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Asian Chemical Connections

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 […]

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 […]

China Tries To Transform Itself

By John Richardson CAN China succeed in transforming its economy from one which is over-reliant on exports to one where domestic consumption is a much bigger driver of growth? And how long will this process take and in the interim, can we expect a few years of lower GDP (gross domestic product) growth? As delegates […]

Last chance for Taiwan petchems

By Malini Hariharan The Taiwanese government is once again talking of removing a ban on cracker investments by Taiwanese companies on the mainland. The country’s minister of economic affairs said late last week that the government is willing to consider lifting the ban provided certain conditions are met. Taiwanese companies must have a controlling stake […]

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