Asia Chemical Industry Outlook for 2012

11 January 2012 02:00  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The following OUTLOOK '11 stories were published by ICIS news between Friday 23 December 2011 and Wednesday 11 January 2012. Please click on the headlines to read the full versions.

OUTLOOK ’12: Asia chemical shipping to soften, stay challenging
Freight rates for petrochemicals in Asia are expected to be stable-to-soft in 2012 because of weak demand for prompt shipments, oversupply of vessels and increased operating costs, industry sources said.

OUTLOOK '12: Asia naphtha seen buoyant on tight supply
Asia’s naphtha market is expected to be buoyant in 2012 because of a lighter cracker turnaround schedule and on expectations of firm buying from China and Taiwan, but the uncertainties about the global economy may cap demand growth, traders said.

OUTLOOK ’12: PX, OX supply expected to tighten in Asia
Players in the paraxylene (PX) and orthoxylene (OX) markets in Asia are bracing themselves for tight suppy in 2012 amid the bleak economic outlook, as the eurozone continues to struggle with its debt crisis, sources said.

OUTLOOK ‘12: Acetic acid prices to remain soft on ample supply
Asia’s acetic acid spot prices are expected to be weighed down by ample supply and weak demand in the first half of 2012, and hover at $400-500/tonne (€308-385/tonne) CFR (cost & freight) Asia, producers and traders said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Asia MA to stay bearish on supply glut, low demand
Maleic anhydride (MA) prices in Asia could come under “considerable downward pressure” in the first half of 2012, because of weak demand and oversupply, said regional producers.

OUTLOOK ’12: Challenging year ahead for Asian palm methyl esters
Asia’s palm methyl esters (PME) market will face a challenging year ahead with volatile feedstock crude palm oil (CPO) prices, an uncertain global economy and more countries in Europe placing the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) requirement on its biodiesel imports.

OUTLOOK ‘12: Asia olefins players brace for volatile times
Asian olefins producers, buyers and traders said they are bracing themselves for volatile times in 2012 because of the bearish global economy and fluctuations in upstream naphtha and crude prices.

OUTLOOK '12: Asia benzene fundamentals seen as stable-to-firm
Asia’s benzene fundamentals are expected to be stable-to-firm in 2012, with supply remaining high and downstream demand from phenol and caprolactam (capro) experiencing moderate growth, traders and producers said.

OUTLOOK ’12: China’s PP prices to fall in January-February
China’s polypropylene (PP) prices may fall in the first two months of 2012 on supply pressure from the Middle East and southeast Asia as well as the seasonally weak demand, before rebounding in March as firms restock, industry sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: China refineries to run at high rates in 2012
China’s refining capacity is unlikely to significantly increase next year that may partly result in refineries to run at high operating rates of above 85% throughout 2012, industry sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Asian styrene market to remain uncertain in 2012
The uncertainty seen in the Asian styrene monomer (SM) market in the later half of 2011 is likely to continue into at least the first half of 2012, according to traders, producers and buyers. 

OUTLOOK ’12: Asia polysilicon likely to be soft on economy, trade
Polysilicon spot prices in Asia are likely to be depressed for the first half of next year because tougher financing in debt-stricken Europe will dampen solar investments and the unfolding solar trade row between the US and China may affect the market, traders said.

OUTLOOK '12: Asia BD may surpass $3,000/tonne in January
Butadiene (BD) prices in Asia may rise above $3,000/tonne (€2,310/tonne) in January as traders snap up dwindling stocks ahead of the Lunar New Year, traders and producers said.

OUTLOOK ’12: China’s phenol supply to grow on new plants in 2012
China’s phenol supply is expected to rise steadily on the back of adequate global supplies, domestic capacity expansion, and an increase in downstream demand in 2012.

OUTLOOK ’12: China PVC rebound to be slow despite tight supply
China’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) import prices are likely to rebound next year on the back of tight supply, but the gains may be undermined by weak downstream demand and a bearish global economy, industry sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Asia PTA makers to face pressure after expansions
Asia’s purified terephthalic acid (PTA) producers will come under mounting pressure because of fresh capacity start-ups and plant expansions in 2012, producers, traders and end-users said.

