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Updated to Q1 2018
Purified terephthalic acid (PTA) supply was balanced to tight in early 2018, and Eurostat data revealed an unusual increase of exports in January. Strong consumption in China towards the end of 2017 meant that some importers were unable to secure volumes for January and February arrival. There was a point when prompt, spot supply was squeezed, also partly due to bad weather delaying shipments out of Asia. The first quarter hosted an (unconfirmed) shutdown at BP’s PTA plant in Belgium. It also saw Indorama’s site in Portugal going into maintenance, as opposed to be being idle. SOCAR announced it had selected Axens to provide the technology for its aromatics and PTA complex in Aliaga, Turkey.
Pull on PTA from downstream PET was strong in the early part of the year. The majority of PET accounts are under contract this year and imports were not competitive enough for much of the first quarter to make their mark in Europe, so the market was more reliant on domestic supply. That said, there were three PET shutdowns in February/March, so requirements of PTA into that sector would have been depleted. Smaller applications said demand was relatively good and not particularly strong.
US purified terephthalic acid (PTA) supply was steady in the first quarter. Supply was sufficient to meet demand in the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) market, the primary outlet for PTA. Prices were on an uptrend since autumn 2017, tracking similar movement of prices for feedstock paraxylene (PX). Firm crude prices supported rising prices for PX and PTA through January and February. However, PX and PTA settled slightly lower in March amid lower prices and weakened sentiment in Asia.
Demand for PTA was muted during the first quarter, continuing a trend from autumn 2017, when PET producer Mossi & Ghisolfi (M&G) stopped production at its West Virginia PET plant. Downstream uncertainty will persist until the West Virginia plant comes back on line, which is expected later in 2018 under a new owner. Some material is being exported.
The European purified terephthalic acid (PTA) market is highly dependent on PTA feedstock paraxylene (PX), PTA capacity and its developments, and downstream PTA activity. These factors are accurately described in the ICIS report.
The weekly updates hosts free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE) monthly contract prices for PTA and for PX.
The previous year’s PTA prices are also included as well as a dollar per metric tonne conversion, crucial for making informed decisions about this global commodity.
ICIS collects pricing data on a wide range of chemical, energy and fertilizer products, including Terephthalic acid. 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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