Posts Tagged ‘Oil Market Report’
Friday, March 23rd, 2012
Submitted by Brandon Smith of Alt Market
The Oil Conundrum Explained
Oil as a commodity has always been a highly valuable early warning indicator of economic instability. Every conceivable element of our financial system depends on the price of energy, from fabrication, to production, to shipping, to the consumer’s very ability to travel and make purchases. High energy prices derail healthy economies and completely decimate systems already on the verge of collapse. Oil affects everything.
This is why oil markets also tend to be the most misrepresented in the mainstream financial media. With so much at stake over the price of petroleum, and the cost steadily climbing over the past year returning to disastrous levels last seen in 2008, the American public will soon be looking for someone to blame, and you can bet the MSM will do its utmost to ensure that blame is focused in the wrong direction. While there are, indeed, multiple reasons for the current high costs of oil, the primary culprits are obscured by considerable disinformation…
The most prominent but false conclusions on the expanding value of oil are centered on assertions that supply is decreasing dramatically, while demand is increasing dramatically. Neither of these claims is true…
The supply side of the oil equation is the absolute last factor that we should be worried about at this point. In fact, global oil use since the credit crisis of 2008 has tumbled dramatically. This decline accelerated at the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 all while oil prices rose:
In its February Oil Market Report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast a reduction in the growth of demand into the Spring of 2012, despite reports from the mainstream media that oil prices were spiking due to “recovery” and “high demand”. Simultaneously, the IEA reported that petroleum inventories rose to the highest levels since October, 2008:
The Baltic Dry Index, which measures global shipping rates and the demand for freight in general, has fallen off a cliff in recent months, hovering near historic lows and signaling a sharp decline in world demand for raw materials used in production. A fall in the BDI has on multiple occasions in the past been a predictive indicator of stock market chaos, including that which struck in 2008 and 2009. A sharply lower BDI means low global demand, which should, traditionally, mean decreasing prices:
So, supply is high across the board, inventories are stocked, and demand is weak. By all common market logic, gasoline prices should be plummeting, and far more Americans should be smiling at the pump. Of course, this is not the case. Prices continue to rise despite deflationary elements, meaning, there must be some other factors at work here causing inflation in prices.
Ironically, stock market activity in the Dow has now come under threat from this inflationary trend in oil. Rising energy costs have essentially put a cap on the epic explosion of equities, and many mainstream analysts now lament over this Catch-22. The problem is that these investors and pundits are operating on the assumption that the Dow bull market is legitimate, and that the rally in oil is somehow an extension of a “healthier economy”. This version of reality, I’m afraid, is about as far from the truth as one can stretch…
In the candy coated world of Obamanomics, high priced stocks are a valid signal of economic growth, and oil is rising due to demand which extends from this growth. In the real world, stock values are completely fabricated, especially in light of record low trade volume over the past several months:
Low trade volume means very few investors are currently participating in active trade. This lack of investment interest in the markets allows big players (such as international bankers) to use their massive capital to swing stocks whichever way they choose, even to the point of creating false market rallies. Throw in the fact that the private Federal Reserve (along with helpful hands-off approach by our government) has been constantly infusing these banks with fiat printed from thin air, and one can hardly take the current ascension of the Dow or the S&P very seriously.
Another issue which should be stressed is the renewed tensions in the Middle East, namely, the very distinct possibility of an Israeli or U.S. strike in Iran, and the possibility of NATO involvement in Syria (which has extensive ties to Russia and Iran). Certainly, this is a tangible danger that would have unimaginable consequences in global oil markets. However, the threat of growing war in the Middle East is in no way a new one, and has been ever present for the past decade. It hardly explains why despite hollow demand and extreme supply, the price per barrel of oil has been an unstoppable rising tide. Attempts by Saudi Arabia to reverse inflationary trends by promising increased production in the wake of Iran turmoil has so far been ineffective.
