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INSIGHT OUTLOOK: Next US president may upend EV policies, trade, regulations

HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US election could see Donald Trump return as president with majorities in both legislative chambers, which could bring a reduction in excessive red tape, weaker support for electric vehicles (EVs) and impose even more ponderous tariffs and trade restrictions. Incumbent President Joe Biden has dropped out of the race, and current polls show Trump ahead in the election The House of Representatives and the Senate are closely split between the nation's two major parties, so the Republican party could obtain majorities in both legislative chambers Regardless of who wins the presidential election on 5 November, the outlook remains pessimistic for tariff relief and trade deals in the US US TRADE POLICY WILL REMAIN RESTRICTIVERegardless of who wins the presidential election, US trade policy will remain restrictive, which could leave the nation's chemical exports vulnerable to retaliatory tariffs imposed during a trade dispute. Also, tariffs could increase the cost of imports of critical chemical intermediates. Biden's campaign website did not discuss trade policy, and he recently dropped out of the race. But he maintained many of the tariffs that Trump introduced during his presidency in 2016-2020. In addition, Biden raised tariffs on EVs from China. He signed bills passed by Congress that required local content rules for government programs. Trump's platform proposed a baseline tariff, with the candidate mentioning 10% for most imports. For China, he mentioned tariffs of more than 60% during an interview on the television program Fox News. Trump's campaign website proposes a reciprocal trade act, under which the US could match tariffs that another country imposes on its exports. Although the platform concedes that reductions are possible, the proposal focuses on the potential of higher tariffs. TRUMP TO ROLL BACK BIDEN'S EV POLICIESBiden did not mention EVs on his campaign website. But during his presidential term, the federal government used multiple laws and regulatory statutes to promote EV adoption. If Trump becomes president, he has pledged to cancel what he calls the electric vehicle mandate. He specified many of Biden's policies that encouraged the adoption of EVs. EVs typically consume more plastics on a per unit basis than automobiles powered by internal combustion engines (ICEs). EVs also pose different material challenges, which is increasing demand for different plastics and compounds. Policies that prolong the use of ICE-based vehicles could extend the operating life of the nation's refineries. Companies could be more willing to invest in maintenance and repairs if they are confident that they could recoup their investments. Refineries produce many building block chemicals, such as propylene, benzene, toluene and mixed xylenes (MX). BIDEN, TRUMP PRESENT EXTREMES ON CHEM REGULATIONSBiden and Trump lay on opposite extremes of regulations and policy. Under Biden, the federal government has adopted numerous regulations, many of which the chemical industry has said provided them with little benefit given the time and expense of compliance. The past six months has been described as the worst regulatory environment that the chemical industry has ever seen. That burdensome regulatory climate could persist if a Democrat wins the election, since personnel from the Biden administration could remain in place. The following lists some of the regulatory policies that could either persist under a Democratic administration or weaken under a Trump administration: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has adopted a whole chemical approach in determining whether a substance poses an unreasonable risk under the nation's main chemical-safety program, known as the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The regulator is currently reviewing vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), acrylonitrile (ACN) and aniline, a feedstock used to make methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI). Changes to the Clean Waters Act, the Risk Management Program (RMP) and the Hazard Communication Standard that were made by Biden. Biden has promoted environmental justice throughout the federal government. Environmental justice could make it harder for chemical companies to expand existing plants or build new ones. Because these are federal policies, a different president could reverse them. Trump could try to unravel some of Biden's rules to the degree possible under executive authority. However, some of the rules will persist because of entrenched bureaucracy or because they are final. The pace of new regulations would likely slow under a Trump presidency. He has pledged to restore his order that for every new regulation introduced by the federal government, two existing ones must be eliminated. OTHER POLICY DIFFERENCESSuperfund tax: If Trump wins the presidency and Republicans win the legislative branch, that could set up a repeal of the Superfund tax, which imposes taxes on several building-block chemicals and their derivatives. Republican legislators have already introduced bills to repeal the tax. Trump tax cuts: Trump has pledged that he would make his 2017 tax cuts permanent. These are set to expire at the end of 2025 from his previous term in 2016-2020. Oil production: Biden has imposed several restrictions on oil and gas production on federal land and on offshore leases, although this did not stop production from surging in the Permian Basin, much of which is outside of government control. Trump has pledged to remove those restrictions. Insight by Al Greenwood Thumbnail shows US capitol. Image by Lucky-photographer

