European ethylene production at 1996 low

Economic growth


C2 OR Jan14Nobody was expecting very much from Q4 ethylene production in Europe, as several plants had been taken offline in December due to lack of demand.  And yet it is still possible to be disappointed by the actual outcome as reported by APPE.  As the chart above shows:

  • Q4 production at 4.4MT was the lowest since the terrible results of Q4 2008 (purple)
  • H2 output at 9.2MT was almost exactly the same as in 2012, and only just above 2008
  • Total 2013 output at 18.5MT was the lowest since 1996, when volumes were still climbing year-by-year

In fact, the chart gives a clear indication that European ethylene production is now in steady decline.  Operating rates were just 78% in 2013, worryingly close to the 77% seen in 2009.  That might have been seen as a one-off post-Crisis problem.  But data since then suggests a long-term trend is now underway.

Propylene data confirm the miserable picture.  It was the highest since 2010 at 14.6MT, due to changes in severity to maximise output.  But Q4 was weak at 3.4MT, and lower than 2012 as propylene prices came under pressure.

Butadiene was the same story, with output at 1.9MT in 2013 also the lowest since 2009, and otherwise the lowest since 1996.  The lack of recovery in the European car market continues to take its toll, as the blog will discuss later this week in relation to the problems at Lanxess.


And now the stumble?


Last week the US Federal Reserve announced the second move in its so-called tap...

Learn more

Seven global implications of China's new policies


Everyone remembers the old joke, “Why did the elephant wear dark glasses?&...

Learn more
More posts
Debt, deflation, demographics and Brexit set to challenge London house prices

London property websites haven’t used the word “reduced” for many years. But it...

The bill for two decades of doomed stimulus measures is due

The Financial Times kindly made my letter on the risks now associated with central bank stimulus the...

Local supply chains replace global trade as world starts to “do more with less”

Something quite dramatic is happening in the global economy.  Of course, Wall Street analysts still...

Financial markets enter their Convulsion phase

Many companies and investors are still comparing today’s downturn to the 9-month hiccups seen afte...

World risks moving from Denial into Anger as the Paradigm of Loss moves forward

The head of the IMF has warned again on the likely scale of the economic depression ahead: “Gl...

The world has wasted 3 months – there is little time now left to avoid a Covid-19 catastrophe

It is now 3 months since China’s state television broadcast the first news of the Wuhan virus,...

A new recession era to emerge

Contingency planning has become mission-critical. The longer the coronavirus pandemic continues, the...

Chain’s smartphone and auto sales tumble as coronavirus hits demand

China is the world’s largest market for smartphones and autos – responsible for c30% of ...


Market Intelligence

ICIS provides market intelligence that help businesses in the energy, petrochemical and fertilizer industries.

Learn more


Across the globe, ICIS consultants provide detailed analysis and forecasting for the petrochemical, energy and fertilizer markets.

Learn more

Specialist Services

Find out more about how our specialist consulting services, events, conferences and training courses can help your teams.

Learn more

ICIS Insight

From our news service to our thought-leadership content, ICIS experts bring you the latest news and insight, when you need it.

Learn more