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Acetic acid

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Acetic acid news

PODCAST: Methanol could play leading role in the low-carbon energy transition

BARCELONA (ICIS)–Methanol has long-term potential as a major player in the energy transition, especially for use as a marine fuel. Methanol mainly made from coal in China, natural gas elsewhere Used to make formaldehyde, acetic acid, in China mainly coal-based methanol to olefins (MTO) Q2 typically sees peak demand for Europe construction but subdued this year Concerns about overcapacity globally as new projects come onstream Use as marine fuel may be a big driver of growth long term Energy transition offers great opportunities In this Think Tank podcast, Will Beacham interviews ICIS senior editor Eashani Chavda and ICIS Insight editor Nigel Davis. Editor’s note: This podcast is an opinion piece. The views expressed are those of the presenter and interviewees, and do not necessarily represent those of ICIS. ICIS is organising regular updates to help the industry understand current market trends. Register here . Read the latest issue of ICIS Chemical Business. Read Paul Hodges and John Richardson's ICIS blogs.

11-Jun-2024

India’s GAIL to build $7.2bn Madhya Pradesh petrochemical complex

MUMBAI (ICIS)–State-owned GAIL (India) Ltd plans to invest Indian rupee (Rs) 600 billion ($7.2 billion) to build an ethane cracker and its derivative plants in Madhya Pradesh. The cracker will have a 1.5 million tonne/year capacity and will be set up at Ashta in the Sehore district of the state in central India, GAIL said in a regulatory disclosure to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on 10 June. GAIL did not provide product or capacity details of the ethylene derivatives it plans to produce at the complex. “Around 800 hectares of land shall be provided by the MP [Madhya Pradesh] Industrial Development Corporation, for which the state government has already initiated the process,” GAIL said. Project construction is expected to begin by February 2025, with commercial production likely in the financial year ending March 2031, it added. Investment on the project is still pending approval from GAIL management board, and the mode of financing yet to be decided. The Madhya Pradesh state government has approved the project and land will be allotted soon, state chief minister Mohan Yadav had said in a statement on 7 June. He said that “petrochemicals like linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), high density polyethylene (HDPE), mono ethylene glycol (MEG) and propylene will be produced” at the site. The new project is part of GAIL’s initiative to enhance its petrochemical portfolio, a company source said. “The demand for petrochemicals is increasing in the country, led by expanding industrial, construction and manufacturing,” he said, citing an 8-9% annual growth rate in India’s polymer demand. In March 2024, GAIL had signed a tripartite agreement with Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Shell Energy India to explore opportunities for the import of ethane and other hydrocarbons at Shell Energy Terminal in Hazira in the western Gujarat state. Separately, the company recently announced plans to set up liquid pipeline for ethylene (C2), propylene (C3) from Vijaipur to Aurai in the northern Uttar Pradesh state. At Pata in the same state, GAIL will begin operations at the 60,000 tonne/year PP plant by December 2024. At Usar in the western Maharashtra state, GAIL expects to begin operations at its 500,000 tonne/year propane dehydrogenation unit (PDH) and 500,000 tonnes/year polypropylene (PP) line by April 2025; and its 50,000 tonne/year isopropylene project by December 2025. In the southern Karnataka state, the company expects to bring on line its 1.25m tonne/year purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant in Mangalore by March 2025. GAIL had acquired JBF Petrochemicals in June 2023 which allowed it to add PTA to its existing petrochemical portfolio. ($1 = Rs83.49) Focus article by Priya Jestin

11-Jun-2024

Arianne Phosphate says adding phosphate to critical mineral list acknowledges its importance

