ICIS is implementing a process of rolling consultation on all of its pricing methodologies. This consultation paper is part of this formal process and covers all of the ICIS primary price points included in the Orthoxylene weekly publications.
The consultation asks both general questions about the suitability of the ICIS pricing methodology and questions addressing specific Orthoxylene market issues.
Click here to view the Orthoxylene Methodology Consultation 2022
ICIS received 8 responses and this summary takes into account all of them.
The validity of the Europe OX monthly contract price has been called into question in recent months due to the addition of new players and delays in settlements.
It is important to understand the importance of the Europe OX monthly contract price to the derivative markets.
As many West European producers and consumers as possible should be encouraged to participate in the monthly contract settlement process, providing they are acknowledged by peers as valid players in the FD NWE market, as shown in the ICIS Supply & Demand Database.
One respondent asked for a minimum number of consumers to be included in each assessment. Also for relevant traders and distributors to be included in the assessment of monthly supply contracts, and for import prices to be included.
The widely accepted process of 2+2 – two producers and two consumers – confirming settlements can be disrupted when there are insufficient participants.
ICIS should be prepared to accept settlements confirmed by one producer and two consumers, in the absence of a full 2+2.
Settlements without confirmation from both sides should be excluded.
Outlier settlements should be questioned and possibly excluded.
Given the choice in the case of a split settlement of a) a mid-point, or b) a weighted average – the majority voted in favour of a weighted average. This would include a single producer settling multiple times. Rather than weighing this average by each deal’s volume, a simple threshold for deals of a minimum of 500mt/month would be sufficient.
Respondents suggested various deadlines for settlement: 1st of month, or 4th, or 5th, or 15th of month. The responsibility is on the participants. Others said that no deadline was possible in the current volatile markets.
An alternative to the freely negotiated contract price could be a formula-based assessment. The market was surveyed on this option in 2021, but no alternative formula was agreed. Players were not in favour.
A second alternative, in the absence of a liquid spot market, could be a calculation of production costs for Phthalic Anhydride.
In addition to the regular contract participants delivering into Northwest Europe, there are also some willing contract participants in central and southern Europe, for example Italy and Austria. ICIS should consider the addition of a contract assessment to cover these regions. One respondent wanted the FD Northwest Europe delivery term changed to FD Europe.
The size of the Europe OX market, and the limited number of participants, make a regular 2+2 contract mechanism difficult to achieve.
ICIS intends to move the Europe monthly contract price assessment to an average assessment, starting from the September 2022 contract.
In the meantime, the contract methodology will exclude outliers or participants not delivering to the ICIS-defined Northwest Europe (NWE) region. That is N.France, N.Germany, Benelux.
For companies to be included as participants in the contract assessment process, they should fit the widely understood definition of producers who supply into the NWE region, and consumers who consume within the NWE region. Locations and capacities will be validated by peers and by the ICIS Supply & Demand Database.
For the remainder of 2022, ICIS will track whether it is possible to expand the contract assessment to include the whole of Europe, or alternatively to establish a separate contract assessment for central and southern Europe. A decision on this will be made in December 2022.
In the meantime, and in the absence of a full 2+2, ICIS will accept confirmation from one producer and two consumers.
Regarding the widespread desire for an early and timely deadline, ICIS acknowledges that there are mixed views on this, and that some of the key contract partners are not willing to be bound by an early deadline. This will not be written into the ICIS methodology as it is clearly impossible to enforce.
To provide further comments or feedback please contact Barbara Ortner, Head of Market Reporting: Barbara.Ortner@icis.com