Day: September 26, 2016

Idera Pharmaceuticals Reports Promising Data from Ongoing Phase 1 Dose Escalation in Clinical Trial of Intra-tumoral IMO-2125 in Combination with Ipilimumab in Patients with PD-1 Refractory Metastatic Melanoma

– 3 Patients with PD-1 Refractory Cutaneous Melanoma are Responders Including One Complete Response (CR) – – Driven by Increased Prioritization of IMO-2125 Clinical Development, Company Suspends Development of IMO-8400 for B-Cell Lymphomas – CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and EXTON, Pa., Sept. 26, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Idera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDRA), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing Toll-like receptor […]

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UAE port to publish weekly oil inventory data to improve transparency

The United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah, until now the Middle East’s largest commercial storage hub for refined oil products, will publish weekly inventory data to improve transparency and boost the credentials of the Emirates’ only Indian Ocean port that has oil export facilities.

With crude oil prices still low, the move is in line with the UAE government’s 2021 Vision to open up its data. The country’s energy minister, Suhail Al Mazroui, says it will bolster Fujairah’s drive to replicating the practices of leading global energy trading ports such as Singapore and Rotterdam.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Gulf Intelligence Energy Market Forum held at the port city, Al Mazroui noted: “This transparency initiative will play a key role in Fujairah’s evolution from a key logistics hub for global energy markets.

“Today Fujairah sits at the heart of the new energy corridor opening up East of the Suez Canal to Asia, and not only is it a world-class bunkering and oil products storage centre – it is now also becoming an important crude oil export hub.”

Al Mazroui added that the port had immense potential to become the storage centre for trading in the Gulf, Africa and the Mediterranean.

On Wednesday (21 September), Fujairah opened the UAE’s first Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) jetty capable of handling the loading/unloading of up to two million barrels per vessel. It cost AED 650m (Pound 137m, $177m), with the construction of a second jetty already underway.

At the time of the jetty’s inauguration, the port received another boost after global energy data provider Platts announced it would publish independent, outright price assessments for a range of oil products for the Middle East market on a FOB [Free-On-Board] Fujairah basis starting on 3 October, 2016.

The new assessments are for gasoline, diesel/gasoil, jet fuel and fuel oil. They will be published alongside existing data for these products which derive their values from the price assessments at Singapore after adjusting for shipping costs.

Dave Ernsberger, Head of Oil Content at S&P Global Platts, said the port’s transparency drive was a positive step which would help traders and investors to see opportunities and risks more clearly.

“The Middle East has seen substantial growth in refining and storage capacity, growth in physical oil trading and market participation.

“These factors have contributed to a vibrant and active spot physical market for oil products and a substantial increase in the over the counter trading of oil product derivatives, mainly for hedging purposes.

“Market participants have identified a need for independent oil products price assessments based on the growing regional hub of Fujairah in addition to the existing and widely used Singapore netback prices.”

The Port of Fujairah started full operations in 1983, and experienced exponential growth from the start of the 1990s. From an oil throughput of 550,000 tonnes in 1994, the port grew to handle 56m tonnes of oil products in 2015.

With the likes of Vitol and Gulf Petrochem bolstering their presence at the port, private tank storage capacity is tipped to exceed 14m cubic metres by 2020, from an expected 9m cubic metres by the end of 2016.

Source: Business Times

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Second successive quarterly rise in shipping confidence

Shipping confidence, notably on the part of charterers and managers, improved for the second successive quarter in the three months to end-August 2016.

In August 2016, the average confidence level expressed by respondents was 5.4 on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high). This is an improvement on the 5.1 recorded in May 2016, and the highest rating for the past nine months of the survey, which was launched in May 2008 with a confidence rating of 6.8.

Although confidence on the part of owners was down this time from 5.7 to 5.3, charterers (up from 4.0 to 4.8), managers (up from 5.1 to 6.0) and brokers (up from 4.3 to 4.5) were all more optimistic than in May 2016. Geographically, confidence was up in Asia, from 5.2 to 5.5, and in North America from 5.0 to 5.8, with sentiment in Europe unchanged at 5.2.

Overcapacity was the dominant theme of comments from respondents to the survey. “Scrapping is still not sufficient to cope with newbuilding deliveries and the general supply-side overhang. Every new order will prolong the crisis,” said one, while another noted, “If we all stay away from ordering relatively cheap tonnage today, supply and demand will soon recover.”

Conditions in the dry bulk market also occupied the thoughts of large numbers of respondents. “Implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention will most likely solve overcapacity,” said one, “but it will also cause a bloodbath among owners.” Another remarked, “Growth is non-existent, so there is no hope there,” while another still simply said, “We have lost confidence in the dry bulk market.” Other respondents were slightly more optimistic, with one noting, “We expect the dry bulk markets to improve significantly during the course of 2017.”

Concerns about the global economy were uppermost in the minds of a number of respondents, one of whom neatly encapsulated a number of the main issues currently impacting the shipping industry by noting, “Brexit, Trump, supply overhang, consolidation, demolition, bankruptcies, and the low risk appetite of banks for shipping and shipping stocks seem to be the main topics to follow for the next 12 months or so. We would be pleasantly surprised if this were to change.”

The likelihood of respondents making a major investment or significant development over the next 12 months was unchanged on the previous survey, with a rating of 4.9 on a scale of 1 to 10. The confidence of charterers in this respect was up significantly, from 4.1 to 5.0, while brokers also recorded a small increase, from 3.5 to 4.1. Owners and managers, however, were less confident in this regard than they were three months ago, dropping from 5.7 to 4.8 and from 5.4 to 5.3 respectively. One respondent said, “Massive investment, mainly from inexperienced funds and private entrepreneurs, has resulted in an oversupply of funding in some trades.”

