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Updated to Q2 2017
Market sentiment in the second quarter was mixed, as seen from the repeated non-settlements for the monthly paraxylenes (PX) Asia Contract Prices (ACP).
Producers said that demand was stable and that supply was tightened by lengthy turnarounds at major PX units. They were also expecting the start of an increase in gasoline demand caused by driving season in the US, as well as the OPEC agreeing on crude production cuts for H2 2017.
Some plant turnarounds and unplanned stoppages did not have an immediate effect on prices, which continued to move in line with upstream crude and naphtha values, as well as purified terephthalic acid (PTA) futures prices.
However, end-users said that crude oil prices would continue to remain weak and that posed some risks for the polyester chain from the PTA segment onwards, as the PX-PTA spreads remained weak, especially for yuan-denominated PTA cargoes.
Updated to Q2 2017
By mid-April, northeast Asian orthoxylene (OX) spot prices has seen a two-month consecutive drop as demand remained lacklustre amid persistently high feedstock inventories at shore tanks along eastern China. Maintenances at some downstream phthalic anhydride (PA) plants in South Korea and cutbacks in operating rates at Chinese plants had lowered consumption of OX. PA makers polled had no immediate plans to raise output as demand from derivative buyers remained sluggish.
Thereafter, OX stockpiles rose from 57,000 tonnes on 7 April to 62,000 tonnes by 9 June as weakening downstream phthalic anhyhdride (PA) discussions had led some end-users to shut their plants earlier for maintenance. Despite lower output and maintenance at several South Korean and Japanese OX plants, the supply overhang continued into June as end-users require time to consume their existing inventories.
Since the start of April, South Korean and Japanese producers with integrated plants, were suffering weak margins as the OX/naphtha spread was consistently below $300/tonne. The OX/isomer-grade xylene spread for non-integrated plants was almost half the $80-100/tonne margin producers typically seek. Subsequently, three OX plants lowered production to reduce losses.
Updated to Q4 2016
Asian paraxylene prices were bolstered by bullish uptrends in the crude oil and naphtha markets. ICE Brent crude futures hit their highest level since October 2015. Crude prices rallied after OPEC members reached an agreement to cut production to 32.5m bbl/day from 1 January.
New supplier Reliance Industries was also heard to have concluded some term negotiations, with supply to end-users to start from March next year. Its PX cargoes are expected to head to outlets in China and southeast Asia, with offtake by key purified terephthalic acid (PTA) producers and a state-owned refiner. The November and December PX Asia Contract Prices (ACPs) were concluded at $795/tonne CFR.
Updated to Q3 2016
The average spot prices of OX in East China increased from Chinese yuan (CNY)5,800/tonne on July 1 to CNY6,050/tonne on September 30. Meanwhile, domestic producers raised their offers three times from CNY5,650/tonne to CNY6,000/tonne from July to September.
At the beginning of July, the OX market was not stable. The price dropped from CNY5,800/tonne to CNY5,750 and then rose to CNY5,850/tonne on 28 July. From 28 July, domestic producers increased their offers from CNY5,650/tonne to CNY5,750/tonne. However, the OX price was unchanged as a result of weak downstream demand. Both buyers and sellers were still testing the water amid an uncertain outlook. Trade, meanwhile, was limited because of a widening gap between buying and selling indications. The average spot prices of OX in East China remained at CNY5,850/tonne until 21 August.
From 21 August, OX was in short supply because of a shutdown by Jinling Petrochemical Corporation. Meanwhile, phthalic anhydride (PA) factories increased operating rates. Domestic producers raised their offers twice from CNY5,750/tonne to CNY6,000/tonne from August to September. As a result, the OX price rapidly increased from CNY5,850/tonne in late August to CNY6,050/tonne in early September, and was unchanged until the end of the month.
ICIS publishes both a daily and weekly report for paraxylene (PX) in Asia as well as price assessments for the cost and freight (CFR) Taiwan and China Main Port (CMP) markets.
The report includes the monthly Asia contract price (ACP) as well as the Chinese domestic-delivered quote.
Information in the weekly report also includes details of all spot transactions, bids and offers, as well as an in depth discussion of demand-supply fundamentals and any production problems.
The PX daily and price alert service helps subscribers keep on top of the latest market price movements.
ICIS engages with a wide cross-section of market players, producers, traders and consumers to eliminate bias and ensure accurate price assessments that provide a useful benchmark for the industry.
In this way, the ICIS CFR Taiwan and CMP quote, as well as the published ACP, is used for contract settlement by a growing number of market players.
Prices for the free on board (FOB) or CFR Asia markets, as well as assessments for CFR India and southeast Asia (SE Asia), are provided together with prices for isomer grade xylene, PX and phthalic anhydride (PA).
This provides our subscribers with a comprehensive view of conditions in the upstream, downstream and related products market.
ICIS collects pricing data on a wide range of chemical, energy and fertilizer products, including Paraxylene-Orthoxylene. Our extensive experience in price reporting means we can offer you access to historical data dating back more than 20 years for certain commodities.
Our time series of pricing data enables you to build and model trends, to get a view of where markets might be heading. The data service includes charting functionality, allowing you to chart and download multiple data series for manipulation in your own internal models. You can also export data to Excel via the ICIS dashboard service.
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ICIS price assessments are based on information gathered from a wide cross-section of the market, comprising consumers, producers, traders and distributors from more than 250 reporters world-wide. Confirmed deals, verified by both buyer and seller, provide the foundation of our price assessments.
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