Comparative PE and PP pricing data between Vietnam and southeast asia – and the “spreads” numbers between China PE and PP prices and naphtha costs – suggest the China economy has yet to recover.
Asian Chemical Connections
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) demand in the developing world in 2023 could contract by 300,000 tonnes, rather than, as in our base case, grow by 800,000 tonnes because of the food crisis.
Assuming all the other regions grew as under our base case, global growth would be 2% in 2023 rather than our base case of 4%.
At some point, polyolefins exporters to China and the local producers will regain pricing power. This will become apparent from a widening of spreads as economic activity returns to normal. It really is as simple as this. So, you need our data and analysis.
Every tonne you don’t produce, when you correctly assess that the demand isn’t there in a particular market, will be important in preserving cashflow. Cashflow could once again be king, as it was just during the 2008-2009 Global Financial Crisis; and every tonne that you do produce, when you accurately assess that demand is there will, of course, support your revenues.
SUPPLY-CHAIN problems continue to disrupt the global chemicals and polymer industries more than two years since the pandemic began.
Right now, the centre of attention of supply-chain anxiety is China.
Reductions in production seem to have been forced by the logistics and demand challenges caused by Zero-COVID.
How on earth does one respond to the daily news flow? The answer must be headline scenarios – best, – medium and worst-case scenarios
THE GLOBAL FOOD crisis is first and foremost a potential humanitarian disaster that must be avoided. But “must” doesn’t mean “will”, of course. Nobody should underestimate the scale of the challenges in front of us.
THE HEADLINE IN the above slide has always been the case. But why it was forgotten could be because many of us spent most, if not all, of our professional careers in the benign period between the end of the Cold War in 1991 and the pivot in the US approach to China, which happened some four years ago.
IF THE REPORTED new problems at Yantian container port –- the third largest in the world –- had happened before 24 February, the only concern would have been further disruptions to the global container business.
Back then, I would have only worried this would have caused yet another delay to in the fall in of east-west freight rates to much more manageable levels.
Under the Old Normal, high freight rates had created a divided polyolefins world – very strong pricing and margins in Europe and the US versus comparatively very weak pricing and margins in Asia.
High container freight rates had limited the ability of Middle East and Asian producers to relieve oversupply in the dominant China market through exporting to the West. The oversupply was the result of a China demand slowdown caused by Common Prosperity and big capacity increases in China and South Korea.
But does it now even matter that much that Yantian is said by CNBC to be effectively shut down because of the coronavirus-related lockdown affecting Shenzhen –- the city of 17m people where the port is located?
Not if we are already amid a collapse in demand for Chinese exports more significant than any reductions in container-freight shipments, the result of high inflation.
Or maybe China will, as it has done in the past, subsidise its exporters to keep the China price cheap enough to sustain its export trade. There are reports of this already happening.