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propane-based production technology may offer significant cost savings but in the meantime, supply fluctuations and price volatility for propylene and ammonia impact the acrylonitrile market globally. Without accurate analytics and comprehensive forecasting, risk increases.

The automotive sector is the key downstream demand market for acrylonitrile (ACN) globally. Another key sector that consumes ACN is acrylic fibre, which is used in the textiles industry. ICIS tracks and publishes monthly sales and production data for automotive markets in China, India, Europe and the USA. We pay particular attention to China and the US, as the world’s two largest automotive market. Its automotive sales and production are regularly reported in our associated acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-rubber (NBR) reports.

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Acrylonitrile news

India’s Styrenix plans ABS, PS capacity expansions in Gujarat

MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s Styrenix Performance Materials (SPM) expects to begin operations at its expanded acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polystyrene (PS) capacities at Dahej and Nandesari in the western Gujarat state before 2028, a company source said on Friday. SPM plans to invest Rs6.5bn ($78m) on the expansion projects. Its ABS capacity will grow to 210,000 tonnes/year over the next four years, from 85,000 tonnes/year currently; while its PS capacity will be raised to 150,000 tonnes/year over the next three years from the current 66,000 tonnes/year, based on the plan released in October 2023. Funding the brownfield expansions will be through a mix of internal accruals and debt, SPM said. “The expansion will be done in a phased manner and capacity will be increased gradually over the next few years,” the company source said. The expansion of production capacities will help SPM meet increasing domestic demand for ABS and PS, he sai. “We expect to see robust growth in in our existing markets like automobiles, household appliances, medical devices, electronics, [among others],” the source said. SPM is formerly known as INEOS Styrolution India. It was renamed in January 2023 after INEOS Styrolution sold its entire stake in the company to Shiva Performance Material in August 2022. ($1 = Rs83)


Asia top stories – weekly summary

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News Asia and the Middle East for the week ended 9 February 2024. India methanol gains on lower Iran volumes amid plant outagesBy Keven Zhang 09-Feb-24 14:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Indian methanol spot market continued to be driven by supply outages in Iran, with a trade concluded higher than the previous week. INSIGHT: Asia benzene remains profitable supported by demand in 2024 By Jenny Yi 08-Feb-24 22:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia benzene supply growth will moderate in 2024 compared with last year, which saw the the peak of the latest capacity expansion cycle. The downstream market still maintains rapid capacity growth, however, which exceeds the supply growth rate of benzene. Asia adipic acid struggles to keep up with cost pressure ahead of holidays By Josh Quah 08-Feb-24 13:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Adipic acid (ADA) prices in Asia have been on a general upward trend since around mid-December 2023 for China-origin cargoes. INSIGHT: Asia ABS supply length will intensify amid China expansions By May Hu 08-Feb-24 10:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) capacity growth in Asia peaked in 2023 and will be sustained in 2024 on massive new capacities coming on stream in China. China petrochemical demand may stay muted post-holiday By Yvonne Shi 07-Feb-24 15:09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Low market confidence has kept petrochemical restocking in China tepid before the Lunar New Year holiday, with players refraining from building up inventory given uncertain demand recovery in March. China Jan petrochemical markets gain on restocking; Feb holidays to hit demand By Yvonne Shi 06-Feb-24 14:58 SINGAPORE(ICIS)–China’s domestic petrochemical markets gained in end-January on the back firm crude prices and some restocking ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, with demand in February likely to weaken. Asia titanium dioxide spot market may be fuelled by bullish sentiment By Joson Ng 05-Feb-24 16:56 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The titanium dioxide (TiO2) spot market in Asia is likely to see supply factors driving the market in February. India hikes infrastructure capex for fourth year; Rs11.1tr set for 2024-25 By Priya Jestin 05-Feb-24 14:49 MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s government has announced plans to increase its capital expenditure on infrastructure projects to rupees (Rs) 11.1trn ($134bn) in its interim budget for 2024-2025, up 11% from the previous fiscal year, boosting the funds available for the sector for the fourth consecutive year.


US Trinseo expects another net loss in Q1, may take more actions

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Trinseo expects another quarterly net loss in the first quarter after reporting one on Monday for its fourth-quarter results. The company has already shutdown some manufacturing capacity, and the company will continue to assess whether it should do more to "increase our manufacturing network flexibility", said Frank Bozich, CEO. Any such actions would allow the company to take advantage of cost differences among different regions while also improving profitability, lowering capital expenditures and optimizing working capital, Bozich said. At the same time, the moves would allow Trinseo to continue investing in higher-value products as well as sustainable ones. The following table compares the company's Q1 guidance to its Q4 and Q1 performance during 2023. Figures are in millions of dollars. Q1 '24 Q4 '23 Q1 '23 Net loss from continuing operations 77-67 265 49 Adjusted EBITDA 40-50 20 36 Source: Trinseo “The unprecedented drop in demand we saw starting in the third quarter of 2022 has persisted, and a great deal of macroeconomic uncertainty remains," Bozich said. “We are seeing stronger order loads to begin the year following the challenges we faced in the fourth quarter, and therefore, we expect significantly higher sequential profitability in the first quarter of 2024," he said. However, the first quarter should be the one with the lowest profitability because volumes are typically lower during that time of the year and because of plant turnaounds, Trinseo said. Also, the timing of newly awarded business will contribute to lower profitability. For all of 2024, Trinseo expects a similar constrained demand environment to 2023. Shares of Trinseo rose by 1.63% in afterhours trading. Q4 PERFORMANCEThe following table shows Trinseo's Q4 performance. Figures are in millions of dollars. Q4 23 Q4 22 % Change Net sales 837.5 975.2 -14.1% Cost of sales 817.2 978.4 -16.5% Gross profit 20.3 -3.2 – Net loss * 265.0 364.3 -27.3% Adjusted EBITDA 20.2 6.3 – *from continuing operations Source: Trinseo Trinseo makes styrenics and engineered materials. Thumbnail shows spoons made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), one of the resins made by Trinseo. Image by ICIS.