OUTLOOK '12: Asia capro capacity to rise, nylon chain may be stagnant
Supply of caprolactam (capro) in Asia is expected to rise next year as new capacities come on stream, especially in China, but the nylon 6 (polyamide 6) chain is likely to remain stagnant on the back of increased global uncertainty, producers and buyers said.

OUTLOOK ’12: China bitumen demand to rebound as credit eases
China’s demand for bitumen will rebound in 2012, following an expected drop this year, as road-building activities pick up with the expected easing of tight access to credit, industry sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Asian MMA, PMMA prices to be soft on poor demand
Asian methyl methacrylate (MMA) and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) prices will face downward pressure next year on lower demand growth because of a slowing global economy, but price falls are likely to be curbed by aggressive production cuts, market players said.

OUTLOOK’12: Asia melamine price trends unclear on mixed views
Spot melamine price trends are unclear in the first quarter of 2012, with views on demand mixed amid an uncertain global economy, industry sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Firm China MTBE imports to temper crude volatility
The prices of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) in Asia are expected to be volatile in tandem with global crude futures in 2012, but the market will be supported by China’s stable MTBE imports as a result of booming demand from the domestic downstream chemical industry and the greater use of higher octane gasoline,  traders said.

OUTLOOK '12: Asia PET output may fall in H2 2012 on oversupply
Asia’s increasing oversupply of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle chips may force producers in China to operate their plants at reduced rates in 2012, market sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12:China ACN supply to grow on downstream demand
Acrylonitrile (ACN) supply in China – both domestic output and imports - is expected to grow steadily in 2012 on the back of stable downstream demand, mainly the acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) sector, market sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Asia petrochemical market to see rising competition
Petrochemical markets in Asia are likely to see increasing competition in 2012, amid low levels of economic growth in developed nations, as product flows are being redirected towards emerging regions.

OUTLOOK ’12: Asian base oils may stay soft amid fewer turnarounds
The surge in Asian base oil prices that occurred in the first half of 2011 is unlikely to be repeated in the same period this year amid a lighter refinery turnaround schedule and an uncertain global economic climate, market participants said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Volatile feedstocks to affect Asia oleochem prices
Asia’s oleochemical prices are likely to remain volatile in 2012 because of the unpredictable fluctuations in feedstock crude palm oil (CPO) and crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) prices and uncertain economic outlook, industry sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Asian MPG market uncertain in Q1 on macroeconomic woes
Asia’s monopropylene glycol (MPG) prices are expected to remain uncertain in the first quarter of 2012 because of the weakening global economy, industry sources said.

OUTLOOK '12: China BDO capacity to surge, room for export
China’s butanediol (BDO) capacity is expected to more than double to about 739,000 tonnes/year by the end of this year, from 291,000 tonnes/year in 2011, as the country is set to turn from a net importer to exporter by 2013, industry sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Asia liquid epoxy resins to be soft on weak demand
Asia’s liquid epoxy resin (LER) prices will likely be soft in the first quarter of 2012 because of weak demand from China and a slowdown in exports to Europe and the US, traders and sellers said.

OUTLOOK ’12: India PE, PP prices may slip on increased supply
India’s polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) prices will be under downward pressure in the first half of this year, following an expected increase in supply from new capacities and the lifting of anti-dumping duties (ADD) for Saudi PP imports, industry players said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Asia phenol margins under pressure on new capacities
Asian phenol makers’ margins will be under increasing pressure because of new capacities that are scheduled to come on stream and poor derivative demand amid an uncertain global economic outlook, market sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Asia titanium dioxide to stay high on firm feedstocks
Asia’s titanium dioxide (TiO2) market is likely to remain firm in 2012 as increasing raw material prices continue to pressure producers and supply is expected to remain tight, industry sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Asia MEG prices to rise as demand grows
The prices of monoethylene glycol (MEG) in Asia are set to rise in 2012 because of growing demand and limited capacity expansion, said producers, traders and buyers.

