Palm & Veg Report, September 2017

The palm oil markets have been extremely effervescent over the last few months and August was certainly no exception and we think the last quarter of the year could be quite interesting to follow especially if the Asian markets can sustain their current momentum. Sadly that is where the good news ends as virtually all the other edible oil markets have been far less exciting, but that is probably for seasonality reasons rather than anything else. We can say with some certainty that we were not the only people who were kept busy last month not only dealing with a tighter market but also managing logistical problems brought about by delays to vessels out in the Fareast, a problem which unfortunately looks set to continue as activity builds.

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Palm & Veg Report, August 2017

We are pleased to report that the tropical markets are finally out performing many of the other markets at the moment and most of the palm oil trade lanes can be described as 'busy', a word we have not used for an awfully long time. Chemical exports from Asia are also picking up and although the CPP markets in the Far East are not brilliant they are also significantly better than the CPP markets are in the West at present. The Atlantic basket is currently averaging US$ 5,000 per day and certain routes have even dipped into negative earnings territory, so the CPP reports do not make for good reading. The vegetable oil markets from South America have been reasonably busy but exports from the Black sea have been a little sluggish of late.

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Palm & Veg Report, July 2017

The edible oil markets are now trending at more or less the same levels as they were this time last summer and not surprisingly my enthusiasm for writing reports is rapidly waning because there is still very little exciting news to report. That being said, the CPP markets in the West and the East did pick up momentum last month, tonnage lists in Asia are tightening and MR earnings are now back in the low-mid teens again. Crude oil values have slumped back to the mid-high 40 US$ per barrel level again and the story of oil weakness remains high on the agenda. Freight values are virtually unchanged on almost all vegetable oil trade routes but they are, as we reported earlier, not expected to fall any further in the short to medium term.

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Palm & Veg Report, June 2017

If you own or operate ships or suffer from acute acrophobia then please refrain from looking at the graphs on the pages overleaf as the steep drop this year could make your knees wobble and make your eyes rain. The tropical oil markets are experiencing a very similar trend to last year when freight rates quickly soften in the run up to summer as unprecedented competition for cargo persists. Palm oil exports from Malaysia and Indonesia were actually quite strong in May and had this not been the case then the markets would probably look an awful lot worse than it does now! The Sunflower and Soya bean oil markets from South America and the Black sea are broadly unchanged from a month ago and freight rates are currently flat lining on virtually every trade lane. Crude oil prices have not really budged despite the diplomatic turmoil in the Middle East and the recent extension of production cuts by all the major producers.

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Palm & Veg Report, May 2017

If you thought the shipping markets looked grim a few months ago then look away now because they just got a lot worse. The short term prognosis for all the vegetable oil trade lanes is worryingly unsettled and it looks highly likely that we are heading for another nail biting summer. The clean petroleum markets have been dropping like a stone since our last report both in the Western Hemisphere as well as out in the Far East and this seems to be dragging all the other markets down with it. On a more positive note we have seen a fairly healthy number of palm oil and vegetable cargoes fixed over the last month and, according to the chief economist of the IMF, the world economy is supposedly gaining momentum again. The dry cargo markets are slowly showing some signs of life again so perhaps (fingers and toes crossed) this will eventually stimulate demand in the liquid markets too.

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Palm & Veg Report, April 2017

The clean petroleum markets may have picked up a lot of momentum in the West, which has provided ship owners with a welcomed boost in returns, but the rest of the shipping markets are positively lacklustre and profound uncertainty still persists in virtually ever other sector of the market. If we do not get a black swan event soon, where something occurs that is extremely difficult to predict, then I fear we are in for a long hot difficult summer. On a lighter note, we wonder whether the Norwegian Shipping community was included in the recent happiness poll, which placed Norway ahead of the Danes as officially the happiest place to be on Earth.

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Palm & Veg Report, March 2017

How many ways can you describe a poor freight market without the use of an expletive?

There were no major revelations to report about last month and virtually all of the edible oil trade lanes are currently trending at either similar or slightly below the values seen a month ago. The POC conference in Malaysia kept most of the industry busy earlier this week one way or another and the palm oil markets are still expected to grow substantially in 2017 which can only be positive. World food demand is also expected to rise by 3 million tonnes this year and bio diesel demand could potentially match that figure unless the United States and Indonesia's biodiesel regimes change. The sun flower oil markets out of Black sea and Soybean oil markets out of South America have been reasonably busy of late and there have also been a surprisingly healthy number of tropical oil cargoes fixed out of Asia and Central America in March.

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Palm & Veg Report, February 2017

One month into the New Year and a bracing dose of realism is now spreading through the market place again as we witness a general slowdown in shipping activity across all sectors of the industry. The tropical oil markets were particularly slow in the run up to the Chinese New Year, which didn't really surprise us too much as it tends to do that every year, but its still disappointing. The Atlantic CPP markets took a nose dive last month and earnings are about half what they were during the middle of December and period time-charter rates for MR's are also under pressure again suggesting that this sector of the market is not going to throw up any unusual surprises over the next year. All hopes rest now on US President Donald Trump for direction, but if his first few weeks of presidency give us any indication of what lies ahead then 2017 is going to be far from a dull year!

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