PODCAST: Asia benzene lifted by higher oil prices, pre-holiday restocking

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia's benzene prices trended upwards because of crude gains as well some pre-Lunar New Year restocking. Downstream styrene (SM) producers however, struggled with higher costs and low demand from sectors such as polystyrene (PS), expandable polystyrene (EPS) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS). In this chemical podcast, ICIS editors Angeline Soh and Luffy Wu discuss recent market conditions with an outlook ahead in Asia. Benzene Feb cargoes sold out from pre-LNY stocking up, US demand as plants shut from winter storm Demand for March cargoes buoyed; buyers beyond Asia worried about tightened supply with upcoming derivative additions in China Asian styrene market players struggling with high costs but low demand Regional styrene exporters eyeing long-haul opportunities to Europe


INSIGHT: Pre-holiday Asia petrochemicals mixed on cost pressures, bleak demand outlook

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Petrochemical markets in Asia are showing a mixed trend ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, with some product prices rising on a combination of pre-holiday restocking and supply constraints despite general weakness in underlying demand. Red Sea crisis weighs on business decisions amid rising freight costs Pre-holiday restocking muted in most markets Demand recovery post holiday uncertain Prevailing concerns about the global economic outlook, compounded by rising freight costs and supply chain issues continue to weigh on sentiment. In China’s domestic market, pre-holiday restocking has been muted overall as downstream buyers fret over high prices of some products. The Lunar New Year, which falls on 10 February, is celebrated in most parts of northeast and southeast Asia. China will be on holiday for a full week on 10-17 February. COST PRESSURES DRIVE GAINS Some markets in Asia are experiencing an uptick in activity ahead of the holiday amid tight supply conditions. For ethyl acetate (etac), spot negotiations have surged along with market activity as end-users stock up on feedstock. The demand spike, particularly in northeast and southeast Asia, was triggered by concerns over limited vessel space and higher freight costs which were causing delays in cargo deliveries. “The tightness of vessel [availability] becomes a common problem for liquid chemicals at the moment,” said a regional-based market source. In the benzene market, buyers have been restocking throughout January, with a notable increase in demand compared with the previous year, ICIS analyst Jenny Yi said. Supply in Asia is expected to be stable amid limited planned turnarounds in the region in the first quarter, Yi said. In addition, the arbitrage window between Asia and the US has opened given reduced production in North America caused by prevailing frigid temperatures, she added. In the isocyanates market, demand is strong in India as downstream polyurethane (PU) producers are restocking for methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) and toluene diisocyanate (TDI to gear up for peak production season in the first few months of the new year. Import prices are bolstered by tight northeast Asian supply, with major Chinese producers offline for turnarounds. However, post-Lunar New Year demand remains uncertain, particularly in China and southeast Asia, as downstream PU sector recovery is sluggish. For polyols, import prices in southeast Asia and India are rising, tracking upstream propylene oxide (PO) gains. India’s domestic and import prices for polyols are rising on a combination of strong demand and high freight costs. Southeast Asia's market, on the other hand, is quieter but prices were being supported by higher feedstock cost. Adjusting polyols prices to match upstream costs is challenging due to weak downstream demand. In the fatty alcohols market, Chinese buyers have secured their needs until March, leaving Indian buyers more active in the market. “We sell two or three months forward on a CIF [cost, insurance & freight] basis … and the sudden increase in ocean freight will definitely affect our margins,” an oleochemicals trader said. HIGH PRICES DAMPEN DEMAND; SUPPLY TIGHT FOR SOME MARKETS Post-Lunar New Year recovery in demand is uncertain, with little optimism for significant improvement. For methanol, domestic activity in China was tepid with downstream factories likely to shut weeks ahead of the holiday, while those seeking cargoes face higher prices given low availability of supply in the market. The country’s methanol imports in January plunged month on month with plants in the Middle East running at reduced rates during the month. In the plasticizers market, spot import prices in Asia were dragged down by upstream losses and weak buying momentum. Based on ICIS’ Plasticizers forecast, prices are expected to fall in February as the market activity slows down during the Lunar New Year holiday. For 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH), import prices in east Asia were stable amid limited discussions due to a lack of available spot material. Downstream diisononyl phthalate (DINP) spot market is having some support from limited supply of feedstock isononyl alcohol (INA). INA cargo movement from Europe to Asia is being affected by ongoing logistics issues in the Red Sea. WEAK DOWNSTREAM MARKETS TO PERSIST For monoethylene glycol (MEG), slowing textile demand ahead of the Lunar New Year could halt the market uptrend. “Limited restocking activities are seen as buyers and end-users prefer not building high stocks amid concerns on the demand recovery after the holiday. As you know, the global economic outlook seems not rosy,” a regional trader said. In the recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) and recycled polyethylene (R-PE) markets, demand for pellets has been tepid as downstream plants still working through backlogs from last year's purchases. The recycled polymers market has generally struggled throughout 2023, with trade impacted by poor economics. In the PE market, initial spot February import offers in southeast Asia were firmer this week as Middle East suppliers flagged reduced spot allocation and low stocks. Middle East offers to Vietnam – which will celebrate the Lunar New Year from 8-14 February – spiked due to reduced availability of spot export cargoes. The Red Sea crisis has also likely affected some shipments from Saudi Arabia, but this could not be confirmed with the producers. Supporting PE demand is downstream application in packaging, which accounts for 60% of total consumption of the material. “The outlook for packaging is expected to be positive given the anticipation of holiday demand. However, downstream demand destruction in the industry is forecast at 15-20% lower year to date,” ICIS analyst Jincy Varghese said. For acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR), China’s import prices have softened this week, as more local end-users retreated to wind down and prepare for the holidays. “The pre-holiday restocking exercise ended just barely weeks after it started,” a regional NBR maker said, adding that “it was so lame, compared to the previous years”. Insight article by Nurluqman Suratman With contributions from Melanie Wee, Julia Tan, Izham Ahmad, Helen Yan, Judith Wang, Shannen Ng, Keven Zhang, Arianne Perez and Ai Teng Lim Thumbnail image: China's 2024 Year of the Dragon celebrations preparations in Beijing – 25 Jan 2024  (WU HAO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)


