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:
Ethylene-derivative opportunities take centre stage at IPC
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.
Logistics will signal pathway to market normalisation
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.
Market danger set to lurk in the Gulf
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 […]
Chemical, resin plants may be hurricane-ready, but markets are not
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 […]
Fundamentals will matter to plastics markets again, and be careful when they do
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 […]
Can consumers afford the price rises commodities are portending?
Get ready to open your wallets a bit more. Whether you are in the chemical business, the services industry or the business of feeding people, the cost of business continues to rise. As those costs rise, so too are the number of questions surrounding the emergence of inflation into economies hoping to emerge from the […]
End result of Biden’s ambitious infrastructure proposal may underwhelm
Reinvestment in infrastructure has finally made it to centre stage of US political discussions, but prepare to be underwhelmed by what ultimately results from what will be a partisan debate over a subject that on its surface should not be contentious. This blog previously has expressed optimism that a large investment in US infrastructure renewal […]
Immense challenges facing chemical, polymer procurers
Mid-February’s prolonged freeze on the Texas-Louisiana coast has juiced up market commentary as much as it has most petrochemical and polymer pricing. Just days after the storm, a polyethylene (PE) trader said that the freeze’s effects on regional and global supplies would be “worse than Hurricane Harvey”. Perhaps so, because not long after, a PE […]
Great news buried beneath recent vaccine headlines
With news bubbling up about coronavirus variants, here is a variant message of my own: Look past the recent coronavirus headlines and you will find some extremely hopeful developments. The remarkably high efficacy rates for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines quickly spoiled us after health experts for months said that anything over 50% effective would […]