The blog launched its Downturn Alert last week, since when we have seen dramatic moves in oil markets. These may well lead to a slowdown in chemical orders, as buyers now have no need to secure supplies ahead of price increases, and may instead start reducing inventories to more ‘normal’ levels. • Brent (dotted red […]
Tag Archives | benzene
They don’t ring bells at market turning points. Otherwise, we could all retire to the Bahamas. But there is growing anecdotal evidence, from chemical buyers and the main retailers, that we may have reached at least a temporary market peak. And Brent crude oil has been stable for 4 weeks at $125/bbl. Equally, since 1970, […]
Benzene has always been the blog’s favourite indicator for the economic outlook. It has the most number of applications, due to its head-start in being a major product when coal was the main feedstock. Equally, paraxylene (PX) is an excellent indicator of demand in emerging economies, as their rise in living standards leads to greater […]
Benzene is the blog’s favourite leading indicator for chemical demand, due to its widespread use in the industry. Its recent price movements versus its naphtha feedstock, may therefore be telling us something quite important about changing supply/demand balances. As the chart above shows, based on ICIS pricing, its spread versus naphtha has become very volatile […]
The styrene business has been increasingly difficult in recent years: • CD and video sales went online, removing the need for polystyrene (PS) packaging • Prices for the main feedstock, benzene, leapt in the mid-2000′s, due to US gasoline market changes, forcing convertors to look at alternatives such as polypropylene • Recycling became an essential […]
Benzene markets have become increasingly volatile over the past few years. This is because there are now no major sources available of on-purpose supply, to balance demand. My speech at our Aromatics Conference in Berlin last week highlighted the changes that had taken place. Over the past 2 years, benzene spreads versus naphtha had fluctuated […]
This week’s ICIS Chemical Business includes the blog’s article on the changes taking place in global markets for ethylene, propylene, butadiene, benzene and paraxylene. These have a potential impact on buyers and sellers all the way down the various value chains. The article updates the blog’s major series on these issues in the summer, and […]
As promised, the 3rd of the blog’s series on the changes underway in the pricing of the major ‘building block’ chemicals, looks at benzene. The chart above shows its ‘spread’ versus naphtha, the key dynamic from a price and margin perspective. As can be seen, this was normally in the $80/t – $200/t range until […]
Unprecedented changes are taking place in the relative prices of the main ‘building block’ petrochemicals. In turn, these could have major implications for downstream users, all along the key value chains. Today’s post looks at the changes taking place in ethylene’s relative price to the other olefins, propylene and butadiene. On Monday, the blog will […]
A key rule for any successful trader is that high volume is always bullish, and low volume is negative. The blog first learnt this when trading oil products in Houston, on secondment from the UK in the 1980′s. And it has proved an invaluable guide ever since, in a wide range of markets. The rationale […]
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Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry.
The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such as oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts.
Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.