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Canadian firm Arianne Phosphate announced that the government of Canada has added phosphate to the country’s critical mineral list, which it said acknowledges the fundamental importance and necessity of this mineral. The criteria for the Canadian critical mineral list are that the mineral is deemed essential to the nation’s economy and security, necessary for a transition to a sustainable low-carbon economy, can be a source for international allies and is a mineral whose supply is threatened. Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson said by updating the list Canada is taking a proactive step for its economy. “Investments in critical mineral projects create good jobs for workers, more avenues for Canadian innovation and lower emissions across the country – all part of our plan to build a cleaner Canada and a prosperous, sustainable economy,” said Wilkinson. Arianne Phosphate has been advancing on its Lac a Paul project in in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region and said it is now fully permitted and shovel ready. It noted that it hosts the largest independent greenfield phosphate deposit where it can produce a very high-purity and low-contaminant phosphate concentrate, ideal for use in both fertilizer and technical-grade applications. This includes the production of purified phosphoric acid which is required for lithium-iron-phosphate batteries. “The addition of phosphate to the critical mineral list not only recognizes the importance of the mineral but, the challenges the west has in securing the necessary supplies,” said Brian Ostroff, Arianne Phosphate president. “We welcome the Canadian government’s decision to add phosphate to its list and, along with the Quebec government’s recent decision to do the same, believe this will be a significant driver for Arianne as we look to conclude our ongoing discussions with potential partners and financiers.” Ostroff said an operating Canadian-based phosphate mine, along with the construction of a downstream purified phosphoric acid facility, would help ease the increasing concern over supply and start to address future needs. Arianne is currently undergoing a prefeasibility study designed to review the potential for constructing a large-scale phosphoric acid plant in the Saguenay region. The facility would be able to convert high-purity igneous phosphate concentrate into a purified phosphoric acid for use in downstream applications. As currently envisioned, the facility would be capable of producing 350,000 tonnes of battery-grade purified phosphoric acid and over 200,000 tonnes of a secondary phosphoric acid for use in specialty fertilizers and animal feeds.

10-Jun-2024

Americas top stories: weekly summary

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News from the week ended 7 June. Celanese declares force majeure on acetic acid and VAM in Europe, Americas Celanese has declared force majeure on acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) in the "Western Hemisphere", which is understood to include the Americas and the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. Canada rail strike unlikely to begin before mid-to-late July, rail carrier CN says Rail carrier Canadian National (CN) estimates that a threatened rail strike in Canada is unlikely to begin before mid-to-late July, it said in an update on its website on Thursday. Mexico’s Altamira petchems force majeure declarations continue on severe drought Petrochemicals producers in the production hub of Altamira, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, keep declaring force majeure as a severe drought halved water supplies to industrial players. Brazil’s Braskem expects operations at Triunfo to normalize in ‘coming days’ Braskem’s operations at Triunfo in floods-hit state of Rio Grande do Sul are still yet fully normalized, despite the plant having restarted more than two weeks ago, a spokesperson said to ICIS on Wednesday. Pace of China chemical capacity additions unsustainable – Huntsman CEO The blistering pace of chemical capacity additions in China is likely to tail off, as the current wave is the result of prior planning during better times, the CEO of Huntsman said. IPEX: Index down for first time this year on weak demand in all regions The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) was down 1.2% in May month on month, as weak downstream demand paved the way for price declines in all regions. Protectionism and tariffs a key concern for US chemicals – ACC execs The increasing trend towards protectionism and tariffs is a key concern for the US chemical industry, said executives at the American Chemistry Council (ACC). INSIGHT: Mexico’s emissions, energy policy and Pemex main challenges for new president Mexico’s new – and first female – president Claudia Sheinbaum will have to decide soon into her term whether she changes course in two key aspects: energy policy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the support for state-owned, indebted and underperforming energy major Pemex. Nylon recovery progressing but building and construction still weak – AdvanSix CEO AdvanSix continues to see a gradual recovery in nylon demand driven by automotive and packaging, but building and construction remains challenged, said the CEO of AdvanSix.

