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 news and market information products from ICIS
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Paraxylene-Orthoxylene: Market overview
Updated to Q1 2017
Expected increases in downstream demand from domestic purified terephthalic acid (PTA) units in China continued to support Asian paraxylene (PX) prices at the start of the first quarter, while operating rates are expected to remain high in view of the economics for PX production. Key producer Reliance Industries is expected to start export shipments very soon, while ramping up production at its new 2.25m tonne/year PX unit in Jamnagar.
European PX supply is snug. Total's Gonfreville, France, site, remains on force majeure in January, following a maintenance outage in November. There are also two planned turnarounds due in the first quarter from Gadiv and Shell. Many PX sources are keen to avoid repetition of the split settlements, but January saw this being repeated with settlements at €815-820/tonne FD NWE, an increase of €55-60/tonne.
January US contract prices for PX have not settled yet. Prices could rise 2 cents/lb ($44/tonne) later in the first quarter of 2017 due primarily to stronger upstream mixed xylene (MX) and crude oil prices. An arbitrage window for PX shipments between Europe and the US may open later in the quarter if higher European spot PX prices offset freight costs.
Updated to Q1 2017
The US orthoxylene (OX) market is expected to remain balanced during the first quarter of 2017. Pricing in January rose 1.50 cents/lb following a split settlement in December 2016. Upstream mixed xylenes (MX) prices have gone up with energy costs and gasoline.
European OX supply is snug. Total's Gonfreville site in France remains on force majeure in January, following an outage in November. There are also two planned turnarounds due in the first quarter by Gadiv and Shell. Many OX sources are keen to avoid repetition of the split settlements, but January saw this being repeated with settlements at €720-750/tonne FD NWE, an increase of €45-70/tonne.
Northeast Asian demand for OX cargoes is expected to be stable-to-firm due to pre- and post-Lunar New Year restocking activities. Several downstream PA producers had purchased January and February shipments as they expect a reduction in supply following lowered production output at a key supplier’s OX plant.
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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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