US regulatory overreach threatens chemical industry competitiveness – ACC CEO

NEW YORK (ICIS)–US regulatory policies are proliferating in a power vacuum and holding the chemical industry back, adding roadblocks to the government’s own sustainability agenda, said the CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC). The US chemical industry enjoys major structural advantages – a positive tax climate, energy abundance and over $1 trillion in stimulus from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the CHIPS and Science Act (semiconductors) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, he said. “There are tremendous opportunities for us. However, some government policies being put forth are holding us back – for example, in permitting and regulatory overreach. And then throw in some overzealous billionaires on top of that and we have a toxic cocktail,” said ACC CEO Chris Jahn at a meeting of the Societe de Chimie Industrielle in New York. The trade group is not opposed to regulation itself but is focused on “smart regulation”, he added. REGULATORS FILL VACUUM LEFT BY CONGRESSWith a highly divided and dysfunctional Congress that “does not legislate often anymore”, there has been an explosion of regulatory activity. In the last 20 years, the number of regulations on the chemical industry has roughly doubled, he pointed out. “Congress leaves a vacuum, regulators fill it,” said Jahn, who added that regulatory burdens have increased across all sectors, from manufacturing to energy to banking. Tracking regulatory activity under each of the last three Presidents from Inauguration Day to 12 May in the third year of their first term (12 May 2023 for Biden), the costs associated with final rules implemented were $363.6 billion under Biden, far outpacing the $6.0 billion under Trump and $213.3 billion under Obama, according to the ACC using government figures. “Specifically for the US chemical industry, there are 13 regulations in the queue right now with a cost to the economy of $7 billion annually, according to the administration’s own numbers,” said Jahn. “That has the potential, if this goes forward, of limiting access to essential materials… This can impact inflation and economic growth, and perhaps more importantly, impact our ability to compete with China,” said Jahn. “The US is now the second largest chemical producer in the world, but China is three times bigger. And so this helps our competitors overseas if we continue down this path,” he added. ACC CAMPAIGN TO ‘CONNECT THE DOTS’The ACC aims to advance its campaign “Chemistry Creates, America Competes” in this election year, targeting 12 battleground states. The focus is to educate regulators and legislators on just how vital the industry is to the government’s key initiatives, he noted. “We are in the ‘connecting the dots’ business. What I mean by that is that there is not a single person at EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), at OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), at Commerce who’s really worried about the impact of these regulations,” said Jahn. “They’re so narrowly focused on looking at the specific chemical, the specific air issue, the specific water issue, that they do not think at all about the real world impact of their actions,” he added. FIVE CHEMISTRIES UNDER THREATAs an example, the EPA is looking to restrict or ban five chemistries that go into the manufacture of automobiles and semiconductors, he pointed out. Back in mid-December, the EPA announced that it had started the 12-month prioritization process to determine whether vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), acrylonitrile (ACN), aniline and two other chemicals should be designated as high priority substances. Jahn also pointed to the EPA in April 2023 proposing to tighten standards for chemical plants producing ethylene oxide (EO), chloroprene, benzene, butadiene (BD), ethylene dichloride (EDC) and VCM. EO is used to sterilize over 20 billion pieces of medical equipment per year, he said. “This matters because regulations, once they’re in place, typically do not go away. This can create barriers to entry for small firms and make it harder for larger firms to do business. But really it’s going to kill innovation that would help us tackle the world’s biggest challenges,” said Jahn. For the five chemicals under review, the process will take years with no decision in the next 2-4 years, he said. “The good thing for us is that we’ve learned what the EPA is looking for – the data, the information they need. We have a better feel for what can be helpful to them in the process, and they’ve learned to, so maybe that accelerates things a little bit. But this will be years and years of evaluation before any decision is made,” said Jahn. UP AGAINST BEYOND PETROCHEMICALSThe ACC is going up against a number of groups being funded by Beyond Petrochemicals, a group launched in September 2022 with $85 million in funding from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropic foundation that aims to block the expansion of more than 120 proposed petrochemical and plastics projects concentrated in Louisiana, Texas and the Ohio River Valley, and work to establish stricter rules for existing plants. “If Mayor Bloomberg really cared about climate and really wanted to do something about that, we would make more [chemicals] in the US – not less. We are cleaner than anywhere else in the world and more efficient,” said Jahn, who also pointed out that Beyond Petrochemicals is also against advanced or chemical recycling of plastics. In an October 2023 report by Beyond Petrochemicals and International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), they called chemical recycling a “dangerous deception” that in addition to decades of failure, produces large quantities of hazardous waste, releases toxic air pollution, threatens environmental justice and contributes to climate change. “What [Beyond Petrochemicals] is doing is giving this money to local groups to make it appear as if it is a grassroots effort – that these people are coming out of the woodwork and trying to address this on a local basis. These are hand-to-mouth organizations that he is now turbocharging with his money to drive his agenda,” said Jahn. The ACC is countering this with its “Chemistry Creates, America Competes” campaign launched in September 2023. “So far. I’d like to think we’ve been very successful. This Bloomberg effort has been going on for over a year, and not one single member of the ACC has had a permit impacted by their initiative,” said Jahn. The ACC aims to work with the administration and the EPA to partner on “smart regulations”. “We don’t have to ban everything, we don’t have to regulate to zero. We can do things to protect the environment but also produce the materials we need in the US,” said Jahn. The ACC plans to activate people in 12 key battleground states that will determine the next presidency, and run political advertising campaigns to push back against over-regulation. EU DE-INDUSTRIALIZATIONThe ACC CEO pointed to the EU and the de-industrialization taking place there as a result of higher energy costs and increasing regulations as a cautionary tale. “They have done this to themselves. They have driven up their cost of energy, driven [down chemical production] and that’s not coming back,” said Jahn. “We’ve seen how this movie ends, so we have to make sure we don’t go down that track. If we want to make more things in this country rather than in China and avoid the fate of Europe, we need a more thoughtful approach,” he added. Even if there is a change in government after the presidential election in November, there will still be policy risk, the ACC CEO said. “For example, if Trump were to win, you would just see the pressure we face in Washington just go to the state level. We’re still going to have those policy challenges,” said Jahn. Focus article by Joseph Chang Thumbnail shows red tape, a symbol of excessive bureaucracy and regulations. Image by Shutterstock. 


