The Paraxylene-Orthoxylene (PX-OX) markets are covered by ICIS' network of locally-based reporters in Asia, Europe and the US. The weekly reports bring you in-depth news on spot on contract markets and analysis in the commentary provides intelligence on developments in market activity, upstream movements, production news and graphs.
These are an essential tool for those involved in the industry to keep abreast of market movements and make crucial commercial choices.
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 Q3 2016
Europe: Demand for European paraxylene (PX) may slow down in the third quarter of the year with the summer lull kicking in and relatively slow downstream polyethylene terephthalate (PET) demand. Spot prices are likely to remain on netback with Asian prices.
Asia: The demand for PX is expected to dip in the third quarter once downstream end-users in China shut down for the G20 meetings scheduled for early September in Hangzhou. Downstream PTA units will have varying levels of shutdown depending on their proximity to the meeting locations. However, the dip in demand is expected to be tempered by the possible restarts of some idled PTA units.
US: The US PX sector in Q3 could see demand soften as end user markets hit their slow seasons. PET demand has been slow for most of the summer. Autumn is the start of PET’s slow season, and less PX will be needed in the market.
Updated to Q3 2016
Europe: The European orthoxylene (OX) market supply has been tight during the second quarter of the year with France’s Total in force majeure and at least one other producer experiencing technical issues. Sources are, however, optimistic that availability will improve in July.
Asia: Within Asia, supply of OX is expected to lengthen in the third quarter upon the restart of Singapore’s Jurong Aromatics Corporation aromatics complex. The plant has a template capacity of 200,000 tonnes/year of OX, with commercial operations starting in August. Most players surmise downward pressures on shrinking demand stemming from negative margins.
US: The US OX market could see some softening of demand in Q3. However, indications that downstream phthalic anhydride (PA) demand remains strong, and that PA flake supply remains snug.
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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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