Off the coast of Ireland:
Massive fields in Mongolia have been uncovered:
And of course, the vast shale oil fields in North Dakota and Montana are finally being tapped:
Oil supply has been ample and large oil reserves are being discovered yearly. Speculation would be the next obvious assumed culprit, and there are certainly some signals of such activity. Oil speculators traditionally use the forced accumulation of oil inventories to reduce market supply and artificially increase prices. Inventories have indeed been high. However, as previously stated, demand for oil has been static or fallen in most countries around the world since 2008, and there has been NO petroleum shortages due to manipulated markets. In fact, there have been no petroleum shortages period. Speculation has the potential to cause sharp but short term shifts in markets, but one must take into account the long term trend of a particular commodity to understand the root cause of its increasing or decreasing value. Again, inadequate supply is NOT the trigger for the ongoing oil price problem, whether by threat of war, or by reduction through speculation.
This schizophrenic disconnection between the stock market, and oil, and true supply and demand, is, though, a symptom of one very disturbing illness lurking in the backwaters of the U.S. fiscal bloodstream; dollar devaluation.
We all understand that the Federal Reserve has been engaged in non-stop quantitative easing measures in one form or another since 2008. We don’t know exactly how much fiat the Fed has printed in that time, and won’t know until a full and comprehensive audit is finally enacted, but we do know that the amount is at the very least in the tens of trillions (be sure to check out page 131 of the GAO report below to find their breakdown of Fed QE activities. This is just the money printing that has been ADMITTED TO, in excess of $16 trillion):
The dollar is being thoroughly squashed. Why is this not showing in the dollar forex index? The dollar index is yet another example of a useless market indicator, being that it measures dollar value relative to a basket of world fiat currencies, ALL of which also happen to be in decline. That is to say, the dollar appears to be vibrant, as long as you compare it to similarly worthless paper currencies that are being degraded in tandem with the greenback. Once you begin to compare the dollar to commodities, however, it soon shows its inherent weakness.
The dollar’s only saving grace has long been its status as the world reserve currency and its use as the primary trade mechanism for oil. This, however, is changing.
Bilateral trade agreements between China, Russia, Japan, India, and other countries, especially those within the ASEAN trading bloc, are slowly but surely removing the dollar from the game as these nations begin to replace trade using other currencies, including the Yuan. I believe commodities, especially oil, have been reflecting this trend for quite some time. The consequences of the dollar’s ties to oil are detrimental to all nations that consume petroleum, and they are clearly moving to insulate themselves from further devaluation.
Even after the release of strategic oil reserves back in the summer of 2011 in an effort to dilute prices, and the announcement of an even larger possible release of reserves this month, oil has not strayed far from the $100 per barrel mark. High Brent crude price have held for years, even after numerous promises from government and media entities admonishing what they called “speculation”, and promises of a return to lower energy costs. Not long ago, $100 per barrel oil was an outlandish premise. Today, it is commonplace, and some even consider it “affordable” compared to what we may be facing in the near future, all thanks to the steady deconstruction of the last pillar of the U.S. economy; the dollar, and its world reserve label.
Ultimately, no matter how manipulated and overindulged the stock market becomes, no matter how many fiat dollars are injected to prop up our failing system, the price of oil is the great game changer. As inflation is reflected in its price, and energy costs burn out of control, the Dow will begin to fall, regardless of any low volume or quantitative easing. In all likelihood, this conundrum will be blamed on as many scapegoats as are available at the moment, including Iran, or China, or Russia, or Japan, etc. Each and every American, and especially those involved in tracking the economy, will have to remind themselves and the public that at bottom, it was the Federal Reserve that created the conditions by which we suffer, including currency devaluation and high oil prices, NOT some foreign enemy.
The one positive element of this entire disaster (if one can call anything “positive” in this mess), is the manner in which the high price of oil tends to dash away the illusions of the common citizen. It is an issue they simply cannot ignore, because it affects every aspect of their lives in minute detail. Costly energy awakens the otherwise ignorant, and forces them to see the many dangers lurking on the horizon. Hopefully, this awakening will not be too little too late…
Tags: Assertions, Brandon Smith, Commodities, Commodity, Conundrum, Credit Crisis, Culprits, Disinformation, Economic Instability, Energy Prices, False Conclusions, Global Oil, Iea, International Energy Agency, Inventories, Mainstream Media, Markets World, Oil Market Report, Oil Markets, Oil Prices, Russia, World Oil Demand, Wrong Direction
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Sunday, September 18th, 2011
Energy and Natural Resources Market Cheat Sheet (September 19, 2011)
- The Global Resources Fund gained this week and outperformed its benchmark as energy- and industrial metal-related stocks rallied with major stock indices.
