world's top thermal coal exporter shocked global markets a year ago by temporarily banning coal exports to protect domestic power producers, sending coal prices soaring and kicking off an historically volatile year for coal and other power fuels. But since then Indonesia has made a different mark on the global coal arena by setting a new record pace for shipments that if sustained puts it on course to be the first country to surpass half a billion tonnes of coal exports in a single year.

Jan 26  - Iraq buys 150,000 tonnes of wheat from Australia - Trade Ministry
Iraq has bought 150,000 tonnes of wheat from Australia, the Trade Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.European traders said in initial assessments that Iraq’s state grains buyer is believed to have purchased about 150,000 tonnes of wheat that was expected to be sourced from Australia in an international on Wednesday.

Jan 26  - FBX Weekly Overview (Freightos)

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) dipped 3% to $1,323/FEU. This rate is 91% lower than the same time last year.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) decreased 7% to $2,626/FEU, and are 84% lower than rates for this week last year.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) increased %15 to $3,420/FEU, and are 77% lower than rates for this week last year.

- Container rates on the transpacific edged down slightly last week just ahead of Lunar New Year (LNY) at a time of year demand and rates typically increase. Prices to the West Coast have been relatively stable, decreasing 7% since the start of December, while East Coast rates have fallen 27% despite increases in blanked sailings. But carriers are now set to cancel even more sailings and remove about 50% of scheduled transpacific capacity over the LNY holiday, with reports that they may blank even more in the weeks to follow.

- Early in 2020, as China’s lockdown sent transpacific import volumes plummeting, carriers’ extensive blanked sailing campaigns kept rates from collapsing. In March of 2020, for example, import volumes from China dropped by about 40% from a year earlier, but capacity management kept rates to the US West Coast just 5% lower than in 2019. So carriers are hoping that the same strategy in the coming weeks will stabilize or even push transpacific prices back up somewhat even as demand continues to ease.   

- Meanwhile, reports of overbooked Europe-bound vessels from Asia ahead of the holiday may indicate that blanked sailing campaigns are succeeding to match supply with falling demand on this lane. This trend may likewise be reflected in Asia - N. Europe rates, which increased this week and remain nearly double their level in January 2020.
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 Observers generally point to the formation of stable ocean alliances as a big reason for carrier success in managing capacity and preventing a rate collapse in early 2020. But this week, MSC and Maersk, the industry’s two largest carriers, announced they will not renew their 2M alliance agreement when it expires at the end of next year, driving speculation that MSC might seek to operate on its own and raising questions as to what this will mean for Maersk and how it could shake up the other alliances.

Jan 25  - North Asia cranks coal imports to fuel industrial reboot: Maguire
Thermal coal imports into China, Japan and South Korea - three of the world's largest coal users - hit their highest combined total in 16 months in December as the North Asian manufacturing powerhouses primed their economies for growth in 2023. Economic momentum in these countries - which collectively accounted for nearly half of all thermal coal imports in 2021 - was subdued in 2022 as China's strict zero-COVID measures stifled industrial activity across the world's largest manufacturing base.

Jan 25  - EU 2022/23 soybean imports at 6.08 mln T, rapeseed 4.26 mln T
European Union soybean imports in the 2022/23 season that started in July had reached 6.08 million tonnes by Jan. 22, down 19% from 7.47 million by the same week in the previous season, data published by the European Commission showed on Tuesday. EU rapeseed imports so far in 2022/23 had reached 4.26 million tonnes, up 41% compared with 3.02 million tonnes a year earlier.

Jan 24 - Australia's Coronado Global sees coal prices rising on resuming China imports
Australia's Coronado Global Resources said on Tuesday resuming metallurgical coal imports to China would likely push sea-borne coal prices higher in the short term, with strong realised prices in 2022 boosting its annual revenue. The comments come after China, Australia's largest coal importer and trade partner, earlier this month lifted an unofficial ban on coal imports and others commodities from the country after a nearly three-year long geopolitical tussle. 

Jan 24 - Iron ore price rally justified as China's January imports surge: Russell
The price of spot iron ore has been one of the major beneficiaries of expectations of strong demand as China re-opens its economy after abandoning its strict zero-COVID policy. While other commodities, such as crude oil and copper, have also enjoyed recent gains on the back of the China recovery narrative, iron ore's rally seems grounded in actual gains in demand.

Jan 23 - Argentine government, farm exporters seek relief from historic drought
Argentine Economy Minister Sergio Massa met with agricultural exporters on Friday to analyze and "seek solutions" to help the country's key grain industry after it was hammered by the worst drought the country has faced in at least 60 years. The dry spell is contributing to a broader economic slump battering the South American country, marked by sky-high inflation and a weakening local currency. 

Jan 23 - Northbound traffic at Istanbul's Bosphorus to resume after rudder failure
Traffic at Turkey's Bosphorus strait for northbound vessels will resume at 1230 GMT after being halted by a rudder failure, the Tribeca shipping agency said on Sunday. According to a report shared by the agency, Gibraltar flagged ship Vos Apollo had a rudder failure during strait passage and was being assisted by a tug escort.

Jan 20  - China bought less soy from Brazil and U.S. in 2022, more from Uruguay
China's soybean imports from the United States dropped 10% in 2022, customs data showed on Friday, reducing the United States' share of the world's top soybean market to less than a third. Total soybean imports by China last year dropped 5.6% to 91.08 million tonnes, due to high global prices and weaker demand earlier in the year. 

Jan 20  - Egypt's GASC buys 50,000 tonnes of yellow corn in tender
Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), on Thursday said it had bought 50,000 tonnes of Romanian corn in an international tender. The cargo was sold by Ameropa BV at a price of $339 a tonne on a cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) basis, traders said, adding that some offers were excluded because of their specifications.

Jan 19  - FBX Weekly Overview (Freightos)

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) fell 3% to $1,361/FEU. This rate is 91% lower than the same time last year.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) dipped 2% to $2,812/FEU, and are 83% lower than rates for this week last year.
 -Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) increased 10% to $2,978/FEU, and are 79% lower than rates for this week last year.

- Transpacific ocean rates to the West Coast have been stable for about six straight weeks, falling below 2019 levels in the last couple weeks with the absence of the typical mini-demand surge ahead of Lunar New Year. Prices to the East Coast have likewise gone mostly unchanged for about a month, and are 83% lower than a year ago. Prices ticked up last week from Asia to N. Europe though they likewise are nearly 80% lower than a year ago.

- Reports of significant blanked sailings alongside some uptick in demand from Asia to the Mediterranean may help explain more resilient rates on this lane.  Through last week prices have remained at about the $4,000/FEU level since early December – more than double the pre-pandemic norm – though daily rates for this week indicate that prices may be starting to ease here as well.

 - Falling demand and easing congestion are resulting not only in a shift of capacity – borrowed from regional and more minor trade lanes as demand surged ex-Asia – back to intra-regional routes, but in falling transit times too.

- Freightos.com marketplace transit time data for China - US ocean shipments show that average shipment duration declined 5% in December from November, and 35% from a year ago, though some lingering East Coast and Gulf congestion is keeping transit times 20% higher than in 2019.

- Freightos Air Index rates ex-China to N. America and Europe have been mostly stable in the last few weeks. But at $5.91/kg and $4.92/kg respectively, prices are more than 30% lower than a year ago when demand was surging including from some ocean to air conversions as ocean delays spiked. Despite these price declines, fuel and labor costs are keeping air cargo rates more than double 2019 levels.

Jan 19 - U.N. calls out Ukraine grain deal backlog, urges improvement
United Nations on Wednesday called out inefficiencies in the operation of a deal allowing Ukraine Black Sea grain exports, but did not lay blame for a backlog of more than 100 ships in Turkish waters waiting on travel approval and inspections. Under the deal agreed by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations in July, ships are inspected in Turkish waters on their way to and from Ukraine. The four parties work together to approve and inspect ships traveling under the agreement.  

Jan 19 - Buyers in Thailand purchased about 117,000 tonnes feed wheat
An importer group in Thailand is believed to have purchased about 117,000 tonnes of animal feed wheat to be sourced from various optional origins in an international tender on Wednesday, European traders said. One consignment of about 60,000 tonnes for shipment between Feb. 15 and March 15 was bought at around $340 a tonne c&f and was expected to be sourced from South America or Australia. Seller was believed to be trading house Viterra.

Jan 18  - Glencore copper mine in Peru running at 'restricted' capacity due to protests - source
Glencore Plc's huge Antapaccay copper mine in Peru is operating at "restricted" capacity due to anti-government protests that saw an attack on the facility last week, a company source told Reuters on Tuesday. "The mine has not yet suspended operations, which overall continue in a restricted manner," the company source said, asking not to be named. Road blockades by protesters were preventing trucks from moving its copper, the source said. 

Jan 18  - Algeria buys milling wheat in tender - traders
Algeria’s state grains agency OAIC has bought milling wheat in an international tender which closed on Tuesday, European traders said in initial assessments. Initial purchases reported were around $334.50 a tonne cost and freight (c&f) included, they said. Estimates of tonnage bought ranged between 510,000 tonnes to 600,000 tonnes.

Jan 17  - Egypt’s GASC has sold around 300,000 T of wheat via new commodities exchange
Egypt's state grains buyer the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) has sold around 300,000 tonnes of wheat via the new Egyptian Mercantile Exchange since its November launch, the exchange head Ibrahim Ashmawy said on Monday. The wheat was mostly of Russian origin with some German wheat also sold, Ashmawy told Reuters.

Jan 17  - Traffic resumes after Ukraine cargo ship grounded near Istanbul

The cargo ship MKK 1, travelling from Ukraine to Turkey, was grounded in Istanbul's Bosphorus Strait on Monday and traffic in the strait was suspended for a few hours, shipping agents Tribeca said. Several tugs were among vessels sent to provide assistance to the ship, the coastguard authority said. It said no damage or spill was reported.

Jan 16  - Cautious China approves GMO alfalfa import after decade-long wait
China approved imports of eight genetically modified (GM) crops, permitting shipments of GM alfalfa for the first time after a decade-long wait, the country's agriculture ministry said on Friday. Global seed makers and the U.S. government welcomed the decision after Beijing's slow approval process disrupted grain exports and launches of crops that need clearance from China because it is one of the world's biggest agriculture markets.

Jan 16  - India to seek easing of EU steel quotas, tarrifs in trade talks
India will seek an easing of European Union steel import quotas and tarrifs in talks for a new trade deal as Indian steelmakers struggle to sell the alloy in one of world's big markets, a senior government official said. Last year, India and the EU relaunched negotiations for a free trade agreement with the aim of completing talks by the end of 2023. The two sides previously launched talks in 2007, but they were frozen in 2013 due to a lack of progress.

Jan 12  - FBX Weekly  Overview (Freightos)

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) increased 1% to $1,396/FEU. This rate is 90% lower than the same time last year.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) dipped 1% to $2,858/FEU, and are 84% lower than rates for this week last year.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) fell 1% to $2,712/FEU, and are 81% lower than rates for this week last year.

- The latest National Retail Federation data on US ocean imports estimate that December volumes were 10% lower than a year earlier, and that imports through May will likewise consistently be below 2021-2021 levels.  But monthly volumes since June, when imports began decreasing, and projections through May all remain above 2019 levels, suggesting that – for now – ocean demand is in a process of normalization from the sustained surge of the last couple years, as opposed to a recession-driven collapse. The NRF projects that growth will return in the second half of the year.

