Whichever regional Fibre intermediates markets you work in, ICIS offers the thorough pricing information you need to operate with confidence.
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Fibre Intermediates Overview
ICIS coverage of fibre intermediates refers to purified terephthalic acid, PTA, and monoethylene glycol, MEG. Both are key intermediates in the production of polyester.
Demand for both intermediates is expected to be maintained at high growth rates of 6% to 7% in the coming years.
Due to large PTA expansions in China, supply is expected to exceed demand in the near future and PTA margins are expected to be squeezed.
Tight feedstock paraxylene supply could however limit PTA operating rates.
Supply of MEG is expected to remain tight in the medium term, because very few naphtha-based MEG projects have been announced. Existing capacities of MEG are expected to run at very high rates increasing the underlying volatility and speculation in this market.
Substantial increase of future supply may depend on whether coal to MEG technology can be successfully industrialised.
Downstream consumption from the polyester section is also expanding but is likely to lag behind the growth in available supply. Consumption of polyester could also be curbed by slower overall economic growth around the world in the coming two to three years.
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Fibre intermediates: Market overview
Asia’s polyester demand recovered from the end of March, which underpinned spot purified terephthalic acid (PTA) prices in April and May.
The price outlook for PTA is bearish, because Asia’s supply growth is expected to outpace demand in 2013. Three large-scale PTA start-ups, from 1.5m tonnes/year to 4.5m tonnes/year, are due in China this year.
These will see Asia’s PTA capacity grow by 9.9m tonnes/year, to 63.7m tonnes/year by the end of 2013. Meanwhile, demand across the region is expected to increase by 2.8m tonnes in 2013.
Asia’s PTA producers have been running at reduced rates because of poor margins, which are likely to continue for most of 2013 because of long supply and slower economic growth in Asia.
In Europe, demand for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) has remained weak, while the peak season should be well under way by now.
Economic uncertainty and a general malaise in demand are leading buyers to remain on the sidelines.
PTA prices tend to follow the upstream paraxylene (PX) trend. US PTA prices are under downward pressure because of soft demand compared with last year and falling Asia PX prices on the back of weak Brent crude futures and macroeconomic concerns.
Updated to mid-May 2013
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