- The latest Steel Benchmarker price assessment by World Steel Dynamics showed further stability in global steel prices, with the majority flat over the past two weeks. The exception was U.S. hot rolled coil, which rose 5.1 percent sequentially to $768 per ton, arresting three months of consecutive falls.
- The Baltic Dry Index of freight costs increased 7 percent this week as shipments of iron ore remain robust. This is the fifth consecutive weekly gain for the Baltic Dry Index.
- Seaborne iron ore prices ended the week lower for the first time in 5 weeks on weakening steel prices. After hitting 3-month highs of $181 per ton last week, the TSI reference price has fallen nearly 2 percent to trade below $178 per ton. Per analysts at Citigroup, sentiment in the Chinese steel market is still deteriorating and buyers remain inactive owing to the lack of any clear direction.
- Corn prices fell 4 percent this week on a government report that corn crop conditions have improved recently.
- Despite news of additional supply constraints, copper prices slipped 1 percent this week on concerns of slowing demand in Europe and Asia.
- Southern Copper cut its production forecast by 8 percent for the year. Output will fall to 600,000 tons, from an earlier estimate of 650,000 tons, CEO Oscar Gonzalez Rocha said.
- The International Energy Agency released its Oil Market Report this week, revising its global oil demand growth forecast lower for 2011 by 160 thousand barrels per day to 1.04 million barrels per day, and for 2012 by 200 thousand barrels per day to 1.41 million barrels per day. The IEA attributes lower non-OECD readings and reduced economic growth expectations as the prime reason for its downward revision.
- Reuters reported that power rationing in China will likely persist in the first half of 2012, and the deficit should be between 10 gigawatts and 15 gigawatts in the first half of 2012. Other than low water levels impacting hydropower supply, power output has been hampered by insufficient coal production, low coal quality and a mismatch between coal and power prices. The grid has asked the local government to subsidize additional power generation.
- According to Alberta’s Energy Minister Ron Liepert, Canada’s oil sands producers need to build at least two more pipelines the size of the controversial Keystone XL project if they are to meet their ambitious plans for growth. “As we move forward, there will be a need for other pipelines … By 2020, we may need three Keystones,” he said.
- Peru’s Finance Minister Miguel Castilla commented that the country’s overhaul of its mining tax system will maximize government revenue while ensuring companies proceed with more than $40 billion of investment in new mines. Castilla also stated that companies won’t pay more than 50 percent of their operating profits under the new tax regime. Under Peru’s existing system, royalties are based on sales. He said that the new system will be fairer because it levies taxes on operating profits instead of revenue, and companies with contracts that protect them from higher taxes will be subject to a separate levy on profits.
- Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology sees La Niña conditions developing in Q4 this year. Historically this would mean cold winters in the U.S. northeast and stronger demand for heating fuels.
- Workers at Freeport MacMoRan’s Cerro Verde mine in Peru launched an indefinite strike today after discussions with the government failed to reach an agreement on wages and working conditions. The mine represents roughly 2 percent of the world’s mined copper production.
Tags: Baltic Dry Index, Canadian Market, Copper Prices, Corn Crop, Corn Prices, Crop Conditions, Global Steel, Growth Expectations, Hot Rolled Coil, International Energy Agency, Iron Ore Prices, Major Stock Indices, Oil Market Report, Oscar Gonzalez Rocha, Prime Reason, Resources Fund, Southern Copper, Steel Dynamics, Steel Market, Supply Constraints, World Steel Dynamics
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Sunday, July 24th, 2011
2011 Halftime Report: Oil and Copper
By Frank Holmes
CEO and Chief Investment Officer
U.S. Global Investors
Last week we recapped commodities’ performance for the first six months of the year and offered our outlook on gold. If you missed it, you can read it here. This week, we’re discussing our outlook for two other commodities that are poised to have an exciting back half of the year.