- Normalizing volumes – and easing congestion along with the drop in traffic – are likewise leading to stabilizing and normalizing ocean rates, as ex-Asia container prices went largely unchanged last week.

- The build up of inventories and some slowdown in US consumer demand in the second half of last year has meant the absence of the typical mini-surge in volumes and spot rates just ahead of Lunar New Year, which starts on the 21st.  This difference may likewise account for Asia - US West Coast rates being 11% lower than in January 2020 when – despite the first signs of the pandemic – prices climbed ahead of the holiday.

- Despite falling volumes and a significant decline in price, Asia - N. Europe rates remain more than 25% higher than in early 2020, possibly an indication that blanked sailings by carriers may have slowed the rate slide on this lane.  
- Early in the week a bulk vessel grounded in the Suez Canal temporarily disrupting traffic and bringing to mind the major blockage of the canal in 2021. The ship was refloated only a couple hours later, but – given that carriers now have excess capacity available to address disruptions, compared to virtually no free ships at the time the Ever Given got stuck – even if the delay was longer the impact would likely not have been as pronounced as last time.
- Likewise, the system outage that led to the temporary grounding of US departing flights this week will likely lead to some air cargo delays and pressure on the market.  But as demand has eased in air cargo too, the recovery should be easier than under the surge experienced a year ago.

Jan 12 - Upcoming Chinese holiday, high coal stocks keeping lid on Australian trade
Chinese interest in Australian coal has been limited by the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday and high domestic inventories, meaning few deals have been completed since China lifted an unofficial ban on imports last week. Thawing diplomatic relations between Australia and its biggest trading partner led to China allowing three power utilities and the country's largest steelmaker to resume Australian coal purchases for the first time since 2020.  

Jan 12 - China extends dumping duties on U.S. distillers grains for five years
China's Commerce Ministry said on Wednesday it will continue to impose anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on the animal feed ingredient distillers dried grains (DDGS) imported from the United States for another five years. The move, widely expected by the industry, keeps tariffs amounting to as much as 66% on the product, after they expired in 2021 and were followed by a one-year review period ending on Jan. 11.

Jan 11 - Egypt's GASC books Russian wheat in tender
Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), is believed to have booked at least 60,000 tonnes of Russian wheat in an international tender on Tuesday, traders said. An additional 60,000 tonnes could be bought depending on the arrangement of bid bonds by the supplier Aston, traders added.  

Jan 11 - Brazil's Anec says corn exports to China already exceeds 1 mln tonnes in January
Anec, a Brazilian trade group representing grain exporters, on Tuesday said the country has booked shipments of more than 1 million tonnes of corn to China in January, putting Brazil on course to export a record overall volume in the current month. Earlier in the day, Anec revised its Brazilian corn exports estimate for January to 5.024 million tonnes, up from 4.326 million tonnes forecast in the previous week, reflecting a surge in sales to China.

Jan 10  - Ukraine grain exports down 29.6% at 23.6 mln T so far in 2022/23
Ukraine has exported almost 23.6 million tonnes of grain so far in the 2022/23 season, down from the 33.5 million tonnes exported by the same stage of the previous season, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday. The volume included around 8.6 million tonnes of wheat, 13.3 million tonnes of corn and about 1.7 million tonnes of barley.

Jan 10  - Traffic in Suez Canal normal after ship breakdown dealt with - SCA
Shipping traffic in the Suez Canal was proceeding normally on Monday after tugs towed a cargo vessel that broke down during its passage through the waterway, the Canal Authority said. The breakdown was expected to cause only minor delays, with convoys of ships resuming regular transit by 11:00 local time (09:00 GMT), shipping agent Leth said.

Jan 09 - Black Sea shipping rates rise as reinsurers cut cover
Costs for hiring ships to transport commodities from the Black Sea have risen by more than a fifth since the start of the year, reflecting higher war risk insurance rates, industry sources said. The Black Sea is crucial for the shipment of grain, oil and oil products.  

Jan 09 - France's top grain export terminal eyes 14% rise in 2022/23 tonnage
Senalia, operator of France's largest grain export terminal, aims to load 4.6 million tonnes of cereals in the 2022/23 season to June 30, up nearly 14% from 2021/22, supported by Chinese demand and war disruption to Black Sea trade, it said on Friday. France is the European Union's biggest grain supplier and its brisk wheat shipments have contributed to higher overall EU wheat exports so far this season.

Jan 06 - China coal buyers may be left wanting in Australia even after ban lifted
China is preparing to resume coal imports from Australia after a two year freeze as it looks to stave off a domestic shortage, but it may be forced to pay higher prices given that Australia's miners have already found new customers. China's state planner has allowed three central government-backed utilities and its top steelmaker to resume coal imports from Australia for the first time since Beijing imposed an unofficial ban on coal trade with Canberra in 2020, Reuters reported on Wednesday.  

Jan 06 - Tunisia buys 100,000 tonnes soft wheat, 75,000 tonnes feed barley
Tunisia's state grains agency is believed to have purchased about 100,000 tonnes of soft wheat and 75,000 tonnes of animal feed barley in an international tender on Thursday, European traders said. Traders said they believed the soft wheat was bought in four 25,000 tonne consignments.

Jan 05 - China allows four firms to resume Aussie coal imports China's state planner has allowed three central government-backed utilities and its top steelmaker to resume coal imports from Australia, the first such move since Beijing imposed an unofficial ban on coal trade with Canberra in 2020. The partial easing of the coal import ban comes after the Australian and Chinese foreign ministers met last month seeking to reset the frosty diplomatic relations between the two nations. 

Jan 05 - Russia's January wheat exports seen at at least 3.6 mln T Russia's January wheat exports will remain high for this time of the July-June marketing season - at at least 3.6 million tonnes - after a huge 2022 grain crop, analysts said. Russia, the world's largest wheat exporter, harvested a record grain crop of 151.0 million tonnes after drying and cleaning, including 102.7 million tonnes of wheat, according to preliminary official 2022 data. 

Jan 04 - Indian power plants should be compensated for importing coal
Indian power plants that rely on imported coal should be fully compensated for supplying electricity demand under forced circumstances, the country's power regulator said on Tuesday. Power tariffs for imported coal-based plants should cover their costs as well as a "reasonable profit margin," the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) said in an order dated Jan. 3. 

Jan 04 - EU 2022/23 soybean imports reach 5.52 mln T, down 16% year on year
European Union soybean imports in the 2022/23 season that started in July had reached 5.52 million tonnes by Jan. 1, down almost 16% from 6.55 million by the same week in 2021/22, data published by the European Commission showed on Tuesday. EU rapeseed imports so far in the 2022/23 season had reached 3.73 million tonnes, nearly 38% above the 2.71 million tonnes a year earlier, the data showed.

Jan 03 - Sovecon raises 2022/23 Russian wheat export forecast
Sovecon, a leading Black Sea agricultural markets research firm focused on Russia and Ukraine, has increased its 2022/23 Russian wheat export forecast by 0.2 million tonnes to 44.1 million tonnes, it said on Friday. Sovecon expects record or near-record monthly export volumes in the second half of the July-June season.  

Jan 03 - Indonesia to import 3.6 mln T raw sugar, 991,000 T white sugar
Indonesia plans to import 3.6 million tonnes of raw sugar for industrial use and about 991,000 tonnes of white sugar for consumers, its trade minister said on Monday. Zulkifli Hasan did not provide a time frame for the imports.

Dec 28  - FBX Weekly Overview (Freightos)

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) dipped 3% to $1,377/FEU. This rate is 91% lower than the same time last year.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) fell 10% to $2,924/FEU, and are 82% lower than rates for this week last year.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) increased 11% to $2,405/FEU, and are 83% lower than rates for this week last year.

- Slowing volumes have led Asia - US West Coast rates to stabilize at 2019 levels for about a month now. Prices to the East Coast have continued to fall on easing demand and congestion – 10% since last week – and though the rate of the decline has slowed in December, the current price is just 12% above 2019 levels.

- Asia - N. Europe rates have fallen 50% since mid-November, though blank sailings, some persisting congestion, and renewed labor disruptions in some ports may be combining to keep prices 30% higher than in 2019.

- Transatlantic prices of more than $5,600/FEU remain almost three times higher than in 2019, though they have declined 30% from their May-to-September $8,000/FEU peak as carriers add capacity to this still-lucrative lane and congestion eases.

- Carriers are expected to blank about 50% of all scheduled sailings from Asia to the US and Europe after the Lunar New Year (LNY) holiday – which runs from late January to early February – suggesting they anticipate the slowdown to continue through the typical post-LNY lull months until inventories run down and demand picks up some time in Q2 at the earliest, or possibly not until next year’s peak season. Another sign of sagging demand is the unusual move among some Asian manufacturers to close for the holiday as early as the second week of January.  Easing Covid restrictions in China are also contributing to more workers out sick, while other protocols will reduce barge and trucking capacity earlier in the month too, which may also be driving the earlier start to the holiday.

Dec 23 - Rates to stay flat for Ukraine grain cargo insurance
A cargo insurance facility providing cover for shipments via Ukraine's grain export corridor will continue next year with no rate increases, an underwriter with Lloyd's of London insurer Ascot said on Thursday. Twenty-one insurers are part of the facility, which is led by Ascot and arranged by broker Marsh. 

Dec 23 - Iraq buys 150,000 tonnes of U.S and Australian wheat
Iraq has purchased 150,000 tonnes of wheat, its trade ministry said on Thursday. The purchase was comprised of 100,000 tonnes of Australian wheat and 50,000 tonnes of U.S. wheat, the ministry added.

Dec 22 - Key coal import hubs in China perk up as economy reboots: Maguire
China has played a diminished role in global coal markets in 2022 as the country's repeated lockdowns to stem the spread of COVID-19 curtailed industry and other coal-burning activities. The country's total thermal coal consumption was largely flat over the first half of the year - a sharply slower growth rate compared with 2021 - while imports are on course for their largest annual contraction since at least 2017, data from Kpler shows. 

Dec 22 - Dozens of merchant ships stuck off Iran as payment snags biteDozens of merchant ships with grains and sugar are stuck outside Iranian ports after weeks of delays as payments snags disrupt flows of goods into the country, according to trade sources and shipping data. Food is exempt from the West's sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme, but the impact of the sanctions on Iran's financial system have created complex and erratic payment arrangements with international companies.

Dec 21 - Grain shipments from Ukraine's Danube ports hit record high in 2022
Ukraine's Danube river ports have boosted grains transshipments by 42 times to an all-time high of 6.1 million tonnes so far in 2022, Ukraine's seaport authority said on Tuesday. Three small ports - Izmail, Reni and Ust-Dunaisk - offered the only maritime routes for cargo exports for almost six months after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.  

Dec 21 - China's Nov coal imports from Russia jump in face of bottlenecks
China's coal imports from Russia in November rebounded from a four-month low in the prior month despite transport bottlenecks in Russia, as utilities increased purchases to meet rising winter heating demand. China brought in 7.16 million tonnes of coal from Russia last month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Tuesday. That compared with 6.43 million tonnes in October, and 5.11 million tonnes in the same period a year earlier.

Dec 20 - Cofco exporting 1.15 mln tonnes of corn to China from Brazil, shipping data shows
China's Cofco will export an estimated 1.154 million tonnes of Brazilian corn to China over roughly a 30-day window, according to shipping data compiled on Monday by Eduardo Vanin, a partner at Agrinvest Commodities. Vanin compiled data dating back to Nov. 20 to determine the quantities being exported, combined with the volume of corn expected to reach Chinese shores in coming days, citing information related to 17 vessels. 

