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.
China’s polyethylene (PE) demand in 2022 could fall by 3% over last year. Net imports may be as much as 3.9m tonnes lower
FEW PEOPLE HAVE made money out of shorting China. Time and time again, brief periods of weak economic growth have been followed by roaring, eye-wateringly big recoveries.
By John Richardson WE NOW HAVE enough data to make some firm conclusions about what the Chinese polyethylene (PE) market will have looked like in 2021. We can also make some early estimates about the shape of the market in 2022. The slide below details what the ICIS apparent demand data for January-October 2021 (our […]
By John Richardson THE CHART BELOW shows that 60% of global benzene production in 2021-2040 is forecast to be made via technologies linked to refining units that also make gasoline components. The 60% includes a 33% share for catalytic reformers that make toluene, mixed xylenes (MX) and benzene, referred to collectively as reformate. In the […]
By John Richardson WE ALL NEED TO ASK ourselves whether the global patterns in polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) pricing and margins that we have seen over the last year represent a long-term divergence in global markets or something temporary. As discussed on Monday, when I examined linear low-density PE (LLDPE) market (and the same […]
By John Richardson THE BALTIC DRY INDEX, one of the excellent barometers of overall economic activity, was late last week at its lowest level since June on a slowing Chinese economy, easing congestion at Chinese ports and a fall in Chinese coal imports (more on this in a moment). “The index was around 1,000 a […]
By John Richardson AGAIN, DON’T say I didn’t tell you. In my 11 October blog post, having talked to people who know what they are talking about, I flagged up the possibility that China’s energy shortages could be fixed a lot quicker than many people were suggesting. Those in the know about China told me […]
By John Richardson TRADE DATA when combined with price assessments, supply and demand estimates and market intelligence is the modern-day equivalent of alchemy with a rather important difference: we can genuinely convert numbers and conversations with the market into gold, unlike the bogus science of alchemy. A great example is the chart below, the first […]
By John Richardson RARELY, IF EVER, have events felt so bafflingly complex in the global polyethylene (PE) business. Take as an example the chart below listing the factors that have reshaped demand since the beginning of the pandemic. Let’s go through these factors one by one, box by box. It is reasonable to assume, starting […]