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 Q4 2018
Supply is likely to remain restricted in the near term, keeping structure in a backwardation. The tariff imposed on US-origin materials into China will restrict the flow of deep sea materials into the country. Improvement in supply will be highly dependent on the restart of idled TPPI’s PX unit, and Fuhaichuang Petrochemical PX facility.
Demand for PX is likely to increase going forward, on expectations for downstream demand to pick up going into the traditional seasonal peak manufacturing period. There are also currently limited scheduled turnaround plans in the fourth quarter for downstream PTA facilities, keeping demand for PX healthy.
European PX availabilty is expected to remain tight through the fourth quarter of the year, with the market remaining heavily unbalanced following unplanned outages and increasing downstream capacity earlier in the year. Supply is set to improve in Q4 2018, but the market is largely expected to remain structurally short until the end of the year.
Demand has been boosted by the July start-up of Indorama’s 700,000 tonnes/year PTA plant in Sines and is likely to continue exceeding supply levels despite the traditional slowdown expected at the end of the year.
US PX supply is expected to improve in the fourth quarter on increasing production following outages earlier in the year. BP’s Texas City, Texas PX unit is running normally as of late June. Production is also likely to improve on strong refinery rates and increased downstream demand for PTA in the polyester chain.
North American PX demand is likely to improve in the fourth quarter as downstream production issues continue to resolve production issues from the last two quarters. At least one of Alpek’s two PTA lines in Altamira, Mexico is heard to be operational, and BP is likely to lift its sales allocation on PTA during the quarter.
Updated to Q4 2018
In the key China market, OX supply is expected to remain stable. Meanwhile, most producers still prefer to produce more PX compared with co-product OX. Outside China, some buyers are looking for spot cargoes to supplement their contractual volumes. However, producers are only offering OX on contractual basis and do not have additional quantities to offer in the spot market.
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 increase as some buyers have already started enquiring for spot cargoes to supplement their existing OX volumes.
Availability of European orthoxylene (OX) is expected to improve in the fourth quarter of the year with technical restraints currently affecting the market are likely to be resolved. This includes the low levels of the Rhine river, which are at present limiting barge loadings and causing congestion for rail and truck freight.
The market supply should have also recovered after the force majeure at BP’s plant in Gelsenkirchen, which was lifted in August. Demand is meanwhile set to decrease as the downstream PA market traditionally slows down towards the end of the year after a busy September.
US OX supply is expected to remain healthy in the fourth quarter amid seasonal downturn in demand following the summer high season. Demand is typically strongest in the summer amid peak construction season. Supply is thus expected to remain healthy through the end of the year.
US OX demand is expected to weaken in the fourth quarter amid seasonal downturn in downstream demand. Demand is typically strongest during peak construction season, which occurs from June to August. Demand will also soften with decreased demand for primary feedstock MX following the switch to winter-grade gasoline.
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Paraxylene-Orthoxylene news & analysis
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Paraxylene Methodology Consultation read more >
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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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