Dec 20 - Uzbekistan starts shipping copper to Europe bypassing Russia
Uzbekistan has for the first time sent a train loaded with copper to Europe via a new route bypassing Russia, state-owned Uzbekistan Railways said on Monday, as part of the Central Asian nation's plan to maintain trade ties with the European Union. The train will deliver 46 rail cars and 91 units of 20-foot containers of copper concentrate from the Almalyk Mining and Metallurgical Combine over 4,000 km (2,485 miles) to Bulgaria, it said in a statement.

Dec 19  - Russian-annexed Crimea showers Syria with wheat, Ukraine cries foul
Using a low-profile fleet of ships under U.S. sanctions, Syria has this year sharply increased wheat imports from the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea that Russia annexed from Ukraine, a sign of tightening economic ties between two allies shunned by the West.  Wheat sent to Syria from the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea increased 17-fold this year to just over 500,000 tonnes, previously unreported Refinitiv shipping data shows, to make up nearly a third of the country's total imports of the grain. 

Dec 19  - China Nov aluminium imports fall amid rising domestic supply
China's aluminium imports in November fell 35.7% from a year earlier as a result of mounting domestic supply, also as the COVID-hit economy continued to temper demand for the light metal. The country brought in 255,744 tonnes, including primary metal and unwrought, alloyed aluminium, last month, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.

Dec 16 - Ukraine grain deal unlikely to include new ports in near term
United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Thursday it was unlikely the Black Sea grain deal would be expanded in the near term to include more Ukrainian ports or reduce inspection times. Kyiv has called for an expansion of the deal with Moscow which was mediated by the United Nations and Turkey and allows Ukraine, a major global grain exporter, to ship food products from three of its Black Sea ports despite Russia's invasion.  

Dec 16 - Tunisia buys 125,000 tonnes durum wheat in tender
Tunisia's state grains agency is believed to have purchased around 125,0000 tonnes of durum wheat in an international tender which closed on Thursday, European traders said. The tender had sought 100,000 tonnes of durum for shipment between Jan. 10 and Feb. 25, depending on origin. Traders had earlier reported the lowest offer in tender at $504.50 a tonne c&f.

Dec 15  - Colombia mining exports forecast to hit all-time high in 2022  - industry group
Exports by Colombia's mining sector in 2022 are expected to hit an all-time high, the Colombian Mining Association (ACM) said on Wednesday, driven by higher commodity prices, particularly coal. While the ACM expects Colombia's coal output to hit 65.3 million tonnes this year, up around 10% on 2021 but below the 80.3 million tonnes reported in 2019, higher prices have boosted the mining sector's export value, the organization said.  

Dec 15  - Algeria buys about 500,000 tonnes wheat in tender - traders
Algeria's state grains agency OAIC has bought about 500,000 tonnes of milling wheat in an international tender which closed on Wednesday, European traders estimated. Initial purchases reported were around $348 to $349 a tonne cost and freight (c&f) included, they said.

Dec 14 - Sudan to develop Red Sea port in $6-bln initial pact with Emirati group
Sudan on Tuesday signed a preliminary agreement with a group led by the UAE's AD Ports Group and Invictus Investment to build and operate the Abu Amama port and economic zone on the Red Sea with a $6-billion investment. The project, located about 200 km (124 miles) north of Port Sudan, would include an economic zone, an airport and an agricultural zone of 400,000 feddans (415,000 acres). 

Dec 14 - India's poultry industry seeks corn export curb to calm local prices
India needs to restrict corn exports to curb a rise in domestic prices and to ensure sufficient supplies of the main poultry feed, the country's livestock industry said on Tuesday. Domestic corn prices have surged, driven by high demand, increased exports and some damage to the crop following heavy post-monsoon rains.

Dec 13  - FBX weeky Overview (Freightos)

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) fell 2% to $1,403/FEU. This rate is 91% lower than the same time last year.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) decreased 10% to $3,361/FEU, and are 80% lower than rates for this week last year.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) fell 18% to $3,259/FEU, and are 78% lower than rates for this week last year.

The latest National Retail Federation US ocean import data estimates volumes fell 7.5% in November to a level 12% lower than a year ago.
- Lower demand and easing congestion continue to push container rates down. Last week’s Asia - US West Coast average rate of about $1,400/FEU is 4% lower than in 2019. East Coast prices have now decreased 80% since April, though some lingering congestion is one factor keeping rates 22% higher than in 2019.
- The Asia - Europe weekly average fell 18% last week, but daily rates so far this week are at about the $2,000/FEU level – a significant further drop, though still about 20% higher than the pre-pandemic level.
- Carriers continue to increase the amount of blank sailings - globally 13% of all capacity will be canceled in the coming weeks. And though these steps do not seem to have slowed the rate decline much so far, there are reports of already fully-booked vessels in January.
- Other indications of excess capacity in the market are the recent uptick in carriers scrapping older vessels – kept in use while demand was surging – and the trend of some vessels taking longer, slower return routes from Europe to Asia as a way to tie up some capacity.

Another sign of the times is Costco’s decision to pay $93 million to cancel its contract signed in 2021 to charter its own container ships when ocean freight was at its most chaotic.
- Even with overall declines since May, though, the NRF projects total 2022 volumes will be about even with the record-setting 2021, suggesting that some of the decline – in volumes and in rates – is due to the significant pull forward of peak season demand and build up of inventories in the first half of the year, and not only to – the so far modest – changes in consumer habits and spending.
- The question, then, is whether there will be a soft landing from inflation resulting in volumes that will decline but normalize as ordering and inventories enter a more normal cycle, or whether economic forces will lead to a recession and significantly falling volumes.
- Import data so far suggest the former, as even with declining imports NRF’s volume estimates for November and December are still more than 10% higher than in 2019, and projections through March are for double digit drops compared to 2022 but increases compared to 2019.

Dec 13 - Russia's logistic logjam worsens in winter, curbs coal exports to China
Infrastructure bottlenecks in Russia worsened with the winter season as rising demand for Asia-bound cargoes amid European sanctions on Moscow led to rail jams and worsened prospects for coal sales to China, according to data and market sources. Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged domestic businesses to forge closer ties with Asia and Latin America after Europe introduced sweeping sanctions against Moscow after it sent thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Dec 13 - Brazil coffee exports jump 19% in Nov. as shipping improves
Brazil exported 3.4 million 60-kg bags of green coffee in November, a 19% increase over the same month a year ago amid improving shipping conditions, exporters association Cecafe said in a report on Monday. Exports of arabica coffee, the milder type preferred by coffee chains such as Starbucks and Pandora, rose 25% in November to 3.39 million bags, while shipments of robusta coffee, which is mostly used to make instant coffee, fell 55% to only 98,995 bags, Cecafe said.

Dec 12  - Ukraine port of Odesa not operating after Russian drone attack on energy facilities
The Ukrainian port of Odesa was not operating on Sunday after the latest Russian attack on the region's energy system, Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky said, but added that grains traders were not expected to suspend exports. Two other ports - Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi - authorised to export grains from Ukraine under a deal between Russia and Ukraine were partially operating, he said. 

Dec 12  - India Nov thermal coal imports at 9-month low as local output soars
India's thermal coal imports fell to the lowest levels in 9 months during November, data from consultancy Coalmint showed, mainly due to a rise in domestic coal production. The country imported 10.83 million tonnes of thermal coal in November, the Coalmint data showed, compared with 12.03 million tonnes in October and 9.45 million tonnes in November 2021.

Dec 09 - South Korea’s NOFI buys estimated 69,000 tonnes corn in tender
South Korean animal feed maker Nonghyup Feed Inc. (NOFI) has bought an estimated 69,000 tonnes of animal feed corn from South American origin in an international tender for up to 138,000 tonnes which closed on Thursday, European traders said. The corn was bought in one consignment for shipment between Jan. 10 and Feb. 10, 2023. 

Dec 09 - Japan buys 154,957 tonnes of food wheat via tenders
Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) bought a total of 154,957 tonnes of food-quality wheat from the United States, Canada and Australia in regular tenders that closed on Thursday. Japan, the world's sixth-biggest wheat importer, keeps a tight grip on imports of the country's second most important staple behind rice and buys the majority of the grain for milling via tenders typically issued three times a month.

Dec 09  - Freight rates from China to West Coast down 90% as global trade falls off fast (CNBC)

    A 90% year over year drop in ocean freight rates for cargo from China bound to the U.S. West Coast exceeded the expectation among logistics firms for just how fast trade demand would fall.
    Prices in the ocean freight contract market posted a record monthly drop in November.
    Central banks around the world are fighting inflation by raising interest rates and cooling demand, but that can quickly turn into a recession rather than the “soft landing” for the economy banks including the Fed say their monetary policy can engineer.
    While November could represent the low point, logistics firms are warning of an all-out price war in 2023 with too many ocean vessels and too much container capacity.

- Logistics managers are sending the message to clients that the ocean freight market is correcting itself at a faster pace than anticipated.
Shipping firm HLS recently wrote to clients, “We initially expected the market was about to correct itself and normalize some time in 2023, but it comes much earlier than we expected.”
The peak in the market, according to Alan Baer, CEO of OL USA, was the second quarter. “From there a steady decline,” Baer said. The market may have reached the low point in November, he said, but added, “it is still too early to tell if this is a trend.”

- Despite the spot market collapse, the major shipping lines reported nearly $122 billion in profits over the first three quarters, according to Sea-Intelligence CEO Alan Murphy.
Trade data shows a decline in Asia imports to the U.S. by 11% year-over-year in October, which built on a September decline. “We don’t find any grounds for optimism in November,” HLS told clients. The ocean freight contract market tracked by Xeneta’s global XSI recorded a drop of 5.7% in November, the third month in a row rates have dropped, and the largest month-over-month decline recorded since the launch of the XSI in 2019, according to Peter Sand, chief analyst at Xeneta. “For many carriers, the fall in the XSI will trigger the fall in their average rates and will bring an end to record-breaking quarters,” he said.

Sand expects the challenging environment to continue given the 40 percent drop in Chinese manufacturing orders and logistics managers expecting demand normalization to not occur until next summer.

Dec 08 - Russia's 2022/23 wheat exports seen at 43.9 mln T
Russia-focused agriculture consultancy Sovecon said on Wednesday that it had raised its forecast for Russia's 2022/23 July-June wheat exports to 43.9 million tonnes from 43.7 million tonnes due to current active shipments. Russia is the world's largest wheat exporter. Its supplies are expected to be close to record highs in December subject to storms in its main Black Sea route. 

Dec 08 - China imports of major commodities look strong, but details devilish
China's imports of major commodities in November appeared unambiguously strong, but delving into the details shows a more nuanced picture amid ongoing uncertainty. Imports of energy commodities crude oil, natural gas, coal all showed strong gains from the prior month, as did metals such as copper and iron ore, according to official data released on Wednesday.

Dec 07  - FBX Weekly Overview ( Freightos)

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) fell 26% to $1,426/FEU. This rate is 90% lower than the same time last year.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) decreased 19% to $3,723/FEU, and are 78% lower than rates for this week last year.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) fell 2% to $3,974/FEU, and are 73% lower than rates for this week last year.

- As the US congress voted to block a major rail strike, the big unwind in ocean logistics continued last week unimpeded.