Summary of 2024 Americas Outlook stories

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Here are the '24 Americas Outlook stories which ran on ICIS news throughout December and January. Click on a headline to read the full story. OUTLOOK '24: US economy poised for soft landing – will chemicals see a restocking bump? A year ago, just about every economist called for a US recession, and for good reason. Inflation was out of control, interest rates were headed higher and growth was slowing dramatically. But 2023 was a year of resilience, driven by the strong labor market and US consumer. OUTLOOK '24: US ABS, PC demand weakness lingers The 1.5-year demand decline in US acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polycarbonate (PC) markets may bottom out in 2024. OUTLOOK '24: US BDO starts new year amid weak derivative demand US 1,4 butanediol  (BDO) is set to start 2024 after a year of suppressed demand and five straight quarters of contract price declines. OUTLOOK ’24: Global oversupply to pressure PE margins, US to remain advantaged The global polyethylene (PE) industry will continue to face a significant supply overhang in 2024, as recent capacity additions have well exceeded demand growth. Demand from emerging Asian economies, especially, has failed to keep pace with expectations, although most major global PE markets faced recessionary or near recessionary conditions in 2023. OUTLOOK '24: Lat Am PE to remain oversupplied, demand recovery pushed back Polyethylene (PE) markets in Latin America are set to continue being oversupplied in 2024 while demand is expected to grow at a slower rate than expected. OUTLOOK ’24: Demand likely to be lukewarm for US IPA, MEK amid weak housing sector Demand for methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) and isopropanol (IPA) is likely to be lukewarm amid a soft housing construction market and with lower GDP growth forecasts, but with destocking largely over, some restocking could be forthcoming. OUTLOOK ’24: US PP margins to face pressure amid global oversupply US polypropylene (PP) margins are likely to face pressure in 2024 as a global oversupply in the PP industry is likely to keep pricing and margins depressed globally. According to the ICIS Supply and Demand Database, global PP capacity has increased by 26.1% over the past five years while PP demand rose by 15.2% over the same time period, resulting in a significant supply overhang. OUTLOOK '24: Lat Am’s PP demand to remain sluggish, imports to keep rising Demand for polypropylene (PP) in Latin America is unlikely to recover in the first half of 2024, with market participants expecting demand to be low in the first quarter. OUTLOOK '24: US acrylonitrile demand weakness to continue The two-year demand decline in US acrylonitrile (ACN) markets may continue well into 2024. OUTLOOK '24: US chem tanker market tight into H1; headwinds from Panama drought, Middle East tensions The US liquid chemical tanker shipping market is expected to remain tight into the first half of the year, container rates are likely to be steady at near-pre-pandemic levels, and drought conditions in Panama and geopolitical unrest in the Middle East are likely to create additional headwinds for shippers in the coming year. OUTLOOK '24: US benzene to face softness in derivative demand; lowered crude oil forecasts US benzene is experiencing soft demand in Q4 '23, as derivative demand remains weak. OUTLOOK '24: US toluene, MX demand and premiums over RBOB to remain strong US toluene and mixed xylenes (MX) demand is expected to remain strong in 2024 due to a combination of supply shortages and ongoing strength in octane demand. OUTLOOK ’24: US PX consumption could improve in Q2 2024 on bottle-grade PET summer demand US paraxylene (PX) consumption will likely remain poor through Q1 of 2024, however, the market is expected to experience an uptick in consumption in Q2 as downstream bottle-grade polyethylene terephthalate (PET) prepares for the peak summer season. OUTLOOK ’24: Melamine restocking may take place in H1 depending on the US economy performance The just-in-time purchasing strategy implemented this year caused the ICIS market prices for US melamine contracts to decline in the first and second quarters, before stabilizing in the third quarter due to a rollover. OUTLOOK '24: Chem shares start new year on high note US-listed shares of chemical companies will start the new year on a high note after rallying in the final weeks of 2023 with the rest of the nation's stock market on the expectations that inflation is getting under control and that the Federal Reserve could start lowering interest rates. OUTLOOK ’24: US ethylene market to navigate challenging start to new year The US ethylene market is expected to remain long throughout the first half of 2024, facing headwinds from weak demand, ample supply and a sluggish economy. While unit maintenance will tighten supply some, significant improvement in supply/demand is not anticipated until at least the second half of next year. OUTLOOK '24: Soft housing market to weigh on US etac demand Demand for US ethyl acetate (etac) in 2024 could face headwinds from a slow residential construction market, but steady demand from adhesives, packaging, and printing inks could be enough to maintain a floor. OUTLOOK '24: US R-PET market split by impact of imports, despite ratable consumer goods PCR content progress Despite the beginning of a new year, the US recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) market is bracing for a continuation of lackluster demand, responding to the pressure from global economic weakness and increasing import competition. OUTLOOK '24: US epoxy resins at critical point as weak