22-Jul-2024

Americas top stories: weekly summary

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News from the week ended 19 July. Westlake appoints Jean-Marc Gilson as new CEO, effective today US-based chemical and building materials producer Westlake Corp has appointed Jean-Marc Gilson as president and CEO, effective 15 July. He succeeds Albert Chao, who becomes executive chairman of the Westlake board of directors. SW '24: US fertilizer demand lacking as farm economics unsupportive Unfavorable farming fundamentals, including weaker grain prices, high cost of credit, and weather issues will continue to hit demand for fertilizers, said market participants on the sidelines of the Southwestern fertilizer conference (14-18 July). SHIPPING: USG-Asia liquid chem tanker rates plunge on ample space availability after Beryl Liquid chemical tanker rates from the US Gulf to Asia are plunging this week as plant shutdowns and delays in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl have led to “gaping large holes of space”, shipping brokers said on Wednesday. INSIGHT: OUTLOOK: US chems may see revival of programs, UN plastic treaty The US chemical industry could see the return of some popular trade and chemical-safety programs later this year, and customers of the major railroads could get their first chance to switch carriers if they get bad service. Global IT issues impact energy trading; Trayport services return IT issues that impacted energy trading systems on Friday morning were gradually being resolved, with market participants regaining access to critical applications. ICIS Economic Summary: US eyes coming interest rate cuts as consumer spending, inflation eases With solid progress on disinflation and the labor market easing, financial markets are sharpening their focus on the coming interest rate cut cycle, with the first move expected in September. Ten-year Treasury yields are collapsing and economically sensitive stocks surging, as consensus moves to as much as three cuts of 25 basis points by the Federal Reserve in 2024 and further easing next year.

22-Jul-2024

Latin America stories: weekly summary

SAO PAULO (ICIS)–Here are some of the stories from ICIS Latin America for the week ended on 19 July. NEWS Braskem Idesa ethane supply more stable, PE prices to recover in H2 2025 – exec Supply of ethane from Pemex to polyethylene (PE) producer Braskem Idesa is now more stable after a renegotiation of the contract – but the global PE market remains in the doldrums, according to an executive at the Mexican firm. INSIGHT: Colombia’s wide single-use plastics ban kicks off amid industry reluctance Colombia’s single-use plastic ban, which affects a wide range of products, kicks off amid some industry reluctance after a hurried implementation, and with provisions to revise the legislation after a one year trial period. Brazil’s chemicals capacity utilization falls to record low in May at 58% The utilization rate at Brazil's chemical plants fell to 58% in May, the lowest level since records began in 1990, the country’s chemicals trade group Abiquim said on Wednesday. Brazil’s floods hit GDP growth in 2024 but strong recovery in 2025 – IMF The IMF has revised Brazil’s economic outlook for 2024, with GDP growth now forecast at 2.1%, down from an earlier projection of 2.2%, because of the floods in Rio Grande do Sul. Mota-Engil, PEMEX agree to build new ammonia, urea and AdBlue plant in Mexico Mota-Engil, through its subsidiary MOTA-ENGIL MEXICO, has signed an agreement with Pemex Transformación Industrial, a subsidiary of state-owned energy major Petróleos Mexicanos (“PEMEX”), to construct a fertilizer plant in Escolin in the state of Vera Cruz. Harvest Minerals undertakes rare earth elements exploration at Brazil fertilizer project Fertilizer producer Harvest Minerals announced a two-phase rare earth elements exploration program has commenced at its Arapua project in Brazil. Stolthaven Terminals chosen as potential operator for Brazil green ammonia export terminal Logistics firm Stolthaven Terminals announced that in cooperation with Global Energy Storage (GES), it has been selected as the only potential operator to design, build and operate a green ammonia terminal in Brazil to be located within the industrial export zone at Pecem in the state of Ceara. Silver Valley Metals selling Idaho project to refocus on Mexico lithium and SOP project Brownfield exploration company Silver Valley Metals announced it has signed an asset purchase agreement for the Ranger-Page project in Idaho which will allow it to refocus efforts at its lithium and potash project in central Mexico. BHP enters into further agreement with Vale over 2015 Brazil dam failure BHP announced it has entered into an agreement with Vale regarding group action proceedings in the UK in respect of the Fundao Dam failure in Brazil which occurred in 2015. PRICING Lat Am PE international prices stable to up on higher US export offers International polyethylene (PE) prices were assessed as steady to higher across Latin American countries on the back of higher US export offers. PP domestic prices fall in Argentina on sluggish demand, ample supply Domestic polypropylene (PP) prices were assessed lower in Argentina on the back of sluggish demand and ample supply. In other Latin American countries, prices were unchanged. US Gulf sees PVC price decline, Latin America stays stable Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) demand in Brazil has shown fluctuations from weak-to-stable this July, accompanied by sufficient supply. Although market prices have stabilized, local prices continue to face pressure following a recent price drop in the US Gulf market.