- Transpacific ocean rates fell sharply again last week on easing demand and congestion. As empty containers accumulate at Chinese ports, Asia - US West Coast rates fell by more than 25% last week to a level 5% lower than this time in 2019.
- Asia - US East Coast rates fell 19% but – with West Coast volumes and some congestion shifting east – are still 32% higher than three years ago. Easing fuel prices are also removing some pressure on container rates.
- Transatlantic prices dipped slightly last week and have decreased by nearly 25% since August – likely a result of carriers shifting now excess capacity to this lane where demand has remained stable and rates are highest at more than $6,000/FEU.  As congestion eases, though, some observers expect these rates to fall significantly as well.

- With inflation and inventory build ups subduing demand for air imports too, air cargo peak season has now officially failed to materialize. Freightos Air Index rates from China to N. America and Europe of $5.49/kg and $4.64/kg, respectively, are down more than 40% compared to the end of November a year ago.

Dec 07 - China's November imports of soybean drop 14% on year
China imported 7.35 million tonnes of soybeans in November, down 14% from a year earlier, customs data showed on Wednesday, confounding expectations for a significant rise, after slow clearing of cargoes at customs. The small number came after arrivals in the world's top buyer of soybeans plunged to just 4.1 million tonnes in October, their lowest level since 2014.  

Dec 07 - China's Nov iron ore imports up 4% on month as steel outlook improves
China's imports of iron ore rose 4.1% in November from the previous month, customs data showed on Wednesday, as buyers stocked up before the end of the year, in anticipation of Beijing's measures to support the struggling property market. The world's top consumer of iron ore brought in 98.85 million tonnes last month, up from October's 94.98 million, the General Administration of Customs said.

Dec 07  - Severe weather badly affects operations in Azov Sea, Sulina canal (AgriCensus)

- Bad weather is causing major disruption to Russian shallow water Azov Sea ports and added to delays from Ukraine's small water ports in the south of the country, trade sources have told Agricensus, in a development that could further compromise grain and oilseed supplies from the Black Sea. Windy and rainy weather has been hitting the shallow water ports in Russia and Ukraine, with operations completely stopped in Azov until the weather improves, and delays reported in the Ukrainian small water ports that have increased the congestion in the Sulina canal - the link connecting the Black Sea with the River Danube.

- Russian ports have also faced bad weather for a number of weeks already, but this week winds around the ports on the River Don have been so strong that they have effectively blown water out of the river ports, preventing any loading or discharging operations.
“It's all paralyzed for now, and there's no real reason to quote rates, or prices,” a freight broker said, with a trader saying that one ship has only been half loaded and has now waited a week to complete, while newly arrived vessels are also forced to wait.

- The storms have also coincided with the arrival of winter, and the start of the ice season, announced on December 7, which could also lead to an increase in freight rates as ice-class vessels increasingly need to be used. The restrictions were not limited to the shallow water ports of Azov or the Danube, with deep Black Sea Russian ports like Taman and Kavkaz also reporting some delays caused by weather.

Freight hit
- At the same time, despite the challenges, regional freight rates so far have not shown as much movement as expected, with a coaster-sized vessel from Azov still able to be fixed at around $65-66/mt, even though owners have shown ideas at levels around $70/ mt and higher. Furthermore, trade sources have said that that the shipment delays amid the bad weather could be seen as a bullish factor, for now, as they have see some falls in price ideas amid sluggish demand - with routes into Turkey showing the signs of early pressure.
“I can't say that it has affected the prices. The market is falling, although, in theory, such delays should lead to an increase in spot prices on CIF and DAP,” a local broker said, referring to values for delivered cargoes.
“It is of course bullish, but at the moment doesn’t reflect on prices,” a Turkish source said.

- Trade sources hope that the weather will get better later this week, or at least water levels will improve in key Azov ports to make it possible to load the ships. Ukrainian small water ports have also faced challenges amid weather, with loading operations delayed amid rain. The flow of vessels in the Sulina canal was also said to have been affected, with queues increasing to more than 100 ships and forcing an increase in the delay time of up to two weeks, according to trade sources.

- But also, no major changes were seen for the market in terms of freight rate ideas or delivered CFR prices for the grains shipped via such routes.

Dec 06 - Consortium seeks first proposals for carbon capture shipping project
A consortium of global energy and shipping organisations said on Tuesday it was seeking proposals to study ways to offload captured carbon dioxide from ships during port calls. The call for proposals is part of the world's first project aimed at building and testing a full-scale carbon-dioxide capture system aboard an oil tanker. 

Dec 06 - Ukraine's November wheat exports down 20.2% mth/mth -traders
Ukraine's wheat exports fell to 1.58 million tonnes in November from 1.98 million tonnes in October, the UGA Ukrainian grain traders union said on Monday. Ukraine is among the world largest wheat growers and exporters but its exports have fallen significantly due to the Russian invasion.

Dec 05 - French grain exports from Dunkirk port at 10-year highNord Cereales, which runs France's third largest grain export silo at Dunkirk port, has shipped its biggest volume in over 10 years for the first five months of the season, it said on Friday, illustrating a fast pace of French exports. Between the start of this season on July 1 and the end of November, Nord Cereales exported more than 1.2 million tonnes of grain, it said.

Dec 05 - Ukraine grain exports down 29.6% at 18.1 mln T so far in 2022/23Ukraine has exported almost 18.1 million tonnes of grain so far in the 2022/23 season, down 29.6% from the 25.8 million tonnes exported by the same stage of the previous season, agriculture ministry data showed on Friday. The volume included more than 6.9 million tonnes of wheat, 9.7 million tonnes of corn and about 1.5 million tonnes of barley. 

Dec 02 - The climate upside to the downturn in container shipping rates
Global container shipping rates are a widely used gauge of overall consumer sentiment, with high and rising costs indicating strong demand for goods, gadgets and clothes, while falling rates attest to slowing or falling buyer interest. As the main conduit for global trade in finished and intermediate goods - including an overwhelming majority of the parts and machinery needed to produce other merchandise - the container shipping sector can also offer a glimpse into the state of demand among global manufacturers.

Dec 02 - Algerian wheat purchase seen at 450,000 tonnes to 500,000 tonnes
Algeria’s state grains agency OAIC is believed to have bought between 450,000 to 500,000 tonnes of milling wheat in an international tender which closed on Wednesday, European traders said on Thursday. This was above estimates of about 400,000 tonnes on Wednesday evening.

Dec 01 - India's basmati rice exports could jump 15% as key buyers stock up
India's exports of premium basmati rice are likely to jump 15% over last year as key buyers in the Middle East build their inventories despite prices jumping by nearly a quarter, leading exporters told Reuters. Higher basmati exports would keep local prices firm, helping Indian farmers earn more by pushing paddy prices up to a record high.  

Dec 01 - EU wheat recovers from 3-month low with exports in focus
Euronext wheat rose on Wednesday in step with Chicago to recover from a three-month low, as traders assessed competition from Black Sea supplies and awaited the outcome of an Algerian tender. March milling wheat settled 1% higher at 316 euros a tonne.

Nov 30  - FBX Weekly Overview (Freightos)

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) dropped 25% to $1,935/FEU. This rate is 87% lower than the same time last year.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) fell 16% to $4,585/FEU, and are 73% lower than rates for this week last year.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) decreased 5% to $4,074/FEU, and are 72% lower than last year.

- Falling demand and easing congestion combined to push transpacific ocean rates down sharply last week, with the Asia - US West Coast weekly average declining by 25%.  

- Daily rates to the West Coast so far this week have dipped even further and are less than 7% higher than in November 2019, while East Coast prices which fell 16% last week still remain well above 2019 levels.  Asia - N. Europe prices dipped 5% and remain 170% higher than in 2019.  Ocean carriers are increasing the rate of blank sailings in December in the hopes of stabilizing rates.

- Transatlantic rates, meanwhile, are down only 13% compared to last year and at more than $6,500/FEU are nearly 3.5 times higher than in 2019, as demand for European imports has remained strong and port congestion has helped to restrain some capacity.

- But wildcards that could interrupt the overall trends of falling costs and easing delays remain. Chinese protests against COVID restrictions are intensifying, including some high-profile disruptions to manufacturing. An easing of China’s "Zero COVID" policy could ultimately result in more lockdowns that could affect manufacturing and port operations.  Though with demand easing and vessel capacity available, these disruptions would not be expected to have the same impact on logistics as they did earlier in the pandemic when demand was surging and capacity was already constrained.

- The December 8th deadline to avoid a major rail union strike in the US is likewise approaching. And President Biden has asked Congress to pass legislation that would either compel the sides to accept the agreement brokered earlier in the year or push back the strike deadline to let negotiations continue – and keep containers moving.

Nov 30 - Access to Brazil's Paranagua port blocked by landslides
Brazil's Paranagua port authority said on Tuesday that landslides caused by heavy rainfall blocked road and rail access to the port, the second busiest for grain exports in the country. In a statement, the authority said other port operations are normal as ships continue to unload and load products stored at the port's warehouses. 

Nov 30 - EU 2022/23 soft wheat exports up 3% on year at 13.89 mln tonnes
Soft wheat exports from the European Union in the 2022/23 season that started on July 1 had reached 13.89 million tonnes by Nov. 27, up 3% from 13.45 million by the same week in 2021/22, weekly data published by the European Commission showed on Tuesday. The year-on-year increase has narrowed from 10% two weeks ago, although traders are expecting 2022/23 exports to get a boost in the coming weeks after talk of large French sales to China.

Nov 29 - Ukraine grain exports down 31.9% at 17.2 mln T so far in 2022/23
Ukraine has exported almost 17.2 million tonnes of grain so far in the 2022/23 season, down 31.9% from the 25.3 million tonnes exported by the same stage of the previous season, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday. The volume included more than 6.6 million tonnes of wheat, 9.1 million tonnes of corn and about 1.4 million tonnes of barley. 

Nov 29 - Global shipping growth at risk from economic gloom, UNCTAD says
The pace of global shipping activity is set to lose steam next year as economic turmoil, conflict in Ukraine and the impact of the pandemic weaken the outlook for trade, U.N. agency UNCTAD said on Tuesday. The world's largest investment banks expect global economic growth to slow further in 2023 following a year roiled by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and soaring inflation.

Nov 28 - Ukraine, partners launch $150 mln grain export plan to help vulnerable nations
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hosted a summit in Kyiv with allied nations on Saturday to launch a plan to export $150 million worth of grain to countries most vulnerable to famine and drought. The "Grain from Ukraine" initiative demonstrated global food security was "not just empty words" for Kyiv, he said.

Nov 28 - China sells 39,995 tonnes of wheat at reserve auction
China sold 39,995 tonnes of wheat, or 100% of the total offer, at an auction of state reserves on Nov. 23, said the National Grain Trade Center on Monday. The wheat was sold at an average price of 2,815 yuan ($389.59) per tonne.

Nov 25 - Brazil corn freight prices jump 20% in wake of road blockades
Protests over Brazil's election result that blocked roads in Mato Grosso state earlier this week lifted truck freight prices, affecting the operations and margins of global grain traders at a time when farmers are selling their abundant second corn crop. Truck freight rose 20% or 50 reais ($9.40) per tonne in Mato Grosso, Abiove, an industry group representing global firms like Cargill, Bunge, Cofco and Louis Dreyfus Co., told Reuters on Thursday.

