As summer wanes and autumn draws near, storm clouds continue to gather on the horizon and creep closer with every new record for the Dutch TTF gas price. It is not a hyperbole to say that this winter looks quite harrowing for many commodity marketplaces, and Europe is ground zero for what on paper looks to be a seismic event that could lead to governments there deciding between heating homes and businesses operating. Let us hope the doomsday scenarios do not come to pass. Regardless, the situation sets up three themes that I think define the rest of 2022 and likely start the narrative that will be 2023:
Huge opportunities are at hand for US producers of ethylene and its derivatives, especially in a world where security of supply remains tenuous in many places.
Crude oil prices are rising at a rate at which passing on the increases downstream is proving untenable in some markets. Its volatility will spur further volatility in those chemical and polymer markets, heightening risks for supply chains across the world.
The packaging supply chain needs to come to grips with inflation, but in a context few are considering at the moment – the sustainability movement. Escalating prices for recycled plastics were expected. Escalating prices for everything else was not, and that poses new challenges for those who transact in the plastic supply chain and those tasked with steering their companies’ plastics circularity objectives.
Prices precipitously falling from their highs after months of feverous run-up is typical commodity market behaviour, but the conditions in which the current moves are occurring remain unusual. While indexes in the three major IPEX regions fell, the yawning gap between them remains atypically wide with little indication of towards deviating back to the historical norm.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I can prove the one here is worth 1,034. How so? Because my colleague John Richardson wrote that many in his excellent 5 September blog on the yawning gap between NE Asia and US polypropylene (PP) prices, and the reasons behind that. Without knowing those […]
Time to keep a watchful eye on the Gulf of Mexico. Apropos of the approaching peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, there is growing chatter among meteorologists about the possibility of a significant storm building in the southern Gulf’s Bay of Campeche by early next week, with the possibility that this could evolve into a […]
Forecasters of this year’s hurricane season expect above-normal activity, and so far that seems on point with the naming this week of the Atlantic’s fourth tropical system. The active start also should bring to mind the precarious state commodity chemical markets and their participants find themselves in right now. Should the Texas-Louisiana coast not navigate […]
How bad are things on the logistics front? A COVID-19 outbreak at the Port of Yantian in China is causing container ships to back up or to be diverted as services and deliveries are delayed. The port is critical to exports from China’s Pearl River Delta, a major manufacturing center in the world’s major manufacturing […]
Supply tightness in key commodities such as chemicals, polymers, lumber and steel has been a major story of 2021, but increasingly logistics are taking centre stage in this story as production of many materials ramps up only to find difficulties in moving products downstream to customers. Shortages seen in the plastics and chemicals markets are […]