22-Jul-2024

BLOG: European voters rally to the centre as external threats increase

LONDON (ICIS)–Click here to see the latest blog post on Chemicals & The Economy by Paul Hodges, which looks at Europe’s political centre. Editor’s note: This blog post is an opinion piece. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of ICIS. Paul Hodges is the chairman of consultants New Normal Consulting.

22-Jul-2024

India's RIL fiscal Q1 oil-to-chemicals earnings fall 14% on poor margins

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Reliance Industries Ltd’s (RIL) oil-to-chemicals (O2C) business posted a 14.3% year-on-year drop in earnings in its fiscal first quarter ending June 2024 on poor chemicals margins, the Indian conglomerate said. O2C results in 10 million rupees (Rs) Apr-June 2024 Apr-June 2023 % Change Revenue 157,133 133,031 18.1 EBITDA 13,093 15,286 -14.3 Exports 71,463 69,006 3.6 – Revenue for the period rose primarily on the back of higher product prices in line with Brent crude price gains, and increased volumes due to strong domestic demand, the company said on 19 July. – Fiscal Q1 overall earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin dropped to 8.3% from 11.5% in the same period of last year. – On a year-on-year basis, April-June domestic polymer and polyester demand increased by 8% and 5%, respectively. – RIL's consolidated group profit after tax fell by 4% year on year to Rp175 billion ($2.09 billion) in April-June 2024. Polymers- Fiscal Q1 polymer margins were down by 0.5% to 16.9% year on year due to firm naphtha prices. Product margin over naphtha April-June 2024 ($/tonne) April-June 2023 ($/tonne) % Change Polyethylene (PE) 330 397 -16.9% Polypropylene (PP) 318 381 -16.5% Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) 371 373 -0.5% Polyester – Paraxylene (PX) and monoethylene glycol (MEG) margins over naphtha decreased year on year due to higher naphtha prices. – "PTA [purified terephthalic acid] margins were impacted adversely due to high inventory with Chinese producers and increased competition," the company said. – On a year-on-year basis, domestic polyester demand in fiscal Q1 increased by 5%, driven by strong growth in PET, which was up 27% due to "higher demand from the beverage segment on account of summer season and elections". ($1 = Rs83.7)

22-Jul-2024

SHIPPING: Global container rates edge higher, volumes shifting to West Coast ahead of tariffs