demand erodes margins US epoxy resins players are turning their attention to 2024 with hope that overall demand will improve, but most are unable to point to any factors that can drive growth. OUTLOOK '24: Feedstock and demand headwinds weighing on US MMA US methyl methacrylate (MMA) players are wondering how feedstocks and demand will shape up going into 2024, but sentiment is not particularly positive. OUTLOOK ’24: US propylene market unsettled on tight supply The US propylene market faces supply constraints entering the new year that threaten to keep prices volatile. But demand is expected to continue to be tepid, which will add some stability to the tight market. OUTLOOK '24: After lackluster 2023, US glycol ethers, butac demand may benefit from potential rate cuts Both US butyl acetate (butac) and glycol ethers have experienced lukewarm demand in 2023 due to headwinds facing key end-use markets. OUTLOOK '24: US acrylate demand expected to face more favorable conditions After facing soft demand for much of 2023, US glacial acrylic acid (GAA) and acrylate esters prices rose following a Q4 increase in propylene prices. Though demand remains lackluster in December, it could be gradually boosted in 2024. OUTLOOK '24: US aromatic, aliphatic solvents sentiment moderately optimistic In line with a somewhat tepid view a year ago, the outlook for US aromatic and aliphatic solvents for H1 2024 is guardedly optimistic. OUTLOOK ’24: US PS demand likely to remain subdued in 2024 Demand for US polystyrene (PS) is expected to remain subdued into the next year amid expectations of another year of sluggish GDP growth along with interpolymer substitution pressures. OUTLOOK '24: Lat Am PS pressured by slow manufacturing, single-use plastics regulations The Latin American polystyrene (PS) market will continue to face challenges in 2024 as manufacturing in most countries remains slow and regulations against single-use plastics increase. OUTLOOK '24: US EPS market to face continued weakness in new year The outlook for expandable polystyrene (EPS) in the new year is weak, at least in first half of the year, as the same issues that challenged the market in 2023 will continue. OUTLOOK '24: US nylon demand weak amid manufacturing contraction Demand decline in US nylon markets which started in Q3, 2022 will continue in H1 2024. ICIS economists are forecasting a soft landing of US economy with recovery starting in H2 2024. OUTLOOK '24: US caustic soda starts New Year with sentiment of slimmer demand, price increase nominations US liquid caustic soda starts 2024 with producers taking action to address the threat of oversupply amid weak demand and price declines. OUTLOOK ’24: Latin America caustic soda market focusing on new initiatives in H1 Latin American countries are poised to sustain a strong dependence on exports from the United States in H1. Anticipating a challenging domestic market, US producers plan to prioritize exports in 2024 based on the prevailing economic outlook. OUTLOOK '24: US acetic acid, VAM supply tightness to improve in H1 US acetic acid and derivative vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) supply remains limited, but the tightness should continue to improve throughout H1. OUTLOOK ’24: US styrene expected to face continued headwinds The US styrene market is expected to continue to see weak demand and sufficient supply into the new year and will generally follow current macroeconomic trends. OUTLOOK ‘24: After slow 2023, US TiO2 demand demand hinges on rate cuts North American titanium dioxide (TiO2) demand has been weak for much of the past year, with a soft housing market amid elevated interest rates. However, the US Federal Reserve has recently signaled there could be multiple rate cuts in 2024, which could boost demand for key consumer sectors involving paints and coatings. OUTLOOK '24: US soda ash sees growing supply, slower demand and lower contract prices US soda ash enters 2024 with hopes of a rebalancing of supply and demand and a more stable market and lower prices following three years of supply and demand surges and retreats and record price increases for the once staid and mature commodity. OUTLOOK '24: Feedstock concerns, margin compression to underpin US fatty acids, alcohols markets Feedstock concerns and margin compression will continue to underpin US fatty acids and fatty alcohols markets in 2024 as demand headwinds persist in the first half of the year. OUTLOOK '24: US phenol demand to stay weak, pressuring acetone supply US phenol demand will likely remain weak and weigh on acetone supply in H1 2024 as no major factors are evident that could drive growth. OUTLOOK ’24: US polyurethane demand outlook to remain subdued into 2024 Demand for polyurethane systems in the US is expected to remain subdued moving into the new year as the US and global economies are expected to continue to struggle with macroeconomic headwinds. OUTLOOK '24: US HCl heads into 2024 with slowing oilfield demand and gloomy economic outlook US hydrochloric acid (HCl) ends 2023 with recent slimmer supply and slightly firming prices, but enters 2024 in a more balanced market with wavering demand. OUTLOOK '24: After weak demand for much of '23, US MPG pressured by rising feedstocks After declining for much of the past year, mono propylene glycol (MPG) contract prices have risen in consecutive months, with several rounds of separate price increase nominations emerging in Q4 ‘23. OUTLOOK '24: US base oils markets look for return of demand US base oils markets appear poised for ample supplies with buyers continued focus on just-in-time procurement as trade flows adjust to new legislation in 2024. OUTLOOK ’24: US paraffin wax market may continue