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Updated to Q3 2018
US paraxylene (PX) supply improved in the third quarter on increased production following a major outage in the second quarter. BP Chemicals restarted its 450,000 tonne/year PX unit in Texas City, Texas in late June, increasing PX output. Supply also improved along muted downstream demand for purified terephthalic acid (PTA). BP was on sales allocation for PTA throughout the quarter. Two PTA lines at Alpek’s Altamira, Mexico plant were shut for most of the third quarter following a fire.
North American PX demand decreased in the third quarter amid muted downstream demand in the key polyester market. BP PTA was put on sales allocation in late May due to an acetic acid issue, which has since been resolved, although the allocation is not yet heard lifted. Two PTA lines at Alpek’s Altamira, Mexico plant were shut for most of the third quarter following a fire.
US orthoxylene (OX) supply was constant in the third quarter on healthy supply and demand fundamentals. Increased demand for feedstock mixed xylenes (MX) during the latter half of the quarter put upward pressure on OX prices but did not significantly diminish supply. Strong MX demand was driven by robust demand for paraxylene (PX) in Asia caused by production issues amid peak polyester demand season in the region.
US OX demand was constant during the third quarter. Demand is seasonal and strongest during the late second and early third quarters for the production of downstream phthalic anhydride (PA) in the production of plasticizers in the compounding in PVC. Demand usually wanes in August but remained healthy amid heightened crude prices and strong MX demand for use in the gasoline-blending pool.
The paraxylene (PX) report is a weekly snapshot of the market. There are two price ranges in the ICIS report for US Gulf (USG) PX.
The first is the contract price that is settled between major buyers and sellers every month.
The other range is the spot price, which is assessed on a free-on-board (FOB) basis and can move around from week to week.
ICIS talks to US suppliers about production issues and we also talk to buyers about trends in demand.
Additionally, traders, exporters and other consumers of this report are consulted to get relevant feedback on what is happening in the market.
The ICIS PX report is a timely and relevant publication for USG information.
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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