Data and analytics house of the year: Refinitiv

Energy Risk Awards 2022: Firm’s swift reactions to world events provide clients with timely, actionable data

Amrit Singh
Amrit Singh, Refinitiv

Extreme weather events, the global pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have all had a huge impact on commodity markets in recent months, sending prices and volatility spiralling. Having access to accurate data streams and actionable analytics has become crucial.

Refinitiv, winner of the 2022 Energy Risk Data and analytics house of the year award, reacted speedily to world events as they unfolded, setting up new streams of coverage and updating delivery methods to give firms smooth access to critical and actionable information.

The firm offers unique and extensive coverage across the commodities complex with over 40 real-time pricing analytics for commodities products. These are developed using industry-standard models and proprietary quantitative methodology combined with insights and analysis from the Refinitiv commodities research team. The firm offers scalable self-service infrastructure and employs the latest data science and machine learning techniques.

All analytics are accessible using one code – known as Commodval – which is on the Refinitiv desktop product, Eikon.

“Creating and maintaining accurate curves and models is hugely time-consuming,” says Filippo Kassab, director at Refinitiv’s Analytics Centre of Excellence. “Refinitiv’s real-time pricing analytics enable clients to make intelligent decisions at speed and spend less time on analysis and more on trade strategy.”

Refinitiv’s ability to react quickly to market developments was illustrated in the container shipping market last year. In September 2021, supply-chain disruptions began causing massive delays to containerships, resulting in multi-billion dollar losses. The two largest ports in the US had a record number of cargo ships waiting at anchor or drifting off-coast. Strict quarantines in China added to delays. Container shipping freight costs spiked to record highs of more than $20,000 per container.

Refinitiv set up a dedicated page in Refinitiv Eikon to show real-time build-up of ships in the key ports of the US and China. The charts show the number of ships waiting, along with the length of their waiting time.

“The aim was to enable users to visualise, analyse and action upon data in real time by bringing together prices, tracking capabilities and analysis into one place,” says Amrit Singh, lead analyst, shipping. “The team has also been able to react to market changes, such as the introduction of new waiting areas off Long Beach.”

Rates are expected to remain elevated for the next year as new emissions targets for vessels in Europe will be introduced from January 2023, he adds.

Fabrice Maille
Fabrice Maille, Refinitiv

Another challenge in the shipping world came in November last year when ships in Chinese waters began disappearing from tracking systems due to the introduction of Personal Information Protection Law. The automatic identification system (AIS) data from ships is vital to tracking commodities’ movements using terrestrial stations along the coast. With China being a key importer of commodities, the lack of this data poses challenges to ocean supply-chain visibility.

Refinitiv’s teams worked speedily to acquire vessel location data that covered Chinese coastal waters. They did this through a feed from Spire Maritime, which includes ‘Dynamic’ AIS data, a unique technology that captures AIS vessel location data from receivers on ships. Refinitiv, which signed up to this data stream in January 2022, blends it with another source to create an enhanced vessel location data feed.

“This dynamic, mobile AIS data is now provided in one enhanced feed and has become a competitive advantage for us and our clients,” says Fabrice Maille, director, commodities & shipping product.

Even before Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, Refinitiv had created a Ukraine crisis app which it launched in February 2022, enabling customers to monitor news and market developments. The app includes commodities content for customers to track developments across commodity prices and the supply chain.

In May 2021, the power team launched an energy transition product, which includes detailed price, renewables generation and demand scenarios, as well as projections for how the conventional power plant fleet in Northwestern Europe will develop up to 2030. It includes a long-term price model that minimises the cost of dispatching power across five countries in central western Europe and the UK. It calculates the price, generation by source, and power flows in an hourly resolution for 25 different weather years.

Refinitiv is continuously monitoring and updating the way it delivers data and analytics to its customers and is quick to adopt new technologies when necessary. “We were early adopters of cloud solutions to overcome speed and volume constraints when sending data,” says Kassab. “This gives us the ability to scale quickly in the future.” 

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