10-Jun-2024

Asia top stories – weekly summary

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News Asia and the Middle East for the week ended 7 June 2024. Vietnam’s increase in recycled PE imports boost market mood By Arianne Perez 07-Jun-24 14:37 Producers of recycled polyethylene (rPE) in northeast and southeast Asia have seen a recent uptrend in spot orders from Vietnam amid new requirements from brand owners. Asia MEG demand slows amid limited Mideast cargoes; China supply to grow By Judith Wang 06-Jun-24 13:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–A tug of war between snug import availability and slowing demand is likely to continue in Asia’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) market, while an expected increase in China’s domestic supply could shake things up in the near term. INSIGHT: New measures for China property market boon for chemicals By Lina Xu 05-Jun-24 10:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The People's Bank of China (PBoC) released a series of new real estate-related policies on 17 May, including a nationwide removal of minimum interest rate on commercial personal housing loans; reduction in minimum down payment ratio for both first-time and second-time home buyers; and lower interest rate on housing provident fund. NE Asia C2 market sees pressure from long supply, downstream shutdowns By Josh Quah 03-Jun-24 10:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia ethylene markets are likely to still face pressure from an overhang of regional supply from May despite some production corrections in June. Asia DEG shrugs off China’s suspended tariff concessions on Taiwan material By Judith Wang 03-Jun-24 15:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s diethylene glycol (DEG) market is shrugging off China’s decision to suspend tariff concession on its imports of Taiwanese material. China PX buyers prefer domestic over imports on differing yuan exchange rates By Samuel Wong 06-Jun-24 12:36 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The difference in exchange rates for the Chinese yuan (CNY) set by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the prevailing spot market rate saw downstream purified terephthalic acid (PTA) users in China preferring domestic paraxylene (PX) cargoes over imported cargoes.

10-Jun-2024

Celanese declares force majeure on acetic acid and VAM in Europe, Americas

LONDON (ICIS)–Celanese has declared force majeure on acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) in the "Western Hemisphere", which is understood to include the Americas and the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. The producer attributed the force majeure declaration to "operational failures experienced by multiple suppliers of critical raw materials essential to Celanese’s production of these products." “Right now, we anticipate that our second quarter U.S. gulf coast production of acetic acid and VAM will be negatively impacted by 15 to 20 percent as a result of these temporary challenges which we are still navigating,” said Mark Murray, senior vice president of the Acetyl Chain at Celanese. On the Gulf Coast Celanese produces acetic acid and VAM at Clear Lake, Texas and VAM at Bay City, Texas. The status of these plants and the duration of constraints affecting them could not be confirmed at time of writing. Thumbnail: A major end use for acetic acid and VAM is paint and coatings. (Photo source: Oleksandr Latkun/imageBROKER/Shutterstock)

07-Jun-2024

Europe top stories: weekly summary

LONDON (ICIS)–Here are some of the top stories from ICIS Europe for the week ended Friday 31 May. Freight costs, chaos assures demand for Europe PTA, PET As shipping complexities intensify again, gone are the talks of weak demand holding back European sellers of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and downstream polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Europe May melamine contract decline spells end to eight-month rally Europe melamine May contract prices were assessed at double-digit decreases, the first drop this year. Europe R-PET market enters stable period, but Italy remains a question mark June price talks in Europe's recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) markets have concluded at rollovers in the majority of cases, bringing to an end an upward trend in prices seen since December. European PET import costs, delays still causing headaches; could support local demand in June European polyethylene terephthalate (PET) logistical challenges surrounding imported material are still apparent which could drive more local demand in Europe. DATA WATCH: Europe chemicals export more at beginning of 2024 but importing remains an option Trade flows of chemicals both into and out of Europe have changed significantly this year, with the ongoing Red Sea disruptions and the subsequent lack of vessel space across different parts of the world being a key factor.

