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Updated to Q4 2016
Demand for paraxylene (PX) continued to be stable, as downstream purified terephthalic acid plants continued running hard in what is typically a lull season in the fourth quarter of the year.
However, supply grew increasingly long as most PX units maintained high operating rates. Traders were offering cargoes of both Asian and open-origin to limited physical outlets.
There were also significant volumes inbound from the US and UK, as traders strove to move volumes from other oversupplied markets to key consumer region Asia.
Most market participants were deep in discussions for 2017 term contracts. Discussion levels were mixed, but sources said some producers had offered higher discounts to end-users in light of more PX production capacities coming onstream in the future.
Market sources said India's Reliance Industries was in the process of commissioning its new 2.5m tonne/year PX unit. However, the company has not confirmed that it has achieved on-spec production yet.
Updated to Q4 2016
Asian orthoxylene (OX) prices soared in the last quarter of 2016 as end-users were aggressively seeking cargoes amid tight supply and firm downstream phthalic anhydride (PA) demand and values.
Several naphthalene-based PA plants in China had failed the tighter environmental inspections and were required to shut for repairs, reducing spot PA availability beginning October. Subsequently, other OX-based producers were looking to increase their operating rates to meet the strong domestic demand, translating into higher consumption of OX cargoes. As a result, local prices surged, driving some buyers to look for regional cargoes.
The recent pullback in feedstock isomer-grade xylene values, coupled with firming OX negotiations, had widened the margins for OX producers. In response, some plants had increased their output to meet the increase in demand.
In early December, South Korea’s Lotte Chemical Corp had issued a tender to sell a total of 6,000 tonnes OX within the first quarter of 2017, following higher production output. The company had been maintaining low operating rate since 2012 to focus efforts on the more lucrative co-product paraxylene (PX) production.
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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