Nov 25 - Egypt's GASC buys 175,000 tonnes of wheat via private talks
Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, is believed to have bought 175,000 tonnes of wheat on Thursday via private talks with suppliers, traders told Reuters, including its first Ukrainian wheat purchase since Russia's invasion in February. Negotiations are still ongoing and it is possible more could be bought by GASC, traders added.

Nov 24 - Argentine government says 72.6% of 2021/22 soybean crop sold so far
Farmers in Argentina, the world's top exporter of processed soy, have so far sold 72.6% of the 2021/22 soybean harvest, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday, lagging the 75.6% sold at the same point a year ago. Producers in Argentina sold 165,500 tonnes of the season's soybeans in the week of Nov. 10-16, down from the 641,700 tonnes sold during the same period a year earlier.

Nov 24 - Brazil corn exports to China seen at 368,000 tonnes this month
Four to six vessels are expected to carry Brazilian corn to China this month, the first shipments since a new bilateral trade protocol entered into force, according to maritime shipping data compiled on Wednesday by Victor Martins, senior risk manager at HedgePoint Global Markets. Martins projects Brazilian corn shipments to China totaling as much as 368,000 tonnes in November based on information he independently obtained from market sources and three shipping companies updated through Tuesday.

Nov 23  - FBX Weekly Overview (Freightos)

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) fell 3% to $2,563/FEU. This rate is 83% lower than the same time last year.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) decreased 3% to $5,435/FEU, and are 67% lower than rates for this week last year.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Weekly) fell 12% to $4,267/FEU, and are 70% lower than rates for this week last year.

- US consumer spending – not adjusted for inflation – increased in October, though demand for ocean freight has continued to fall. Ocean rates declined by 3% on the transpacific last week, while Asia - N. Europe rates slid by 12% to less than $4,300/FEU. Falling spot rates are driving some carriers to agree to renegotiate long-term contracts with shippers that are now above market levels, while they also continue to remove capacity to try and stabilize rate levels. Falling demand – together with significant efforts by the ports themselves – has pushed port congestion levels nearly back to normal at LA/LB and led to significant improvement at NY/NJ, though there are still delays for rail containers. Serious congestion, then, is now concentrated among South East and Gulf ports.

- Less congestion is increasing available shipping capacity and helping to push rates down, and it is also leading to shorter transit times. But for some retailers, like Target, shipments arriving ahead of schedule is making inventory build ups and scarce warehouse capacity worse.

- Government intervention last week blocked the announced tugboat labor lockout that would have brought much of Australia’s container trade to a standstill.  But a major rail union strike in the US – averted via presidential emergency board efforts three months ago – is once again a realistic threat as soon as early December, as a third of the rail unions have now rejected the proposed labor contract.

- Air cargo peak season has still not materialized, with part of the year on year decline in demand due to improvements in ocean freight. Shippers who opted for air last year to avoid ocean delays have now shifted back to ocean as container rates and transit times fall.  Freightos Air Index data show that air cargo rates from China to the US and Europe have dropped by 50% compared to the start of the year.

Nov 23  - Brazil's 2023 corn exports could get big boost from China
Brazilian corn exports could jump exponentially next year if farmers harvest a full crop and Chinese demand is strong, Brazil's National Association of Grain Exporters said on Tuesday. Brazil is poised to export 40 million tonnes to 50 million tonnes of corn next year, boosted by a new trade protocol with China and a potential bumper crop, said Sergio Mendes, director general of the group, known as Anec, in an interview.

Nov 23  - EU wheat exports get second wind with Chinese and U.S. demand
French wheat sales to China and talk of Polish or German wheat being booked in the United States are creating an unexpected wave of demand for EU supplies after exports had been curbed by Russian competition in recent weeks, traders said. These opportunities could push 2022/23 European Union wheat shipments further ahead of last season's pace and use up most of export surplus in France, they said.

Nov 22 - Ukraine grain exports down 31.7% at 16.2 mln T so far in 2022/23
Ukraine has exported almost 16.2 million tonnes of grain so far in the 2022/23 season, down 31.7% from the 23.8 million tonnes exported by the same stage of the previous season, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday. The volume included almost 6.3 million tonnes of wheat, 8.6 million tonnes of corn and 1.3 million tonnes of barley.

Nov 22 - Pro-Bolsonaro demonstrations slow corn transport in Brazil's Mato Grosso
Truckers and other demonstrators protesting the electoral defeat of President Jair Bolsonaro are hampering the transport of corn in Mato Grasso state, the heart of Brazil's farm country, two farmers said on Monday. Mato Grosso highway police reported 11 demonstrations on Monday morning, with roads blocked or partially blocked on four federal highways near farmers and grain processing facilities.

Nov 21 - China's coal imports from Russia fall in Oct on rail jam, weak demand
China's coal imports from Russia continued to slip in October from the prior months, as logistics bottlenecks in Russia curbed supply and lower demand in China also capped appetite for the fossil fuel. Arrivals of Russian coal last month were 6.43 million tonnes, down from 6.95 million tonnes in September and a record of 8.54 million tonnes in August, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Sunday.

Nov 21 - Tunisia barley purchase put at 75,000 tonnes
Tunisia's state grains agency bought about 75,000 tonnes of barley in an import tender on Friday, less than initially thought, European traders said. Traders had earlier reported the agency had booked 100,000 tonnes, in line with what it had sought in the tender.

Nov 18 - Ukraine lacks viable plan B to boost grain exports via rail, road or river
Ukraine has few viable options currently to boost grain exports by rail, road or river barge anytime soon if a United Nations-brokered deal with Moscow to export by sea runs into trouble. Ukraine is one of the world's leading grain and oilseed exporters and a Russian blockade of its ports after Moscow invaded its southern neighbour in February triggered higher global prices for basic foods.

Nov 18 - Can Ukraine's grain deal ease the global food crisis?
A deal to free up vital grain exports from Ukraine's southern Black Sea ports - which had been due to expire on Nov. 19 - was extended on Thursday for 120 days. The agreement, originally reached in July, created a protected sea transit corridor and was designed to alleviate global food shortages by allowing exports to resume from three ports in Ukraine, a major producer of grains and oilseeds.

Nov 17 - Reasons to be 'cautiously optimistic' on renewal of Ukraine grain deal
A United Nations source on Wednesday said they have reasons to be "cautiously optimistic" on the renewal of a Black Sea grains export agreement, which is set to roll over on Saturday unless there are objections. The U.N.-backed agreement on July 22 allowed grain shipments to resume from certain Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea, leading to some 10 million tonnes in shipments and helping to reduce international prices. Ukraine used to export by sea 5 million to 6 million tonnes of agricultural products monthly before the Russian invasion in February blocked Ukrainian ports.

Nov 17 - Egypt’s GASC directly buys 300,000 tonnes of Russian wheat
Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, is believed to have bought 300,000 tonnes of Russian wheat via private talks, traders said on Wednesday. Last week, GASC also bought 280,000 tonnes of Russian wheat via direct purchases, a few days after cancelling its first international wheat tender since July, citing high prices.

Nov 16  - FBX Weekly Overview (Freightos)

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 weekly) decreased 2% to $2,652/FEU. This rate is 81% lower than the same time last year.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 weekly) fell 11% to $5,602,/FEU, and are 65% lower than rates for this week last year.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 weekly) increased 2% to $4,837/FEU, and are 66% lower than rates for this week last year.

- Despite increases in blank sailings, transpacific ocean rates continued to decline last week. Hapag-Lloyd’s CEO speculated that rates could continue to fall as demand for freight has decreased both from slipping consumer demand and from inventory build ups for many importers who placed larger orders earlier in the year to avoid delays and shortages. But he also believes that rates could rebound somewhat once inventories normalize and that carriers will likely start removing more capacity once delays improve and vessels are able to get back into their scheduled positions.

- Importers continue to favor East coast and Gulf destinations as the threat of major port labor disruptions intensifies. In possibly the biggest industrial action in this dispute so far ILWU members shut down operations for the day at the port of Oakland’s main terminal on Monday.

- In other labor developments, a third union in the US rail labor dispute rejected the proposed agreement approved by seven other unions. Meanwhile, ocean logistics in Australia are bracing for a major possible disruption as the country’s largest tugboat operator has announced a lockout of its workers starting Friday.

- Easing demand saw year to date air cargo volumes through Frankfurt drop by more than 10% compared to last year. Freightos Air Index data shows rates out of Frankfurt closed October at $3.43/kg to LAX and $3.26/kg to JFK, both more than 38% lower than a year ago. Falling volumes and downgraded expectations for e-commerce growth is leading FedEx to remove capacity, and threatens to result in a capacity glut as new freighter aircraft enter the market.

Nov 16 - EU 2022/23 soft wheat exports up 10% on year after weekly jump
European Union soft wheat exports so far in the 2022/23 season have reached 13.35 million tonnes, now nearly 10% ahead of last year's pace following a large volume last week, data published by the European Commission showed on Tuesday. The total from the start of the season on July 1 until Nov. 13 was 9.5% above the 12.19 million shipped by the same week in 2021/22.

Nov 16 - Macron: France and Turkey will keep up work to allow Ukrainian grain exports
French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday said France and Turkey will keep working towards facilitating grain exports from Ukraine which were hit by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Macron made the remarks on Twitter, posting a photograph of a meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at the G20 summit in Bali.

Nov 15 - Brazilian port operator CLI concludes acquisition of Santos terminal from Rumo
Brazilian port operator CLI concluded the payment of 1.4 billion reais ($263.43 million) on Monday to railway company Rumo SA for control of a grain terminal in Santos port, the company said. The deal is being funded by the acquisition of a 50% stake in CLI, formally Corredor Logistica e Infraestrutura, by Australia's Macquarie infrastructure Partners from Brazilian private equity firm IG4.

Nov 15 - Ukraine grain exports down 30.6% to 15.1 mln T so far 2022/23
Ukraine has exported almost 15.1 million tonnes of grain so far in the 2022/23 season, down 30.6% from the 21.8 million tonnes exported by the same stage of the previous season, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday. Grain exports have slumped since Russia invaded Ukraine in February and closed off its neighbour's Black Sea ports, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.

Nov 14 - Russia says no agreement yet to extend Black Sea grain deal
Russia said on Saturday there was no agreement yet to extend a deal allowing Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea, repeating its insistence on unhindered access to world markets for its own food and fertiliser exports. Deputy Foreign Minster Sergei Vershinin was quoted by state news agency TASS as saying talks with U.N. officials in Geneva on Friday had been useful and detailed but the issue of renewing the deal - which expires in one week - had yet to be resolved.

Nov 14 - Argentina's wheat exports to fall sharply as drought shrinks crop
Argentina's wheat exports this season will not quite reach half of last season's shipments, the Rosario Grains Exchange (BCR) said on Friday, with only 7 million tonnes of exports expected after months of dry weather halved the 2022/2023 harvest. During the previous 2021/2022 crop, the South American agricultural powerhouse exported 14.5 million tonnes of wheat.

Nov 11 - Japan buys 94,603 tonnes of food wheat via tenders
Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) bought a total of 94,603 tonnes of food-quality wheat from the United States and Canada in regular tenders that closed on Thursday. Japan, the world's sixth-biggest wheat importer, keeps a tight grip on imports of the country's second most important staple behind rice and buys the majority of the grain for milling via tenders typically issued three times a month.

Nov 11 - UK's Liverpool port workers agree pay deal and end strike
Around 600 workers at Liverpool port, one of Britain's busiest ports, will end strike action after agreeing a pay deal with employer Peel Ports, the Unite union said on Thursday. Unite said workers had voted "overwhelmingly in favour" of pay rises worth 14.3%-18.5% negotiated earlier this week, ending a wave of strike action that began on Sept. 19.

