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:
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.
Negotiations on annual contracts are under way for many in the plastics supply chain, and the market conditions looming over the bargain table have rarely been as complex and vexing. After a year of ever-increasing resin prices on the back of strong demand and the potent cocktail of supply and logistics issues, diverging market pictures […]
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 […]
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 […]
The question came over innocuously enough. “Market prices for ethylene are structurally the highest in Europe and lowest in US with Asia moving in between. … For MEG, however, my understanding is that there is not such a high difference between market prices in US and EU. What is the reason for that? Main cost […]
Why the supply chain needs to sometimes look beyond simple supply-demand models to understand chemical markets Understanding why a particular chemical market is behaving in a certain way sometimes requires some sleuthing. For example, when you see headlines such as this on ICIS News, one naturally thinks they have found a market experiencing high demand […]