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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 […]

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 […]

Chem Companies Face Funding Crisis

  By John Richardson A collapse in the price of oil would expose petrochemicals producers, buyers and traders who have built- up stocks. They built up inventories because oil was on the way up earlier this year. And they were also encouraged to stock-up because of more confidence over the Eurozone, relative to Q4 last […]

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 […]

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 […]

MEG Continues To Struggle

By John Richardson THE above chart is a further illustration of what we believe is the wrong consensus view over China. Q1 2012 mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) imports surged by 30% compared with the same period last year, as traders bet on a sharp rebound in China’s economy. They believed all the talk of more local […]

Chems Trade Finance Threat

By John Richardson NEW banking regulations could severely restrict the ability of small and medium-sized (SMEs) companies to access trade finance. This would hit Asia particularly hard, as the majority of chemicals and polymer business involves SMEs. Under the Basel III regulations, due to be phased in from next year, a three-month trade finance loan will […]

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 […]

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