to face demand challenges along with ample supply in H1 2024 A certain amount of demand and feedstock cost volatility could cause some price fluctuations for US slack wax in H1 2024. OUTLOOK '24: US fuels demand to soften amid poor macroeconomic conditions US demand for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel is expected to fall in 2024 due to the likelihood of recessionary economic conditions. OUTLOOK '24: Ample supply of US fuel, industrial ethanol expected in H1 on increased production US fuel and industrial ethanol markets are likely to be well supplied in 2024 on increased production and record corn crops, with pricing likely to be determined based on upstream costs and economic conditions. OUTLOOK ’24: Brazil fuel parity fluctuating in H1 on crude oil price trend Brazil expectations point to a slight decline in hydrous ethanol prices during the first half, aiming to boost competition with gasoline, as the parity remains more favorable to biofuel in Q4. OUTLOOK ’24: LatAm petchems to remain at mercy of China amid slowing economies Latin American petrochemicals are to remain ‘price takers’ in the global market and dependent on China’s overcapacities and that country’s success in reviving its own manufacturing sectors. OUTLOOK '24: INSIGHT: Regulatory surge, CFATS, EV incentives in play for US chems In 2024, the US chemical industry could see an attempt to revive the industry's main anti-terrorism program, an attempt at further permit reform and a last-ditch effort by the president to push through regulations before the elections in November. OUTLOOK '24: US BD import needs decrease as demand shifts, SBR stays weak The US is expected to have limited need for imported butadiene (BD) in 2024 and exports to Asia are likely to continue, especially if demand for derivatives such as styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) remains weak. OUTLOOK '24: US R-PE battles direct and indirect demand destruction from long virgin PE market The US recycled polyethylene (R-PE) market braces for continued weakness in order volumes across both sustainability-driven and cost-sensitive demand for both post-consumer and post-industrial recycled high-density polyethylene (R-HDPE) and recycled low-density polyethylene (R-LDPE) in 2024. OUTLOOK '24: US MA cautiously pessimistic amid lackluster demand US maleic anhydride (MA) is cautiously pessimistic going into 2024 amid lackluster demand and economic uncertainty. OUTLOOK '24: US methanol discounts reach unprecedented levels US methanol supply is expected to remain ample into the new year as the demand side remains seasonally slower. OUTLOOK ’24: Low water levels on Mississippi River unlikely to negatively impact PA, OX supply Low water levels along the Mississippi River are unlikely to negatively impact phthalic anhydride (PA) and orthoxylene (OX) supply due to low demand as a result of seasonality, coupled with economic headwinds, including elevated interest and mortgage rates, as well as lingering high inflation. OUTLOOK ’24: US plasticizers stay focused despite varying demand in H1 The market outlook for plasticizers in H1 2024 remains somewhat gloomy due to the ongoing effects of inflation and interest rates in industries in the niches of electronics, construction, automotive, and packaging. OUTLOOK '24: US PVC starts new year with bullish stance, pending capacity expansions US polyvinyl chloride (PVC) starts the new year with an abrupt exit from one of the worst years for demand and value preservation since the credit market wreckage of 2009. OUTLOOK ’24: Latin America PVC production exceeding local demand in H1 The complete recovery of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) demand in Latin America is not anticipated in the first half of 2024. OUTLOOK '24: US feedstocks to face headwinds Overall demand for US feedstocks is relatively low heading into 2024 amid falling ethane demand and potential macroeconomic headwinds. OUTLOOK '24: US glycerine supplies to remain ample in H1 despite mixed biofuels landscape US glycerine supplies are largely expected to remain ample in H1 2024, despite a structural decrease in installed US biodiesel capacity, as sustained strong biodiesel production in Indonesia and lackluster demand in China threaten to once again flood the US with excess supplies from southeast Asia. OUTLOOK ’24: US EG export volumes, production rates could be negatively impacted by Panama Canal backlog US ethylene glycol (EG) exports and production rates could be negatively impacted by the disruptions at the Panama Canal. Recently, the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) announced it would slash the number of vessels allowed to transit the waterway daily through 1 February 2024, as recent drought persists. OUTLOOK ’24: PET, PTA demand could pick up in Q2 ahead of peak summer season Bottle grade US polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) demand could pick up in the second quarter of 2024 as the market expects to begin preparing for peak bottled beverage season during the summer months. OUTLOOK ’24: Weather, Asia offers in H1 continue to have direct impact on PET prices in Latin America Increased import tariffs and economic uncertainties persist in influencing the quantities of PET exported from Asia to Latin America in 2023 and this trend will continue in 2024. Asia will remain committed to the global market to align with supply and demand dynamics, with ample materials accessible in H1, predominantly directed towards the west coast of South America. Despite the existence of import tariffs on Chinese resin in Mexico and Brazil, Asia's offerings continue to exert pressure on prices in Latin America in the short term.