Oil Outlook Remains Strong
This year has been eventful for the oil patch. Natural disasters, revolutions, terrorist attacks and political maneuvering kept oil bouncing around $100 per barrel and 3.8 percent higher on the year at the end of June. Despite the volatility and large number of external forces affecting oil prices, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its most recent Oil Market Report that “the bull run evident since autumn 2010 therefore looks in large part to be justified by supply and demand fundamentals.”
Oil industry analyst PIRA estimates incremental demand will outpace supply by 1.1 million barrels per day on a year-over-year basis during the third quarter of 2011. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says long-term supply/demand drivers indicate the market will remain tight for the foreseeable future as growing demand from emerging economies for liquid fuels and slowing non-OPEC supply growth “maintain upward pressure on oil prices.” The IEA forecasts oil prices to average $98 per barrel this year and $103 per barrel in 2012.
The IEA forecasts the world will use 91 million barrels of oil per day in 2012, an increase of 1.5 million barrels per day. The IEA also revised its 2011 oil demand projections upward by 0.2 million barrels per day. Projecting outward to 2016, the IEA’s baseline scenario assumes a healthy 4.5 percent global GDP growth and an average oil price of $103 per barrel. With these assumptions, annual oil demand growth should average 1.2 millions barrels per day through 2016.
Emerging markets are almost entirely the source of this increased demand, with China accounting for 41 percent of demand growth over that time period, the IEA forecast says. The chart illustrates how developing (non-OECD) country oil demand has dramatically increased since the mid-1990s while developed world (OECD) demand has decreased. Through two financial bubbles and a global financial crisis, non-OECD demand has stair-stepped its way to nearly doubling in less than 20 years.
How is this possible? Many non-OECD markets have favorable demographics, rapidly urbanizing populations and industrializing economies that have returned many developing economies’ GDP growth rates to pre-crisis levels.
Rising incomes have also outpaced rising oil prices and sustained emerging market demand despite a general reduction in subsidies, the IEA says. Rising wealth has also established a new global middle class that the World Bank estimates will be more than 1 billion strong by 2030. In fact, the World Bank was cited in a National Geographic article earlier this year forecasting that for the first time ever, more people in the world will be classified as middle class than poor in 2022. Today, roughly 70 percent of the world’s population is classified as poor.
Major emerging market countries, such as China, India and Saudi Arabia, have reached the important GDP per capita range ($3,000-$20,000) where oil demand historically “takes-off.”
China carries the biggest stick among emerging markets when it comes to oil demand. Strict tightening measures from Beijing and rising inflation slowed the country’s oil demand growth to its lowest level since 2009 in June. However, China’s oil demand is still expected to grow 7 percent this year, which is in line with the country’s five-year average demand growth rate, according to Deutsche Bank. The summer months have historically been weak periods for oil demand in China but Deutsche Bank estimates growth rates will recover during the fourth quarter.
Chinese auto sales growth has slowed but still registered 10.9 percent year-over-year growth in June. In an interview with Maria Bartiromo for USA Today, Ford CEO Alan Mulally called China’s car market a “very exciting development.” The company is projecting China’s auto sales will reach 32 million by 2020—28 percent of the entire global market. Ford isn’t the only U.S. auto manufacturer tapping into China’s booming auto market; General Motors’ Buick brand is one of the most popular in the country. According to the Brookings Institute, General Motors sold 10 cars in the U.S. for every one car sold in China in 2004. Today, that figure is nearly 1-to-1.
In the developed world, the outlook for oil demand is less bullish. OPEC says the “austerity measures, combined with high levels of both debt and unemployment, are likely to dent the fragile recovery in major OECD countries.”
While demand growth in OECD countries is underwhelming, consumption rates have recovered from recession lows at a much faster rate than many expected. You can see that OECD demand contributed heavily to the recovery in global oil demand from early 2009 to late 2010. In fact, the developed world contributes little to global oil demand growth but still consumes more than half of the world’s total demand.
Despite China’s rise, OPEC says the fate of the U.S. economy is the most influencing factor for oil over the next 12 months. Oil demand in the U.S. was revised upward in May and the U.S. economy is forecasted to see 2.5 percent GDP growth in 2011.
PIRA says the U.S. economy is signaling strength in the second half of the year. It cites business capital expenditures as improving, which generally leads to employment gains and increased household consumption. It also expects a 20 percent hike in auto manufacturing output from the second quarter and an increase in consumer spending.
