Paraxylene-Orthoxylene Prices, markets & analysis
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Paraxylene-Orthoxylene overview Transcript
Paraxylene or PX is the largest volume isomer of the mixed xylene aromatic stream. Almost all PX goes in the production of the fibre intermediate purified terephthalic acid (PTA) which is subsequently used in polyester production.
The global PX market has been generally tight with strong growth witnessed in the downstream segment. Pricing for PX is generally influence by crude futures and sentiment in the down stream markets.
Production issues can quickly lead to fluctuation in prices in Asia where trade is relatively liquid as compared to the rest of the world. Asian PX trade is largely contract based, but there is still a fairly liquid spot market. Japan and South Korea are major exporters to the world’s largest importer, China. The recent emergence of producers in the middle east could fundamentally alter trade flows.
Orthoxylene or OX is the second largest volume isomer of the mixed xylene stream. OX is typically a by-product of PX production and is typically consumed in the manufacture of phthalic anhydride (PA). Pricing for OX is generally influenced by movements in crude futures, costs of raw materials as well as sentiment in the downstream PA sector. Supply of OX is tight in Asia as makers have scaled back operating rates to maximise production of the more lucrative commodity, PX.
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Paraxylene-Orthoxylene: Market overview
Updated to Q1 2015
Asia’s paraxylene (PX) should closely track upstream crude and naphtha values. Demand is expected to be slow due to the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday in February. The orthoxylene (OX) spot market in Asia is expected to face downward pressure, with weak demand from the key China market, steep declines in feedstock prices and abundant supply. Several downstream Chinese phthalic anhydride (PA) plants have lowered operating rates as high OX costs reduced profit margins.
Contract pricing for US PX will follow the trends in Asian PX spot prices, while US OX will follow US spot prices for mixed xylenes (MX). Demand for PX is expected to be slow because the downstream polyethylene terephthalate (PET) market is in its off season. Demand for OX is expected to be steady on the back of a stable downstream PA market.
Europe’s PX market should continue to be weak with downstream volumes limited following some extended shutdowns in the purified terephthalic acid (PTA) industry. Weak global prices also limit export opportunities. Pricing should continue to follow Asia’s lead. OX should remain tight due to limited PX production, with prices at some premium to global levels.
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Para Ortho xylene Methodology
Paraxylene (PX) is the largest volume isomer of the mixed xylenes. Around 98 percent of PX demand comes from the polyester chain via the one of its intermediatespurified terephthalic acid (PTA) or dimethyl terephthalate (DMT). The breakdown for polyester demand is 65 percent from fibre, 27 percent from polyethylene terephthalate(PET) bottle resin and the remainder from film and other plastic end uses. Polyester demand is expected to grow at six percent a year over the next few years with the PET resin bottle market seeing the fastest growth. A small amount of PX is used as a solvent and in the production of di-paraxylene and herbicides.
Paraxylene is a flammable liquid and a fire hazard. When heated to decomposition, paraxylene emits acrid smoke and fumes. Vapours may travel to a source of ignition and flash back.
Orthoxylene (OX) is the second largest of the three commercial isomers of xylene. Almost all OX produced is consumed in the manufacture of phthalic anhydride, which is converted to plasticisers, alkyd and polyester resins. Small quantities are used in solvent applications and to make bactericides, soybean herbicides and lube oil additives. It is also used to make phthalonitrile, which is converted to copper phthalocyanine, a pigment.
Orthoxylene is a flammable liquid and a fire hazard. When heated to decomposition, orthoxylene emits acrid smoke and fumes. Vapours may travel to a source of ignition and flash back.
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