India’s Bhansali Engineering Polymers to expand ABS, SAN production

MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s Bhansali Engineering Polymers Ltd (BEPL) plans to nearly double acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) capacity in the Rajasthan state to 145,000 tonnes/year in about two years. The company signed an agreement with Toyo Engineering on the expansion from the current production capacity of 75,000 tonnes/year at Abu Road in the northwestern state. The expanded capacity is expected to come on stream by March 2026, BEPL said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange on 12 January. While BEPL has received government clearance for expanding its ABS capacity to 200,000 tonnes/year, it will initially expand capacity to 145,000 tonnes/year, it said. The company has also got clearance to increase its styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) capacity at its Abu Road complex to 25,000 tonnes/year, more than triple its current annual capacity of 7,000 tonnes/year, it said. At Satnoor in the central Madhya Pradesh state, BEPL's high rubber graft (HRG) resin capacity will be expanded to 50,000 tonnes/year, also more than triple the current capacity of 15,000 tonnes/year. HRG is used in the production of ABS, and the expansion of the HRG plant will allow the company to expand its ABS capacity, it said. “The current domestic demand of ABS surpasses the supply,” the company said, adding that it expects increased production to meet the rise in domestic demand. ABS is used in the consumer electronics and automotive sectors.


Summary of 2024 Asia Outlook Stories

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the 2024 Asia Outlook stories which ran on ICIS news throughout December and January. Click on a headline to read the full story. OUTLOOK ‘24: China acrylic acid to see shifts in focus, limited supply-demand changes New acrylic acid plants in China are mostly scheduled to start up in the second half of 2024, with the timeline remaining uncertain. Apart from expansions of supplementary acrylic esters plants, new capacities are also seen in other downstream industries such as water treatment. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia ethylene dour sentiment may undermine derivative expansion While Asia ethylene markets are likely to see demand in some regions being able to keep pace with new planned capacity, a bearish outlook for the coming year threatens to dampen further recovery hopes for the commodity. OUTLOOK ‘24: Asia etac, butac demand to stay limited amid China economic woes Asia’s ethyl acetate (etac) demand may remain limited in Q1 2024 amid challenging macroeconomic conditions and concerns of China’s frail demand. OUTLOOK ‘24: Macroeconomic headwinds to continue to impact Asia R-PET Sustainability targets will remain insufficient to bolster downstream demand for Asian recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) in the first half of 2024. OUTLOOK ‘24: China propylene supply to be driven by PDH run rates China's domestic propylene market will continue to see expanding capacities in 2024. Spot supply is expected to depend more on the operating rates of propane dehydrogenation (PDH) units as PDH will become the largest production route in the new year. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia acrylic acid and acrylates face strong economic headwinds, ample supply Asian acrylic acid and acrylate esters faced a turbulent 2023, with hopes of a recovery dented by multiple setbacks. OUTLOOK '24: Asia ECH, LER recovery hampered by supply overhang, tepid demand The recovery in Asia’s epichlorohydrin (ECH) and liquid epoxy resins (LER) markets, which hinges on the primary end-use market of the construction industries, will be hampered by continued demand headwinds and increases in ECH and LER capacities. OUTLOOK '24: Asia propylene braces for volatility, downstream demand growth to slow Asia’s propylene import market is set to face increased volatility in 2024 as market participants opt to lower term volumes in favour of higher spot allocations. Beyond this, uncertainties in upstream markets also continue to compound expectations that 2024 spot markets will see more volatility. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia BD to wrestle between tight supply and muted downstream demand Asia's spot butadiene (BD) market has been gripped by supply constraints for some time now. A respite seems to be quite unlikely in the near term, or at least for Q1 2024, so long as operations at regional crackers remain sub-optimal. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia glycol ethers await demand rebound, BG supply to contract Demand for Asia glycol ethers may stay sluggish in Q1 2024, while the butyl glycol (BG) market will grapple with tighter supply in Q1 2024. OUTLOOK '24: Oversupplied China PP market to face obstacles for export growth Faced with trade barriers from multiple countries and uncompetitive raw material costs, China PP market is expected to face rising capacity and saturated demand in 2024. OUTLOOK '24: SE Asia PP overshadowed by oversupply; new import regulations add uncertainties Southeast Asia's polypropylene (PP) market remains overshadowed by an oversupply situation that may worsen further with additional production capacities coming on stream in China and some major southeast Asian producers ramping up their commercial operations. OUTLOOK ’24: China ACN demand growth to trail behind new capacity additions China's acrylonitrile (ACN) market is set to see a concurrent rise in both supply and demand in 2024. OUTLOOK '24: China benzene supply to tighten in H1 on demand pick-up China’s benzene market will remain tightly balanced in 2024 on the back of slowing capacity expansions from large integrated refining and petrochemical facilities, amid new downstream plant start-ups. OUTLOOK '24: Asia melamine could see demand support, stable costs China's melamine makers have hopes to see