03-Jun-2024

INSIGHT: Surging freight rates hamper Asia petrochemical trades

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–A severe shortage of containers and vessel space as commercial ships take a much longer route to avoid the Red Sea has sent freight rates skyrocketing in recent weeks, artificially propping up petrochemical prices even as demand remained generally weak. Some sellers offer on free on board (FOB) basis but no takers Freight costs for Chinese exports more than double India may suffer near-term shortage of select petrochemicals Across markets in Asia in recent weeks, industry players’ lament boils down to this exasperated hyperbole: “The freight rates are killing us!” It takes the fun out of witnessing some initial signs of recovery in external demand for global manufacturing giant China. Whatever export competitiveness Asia gained from having weaker currencies against the US dollar is being undermined by the high cost of shipping out of the region. The Chinese yuan recently fell to a six-month low, while the Japanese yen continues to trade at multi-year lows against the US dollar, which is firmly supported by higher-for-longer interest rates. Overseas demand for Chinese products, including petrochemicals, seems to be improving, but actual trades are being hampered by logistics woes stemming from the Red Sea crisis in the Middle East. Attacks on commercial ships have continued in the key shipping lane that connects Asia to Europe, the latest being on an oil tanker bound for China. Rerouting of ships to the Cape of Good Hope meant longer voyage times and much slower turnover of vessels and containers, thereby, creating a strong pressure on freight rates, which may persist for most of the year. “The race for capacity appears to have started, with shippers showing strong demand due to shippers moving significant cargo in the first four months of 2024 to avoid potential Q3 constraints​​,” Richard Fattal, chief commercial officer of London-based freight forwarder Zencargo said in a note on 20 May. “Combined with an average of 5% ongoing blanked sailings, there is a looming future of tighter capacity, higher rates and sellers’ market swings ahead,” he said. “With capacity shrinking in the face of resurgent port congestion, driven by equipment shortages in China and longer routes around the Cape of Good Hope,” Fattal said. For Q2, Zencargo is projecting more than a 13% contraction shipping capacity on the Asia-Europe routes compared with Q3 2023, “with alliances cancelling 5% of sailings between weeks 20 and 24 [H2 May to H1 June]”. “The effective capacity to Northern Europe, based on actual vessel departures from Asia, has decreased by 5.1% compared to a year ago,” it said, citing “the longer route taken by the majority of vessels via the Cape of Good Hope, despite a 17.8% increase in vessel capacity on the Asia-North Europe route”. For the Asia-Mediterranean route, however, the overall capacity has “increased by 10.5%, even with the diversions via the Cape” due to a 49.1% increase in total deployed capacity on this route compared to a year ago”, Zencargo said. WEST BUILDING WALLS AGAINST CHINA TRADES The July-September period is the peak season for Chinese shipments to the west, ahead of the Christmas season in December, according to Wang Guowen, director at Shenzen Logistics and Supply Chain Management Research. Possibly driving up US’ overall demand for Chinese goods, which exerts upward pressure on shipping costs, is the impending tariff hike on imports of selected products from China, including electric vehicles (EVs) and battery materials. For Chinese EVs, the US import tariffs would quadruple to 100% from 1 August, which is tantamount to a ban. European countries appear to be considering similar protectionist measures against China, whose overcapacity is deemed to be killing domestic industries in the west. “Western countries' implementation of tariffs and tax structures on Chinese-manufactured automotive and EV exports is anticipated to significantly impact the shipping sector by potentially reducing vessel demand,” online container and leasing platform Container xChange said in a recent note. To bypass these trade barriers, Chinese automotive and EV makers “are accelerating efforts to internationalize their manufacturing, assembly, and distribution processes”, it said, adding that “immediate effects are already evident, as manufacturers are hastening to ship EVs to avoid impending tariffs and uncertainties”. In the global petrochemical scene, manufacturing facilities in the US and Europe, as well as in parts of northeast Asia are shutting down amid China’s overcapacity. Technically, reduced production elsewhere would open up new markets for China’s excess capacity, if not for the surging freight rates, which further deter trades while demand recovery remains fragile. China’s overall exports have remained soft, posting low single-digit annualised growths in three of the first four months of 2024, with one month in contraction. HEADACHE FOR INDIA PETROCHEMICAL IMPORTERS Petrochemical end-users in India are facing long waiting time to get their hands on imports from China. “Now, no shipping lines will confirm fresh Q2 shipment booking, even after dishing out quotes that are three to four times higher than Q1,” an India-based styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) importer said. A phenol trader said: “June vessel arrangements are more troublesome this year because of the Red Sea