The number of respondents who expected finance costs to increase over the next 12 months was down by six percentage points, to 35%. There was a noticeable fall in the numbers of owners (down by six percentage points to 31%), managers (down by 19 percentage points to 30%) and charterers (down by two percentage points to 27%) anticipating higher finance costs. One respondent said, “Shipping banks need to be more realistic about pricing if they want to sell debt as a means of reducing their exposure to the sector.”

Demand trends, competition and tonnage supply featured again as the top three factors cited by respondents as those likely to influence performance most significantly over the coming 12. Demand trends, which were up by two percentage points to 26%, remained in first place, with competition (down by three percentage points to 20%) in second. Tonnage supply, unchanged at 16%, occupied joint-third spot with finance costs, which were up by one percentage point. Operating costs, up by one percentage point to 10%, featured in fifth place, ahead of fuel costs (5%) and regulation (4%). One respondent said, “We have read many, many times that we have reached the bottom of the cycle, only for a lower offer to appear in the market a few hours later.”

The number of respondents expecting higher charter rates in the tanker market over the next 12 months was unchanged at 23%, while the numbers anticipating lower tanker rates rose by three percentage points to 37%. Meanwhile, there was a five percentage-point drop, from 43% down to 38% in the numbers of like mind in the dry bulk trades, and a one percentage point increase, to 12%, in the numbers anticipating lower dry bulk rates. In the container ship sector, the number of respondents expecting higher rates was up by one percentage point to 22%, while there was a fall, from 20% to 16%, in the numbers anticipating lower rates.

The net sentiment in the tanker markets was -14, as opposed to +26 in the dry bulk markets and +6 in the container ship trades.

One respondent said, “Too many dry cargo ships have been built, and we are not confident that the freight market will improve sufficiently to justify investment, especially from people who have no previous experience of shipping.” Another remarked, “”A whole class of container ships is essentially obsolete following the opening of the widened Panama Canal.”

Respondents were asked a stand-alone question about the perceived barriers to women playing a greater role in the shipping industry. Overall, 31% of respondents placed ‘workplace attitude or corporate culture’ in the top five factors in this regard. ‘Travel implications in day-to-day roles’, meanwhile, was a top five factor for 21% of respondents, while ‘lack of career progression’ was placed third, at 19%. One respondent said, “There are no barriers. It is up to the individual to pursue her career with determination and strength of character.” Another, however, complained that, “The culture in the industry is male chauvinist.”

Richard Greiner, Partner, Shipping & Transport, says, “Given the challenges currently facing the industry, the continuing uncertainty surrounding the worldwide economy, and the ongoing level of global geopolitical instability, it is encouraging to see an increase in shipping confidence for the second successive quarter. Confidence is now at its highest level for nine months, which says much for the resilience of the shipping industry.

“Concern persists about too much tonnage and not enough recycling. Restoring the correct balance to tonnage supply and demand is a long-term undertaking, the complexities and diverse nature of which are arguably well captured by the respondent who noted, ‘We have divided interests. For our customers, we hope that nobody orders any vessels for the next 12 months. For us, we hope that people do, because we need newbuildings’.”

“Given the pace of technological development, the continuing imperative to improve the industry’s environmental footprint, and the exigencies of escalating regulation, the industry will always need newbuildings. The trick is to make sure that there is room – and work – for them in a market which encourages responsible competition and allows a sensible margin for profit. That requires, among other things, an increase in ship demolition levels which, given the recent decline in dry bulk recycling and the perceived impossibility of recycling enough container ships, seems unlikely.

“The maintenance of sensible levels of competition is also a prerequisite for a healthy and profitable shipping industry. Since the survey was launched in 2008, respondents have consistently identified competition as one of the main factors likely to influence their performance most significantly. All trade sectors thrive on responsible competition, which works as an incentive to progress and profitability. But irresponsible competition can have the opposite effect, witness the respondent who referred to ‘those who focus on how to trick, treat and corrupt under the broad term ‘competition’.”

“Perversely, the collapse of Hanjin Shipping Co., which occurred after our survey was concluded, may have a positive effect on overtonnaging, although nobody would have been looking for such an extreme solution. Hanjin’s collapse has sent shockwaves through the industry which will continue to reverberate for many months to come. It may also give pause for thought to those who see the future of container shipping as ever bigger and more diverse alliances.

“Equally perverse is the very real possibility that final ratification of the Ballast Water Management Convention may have a positive effect on overcapacity. It might not be correct to say that this development has sent shockwaves through the shipping sector, because the industry has known for some time that it has been coming, and has been pondering how best to meet its requirements and how to fund the considerable cost of so doing. It matters not whether it was the ratification by Finland which finished the uncertainty about implementation, or whether it was Panama’s huge fleet which activated the green light. A shock is no less shocking for being expected, and the fact is that the convention will enter into force in September 2017. It will be instructive to see how shipping deals with the issue, and from what level of preparedness, the extent of which will become clearer over the coming months.

“A stand-alone question in our survey asked respondents to name the biggest barriers to women playing a greater role in today’s shipping industry. More than 65% identified ‘workplace or corporate culture’ as the number one barrier. James Brown famously sang, ‘This is a Man’s World’, although not everybody remembers that the self-styled Godfather of Soul went on to say, “but it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman or a girl’. It is beyond any reasonable measure of doubt that shipping will need the efforts of every man and woman working within the industry today to tackle both current challenges and those which lie in wait.”

Source: Moore Stephens

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