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Global shipping container rates edged slightly higher this week as they continue to moderate after more than doubling from early-May, and rates from Shanghai to the US West Coast fell, according to supply chain advisors Drewry. Drewry’s composite World Container Index (WCI) rose by just 1% and is up by just 1.2% over the past two week, as shown in the following chart. Average rates from China to the US East Coast have continued to rise and are nearing $10,000/FEU (40-foot equivalent unit), as shown in the following chart. Drewry expects ex-China rates to hold steady next week and remain high throughout the peak season. Rates from online freight shipping marketplace and platform provider Freightos showed similar rates of increase. Judah Levine, head of research at Freightos, in noting the slower rate of increase also pointed to signs that prices may have already peaked. “Daily rates so far this week are ticking lower and major carriers have not announced surcharge increases for later this month or August,” Levine said. Levine said peak season likely started early this year as retailers ordered early to beat possible labor issues at US Gulf and East Coast ports and as consumers continued to spend on goods. Emily Stausboll, senior shipping analyst at ocean and freight rate analytics firm Xeneta, said she is seeing some carriers already lowering spot rates. “This suggests a growing level of available capacity in the market and shippers can once again start to play carriers off against each other – instead of feeling they need to pay whatever price they are offered to secure space. As the balance of negotiating power starts to swing back towards shippers, we should see spot rates start to come back down,” Stausboll said. Container ships and costs for shipping containers are relevant to the chemical industry because while most chemicals are liquids and are shipped in tankers, container ships transport polymers, such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), are shipped in pellets. They also transport liquid chemicals in isotanks. VOLUMES SHIFT TO WEST COAST The Port of Los Angeles saw a 10% increase from the previous month and a slight increase year on year in volumes, Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles said. Some retailers are rushing to import volumes ahead of the US presidential election in November as Republican nominee Donald Trump has proposed hiking tariffs, especially on goods from China. But a persistently strong economy is also supporting the rise in imports. “The US economy continues to be the primary driver of our cargo volume and I expect to see that continue in the months ahead,” Seroka said. Many importers shifted their deliveries to the US East Coast in 2022 when congestion at West Coast ports surged amid strong consumer demand coming out of the pandemic. The shift in volumes from the East Coast has not led to any congestions at the West Coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California (MESC). “Vessels and cargo arriving, departing, and shifting around the ports of LA and LB and continue to move normally with no labor delays and ample labor,” MESC executive director Kip Louttit said. Louttit also said the forecast for arriving container ships over the next two weeks is trending higher. LIQUID CHEM TANKER RATES Rates for liquid chemical tankers ex-US Gulf were stable to softer this week, with decreases seen on the USG-Asia and USG-Brazil trade lanes. From the USG to Asia, there has still been interest in large cargoes, but volumes overall have been slowing down. The absence of market participants has caused freight rates to stumble some, with more downward pressure on smaller parcels due to the small pockets of space readily available. From the USG to Brazil, the list of ships open in the USG continues to grow, with space still available which could lead to continued downward pressure and even lower rates. Activity typically picks up during summer months, but this is not currently being seen. PANAMA CANAL The Panama Canal will limit transits from 3-4 August because of planned maintenance. The east lane of the Miraflores locks will be out of service for concrete maintenance on the east approach wall, the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) said. The PCA began limiting transits in July 2023 because of low water levels in Gatun Lake caused by an extended drought. Restrictions have gradually eased over the past few months and are approaching the average daily transits of 36-38/day seen prior to impacts from the drought. The improved conditions at the canal are likely to improve transit times for vessels traveling between the US Gulf and Asia, as well as between Europe and west coast Latin America countries. This should benefit chemical markets that move product between regions. Wait times for non-booked southbound vessels ready for transit have been relatively steady at less than two days, according to the PCA vessel tracker. Wait times were less than a day for northbound vessels and less than two days for southbound traffic. Focus article by Adam Yanelli With additional reporting by Kevin Callahan Visit the ICIS Logistics – impact on chemicals and energy topic page.

19-Jul-2024

ICIS Economic Summary: US eyes coming interest rate cuts as consumer spending, inflation eases

