European ethylene production at 1996 low

Economic growth

SHARE THIS STORY

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.

PREVIOUS POST

And now the stumble?

03/02/2014

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

Learn more
NEXT POST

Seven global implications of China's new policies

05/02/2014

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

Learn more
More posts
Global chemical industry – key trends for success in today’s New Normal
02/08/2020

The chemical industry is the best leading indicator for the global economy. On Friday, I had the pri...

Read
Oil prices signal potential end to the V-shaped recovery myth
26/07/2020

Oil prices have moved into another ‘flag shape’ – which previously provided critic...

Read
Bankruptcies now the key risk as hopes for V-shaped recovery disappear
19/07/2020

Governments, financial markets and central banks all originally assumed the Covid-19 pandemic would ...

Read
Merkel warns of need to prepare for No Deal Brexit
05/07/2020

Most people missed the fact that last Tuesday was the last possible date to delay the UK’s exi...

Read
World moves from Denial to Anger, as the Paradigm of Loss moves forward
07/06/2020

I have been warning about the Covid-19 risk since early February, and in April suggested here that: ...

Read
The New Normal for global industry
31/05/2020

The global chemical industry is the third largest sector in the world behind agriculture and energy,...

Read
Debt, deflation, demographics and Brexit set to challenge London house prices
17/05/2020

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

Read
The bill for two decades of doomed stimulus measures is due
03/05/2020

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

Read

Market Intelligence

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

Learn more

Analytics

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