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Asian Chemical Connections

China PE Demand Weakness Continues

 By John Richardson LET’S put this into context: China’s polyethylene (PE) demand grew by 53 percent in 2008-2010. Growth during the first seven months of this year was just 1.7 percent over Januuary-July 2011, according to Global Trade Information Services (GTIS). And when compared with the same seven months in 2010 growth was flat, as the […]

A Game Of Two Halves

Source: ICIS   By John Richardson CHINA’S fibre intermediates industry could end of being a game of two halves in 2012, to use an old football (or soccer for the benefit of our America readers) cliché. The reason is that the first half of the year was characterised by very weak demand as the overall […]

Middle East-China MEG Exports Surge

By John Richardson MONO-ETHYLENE glycol (MEG) exports to China rose to 4.12m tonnes in the first half of this year from 3.38m tonnes during the same period in 2011, according to data from Global Trade Information Services (GTIS). The main beneficiary of the export surge was the Middle East as H1 2012 exports from Kuwait […]

China’s Unreliable GDP Data

  By John Richardson THE economic slowdown throughout Asia became more apparent last week with the release of disappointing data, prompting interest rate cuts in China, Vietnam and South Korea. China’s key polyethylene (PE) market responded as trading volumes fell and sentiment weakened for the week ending 13 July, according to ICIS. Market participants, however, expressed […]

KPMG Warns Of US Overcapacity

  By John Richardson A management consultancy has gone on the record to warn about what the blog has been warning about for months: That the US petrochemicals industry is in danger of pushing itself into oversupply. KPMG, in a report released late last month, said that the success of planned US expansions, including as […]

Northeast Asia PE Weakest Margins

  Source: ICIS pricing Weekly Asian PE Margin Report   By John Richardson The slide above shows how Northeast Asian naphtha-based polyethylene (PE) producers are struggling as a result of the weak China market (dark blue bars). And it confirms what we were discussing yesterday: The US, with its ethane advantage and with reportedly high […]

Asian Operating Cuts Not Enough

By John Richardson ASIAN naphtha cracker operators have cut production in response to the exceptionally weak China market, according to ICIS. Yeochun Naphtha Cracker Centre (YNCC) has, for instance, lowered operating rates to 90 percent from 100 percent at its three crackers in Yeosu. South Korea, from the end of May. The total capacity of its […]

Stimulus Nonsense Raises Hopes

By John Richardson EARNINGS estimates for South Korean petrochemical companies will have to be cut by 50 percent for the full year 2012, said an industry observer. “It is quite clear that the first quarter was dreadful for the South Koreans and the second quarter will probably be even worse,” he added. There was a […]

China PE Demand Falls Six Percent

By John Richardson The 6% decline in apparent polyethylene (PE) demand in China from January to April this year, compared with the same periods in 2011 and 2010, underlines what market participants have been telling the blog for many months. The above chart also further emphasises how, in a weak market, the Middle East is […]

The H2 Recovery Story

By John Richardson THE majority of chemicals analysts have yet to wake up and smell the coffee, according to an industry observer. “South Korean stocks have come off by 15-30% since their big recovery in January, but it is only the timing rather than the overall sentiment that has changed,” said the observer. “The theory […]

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