NEW YORK (ICIS)–With solid progress on disinflation and the labor market easing, financial markets are sharpening their focus on the coming interest rate cut cycle, with the first move expected in September. Ten-year Treasury yields are collapsing and economically sensitive stocks surging, as consensus moves to as much as three cuts of 25 basis points by the Federal Reserve in 2024 and further easing next year. All this comes as the consumer – the key driver of the US economy – is showing signs of fatigue. With COVID-era savings largely tapped out and the labor market easing, consumer spending is poised to slow going forward, bringing down overall economic growth as well as inflation. The latest US retail sales report confirmed the trend of a continuing slowdown in consumer spending, with June flat versus May. Year-on-year, retail sales were up just 2.3% – lower than the current inflationary trend.  This also implies a drop in volumes. There was notable year-on-year strength in ecommerce (+8.9%), bars and restaurants (+4.4%) and apparel (+4.3%). Weakness was led by furniture and home furnishings (-4.0%); sporting goods, hobby, musical instruments and books (-3.4%) and motor vehicles and parts (-2.2%). We are not talking about a collapse in consumer spending, but an easing is clearly in effect, naturally in line with a softening labor market. The unemployment rate has continued to slowly tick higher and is now at 4.1% versus a low of 3.4% in January. And the ratio of job openings versus unemployed now stands at 1.2 – close to pre-pandemic levels. The number of high-profile US retail earnings disappointments and stock price collapses continues to pile up. These include Helen of Troy, a producer of branded consumer home, outdoor, beauty and wellness products, sportswear giant Nike, coffee and beverage retailer Starbucks and restaurant group McDonald’s – all in the consumer discretionary camp. INFLATION RATE CONTINUES TO FALLThis slowdown in consumer spending is showing up in inflation numbers as well, with the June core Consumer Price Index (CPI) – excluding food and energy – actually falling 0.1% from May. From a year ago, it was up 3.3% in June, showing further progress from May’s 3.4% print. Services inflation has been sticky, but relief may be on its way. The ISM® US Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI®) for June showed a huge 5.0-point decline from May to 48.8 – in contraction territory (under 50) for the second month in three. On the US manufacturing front, the recovery is sputtering as the ISM US Manufacturing PMI fell further in June to 48.5 – in contraction for the third consecutive month after eking out an expansion in March for the first time in 17 months. This puts the widely expected H2 recovery in chemicals volumes in jeopardy. US housing starts rose 3.0% in June versus May to an annualized pace of 1.35 million, but the gains were in the multifamily sector as single-family starts fell for the fourth consecutive month – by 2.2% in June. Total June starts were down 3.1% year on year. ICIS projects US housing starts of 1.43 million for 2024, rising to 1.49 million in 2025. US light vehicle sales ended Q2 on a sour note, with June sales falling 4.0% from May to a 15.3-million-unit pace, which was also off 4.8% from a year ago. For 2024, ICIS projects light vehicle sales improving to 15.8 million units versus 15.5 units in 2023 and rising further to 16.3 million units in 2025. ICIS forecasts US GDP growth slowing to 2.3% in 2024 from 2.5% in 2023, with the quarterly rate by Q4 at just 1.6%. For all of 2025, ICIS sees GDP growth slowing to 1.8%. While consumer spending is easing and high interest rates continue to weigh on manufacturing and key chemical end markets of housing and automotive, coming rate cuts by the Fed should boost sentiment and ultimately demand, particularly in cyclical sectors. Chemical stock prices are already catching a bid in anticipation. Even as the interest rate picture clears up, uncertainty abounds on the geopolitical and political fronts, with the upcoming US election in November in focus. For the chemical and manufacturing sectors, the spotlight on tariffs and their implications will only intensify.

