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Quick recovery forecast for South Korea

By Malini Hariharan Analysts are predicting a quick recovery for South Korean petrochemical companies after a dismal performance in the last quarter. Honam Petrochemical’s Q4 2011 sales were down 14.7% quarter on quarter at Won3,488 bn. Operating profit declined 59.8% to Won158.4bn. LG Chem’s sales dipped 4.8% at Won5,602bn while operating profit slipped 30% to […]

Petchems And The Non-Profit Motive

By John Richardson AS the US contemplates raising its ethylene capacity by up to 29 percent by 2017, we would be fascinated to know whether the companies involved in these proposed expansions, and the “cheer leader” chemical industry observers spurring them on, have ever considered a chart such as the one below:      First […]

Confidence Is Often Relative

By John Richardson CONFIDENCE can be very relative. So, compared with late Q4 last year when global cracker and derivatives markets ground to a virtual halt, perhaps it was inevitable that January would see some kind of rebound in the industry’s mood. Deep operating rate cuts in Northeast Asia have been a factor behind this […]

China set for aromatics expansion

By Malini Hariharan China is preparing to bring onstream huge capacities for aromatics this year. Nearly 1.7m tonnes/year of  toluene capacity is due to be added, writes Dolly Wu in the latest issue of ICIS Chemical Business. The major projects to keep an eye on are Dragon Aromatics (350kta), Jilin Petrochemical (350kt), PetroChina Sichuan Petrochemical […]

A question of balance

By Malini Hariharan It is not surprising to read that at a time when many producers around the world are cutting production, cost-advantaged producers in the Middle East will be maintaining operations at their polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) plants. Producers in the region with access to cheap feedstockts are expected to run their plants […]

Operating rate cuts the only option

By Malini Hariharan News of operating rate cuts is pouring in. Crackers in Japan, Taiwan and parts of southeast Asia have been running at reduced rates of 80-90% in October. But now there is also talk of rate cuts at crackers in South Korea. More importantly, a Sinopec source confirmed yesterday that the Chinese major […]

Buying resumes but will it last?

By Malini Hariharan A spurt in polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) buying in China over the last few days has raised hopes among sellers that the market has bottomed out and prices should rise in the coming weeks. After hand-to-mouth buying for the last three months buyers are said to be replenishing stocks which should […]

Middle East Still Confident For Now

By John Richardson Confidence among Middle Eastern petrochemical producers remains high because they obviously now that as long as oil prices do not collapse they will continue to make excellent money, said a chemicals analyst. The blog believes that there is a very strong chance that crude will collapse to as little as $25 a […]

Chandra Asri stake up for sale?

By Malini Hariharan Indonesia’s sole cracker operator Chandra Asri faces yet another ownership change with Singapore’s Temasek Holding reported to be looking at divesting its stake in the company. The news report in the Wall Street Journal said several companies from Thailand, South Korea and Japan have shown interest in Temasek’s stake, including Thailand’s PTT […]

China And Bouncing Dead Cats

By John Richardson Fifty per cent of the blog (John Richardson) is on leave for the next two weeks. Next week Paul Hodges will be posting on Asian Chemical Connections. Paul runs the ICIS Chemicals & Economy blog.Then from the week starting 22 August my fellow ACC blogger, Malini Hariharan, returns from her leave and […]

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