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Asian Chemical Connections

No escaping the squeeze

By Malini Hariharan With naphtha crossing $1000/tonne yesterday Asian petrochemical producers reliant on this feedstock remain caught in a tight spot. Costs are continuously rising while market direction for key derivatives is uncertain. Ethylene and propylene prices are holding firm at around $1,350/tonne CFR Northeast Asia and $1,500/tonne CFR Northeast Asia respectively, supported by a […]

Pulled in all directions

By Malini Hariharan Asian polyolefin producers face a difficult time with markets being pulled in different directions. Feedstock costs have steadily moved up at a time when downstream demand and price direction remains uncertain. Political upheaval in Libya and Bahrain pushed WTI crude oil to over $94/bbl yesterday while Brent hit $107/bbl. Naphtha soared to […]

PX: Still going strong

By Malini Hariharan Paraxylene (PX) markets are on a roll. Prices have risen by 20% since the beginning of the year and were assessed at around $1,620/tonne cfr Asia late last week by ICIS pricing. One contract nomination for March was out yesterday with JX Nippon Oil proposing a $110/tonne increase to $1,730/tonne cfr Asia. […]

Weak demand haunts China PE markets

By John Richardson IS China’s polyethylene (PE) market going through a temporary lull or are we seeing a sea change in conditions that could spell problems for the rest of this year? This was the question, to paraphrase Hamlet, facing the global industry late last week as lacklustre post Chinese New Year (CNY) demand continued. […]

Coal chemicals wave sweeps China

By Malini Hariharan A few months back the blog had expressed sceptism on a Chinese company’s plans for a methanol-to-olefins (MTO) project based on imported methanol. The economics of such projects appear doubtful but many Chinese companies are looking to go down the same road. In its annual review on China’s coal chemical industry, Consultancy […]

Polyolefin numbers look good

By Malini Hariharan Pic source: www.brandft.co.uk The blog is in undertaking the difficult task of collecting demand numbers for polyolefins across major Asian markets. Preliminary estimates show that demand growth has been quite healthy in the two major markets – China and India. Chinese polyethylene (PE) demand (measured as local production plus imports minus exports) […]

What’s next for PetroChina and Ineos?

By Malini Hariharan After months of talks, PetroChina finally signed a framework agreement with Ineos for partnerships in refining, trading and petrochemicals at Grangemouth in Scotland and Lavera in France. The companies will be working towards the formation of these ventures by end-June 2011. PetroChina’s parent China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and Ineos also signed […]

Methanol: China key to upbeat forecasts

By Malini Hariharan When it comes to methanol its all about China. Producers are expecting another strong year if Chinese demand remains robust. China’s appetite kept Asian spot prices in the $200-410/tonne range last year and the expectation is for prices to hover between $300-400/tonne this year, writes my colleague Heng Hui, ICIS pricing methanol […]

One more view on the cycle

By Malini Hariharan The debate on the next petrochemical upcycle is heating up. After confident forecasts of a “supercycle” the blog is increasingly hearing more cautious assessments Take the recent report from Credit Suisse which stresses that while conditions for a period of bumper margins are favourable there are still many uncertainties. Pic source: avalonwine.com […]

India PE in a tight spot

By Malini Hariharan It is not just China where polyethylene (PE) producers face problems. Indian producers have been struggling to place volumes as huge imports during the last couple of months have saturated the domestic market. PE import volumes were said to have hit a record high of 104,000 tonnes in October. And my colleague […]

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