19-Jul-2024

CORRECTION: Global IT issues impact energy trading; Trayport services return

Correction: The article should have reported that EPEX SPOT was not affected by the IT global issues. LONDON (ICIS)–IT issues that impacted energy trading systems on Friday morning were gradually being resolved, with market participants regaining access to critical applications. A flawed update of cybersecurity software CrowdStrike hit Windows operating systems, with IT outages affecting companies across many sectors. This included energy trading platform Trayport and several brokers, with trading operations impacted. Trayport said shortly after midday London time it had made “significant progress in implementing workarounds for the ongoing CrowdStrike-related outage”. It said its services were being restored, including risk-based trading, and that the group was working to bring the remaining services back online as quickly as possible. A German power trader told ICIS shortly after midday London time that “all was back to normal” and was able to access broker screens. “It has been very bad this morning. Now everything is working smoothly, but all connections were down for a while,” a gas trader added. A broker had told ICIS earlier in the morning that "hardly anything is working here, we are just waiting for systems to come back." LIQUIDITY Most traders contacted by ICIS reported issues affecting their usual trading activities as well as data used for analyzing market fundamentals. Some European gas and power traders said broker screens were not available and the issue was likely to affect liquidity throughout Friday’s trading session. Another added that they expected the number of transactions to go through at the end of the day to be down by about half. “I can chat and agree on deals, but I cannot put it in my system, meaning the P&L is not updated,” said one EU gas trader in the morning. "There's a lot of counterparties offline, and those that are online are reluctant to show prices this morning," said an LNG trader. Others reported fewer issues and said they could operate as usual. Intraday price movements highlighted that the global IT disruptions impacting energy trading activities on Friday did not have any significant impact on European gas and power prices, as highlighted by regional market commentaries published by ICIS. ENERGY EXCHANGES Commenting on the status of ICE’s derivatives markets, an ICE spokesperson told ICIS: “We are aware of the issue and markets are fully operational. We are in close dialogue with our customers on whether and how they’re impacted”. Earlier in the session, the European Energy Exchange (EEX) reported in a message to trading participants that customers using Trayport services were potentially facing technical problems. “Customers may observe problems to login or to trade via Trayport due to infrastructure issues with a third-party service provider,” EEX said. EEX also offered its assistance to customers for removing orders or trading on behalf. European power exchange EPEX SPOT, which is part of EEX, told ICIS that the IT issues were not affecting its operations. EPEX SPOT indicated that most European day-ahead power auctions were running to plan and order book closures were happening on time. The Spanish OMIE short-term trading platform experienced a partial decoupling on Friday morning due to technical issues. Trading across the Nord Pool exchange was not impacted, a spokesman confirmed, and added that it was monitoring the situation closely. Spanish gas exchange MIBGAS also told ICIS it has not been affected by the outage. The electronic capacity trading platform RBP, owned by the Hungarian gas transmission system operator FGSZ Natural Gas Transmission, said it had not been impacted. IMPACT ON ENERGY COMPANIES Several energy companies contacted by ICIS did not report issues related to the global IT incident and were monitoring the situation. Spanish gas system operator Enagas told ICIS it “is not vulnerable because it does not have the impacted software installed, but an analysis is being carried out to foresee any eventual impact”. "As far as we're aware, everything has been fine here relating to the outages and we are not aware of any issues in the LNG shipping market making an impact," a UK-based shipbroker told ICIS. Other LNG shipping sources have also so far said they have noted no impact on terminals or shipping operations. Belgian gas system operator and LNG terminals operator Fluxys told ICIS “there have been some very minor issues without any real effect on flows”. The issues related to the “impact on the systems of our [external] partners.”, Fluxys' subsidiaries include Dunkerque LNG and Zeebrugge LNG. ICIS contacted other major European LNG operators and global energy companies but received no replies by the time of publishing.

