1. Saudi Arabia Seeks to Regain Market Share in China
- As Saudi Arabia is finalizing its 2024 term contracts, to be done by the end of October, the Middle Eastern kingdom is set to increase its crude supplies to China as new refining capacity lifts offtake.
- Russia has become the top crude supplier to China with 2.1 million b/d exported in January-July, some 300,000 b/d higher than Saudi Arabia’s exports with Iraq coming in at third place with 1.2 million b/d.
- Saudi growth will be led by the 800,000 b/d Zhejiang Petroleum & Chemical refinery which started to load crude under its huge 480,000 b/d supply deal with Aramco in September, whilst the 400,000 b/d Yulong refinery in Shandong is set to start importing Arab crude next year.
- Saudi Arabia currently accounts for 16% of the Chinese crude market, down from 17.2% this time last year, but these new volumes should help Aramco regain lost territory in a country where most refineries are configured to run on Saudi crude.
2. China’s Huge Zinc Imports Rekindle Hopes of Growth
- Chinese imports of zinc have recovered to levels not seen since April 2019, bolstering hopes that the Asian country’s economic growth might be on an upward trajectory in the second half of 2023.
- Total zinc imports into China came in at 76,800 metric tonnes in July, in just one month equalling the entire annual tally of 2022 as traders are betting on policy support from Beijing.