Nov 10 - U.N., Russia to talk Ukraine grain deal on Friday ahead of extension deadline
Top U.N. officials will meet a senior Russian delegation in Geneva on Friday to discuss extending a Ukraine Black Sea grain export deal and efforts to smooth shipments of Russian food and fertilizers to global markets, the United Nations said. The deal allowing the export of food and fertilizers from several of Ukraine's Black Sea ports - brokered by the United Nations and Turkey on July 22 - could expire on Nov. 19 if Russia or Ukraine object to its extension.

Nov 10 - Algerian wheat purchase on Tuesday seen at about 510,000 T
Algeria’s state grains agency OAIC is believed to have bought about 510,000 tonnes of milling wheat in an international tender on Tuesday, European traders said in new assessments on Wednesday. This was above most estimates of around 400,000 tonnes made by traders on Tuesday evening.

Nov 09  - FBX Weekly Overview (Freightos)

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Daily) increased 11% to $2,763/FEU. This rate is 80% lower than the same time last year.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Daily) climbed 2% to $5,767/FEU, and are 64% lower than rates for this week last year.
- Asia-N. Europe prices (FBX11 Daily) increased 3% to $4,959/FEU, and are 65% lower than rates for this week last year.

- Ocean rates out of Asia were stable overall again this week – though Asia to US West Coast prices ticked up and are now level with prices in early October – suggesting the sharp drop off that began this summer may be leveling out as capacity is removed to meet falling demand.

- The latest National Retail Federation data on US container imports estimate that October volumes were about even with September, though 9% lower than last October. November and December volumes are projected to dip 5% to the lowest level since February of 2021, but would still represent double digit increases compared to those months in 2019.

- The relatively strong volumes – together with congestion and reductions in capacity – are likewise still keeping ocean rates elevated compared to 2019, with ex-Asia rates to the West Coast 81% higher than in 2019, East Coast rates more than double, and prices to Europe more than triple November 2019 levels. But in some areas falling volumes – Port of LA imports last week were 25% lower than a year ago –  are leading to a decrease in congestion both at ports and inland: rail congestion, though still a problem at many yards, has improved significantly in some hubs.

- Labor disputes continue to loom in several areas of logistics across the globe, though while West Coast port labor talks have stalled, there was new progress in US rail labor negotiations, and workers at the Port of Liverpool canceled a planned strike this week.

- Freightos Air Index air cargo rates out of China trended up last week to both N. America and to Europe, possibly indicating some peak season pick up, though rates of $5.06/kg to Europe are more than 20% lower than this time last year and China – US rates of $6.78/kg are nearly 50% lower.

Nov 09 - Ukraine wants grain deal expanded, eyes decision next week
Ukraine wants the Black Sea grain export deal expanded to include more ports and goods, and hopes a decision to extend the agreement for at least a year will be taken next week, Ukraine's deputy infrastructure minister said on Tuesday. The deal, which eased a global food crisis by unblocking three major Ukrainian ports during Russia's invasion, expires on Nov. 19 and briefly appeared imperilled last month when Moscow suspended its participation in the deal before rejoining again.

Nov 09 - Algeria buys about 400,000 tonnes wheat in tender
Algeria's state grains agency OAIC has bought about 400,000 tonnes of milling wheat in an international tender which closed on Tuesday, European traders said in initial assessments. Initial purchases reported were around $367 to $368 a tonne, cost and freight (c&f) included, they said.

Nov 08 - Ukraine grain exports down 30.7% so far in 2022/23
Ukraine has exported almost 14.3 million tonnes of grain so far in the 2022/23 season, down 30.7% from the 20.6 million tonnes exported by the same stage of the previous season, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday. Grain exports have slumped since Russia invaded Ukraine in February and closed off its neighbour's Black Sea ports, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.

Nov 08 - Russian wheat lowest C&F offer at Egypt tender
The lowest cost & freight offer presented at an Egyptian state purchasing tender on Monday is believed to be for Russian wheat at $369.95 per tonne for 40,000 tonnes, traders said. Romanian wheat was offered lowest on a free-on-board basis at $356.45 per tonne for 60,000 tonnes, they added.

Nov 07 - China's October soybean imports slide to lowest in eight years
China's imports of soybeans fell 19% in October from a year earlier to 4.14 million tonnes, customs data showed on Monday, hitting their lowest for any month since 2014, after buyers cut purchases amid high global prices and poor crush margins. Imports by the world's top buyer of the oilseed were 73.18 million tonnes for the first 10 months of the year, down 7.4% from last year, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

Nov 07 - China October iron ore imports fall 4.7% on month
China's imports of iron ore fell 4.7% in October from the previous month, customs data showed on Monday, as a deepening property crisis curbed demand for the steelmaking ingredient.  The world's top iron ore consumer brought in 94.98 million tonnes of the commodity last month, down from September's 99.71 million tonnes, the General Administration of Customs said.

Nov 04 - U.N. seeks exports of 'stranded' Russian fertilisers ahead of Black Sea grains deadline
A senior U.N. official said on Thursday that the global body was prioritising efforts to export stranded Russian fertilisers from European ports and hopes to make advances before a deadline for renewing the Black Sea grains deal this month. Moscow on Wednesday resumed its participation in a U.N.-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative after a four-day suspension, easing pressure on food prices and allaying fears of a renewed global food crisis.

Nov 04 - Iraq buys about 150,000 tonnes wheat in tender
Iraq's state grains buyer purchased about 150,000 tonnes of hard wheat expected to be sourced from Canada, Lithuania and Australia in an international tender, European traders said on Friday. This confirmed the volume in initial assessments by traders on Thursday evening.

Nov 03  - FBX Weekly Overview (Freightos)

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Weekly) dipped 3% to $2,479/FEU. This rate is 87% lower than the same time last year.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Weekly) fell 2% to $5,671/FEU, and are 71% lower than rates for this week last year.

- Ocean spot rates ex-Asia were about level last week. An increase in blanked sailings by large carriers may be combining with the reported departure of smaller carriers from the transpacific lanes – as falling rates and rising costs threaten the viability of operations there, especially for smaller players – to remove capacity and finally slow the rate decline.

- Transpacific rates to the US West and East Coasts fell 16% and 18% respectively over the course of October. But the pace of October’s price slides slowed compared to September’s – especially to the West Coast – as West Coast rates had dropped 45% and East Coast prices fell 24% in September. Asia - N. Europe rates, meanwhile, declined by about 30% in each of the last two months. The sharper decline of prices to the West Coast is driven by a shift in demand to East Coast ports to avoid the still-unresolved West Coast port worker labor dispute. The latest in the so far small-scale labor disruptions this week may keep shippers sold on East Coast ports despite higher rates and longer delays as the shift continues to drive port congestion there.

- Labor tensions in US rail also continued this week. The major strike announced in September was avoided only through White House intervention, but half of the unions involved have still not ratified the tentative agreement reached in September, which makes another standoff possible starting in early December.  As November starts and we move firmly into the typical air cargo peak season, falling volumes and stagnating rates at a time both would normally climb continue to suggest that there will not be much of a peak in air cargo this year.

- While air cargo prices climbed into November last year,  Freightos Air Index rates out of Asia show that prices were stable overall this October.  The current rate of $4.45/kg from Asia to N. Europe is 26% lower than last year, while the Asia - N. America rate of $5.74/kg is 46% lower than last October.

Nov 03 - Ukraine grain exports down near 32% so far this season, ministry says
Ukraine's grain exports are down year on year in the 2022/23 season so far to almost 13.4 million tonnes from 19.7 million tonnes at the same date a season earlier, the agriculture ministry data showed on Wednesday. The country's grain exports have slumped since Russia invaded in February, with the closing off of its Black Sea ports driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.

Nov 03 - India aims to end urea imports from 2025; pegs FY23 fertilisers subsidy at $27.2 bln
India aims to end imports of urea from 2025 as the nation boosts its local production capacity with the commissioning of new plants, fertilisers minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Wednesday. India, the top importer of urea, imports about 30% of its average 35 million tonnes of annual consumption of the crop nutrient.

Nov 02 - South Korea’s NOFI buys around 63,000 tonnes feed wheat
Leading South Korean animal feed maker Nonghyup Feed Inc. (NOFI) is believed to have purchased an estimated 63,000 tonnes of animal feed wheat expected to be sourced from the U.S. Pacific Northwest coast in an international tender on Tuesday, European traders said. The wheat was bought at an estimated $396 a tonne c&f plus a $1.50 a tonne surcharge for additional port unloading.

Nov 02 - South Korea’s KFA bought about 65,000 tonnes corn in private deal
The Korea Feed Association (KFA) in South Korea purchased about 65,000 tonnes of animal feed corn in a private deal late last week without issuing an international tender, European traders said on Tuesday. It was believed to have been purchased from trading house Cargill at an estimated $332.45 a tonne c&f plus a $1.50 a tonne surcharge for additional port unloading.

Nov 01  - Record central bank buying lifts global gold demand, WGC says
Central banks bought a record 399 tonnes of gold worth around $20 billion in the third quarter of 2022, helping to lift global demand for the metal, the World Gold Council (WGC) said on Tuesday. Demand for gold was also strong from jewellers and buyers of gold bars and coins, the WGC said in its latest quarterly report, but exchange traded funds (ETFs) storing bullion for investors shrank.

Nov 01  - India's gold demand dips as inflation hits rural buyers
India's gold consumption in the months of October to December could fall by around a quarter from a year ago as inflation depresses rural demand, the World Gold Council (WGC) said on Tuesday. The lower purchases in the world's second-biggest gold consumer could weigh on prices, which are trading near their lowest level in more than two-years.

Oct 31 - Pakistan said to buy 385,000 tonnes wheat in tender
A government agency in Pakistan is believed to have bought about 385,000 tonnes of wheat in an international tender for up to 500,000 tonnes, European traders said on Sunday. The Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) bought an estimated 125,000 tonnes from trading house Aston and 260,000 tonnes from Solaris, all at $373.00 a tonne c&f, traders said in initial assessments. 

Oct 31 - South Korea’s MFG buys estimated 134,000 T corn in tender
South Korea's Major Feedmill Group (MFG) has purchased an estimated 134,000 tonnes of animal feed corn in an international tender that closed on Friday, European traders said. The corn, expected to be sourced from South America or South Africa, was for arrival in South Korea in February 2023.

Oct 28 - Russia says no decision made on extending Black Sea grain deal
Russia on Thursday said that provisions of the Black Sea grain deal to ease Russian agricultural and fertiliser exports were not being met, and that Moscow was yet to make a decision on whether the agreement should be extended. Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters that the West had not taken sufficient steps to ease sanctions on Russia's logistics, payments and insurance industries to facilitate Russia's exports.  

Oct 28 - South Korean mills buy 128,000 T wheat from U.S., Australia, Canada
A group of South Korean flour mills bought an estimated 128,000 tonnes of milling wheat to be sourced from the United States, Australia and Canada in an international tender on Thursday, European traders said. The purchase involved 50,000 tonnes from the United States, 50,000 tonnes from Australia and 28,000 tonnes from Canada for shipment in 2023.

Oct 27  - FBX Weekly Overview (Freightos)

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Daily) were stable at $2,494/FEU. This rate is 85% lower than the same time last year.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Daily) were also unchanged at $5,713/FEU, and are 71% lower than rates for this week last year.