19-Jul-2024

UPDATE: Global IT issues impact energy trading; Trayport services return

LONDON (ICIS)–IT issues that impacted energy trading systems on Friday morning were gradually being resolved, with market participants regaining access to critical applications. A flawed update of cybersecurity software CrowdStrike hit Windows operating systems, with IT outages affecting companies across many sectors. This included energy trading platform Trayport and several brokers, with trading operations impacted. Trayport said shortly after midday London time it had made “significant progress in implementing workarounds for the ongoing CrowdStrike-related outage”. It said its services were being restored, including risk-based trading, and that the group was working to bring the remaining services back online as quickly as possible. A German power trader told ICIS shortly after midday London time that “all was back to normal” and was able to access broker screens. “It has been very bad this morning. Now everything is working smoothly, but all connections were down for a while,” a gas trader added. A broker had told ICIS earlier in the morning that "hardly anything is working here, we are just waiting for systems to come back." LIQUIDITY Most traders contacted by ICIS reported issues affecting their usual trading activities as well as data used for analyzing market fundamentals. Some European gas and power traders said broker screens were not available and the issue was likely to affect liquidity throughout Friday’s trading session. Another added that they expected the number of transactions to go through at the end of the day to be down by about half. “I can chat and agree on deals, but I cannot put it in my system, meaning the P&L is not updated,” said one EU gas trader in the morning. "There's a lot of counterparties offline, and those that are online are reluctant to show prices this morning," said an LNG trader. Others reported fewer issues and said they could operate as usual. ENERGY EXCHANGES Commenting on the status of ICE’s derivatives markets, an ICE spokesperson told ICIS: “We are aware of the issue and markets are fully operational. We are in close dialogue with our customers on whether and how they’re impacted”. Earlier in the session, the European Energy Exchange (EEX) reported in a message to trading participants that customers using Trayport services were potentially facing technical problems. “Customers may observe problems to login or to trade via Trayport due to infrastructure issues with a third-party service provider,” EEX said. EEX also offered its assistance to customers for removing orders or trading on behalf. European power exchange EPEX SPOT, which is part of EEX, told ICIS that issues with the Spanish OMIE short-term trading platform, which caused a partial decoupling of markets on Friday morning, were not related to the global IT issues. It confirmed that all other European day-ahead power auctions were running to plan and order book closures were happening on time. Trading across the Nord Pool exchange was not impacted, a spokesman confirmed, and added that it was monitoring the situation closely. Spanish gas exchange MIBGAS also told ICIS it has not been affected by the outage. The electronic capacity trading platform RBP, owned by the Hungarian gas transmission system operator FGSZ Natural Gas Transmission, said it had not been impacted. IMPACT ON ENERGY COMPANIES Several energy companies contacted by ICIS did not report issues related to the global IT incident and were monitoring the situation. Spanish gas system operator Enagas told ICIS it “is not vulnerable because it does not have the impacted software installed, but an analysis is being carried out to foresee any eventual impact”. "As far as we're aware, everything has been fine here relating to the outages and we are not aware of any issues in the LNG shipping market making an impact," a UK-based shipbroker told ICIS. Other LNG shipping sources have also so far said they have noted no impact on terminals or shipping operations. Belgian gas system operator and LNG terminals operator Fluxys told ICIS “there have been some very minor issues without any real effect on flows”. The issues related to the “impact on the systems of our [external] partners.”, Fluxys' subsidiaries include Dunkerque LNG and Zeebrugge LNG. ICIS contacted other major European LNG operators and global energy companies but received no replies by the time of publishing.

19-Jul-2024

Global IT disruption impacts energy trading, no issues so far in chems sector

LONDON (ICIS)–Companies including financial services were hit by a global IT outage on Friday, with disruptions partly affecting energy trading. The chemicals sector currently appears unaffected though Poland's largest container terminal, the Baltic Hub in Gdansk, was reportedly having some issues. Trayport, a key data platfrom for European wholesale energy markets, issued a statement warning the outage was affecting some of its key services. “We are currently facing infrastructure issues due to a global outage with a third-party service provider” Trayport said in a statement. Trayport added it was currently implementing workarounds, and customers may begin to see some of Trayport services become available. “We continue to work closely with the vendor to resolve the situation as soon as possible,” it added. ICIS continued to receive trade information on European gas and power markets spread across multiple trading venues. However, traders contacted by ICIS reported issues: "Servers are not accessible for the moment. We can trade but not book deals," one trader said. A power trading source has said systems were unaffected in some countries. A gas trader in northern Europe said that some brokers were impacted, but that major exchange platforms were functioning as usual. Some trading companies are also faced internal IT issues. European power exchange EPEX SPOT reported a partial decoupling on the OMIE area, which includes Spanish and Portuguese power markets, for the IDA3 auctions, although it did not indicate whether it was related to the global IT outage. But the group reported a normal market status for most other markets and order book closures were also reported as being on time. Additional reporting by Clare Pennington

19-Jul-2024

2024 and beyond: global chemicals outlook

The global landscape for chemicals has changed significantly, with a lower demand growth expected to persist, however within these challenges and changes lies opportunity for those who adapt.

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Partnering with ICIS unlocks a vision of a future you can trust and achieve. We leverage our unrivalled network of chemicals industry experts to deliver a comprehensive market view based on trusted data, insight and analytics, supporting our partners as they transact today and plan for tomorrow.

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