Vale expected to resume operations at Brucutu mine
Vale has said that it expects to resume operations at it’s Brucutu mine within 72 hours after a securities filing on Tuesday 16th April. The Brucutu mine is the largest in Brazil’s Minas Gerais state and was closed in early February following the burst dam in January in the town of Brumadinho that killed hundreds of people. Earlier that day an injunction was overturned in the Brazilian court that prevented Vale from reopening the mine even after authorisation was given by the state of Minas Gerais in early March.
In the same filing, Vale also stated that it expects iron ore and pellet sales to reach, 307 and 332 million tonnes, which is the mid-range of what was expected earlier following strong rains in March and April in the state of Maranhao affecting the port of Ponta da Madeira and rail transportation in the region.
Following the Brumadinho disaster, Brazil’s share in iron ore markets worldwide is expected to decrease by 1% this year to 24.2%. Meanwhile, Australia’s share is expected to increase from 54% to 56.7%.
Panama Canal- Weather forces draft restrictions
The Panama Canal Authority has been forced to impose draft restrictions due to a drop in Gatun Lake water levels. It is expected that the situation will continue for an extended time during the period of the dry season. The standard draft restriction is 15.24 metres but from 10th April this was reduced to 13.72 metres and from 30th April this will be further reduced to 13.41 metres.
The canal authority is currently working on plans for a third water reservoir that would help replenish the locks system during dry weather as well as providing drinking water to the population of Panama. The authority will make a decision by the end of the year and should the project get the go-ahead it is expected to take four years to complete.
Chinese Economy shows improvement
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has upgraded its growth forecasts for China. In the latest World Economic Output report, released earlier this month, China is projected to grow by 6.3% this year, up from the previous forecast of 6.2%. The data indicates that the stimulus measures put in place by Beijing earlier this year are taking hold, the economy is expanding and there is renewed hope that the ongoing trade war between the US and China will reach an agreement.
Oil prices reach year high
Oil prices have risen again this week as global benchmark Brent hit a year high of $72/barrel on Wednesday, reinvigorating crude market sentiment around the world. Strong demands from Chinese refineries have also contributed to the strong sentiment in oil prices along with a decrease in US stockpiles. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) US Crude inventories fell by 1.4 million barrels last week