- The transpacific ocean rate slide slowed this week as prices to each coast stayed level.  Carriers have increased the number of canceled transpacific sailings for the coming weeks as demand decreases. The slowdown in rate decreases could be an early sign that the so-far ineffective reduction in capacity is starting to have an impact.
- Carriers are increasing the number of blanked sailings from Asia to Europe as well, though rates fell an additional 8% on this lane this week nonetheless as volumes continue to decline.
- Another indication of falling demand for ocean freight is the recent increase in the size of the inactive container ship fleet, which measures the number of vessels currently not in use – not including blanked sailings.   
- Ocean carrier Hapag-Lloyd’s CEO speculated this week that market forces could push ocean rates below 2019 levels in the near term. Nonetheless, he believes that demand trends and per-unit costs that are higher than in 2019 will ultimately drive rates to settle above pre-pandemic levels.  

- Freightos Air Index data show air cargo rates from China to both Europe and the US are level at a time they were climbing last year, and are also significantly lower than a year ago. China - US rates of $5.50/kg are 48% lower than last year, while China - N. Europe prices of $5.15/kg are 25% lower than last year.
- Air cargo peak season typically starts in early November, but flat rates contribute to the skepticism that there will be a peak season surge this year. Falling demand could also combine with increases in capacity from recovering passenger travel to push rates down further.

Oct 27 - U.N. aid chief 'relatively optimistic' on Black Sea grain deal
United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Wednesday that he was "relatively optimistic" that a U.N.-brokered deal that allowed a resumption of Ukraine Black Sea grain exports would be extended beyond mid-November. Griffiths traveled to Moscow with senior U.N. trade official Rebeca Grynspan earlier this month for discussions with Russian officials on the deal, which also aims to facilitate exports of Russian grain and fertilizer to global markets. 

Oct 27 - Bolivia to temporarily suspend exports of food products amid protests
Bolivia's government said on Wednesday it will temporarily suspend exports of food products including soy and beef amid protests in the key farming region of Santa Cruz. The move is aimed at safeguarding food security in Bolivia, said the minister of Productive Development and Plural Economy, Nestor Huanca, adding that the export suspension will include soybean grain, soybean flour, soybean meal, sugar, oil and beef.

Oct 26 - Infrastructure bottlenecks hamper Russia's booming coal exports to China
Russian coal exports to energy-hungry China have jumped by about a third this year but the supply boom is being constrained by transport infrastructure limitations, industry sources and officials said. China is seeking coal supplies from overseas, in particular after recent COVID-19 outbreaks in the major coal mining regions of Inner Mongolia and Shaanxi forced many mines to close, while coal demand at power generation and heating sectors will soon pick up with the coming of winter. 

Oct 26 - Romania plans to boost Black Sea talks, military procurement
Romania will speed up defence procurement and intensify talks with Turkey, Bulgaria and Georgia to counter potential spillovers from Russia's war in Ukraine towards the Black Sea, the country's supreme defence council said on Tuesday. The Black Sea is crucial for the shipment of grain, oil and oil products. Its waters are shared by Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Turkey, Ukraine and Russia.

Oct 25 - U.N. seeks 'urgent' steps to relieve backlog in Black Sea exports deal
A U.N spokesperson said on Monday that "urgent" steps are needed to relieve a backlog of more than 150 ships involved in a deal which allows Ukraine to export grain from ports in the Black Sea. The comments come as Kyiv accused Russia of blocking full implementation of the agreement, which was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July to ease a global food crisis and which comes up for renewal next month.  

Oct 25 - Saudi Arabia's SAGO buys 566,000 T wheat for shipment March-April 2023
Saudi Arabia's state grains buyer SAGO said on Monday that it bought 566,000 tonnes of hard milling wheat in an international tender for shipment March-April 2023. The purchase was at an average price of $384.75 a tonne CIF, SAGO said in a statement.

Oct 24  - India rice export curbs to end a decade of price stability
India's recent curbs on rice exports could trigger a rally in global prices after more than a decade of stability, traders said, as New Delhi's protectionist move coincides with falling output in other major producers and rising global demand. Uneven monsoon rains hit rice planting in India, prompting the export restrictions in September, and floods have cut output in Pakistan even as consumption has grown in top importers such as Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Oct 24  - Turkey buys 470,000 tonnes milling wheat in tender - traders
Turkey's state grain board TMO has provisionally purchased about 470,000 tonnes of wheat in a large international tender which closed on Friday, traders said. This is a little below the tender volume of 495,000 tonnes but no more purchases are expected on Friday. The TMO can buy slightly more or less than the tender volume.

Oct 21  - France set for rare rapeseed export to the United States
France is set to export about 40,000 tonnes of rapeseed to the United States in an unusual shipment for the oilseed, market sources said. The Star Maru bulk carrier is scheduled to enter the northern French port of Rouen on Thursday to start loading the cargo, traders and shipping sources said. 

Oct 21  - Japan buys 97,482 tonnes of food wheat via tenders
Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) bought a total of 97,482 tonnes of food-quality wheat from the United States, Canada and Australia in regular tenders that closed on Thursday. Japan, the world's sixth-biggest wheat importer, keeps a tight grip on imports of the country's second most important staple behind rice and buys the majority of the grain for milling via tenders typically issued three times a month.

Oct 20  - FBX Weekly Overview (Freightos)

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Daily) decreased 9% to $2,492/FEU. This rate is 86% lower than the same time last year.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Daily) fell 5% to $5,719/FEU, and are 72% lower than rates for this week last year.

- Ocean spot rates continued their decline on the major ex-Asia lanes this week on falling demand, but port congestion on the US East Coast and at many major European hubs may be slowing the speed of the rate fall on those lanes somewhat despite falling volumes.

- Overall, congestion – as measured by the number of container ships waiting for a berth somewhere off North America – has improved since July with the number of vessels dropping from more than 150 to less than 100 this week. But pre-pandemic that number would be in the single digits.  And while the record backlog of vessels at the start of the year had about three-quarters of those ships waiting off the West Coast, currently, three-quarters are waiting along the East Coast or Gulf, with only six off LA/Long Beach. This shift in congestion is a result of the significant shift of volumes from west to east over the course of the year as shippers sought to avoid a repeat of last year’s west coast delays and steer clear of the – still unresolved – west coast labor dispute.

- So, while volumes have decreased and Asia – US East Coast rates have declined 67% since April, they remain 111% higher than in 2019. By comparison, as congestion has eased and more capacity circulates on the West Coast, Asia – US West Coast prices have fallen 84% since April and are “only” 82% higher than this week in 2019. Likewise, from January through August, China to North Europe volumes declined by 6% compared to last year, and rates have fallen by 64% since the start of the year with falling demand.  But persistent congestion has kept rates more than 4.5 times higher than in 2019.

- Transatlantic rates have decreased by 15% since the end of August, but port congestion and possibly more resilient demand have kept rates even with the start of the year at about $7,000/FEU, a level 3.5 times higher than in 2019. Transatlantic prices are typically about on par with Asia – US West Coast rates, but are currently more than $4,000 more expensive, and $1,000 - $2,000 higher than rates from Asia to the East Coast or Europe.  So the moderate rate fall of the last couple months could be a result of carriers shifting now available capacity to this now more lucrative lane.

Oct 20  - South Korean mills buy 30,000 T wheat from U.S. -traders
A group of South Korean flour mills led by the miller SPC bought around 30,000 tonnes of milling wheat to be sourced from the United States on Wednesday, European traders said. The purchase included several different wheat types and was all bought on an FOB basis with trading house Viterra believed to be the seller, they said.

Oct 19  - South Korean mills buy about 77,000 tonnes of U.S. wheat
Two groups of South Korean flour mills bought a total of about 77,000 tonnes of milling wheat to be sourced from the United States in two international tenders on Tuesday, European traders said. The purchases both included several different wheat types, all bought on an FOB basis. Trading house United Grain Corporation sold both consignments.

Oct 19  - Jordan buys estimated 60,000 tonnes wheat in tender - traders
Jordan's state grains buyer purchased about 60,000 tonnes of hard milling wheat to be sourced from optional origins in a tender which closed on Tuesday, traders said. It was bought from trading house CHS at an estimated $374 a tonne c&f for shipment in the first half of March, 2023, they said.

Oct 18  - U.S. corn, soy exports lag normal autumn pace amid river shipping woes
U.S. soybean exports are trailing their normal autumn pace despite rising supplies from an accelerating harvest, as low river levels have slowed the flow of grain barges to export terminals, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data issued on Monday. Corn exports are also lagging their typical harvest-time rate, weekly USDA export inspections data showed.

Oct 18  - Philippines bought about 165,000 tonnes Australian feed wheat
- traders
An importer group in the Philippines is believed to have bought around 165,000 tonnes of animal feed wheat expected to be sourced from Australia in an international tender which closed late last week, European traders said on Monday. It was sought in three 55,000 consignments for shipment in 2023 in January, February and March.

Oct 17  - India allows exports of wheat flour processed from imported grain
India has allowed export-oriented units and the firms set up in Special Economic Zones to export flour made from imported wheat, a government order said on Friday, conceding to the demands of food processors to allow shipments of value-added products. India will allow food processors to import duty-free wheat against a commitment to export flour, the order said.

Oct 17  - South Korea’s MFG bought about 65,000 tonnes Australian feed wheat
South Korea's Major Feedmill Group (MFG) purchased about 65,000 tonnes of animal feed wheat expected to be sourced from Australia in a private deal on Friday without issuing an international tender, European traders said. It was purchased at an estimated $354.49 a tonne c&f including a surcharge for additional port unloading.

Oct 14  - Russia is prepared to quit Black Sea grains deal, writes to UN with demands
Moscow has submitted concerns to the United Nations about an agreement on Black Sea grain exports, and is prepared to reject renewing the deal next month unless its demands are addressed, Russia's Geneva U.N. ambassador told Reuters on Thursday. The agreement, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July, paved the way for Ukraine to resume grain exports from Black Sea ports that had been shut since Russia invaded.

Oct 14  - Turkey can help select countries for Russian grain, fertiliser exports  - Erdogan
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Ankara could work with Moscow on determining low-income countries to which Russian grains and fertilisers can be exported. Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Kazakhstan's Astana on Thursday on the sidelines of a summit.

Oct 13  - FBX Weekly Overview ( Freightos )

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Daily) increased 9% to $2,730/FEU. This rate is 84% lower than the same time last year.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Daily) fell 9% to $6,026/FEU, and are 71% lower than rates for this week last year.

- The latest National Retail Federation container volume data show that US demand for ocean freight imports fell by more than 8% in September compared to August, and projects October volumes about 10% lower than last year as well as gradually declining volumes to close the year.  This decrease in volumes as well as easing congestion at US West Coast ports has pushed Asia – US West Coast rates down by more than 80% since the end of April, while East Coast prices have fallen by almost two-thirds.  West Coast rates rebounded slightly this week, possibly a result of carriers removing capacity, though the canceled sailings have not been widespread yet. Some observers are now suggesting spot rates could recede to 2019 levels by the end of the year.

- Ocean volumes are falling as inflation curbs some consumer demand and some spending shifts to services or other types of goods, but also because a significant share of peak season demand was pulled forward to earlier in the year to avoid delays experienced last peak season. These trends combined to leave some major retailers holding too much inventory for certain
types of goods.  

