The Paraxylene-Orthoxylene (PX-OX) markets are covered by ICIS' network of locally-based reporters in Asia, Europe and the US. The weekly reports bring you in-depth news on spot on contract markets and analysis in the commentary provides intelligence on developments in market activity, upstream movements, production news and graphs.
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Paraxylene-Orthoxylene: Market overview
Updated to Q3 2018
Supply from the two new PX facilities are flowing into the market, while units previously shut for scheduled turnarounds are expected to be operational into Q3. India’s Reliance Industries limited had completed its scheduled turnaround, and the supply of Indian origin materials into key China markets are expected to increase.
Downstream polyester demand typically moves into a seasonal lull into Q3 in Asia, with demand expected to be softer compared to the previous quarter. The depreciating currency between the Chinese yuan and US dollar is hurting PTA margins, resulting in additional costs to the key Chinese producers.
The Indorama Ventures PTA plant will be a significant additional consumer of PX in Europe and supply is expected to tighten as a result.
Sources are expecting demand for PX to rise once the Indorama Ventures PTA plant in Sines, Portugal reaches normal production rates following trials in early July. The plant has been largely idle since 2014.
Supply of US paraxylene (PX) is expected to normalise during the third quarter as a major PX producer returns to production. Peak season continues, but demand will remain somewhat muted as downstream PET production levels ramp up. Supply of feedstock mixed xylenes (MX) will ease.
Demand for US paraxylene (PX) will be higher during the third quarter but remains more muted than typical peak season levels. Downstream polyethylene terephthalate (PET) peak season is still in full swing but a major resin producer will not yet be operating at full rates.
Updated to Q3 2018
In the key China market, OX is expected to remain oversupplied. Meanwhile, most producers still prefer to produce more paraxylene (PX) compared with co-product OX. There is more demand for the former, and hence it is more lucrative. Some producers not keen to offer spot OX cargoes as most buyers have switched to contractual volumes.
Trading activities in the key China market is anticipated to remain muted amid high domestic inventories. Buyers indicated that they are not keen to import OX, as key domestic producers have been lowering their list prices for OX. Outside China, demand for OX is expected to be stable, with buyers procuring on a need-to basis.
Sources expect supply to tighten in Q3, with a buyer saying in late June that it was more difficult to secure material for August than for July. Supply of OX in Europe will be largely dependent on the length of BP’s force majeure at its plant in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.
Demand for OX is likely to fall in Q3 as downstream demand for plasticizers is expected to decrease. Demand for many petrochemicals falls in Q3 - particularly during August - as many players step away from the market for their summer holidays.
Supply of US orthoxylene (OX) is expected to remain steady during the third quarter and balanced with demand. Typical market patterns are expected. The market for feedstock mixed xylenes (MX) is expected to normalise on easing supply levels. A tight MX market drove OX prices higher earlier in the year.
Demand for US orthoxylene (OX) is expected to remain stable during the third quarter and balanced with supply levels. Downstream plasticizers demand is expected to drop off during a late-summer lull, but will pick up again in September. Demand is expected to be strong but stable.
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Paraxylene-Orthoxylene news & analysis
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Para Ortho xylene Methodology
Paraxylene (PX) is the largest volume isomer of the mixed xylenes. Around 98 percent of PX demand comes from the polyester chain via the one of its intermediatespurified terephthalic acid (PTA) or dimethyl terephthalate (DMT). The breakdown for polyester demand is 65 percent from fibre, 27 percent from polyethylene terephthalate(PET) bottle resin and the remainder from film and other plastic end uses. Polyester demand is expected to grow at six percent a year over the next few years with the PET resin bottle market seeing the fastest growth. A small amount of PX is used as a solvent and in the production of di-paraxylene and herbicides.
Paraxylene is a flammable liquid and a fire hazard. When heated to decomposition, paraxylene emits acrid smoke and fumes. Vapours may travel to a source of ignition and flash back.
Orthoxylene (OX) is the second largest of the three commercial isomers of xylene. Almost all OX produced is consumed in the manufacture of phthalic anhydride, which is converted to plasticisers, alkyd and polyester resins. Small quantities are used in solvent applications and to make bactericides, soybean herbicides and lube oil additives. It is also used to make phthalonitrile, which is converted to copper phthalocyanine, a pigment.
Orthoxylene is a flammable liquid and a fire hazard. When heated to decomposition, orthoxylene emits acrid smoke and fumes. Vapours may travel to a source of ignition and flash back.
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