A big determinant of U.S. demand and consumer spending is gasoline prices, which the EIA forecasts to average $3.56 a gallon in 2011—up from $2.78 in 2010. U.S. consumers have already shown to be sensitive to higher prices with total motor gasoline consumption down more than 2 percent on a year-over-year basis during the second quarter. While OPEC expects U.S. gasoline consumption to return to normal rates, OPEC calls it oil’s “wild card” for 2012. Gasoline consumption could be negatively impacted by economic turbulence, such as a dip in employment.
This is just a portion of the Outlook for Oil, click here to read about factors constraining supply and why today’s market is much different than the 1970s.
The Cues for Copper
Copper slightly disappointed investors, ending the first half of the year with a decline of 3.50 percent. Worries about global inflation and, more specifically, the potential slowing of China’s economy weighed on copper’s price. The red metal rose 5 percent quicklyin the new year, but similar to zinc, lead, palladium and platinum prices, declined sharply at the beginning of May.
Since the end of June, copper has been slowly inching its way up, with the past three weeks having produced positive results. Part of this rise is due to reduced supply issues. Chile, the world’s largest copper producer, has been plagued by power outages, strikes, accidents and heavy rains. Reuters recently reported that a “once in a half century winter storm” caused more than 12 mines to slow or stop operations after the open pit roads became too slippery in the South American country that mines about one-fifth of the world’s copper.
The election of Ollanta Humala in Peru–the second-largest producer of copper–has also been a drag on copper prices as investors debate the probability of Humala electing a mining-friendly cabinet. As I discussed in “Is Peru’s Humala Jekyll or Hyde for Mining?,” investors have worried the president-elect could retract policies that encourage mining investment.
The announcement came this week that Humala will appoint Luis Miguel Castilla, Peru’s former deputy finance minister, as the new finance minister. Carlos Herrera will lead the mines and energy ministry. However, according to the Financial Times, it is still not clear whether Humala will increase the corporate tax rate paid by miners and enforce tighter state controls. The actions of this leader will have an influence on the direction of copper prices for the remainder of the year.
In terms of demand, copper is a necessary ingredient for numerous building projects. Electrical power cables, electrical equipment, automobile radiators, cooling and refrigeration tubing, heat exchangers and water pipes all require copper. With all the construction and infrastructure building in China over the past several years, it’s not surprising that this country is the No. 1 world consumer of copper. It’s estimated that China accounted for nearly 40 percent of global copper consumption last year.
Because of this large demand, similar to our outlook for oil, copper prices hinge on China’s ongoing development. While some have begun to wonder about the health of the country’s continuing growth and development, Macquarie Research believes that “real demand in the country remains robust.”
Take developer activity, for example, which Macquarie says has been a huge driver of construction growth in 2011. The media has focused its attention on ghost cities and lagging sales of property in China. Yet Macquarie thinks it’s important to consider the property sales across all different sizes of cities. In its Commodities Comment, subtitled “Chinese social house – another reason to buy copper and iron ore,” Macquarie acknowledges a weakness in property transactions in China’s larger cities. This was due to the government restricting investment demand to slow growth. However, these larger cities account for only 20 percent of the total market, says Macquarie.
Conversely, many smaller cities, such as Anquing, Guizhou, Luzhou, Mudanjiang, and Shijiazhuang, have had double-digit year-over-year growth in unit sales so far this year. In the case of Hohhot, the capital city of Inner Mongolia, sales growth has tripled. Government investment has led to urban space increasing from 80 square kilometers in 2000 to 150 square kilometers last year, according to the city’s government website. Hohhot, which means “green city” in Mongolian, has grown to more than 2 million people and has become a hub for agriculture and manufacturing.
Most importantly, Macquarie says the tremendous sales activity in these smaller cities indicates “there has been enough cash to keep construction activity going.”
In addition, China’s social housing project should drive incremental demand for copper. Macquarie indicated that China is “aiming for 10 million social housing units, up from 5.8 million in 2010.” The country has built only 3.4 million units so far this year, but based on China’s habit of exceeding its objectives, Macquarie thinks the target will be met.
