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Asian Petchems Profits Could Test Historic Lows In 2018

By John Richardson

THE ASIAN steam cracker business has struggled to pass on higher oil prices as the above chart further underlines. As you can see, high-density polyethylene (LLDPE) injection grade spreads including selected co-products have slipped over the last …

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China Accelerates Pollution Campaign In 2018: Implications For Chemicals

By John Richardson

ON THE surface of things there will be no let up when China’s winter air pollution campaign ends in March, as I predicted would be the case. China is drawing up plans for tougher curbs on smog …

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Petchems Face Major Inventory Risk As Economic Confidence Builds

By John Richardson

NOBODY knows how many tonnes of un-cracked naphtha are sitting in steam cracker storage tanks around the world compared with H1 of last year.

Or how much plastic resin and rolls of plastic film are being held …

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In One Simple Chart: The Risk For Petchems From Crude

By John Richardson

Sometimes a simple chart is worth hundreds of words. A lot less than hundreds of words today, therefore, as you consider the above chart and these two key questions:

If the global economy was that strong, and/or…

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Asian Naphtha Cracker Spreads To Fall By 50% In 2018

By John Richardson

ASIAN naphtha cracker operators will see a 50% decline in average spreads, or differentials, between their raw-material costs and finished product prices in 2018 compared with last year, according to my forecasts in the above chart. This …

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Petchems Pricing Power, Operating Rates Tell Real Economic Story

By John Richardson

PETROCHEMICALS and polymers pricing power – how easily petrochemicals producers can pass-on higher oil prices to their customers – is a great measure of the strength of the overall global economy.

The reason is that petrochemicals are …

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Struggling Polyethylene In 2018, Strong Profits Elsewhere

By John Richardson

THERE will perhaps be two headline directions for the global chemicals and polymers industries in 2018:

I believe that the global polyethylene (PE) market has a very good chance of moving from last year’s peak margins to…

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Asian Naphtha-PE Spreads Collapse By 80% As 2018 Challenges Build

By John Richardson

ASIAN naphtha-to-polyethylene (PE) spreads collapsed by 80% in the first week of January compared with December last year because of the failure to pass on the rise in naphtha feedstock costs resulting from higher oil prices.

In …

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US-China Trade Relations In 2018: Prepare For The Worst

By John Richardson

WE GOT away with it in 2017 by luck rather than design, as there is of course very little that petrochemicals and polymers companies can do to prevent a global trade war other than lobbying politicians.

Part …

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2018 Oil and Petchems: Risk Of Mistaking Apparent For Real Demand

By John Richardson

PERHAPS the most important recent single paragraph of analysis, in the huge volume of analysis out there about oil markets, was this from Nick Cunningham in a 24 December article on oilprice.com:

The [global crude] inventory surplus …

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