- But consumer spending – along with ocean rates – remains above 2019 levels.  And even with the expected decrease in ocean imports, monthly volumes for Q4 would still be 6-20% higher than in 2019, suggesting that demand is cooling from the overheated state of the last 18 months, and for certain types of goods more than others, but remains relatively strong if experienced unevenly by different types of businesses as we move into the holiday season.

- Freightos Air Index data shows that, like in ocean freight, air cargo rates are much lower than a year ago. China - N. Europe rates were at $4.93/kg this week, 37% lower than last year and transpacific prices of $6.16/kg were down nearly 50%, leaving many in the industry pessimistic that much of a peak season will materialize in air cargo this year either.

Oct 13  - Taiwan’s MFIG buys about 65,000 tonnes corn from Brazil  - traders
Taiwan's MFIG purchasing group bought about 65,000 tonnes of animal feed corn, expected to be sourced from Brazil, in an international tender which closed on Wednesday, European traders said. It was believed to have been sold by trading house Pan Ocean.

Oct 12 - Russia considering abolishing grain export quota - Ifx cites deputy PM
Russia, the world's largest wheat exporter, is considering abolishing its grain export quota which it usually sets up in the second half of the July-June marketing season, the Interfax news agency reported, citing Russia's Deputy Prime Minister. Russia, which supplies its wheat to Africa and the Middle East, usually sets up grain export quotas for the period from mid-February and until the end of June to secure enough supply for the domestic needs. 

Oct 12 - Algeria buys about 400,000 to 480,000 tonnes wheat in tender
Algeria’s state grains agency OAIC has bought about 400,000 tonnes to 480,000 tonnes of milling wheat in an international tender which closed on Tuesday, European traders said in initial assessments. Initial purchases reported were around $380 to $384 a tonne cost and freight (c&f) included, they said.

Oct 11 - Brazil unusually re-exports fertilizer amid storage shortage
Brazil, which normally relies on fertilizer imports to boost crop yields, is re-exporting cargoes as there is nowhere to store them following a surge in inbound shipments earlier this year, according to the port authority of Antonina on Monday. In an unexpected turn of events, an importer will re-route 24,700 tonnes of DAP fertilizer that had arrived from Jordan but will now be shipped to Turkey over the next few days, the authority said.  

Oct 11 - China sets 2023 import quota for corn, wheat same as previous year
China on Monday set its low tariff rate quota for wheat, corn and rice imports in 2023 at the same volumes as the previous year. The Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) for wheat imports in 2023 was set at 9.636 million tonnes, according to a notice published on the website of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Oct 10 - U.N. working to expand, extend for a year Ukraine Black Sea grain export deal
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and his team are working to expand and extend for a year a U.N.-brokered deal allowing Ukrainian Black Sea grain exports, which could expire in late November. "We're trying to remove the uncertainty to ensure that people are publicly saying that 'yes, this will be extended a further year,' but we're not there yet," said U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric, adding that U.N. officials are also working to facilitate Russian grain and fertilizer exports. 

Oct 10 - Algeria tenders to buy nominal 50,000 tonnes soft milling wheat
Algeria's state grains agency OAIC has issued an international tender to buy soft milling wheat to be sourced from optional origins, European traders said on Sunday. The tender sought a nominal 50,000 tonnes but Algeria often buys considerably more in its tenders than the nominal volume sought.

Oct 7 - Soybean imports forecast at two-year low crimp China's ailing hog feed makers
China's soybean imports are likely to drop to their lowest in more than two years this month, adding to tight supplies of the key animal feed ingredient soymeal and exacerbating the problems of the country's hog feed manufacturers. Soybean arrivals in China, the world's biggest importer, are estimated to be around or slightly below 5 million tonnes in October, according to two traders and Ole Houe, director of advisory services at agriculture brokerage IKON Commodities in Sydney.

Oct 7 - Both U.S. grain exporters and China lose out over river logistics snafu
Post-harvest U.S. soybean exports have yet to ramp up during what is normally the busiest month for shipments which is bad news for top importer China, already facing tight soymeal supplies after importing lighter bean volumes earlier this year. Prolonged dry weather has significantly reduced water levels in the Mississippi River, the main transport vein to the U.S. Gulf, and the forecast does not favor near-term replenishment.

Oct 6 - China's commodity shipping demand to improve from Q4
China's demand for commodity shipments is expected to improve in the fourth quarter as investments in infrastructure projects and steel production pick up pace, while Beijing ramps up oil products exports, senior shipping executives said. The world's top commodities buyer reduced energy and metals imports in the first half this year as COVID-19 restrictions ravaged its economy although Beijing has pledged to support growth through stimulus measures. 

Oct 6 - Tunisia buys soft wheat, durum and barley in tender
Tunisia's state grains agency is believed to have purchased about 150,000 tonnes of soft wheat, 100,000 tonnes of durum wheat and 100,000 tonnes of animal feed barley in an international tender on Wednesday, European traders said. It was initially believed the barley tender had been postponed but a late afternoon purchase was reported by traders.

Oct 5 - Egypt's private sector wheat imports stall due to dollar shortage
The price of wheat and flour used to make unsubsidised bread has spiked in Egypt as importers struggle to pay for wheat stuck at ports amid a dollar shortage, traders and the country's chamber of cereals told Reuters this week. Around 700,000 tonnes of wheat haven't been released from customs, causing around 80% of mills producing commercially sold bread, pasta, and other goods to "cease activity completely", according to a Sept. 26 letter from the Federation of Egyptian Industries' Chamber of Cereals to the supply minister.

Oct 5 - Thai rice exports could reach 8 mln tonnes this year despite floods
Thailand's rice exports could reach 8 million tonnes this year as flooding caused by Typhoon Noru has had little impact and a weak baht has helped overseas sales, the president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association said on Wednesday. The world's third largest rice exporter shipped 6.11 million tonnes of the grain last year.

Oct 04  - FBX Weekly Overview (Freightos)

- Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Daily) decreased 16% to $2,516/FEU. This rate is 85% lower than the same time last year.
- Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Daily) dipped 5% to $6,634/FEU, and are 66% lower than rates for this week last year.

- Hurricane Ian’s path across Florida and parts of the southeast closed airports, disrupted rail movements, and temporarily closed container ports in Jacksonville and Charleston, though other ports already struggling with delays like Savannah, remained operational.
- Easing port congestion both in China’s hubs and at LA/Long Beach is effectively increasing available capacity – vessels leaving Asia for the West Coast are reportedly only about 70-80% full – and is combining with the continuing decrease in demand to push spot rates down especially quickly on this lane.
- Asia to US West Coast prices fell 16% to $2,516/FEU this week.  This rate is still 88% higher than in October 2019, but was last seen in June 2020 when prices first started climbing during the pandemic. This price is just 5% higher than in October 2018 when importers were rushing to beat the roll-out of tariffs on Chinese goods in January 2019. Rates from Asia to the US East Coast and to North Europe each dipped 5% since last week.

- Falling rates, especially on the Asia – US West Coast lane, could soon push prices below the break even point per container for some ocean carriers as their costs have also climbed with inflation.  Smaller carriers who operate smaller vessels – many of whom are paying expensive charter rates and were new entrants on the transpacific as spot rates spiked – and currently operate about a third of transpacific capacity may be the most exposed to falling prices making operations unprofitable.  
- The larger carriers are likely hoping shifting conditions will push the smaller players and their capacity out of the market, and, together with the significant increase in blanked sailings and canceled services, help to stabilize rates.
- Slowing demand for goods out of China in September also meant falling air cargo rates as Freightos Air Index transpacific prices decreased 32% since last month to $5.12/kg – half the level of a year ago – and China - Europe rates fell 19% to $4.13/kg, 43% lower than last year. Transatlantic rates were stable, but are 25% lower than a year ago as passenger capacity has increased.  

- Peak season for air cargo typically begins around late October, but some in the industry are doubtful there will be much of a surge this year.

Oct 04 - US corn barge levels capped as poor demand balances river woes (Agricensus)

Prices for US CIF corn barges delivered into the US Gulf export hub have failed to respond to the restriction in supply stemming from low water levels along the key Mississippi waterway, trade sources have told Agricensus Monday.

Bids and offer levels for physical barges for delivery in to the primary US export hub at the start of the week remained unchanged on previous levels despite mounting fears that barges will not be able to navigate the waterway.

Normally such a restriction would prompt barge premiums to rise, particularly as FOB cargo offer levels have pushed markedly higher, but the barge market has shown little interest in moving higher.

“Rates are high, the water is low, the capacity is down, all are supportive,” one trade source told Agricensus, before describing the situation as one of “mixed messages.”

“We’re priced out of everywhere, so there’s not much trading. The barge market could go screaming higher, or it could collapse,” the source said, referring to a lack of competitiveness on international markets.

Barge values were largely unchanged in bids and offers, with prompt October and November values heard unchanged at levels around the 140-145 cents for October, and around 117 cents for November loading – both over the December corn futures contract.

While that was unchanged on levels heard at the end of last week, October FOB cargo levels were heard offered at 275 cents over the December contract – up 125 cents from the levels heard at the end of last week.

Costs of move barges along the Mississippi have surged in recent weeks as water levels restrict the amount of volume a barge can carry – or risk grounding on the river bed.

That in turn places extra strain on the barge supply, forcing up costs as more vessels are required to carry the same volume and limiting the supply of barges.

Since the beginning of September, barge freight has jumped 80% – a dynamic that would typically drive basis premiums for cash commodities higher as the market absorbs the increased freight cost.

However, in this instance, the lack of strong buying activity for US corn – given the more competitive pricing of South American and Ukrainian corn – means that the higher freight and logistics issues are negated by a lack of demand.

The US Gulf is dependent upon the Mississippi River for supply, with the river network the key element connecting the fields of the Midwest to the global export market.   

While US Gulf CIF barges have spiked in recent weeks, they remain some way off the year-to-date high of 180 cents over, set back in early July according to Agricensus data.

Oct 04 - Hungary imports maize from Ukraine as drought hits local crop
Hungary has imported about 1 million tonnes of maize, nearly a quarter of its annual needs in the past 12 months mostly from Ukraine as a severe drought destroyed a large part of its domestic crop, industry representatives said on Monday.  "Under normal circumstances, Hungary is a maize exporter, but this year's crop will be the lowest since the 1970s," said Andras Mahr, deputy secretary general of the National Alliance of Agricultural Producers and Cooperatives (MOSZ). 

Oct 04 - Costa Rican coffee exports slump 60% in September as season ends
Costa Rican coffee growers exported 60.1% fewer beans in September compared with a year earlier, as stocks ran out in the last month of the season after a smaller harvest, the country's coffee institute ICAFE said on Monday. Costa Rica exported 28,144 60-kilo bags in September, the last month of Central America's coffee season, or 42,403 bags fewer than it had a year earlier.

Oct 3 - Ukraine's Sept grain exports fall 23.6% y/y to 4.3 mln T -ministry
Ukraine's grain exports fell by 23.6% year on year in September to 4.278 million tonnes, but reached the highest level since the Russian invasion, agriculture ministry data showed. The country's grain exports have slumped since February as the invasion closed off Ukraine's Black Sea ports, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East. 

Oct 3 - Algeria said to have bought about 300,000 T wheat, mainly Russian
Algeria’s state grains agency OAIC is believed to have bought about 300,000 tonnes of milling wheat in an international tender which closed on Thursday, European traders said on Friday. The purchase was expected to be largely sourced from Russia, although technically supplies are optional origin, they said.

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