issues and also China's exports have been weak especially in the past two months, so fewer vessels are being arranged to China.” India is possibly facing a near-term shortage of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), since northeast/southeast Asian suppliers are struggling to export to the south Asian market. Freight rates from both Taiwan and Thailand to India nearly doubled from April, with voyage time for some shipments taking as long as 90 days, up from the usual 30-40 days. For polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), cargoes from the Middle East heading to the south Asian markets of India and Pakistan are also being delayed, amid congestion at the ports of Salalah in Oman, Dammam in Saudi Arabia and Jebel Ali in the UAE. For polymeric methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (PMDI) of northeast Asian origin, offers to India have spiked amid tightened regional supply, with delays in getting cargoes from South Korea. SURGING SHIPPING COSTS KILLING SPOT TRADESSpot petrochemical trades are being stalled by constantly changing freight rates on a weekly basis. In the polypropylene (PP) market, some Chinese suppliers have stopped offering on a cost, insurance and freight (CIF) basis, and will only offer on FOB basis because of the risks. For the China-to-Vietnam and the Vietnam-to-Indonesia routes, freight rates have nearly tripled, market players said. Buyers are less willing to discuss on an FOB basis, unwilling to shoulder an expected high cost since most of them do not have their own regular shipper. For soda ash, offers of Turkey-origin dense grade cargoes for 1,000-tonne lots to southeast Asia for Q3 shipments rose to around $300/tonne CFR, up by $20-30/tonne compared with May shipments. Importers of the material across Asia were largely staying on the side lines, with some of them experiencing delays in receiving Turkish cargoes. “Discussion levels are firming up due to freight costs,” said an end-user, adding that the “Red Sea issue is getting worse and lots of shipments from Europe and USA are stuck.” The same is true for the southeast Asian PE market given delays in arrivals of Middle East-origin cargoes and amid perceptions of shorter supply. In the oxo-alcohols markets, producers in Asia are under strong pressure to offload cargoes at lower prices given difficulty in moving volumes to their usual export outlets. Freight rates on chemical tankers are also on the rise amid the Red Sea crisis, sources from Asia’s monoethylene glycol market, resulting in postponing of cargo-loading by some producers. “The freight rates are quite high now, and we have to optimize our vessel availability,” a major MEG producer said. FURTHER FREIGHT SPIKES LIKELY IN JUNE H2 is typically “a busier, more competitive, and profitable season for the shipping industry”, with many container sellers are “currently holding onto their inventory” in anticipation of better demand, said Christian Roeloffs, co-founder and CEO of Container xChange, in a note in May. "In an environment of heightened market volatility and encouraging demand recovery for global trade, container traders are gearing up for the second half of 2024, where we expect a cyclical rise in demand,” he said. “This combination of heavier-than-expected demand for freight and anticipation of further demand surges in the second half of 2024 is driving up container trading prices in China,” Roeloffs added. In a recently conducted survey of container traders and leasing companies by Container xChange, it noted that a majority of the respondents reported “extremely high prices for 40 ft high cube containers in China”. On 21 May, the average one-way leasing rates quoted in the market rose to as high as $2,480 for 40 HC in China for US-bound shipments, more than double the rate at the start of the month at around $950, it said. With ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militant Hamas in Gaza proving elusive and the threat of a wider Middle East conflict still hanging, it looks like high freight rates are here to stay for an extended period. Insight article by Pearl Bantillo With contributions from Nurluqman Suratman, Fanny Zhang, Nadim Salamoun, Judith Wang, Helen Lee, Ai Teng Lim, Samuel Wong, Julia Tan, Izham Ahmad, Jackie Wong, Shannen Ng, Helen Yan and Clive Ong

29-May-2024

APIC '24: PODCAST: India inventories, China downstream weakness weigh on acetic acid demand

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS editors Hwee Hwee Tan and Jady Ma discuss current trends in Asia's acetic acid market. China demand softens on difficulty in passing on high costs to downstream users India inventory at multi-month high since end-2023 South Korea plant restart dents northeast Asia spot demand (This podcast first ran on 24 May.) Visit ICIS during APIC ’24 on 30-31 May at Booth 13, Grand Ballroom Foyer of the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas in South Korea. Book a meeting with ICIS here.

29-May-2024

PODCAST: H2 May acetic acid demand weighed by India inventories, China downstream weakness

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–In this podcast, ICIS editors Hwee Hwee Tan and Jady Ma discuss the current trends in Asia's acetic acid market. China demand softens on difficulty in passing on high costs to downstream users India inventory at multimonth high since end 2023 South Korea plant restart dents northeast Asia spot demand

24-May-2024

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