OUTLOOK’12: Asia sorbitol prices to stay stable in Q1 2012

The spot prices of sorbitol in Asia are expected to remain stable in the first quarter of 2012 because of marginally slower demand counterbalanced by rising raw material costs, market sources said.

OUTLOOK '12: Asia SBR prices to rise in Jan, may fall for rest of Q1
Styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) prices are under pressure to increase in January because of soaring feedstock

OUTLOOK ’12: China’s DOP capacity to rise, ops to remain low
China’s dioctyl phthalate (DOP) capacity is expected to grow to 3.56m tonnes/year in 2012 from 3.36m tonnes/year last year despite demand being less than half, pointing to lower operating rates and tougher times for DOP producers, industry sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Asia acetone trade flow to shift on new capacities
Asian acetone trade flow is set to shift, with imports of deep-sea cargoes expected to drop in 2012, in line with new capacities that are scheduled to come on stream in China, market sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Mideast PE, PP margins still good amid low growth
Middle East polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) producers will enjoy good margins because of stable feedstock costs in 2012, but prices will likely remain stable-to-soft as a result of competition and weak demand, industry players said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Growth in Mideast polyols, isocyanates to be strong
Growth in the Middle East toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) and methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) sectors is expected to be robust in 2012 because of the region's rapidly expanding infrastructure and population, market players said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Africa PE, PP demand steady despite global woes
Growth in local consumption will offset Africa's exposure to domestic and international crises and help to sustain current levels of polyolefin demand, industry sources believe.

OUTLOOK '12: Mideast, India solvents markets quiet in Q1 2012
The solvents market in the Middle East and India is expected to be quiet in the first quarter of 2012 as players continue to monitor the impact of the Europe debt crisis on the GDP and interest rates in these regions, industry sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: PO prices less bullish on worries of weaker demand
Market participants in Asia are toning down their bullish first-quarter forecasts for propylene oxide (PO) because of the uncertain macroeconomic outlook and worries about oversupply and weaker demand from China, the region’s largest PO consuming nation.

OUTLOOK ’12: Asia adipic acid prices unchanged on weak demand
Asia adipic acid (ADA) prices look set to remain stable at the current prices which are hovering slightly above production costs amid weak demand, industry sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Asia 2-EH prices seen bearish as China’s import drops
2-ethyhexanol (2-EH) prices in Asia may come under considerable pressure in 2012, as China’s 2-EH import requirement is estimated to decline in the wake of new world-scale capacities that the country is building, industry sources said.

OUTLOOK’12: India PVC consumption to remain low on weak economy
India's consumption of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is likely to continue growing slowly this year because of a persistently soft downstream demand amid a bearish outlook on the world economy, market sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Asian PA producers expect negative margins
Asian phthalic anhydride (PA) producers are bracing themselves for a challenging year ahead on expectations of negative production margins and a sharp drop in exports into China, industry sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: Asia caustic soda market to remain uncertain
Asia’s caustic soda market this year is shrouded in uncertainty as macroeconomic woes threaten to dampen demand although prices may find support via the weak by-product chlorine derivatives markets and reduced supply, industry sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: China capro supply to grow on new capacities in 2012
China’s caprolactam (capro) supply is expected to increase to 1.3m tonnes in 2012 from 1.15m tonnes in line with high import volumes and new capacities that are scheduled to come on stream this year, industry sources said.

OUTLOOK '12: Higher prices, volatility expected for Asia methanol
Asian methanol is expected to trend higher this year on the back of demand growth in China and little capacity expansion though prices are also expected to remain volatile amid increased spot liquidity, industry participants said.

OUTLOOK '12: Dim light from candles for Asia paraffin wax market
Asia's paraffin wax market is not looking at a bright future this year, given strong availability of cheaper substitute raw materials in candle-making, market sources said.

OUTLOOK ’12: China’s domestic urea output to exceed demand
China’s urea production is expected to increase in 2012, exceeding growth in downstream demand, with producers to face stiff competition amid a weak supply-demand outlook, market participants said.


By: Staff Reporter
+44 20 8652 3214



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