Even if the naysayers think China’s growth will slow because of the government’s monetary policy restrictions, there’s consensus among research experts that the country’s inventory of copper is getting low. Goldman Sachs’ discussion of the copper market indicated that in the second half of 2011, the “winding down of destocking will lead to a stronger Chinese pull on global supply.” China seems to have no choice but to go back to the market for copper, if only to replenish its supply.
Tom Kendall, Credit Suisse’s vice president for commodities research, agrees. In a Mineweb interview on copper’s fundamentals and expectations of further growth, Kendall stated he has seen a “very sizeable drawdown” in Chinese copper inventories this year. He goes on to say, “some point in time, they will get to a point at which they have run down inventory levels to an uncomfortably low level and then there is no alternative to coming back to the international market.”
Tags: Baseline Scenario, Chief Investment Officer, Commodities, Demand Drivers, Demand Projections, Emerging Economies, Energy Information Administration, Frank Holmes, GDP Growth, Global Gdp, Halftime Report, India, Infrastructure, International Energy Agency, Liquid Fuels, Natural Disasters, Oil Demand, Oil Market Report, Oil Patch, Political Maneuvering, Report Oil, U S Energy, U S Global Investors
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Sunday, December 13th, 2009
Energy and Natural Resources Market
- In a preliminary update to its Medium Term Oil Market Report, the International Energy Agency raised its oil demand forecast for 2009 to 2014 by around 1.9 million barrels per day, compared to June’s report, on the basis of stronger assumed growth in gross domestic product.
- Chinese November power generation rose at the fastest pace in almost five years. Electricity output climbed by 26.9 percent year-over-year to 323.4 billion kilowatt-hours last month according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
- Cold weather led to a larger than expected storage draw in the U.S. pushing natural gas prices to $5.30 per million BTUs – their highest levels since the beginning of the year.
- Aluminum closed at a 14-month high in Friday trading, breaching the $1/lb mark to close 3.4 percent up at $2,240 per tonne.
- Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes in November reached their highest level in 2010, as U.S. blast furnace utilization rates have risen. Shipments were up 27 percent to 4.15 million tonnes, according to the latest data from the Lake Carriers’ Association.
- Chinese crude steel production fell 5.6 percent month-on-month in November to an annualized rate of 575 million tonnes per year, the lowest rate since June, according to NBS data.
- The Baltic Dry Index fell 11 percent this week.
- Crude oil fell 8 percent this week on a rising dollar and weak products inventory report from the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Industry publications are indicating that AK Steel has levied a 2nd price increase for steel products purchased in January. The company indicated that the price increase is in response to increased demand for carbon steel products, as well as the need to recover higher costs for steelmaking inputs.
- First Quantum Minerals purchased BHP Billiton’s Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Queensland, Australia for $340 million. BHP Billiton had closed the operation in January 2009 due to nickel prices, and had previously indicated that the asset was available for purchase.
- Russia is considering an easing of mining laws designed to protect domestic producers because they’re deterring foreign investors and curbing development, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Sergei Donskoy said. The government may streamline the approval process for foreign investors, give them tax breaks and increase compensation should the state decide to take back assets. The laws, which came into force in May 2008, cover deposits deemed to be “strategic.” They include resources of more than 50 metric tons of gold, 70m tons of oil and 500Kt of copper.
- China will impose provisional duties on some U.S. and Russian imports following anti-dumping and subsidy investigations, escalating a trade spat started in September. Flat-rolled electrical steel products from steelmakers including AK Steel, Novolipetsk Steel and Allegheny Ludlum, would attract duties of up to 25 percent, China’s commerce ministry said. The steel is used to make power transformers.
Tags: Advertisement Opportunities, Ak Steel, Baltic Dry Index, Bhp Billiton, Bill Gross, Blast Furnace, Bureau Of Statistics, Carbon Steel Products, China, Cold Weather, Commodities, Crude Steel Production, Emerging Markets, energy, Gold, International Energy Agency, Kilowatt Hours, Lake Carriers Association, Market Strengths, National Bureau Of Statistics, Natural Gas, Natural Gas Prices, Natural Resources, Nickel Prices, oil, Oil Demand, Oil Market Report, Queensland Australia, Ravensthorpe Nickel, Russia, Steelmaking, Term Oil, Utilization Rates
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