steady buying interest on the domestic and external fronts going into 2024, even as the market could continue to face some pressure from high run rates in China. OUTLOOK ’24: Supply overhang, slow derivative to blunt Asia adipic acid recovery While most of the year seemed lacklustre for Asia adipic acid markets, ICIS data showed that adipic acid did see an 8.69% year-on-year improvement in exports from northeast Asia from January to October*, indicating a year of recovery overall for the commodity in spite of the pessimistic climate. OUTLOOK ‘24: Mideast conflict to keep regional PE, PP demand weak in Q1 Demand for polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) in the Middle East is expected to remain weak throughout the first quarter of 2024, weighed down by a prolonged Israel-Hamas conflict and amid fears it would spread to neighbouring countries. OUTLOOK ’24: China PE supply-demand to rebalance on capacity rise China’s PE capacity expansion shows an overall slowdown in 2024. However, competitive pressures persist for high-density polyethylene (HDPE), while demand is poised for a steady and modest increase. OUTLOOK ’24: SE Asia PE face challenges from China, Vietnam demand weakness The southeast Asian polyethylene (PE) market is expected to see a sluggish start to the new year, with demand from China showing little sign of any improvement while demand in Vietnam also stagnates amid an increasingly competitive price environment. OUTLOOK '24: Asia PX looks to gasoline markets, downstream for direction The paraxylene (PX) markets in Asia will look towards the gasoline markets as well as the downstream purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and polyester sectors for direction in 2024. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia MEK facing strong upstream pressure; demand outlook mixed Heading into 2024, market players are divided about demand in the Asia methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) markets. The main driver of the market in early 2024 could likely be the strong feedstock naphtha market. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia IPA braces for upstream-driven volatility, rising capacity In 2024, Asian isopropanol (IPA) makers are likely to face pressures from the acetone volatility which plagued the market in 2023, as well as increased supply when new capacities in China come on stream in Q1 2024. OUTLOOK ‘24: China demand recovery to play major role in India PE, PP sentiment Demand for polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) in the Indian market during the first half of 2024 will be tightly linked to an expected demand recovery in China after the Lunar New Year Holidays in February. OUTLOOK ‘24: Asia toluene pins hopes on demand recovery Asia’s toluene markets are heading into a traditional slowdown, with the winter season weighing on gasoline-blending demand, while solvent-sector buying may only see a pick-up in early 2024. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia benzene-naphtha spread to stay healthy, derivative additions outweigh production Asia benzene players expressed mixed projections for 2024, amid planned nameplate capacity additions down the benzene chain. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia ACN market sees low chance of improvement The acrylonitrile (ACN) market in Asia has endured a difficult 2023, with promises of a strong COVID-19 recovery hitherto unfulfilled. OUTLOOK '24: Asia's naphtha supply crunch to persist Asia’s naphtha market is expected to stay well supported in the short-term as political tensions, bad weather conditions and Middle Eastern refinery maintenance will limit supplies coming to this region. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia MX growth subdued, downstream expansions to support demand Asia mixed xylenes (MX) of both isomer grades will observe slowdown in capacity expansions in 2024, but new downstream paraxylene (PX) and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) start-ups are prompting cautious expectations of demand support among some regional market players. OUTLOOK '24: East and south Asia ethanolamines faces soft demand, ample supply The ethanolamines markets in east and south Asia are expected to be mired in weakness into the first quarter of 2024. The plant outages in Europe and Asia in the latter half of Q4 2023 did little to bolster the market, with demand largely in a low ebb. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia PBT to face increased competition, weak demand The Asian polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) market ended 2023 on a softer note with concerns that the weak demand would continue into Q1 2024. OUTLOOK ’24: China BD market supply still tight, downstream expansion provides support In 2024, China’s butadiene (BD) capacity expansion will slow, but downstream ABS and others may continue to launch new facilities, and so downstream sectors will still have room to accept overseas BD supply. OUTLOOK '24: China BDO faces high-speed capacity expansion, low utilization China’s 1,4-butanediol (BDO) capacities will rise at a quicker pace in 2024, after kicking off a new expansion cycle since 2023, but plant utilization rates may stay low amid a potential supply surplus. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia ABS, SAN run rates to be reduced, capacity additions outweigh demand Asia acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) players largely expect production to be mitigated to factor in recent and upcoming capacity additions, with some sellers readjusting their focus to emerging Asian markets and beyond. OUTLOOK '24: East, south Asia LAB in seasonal lull while China soldiers on The linear alkylbenzene (LAB) markets in east and south Asia have entered a slower year-end season, with demand likely to stay tepid in the near term. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia BDO faces greater oversupply, lacklustre downstream performance The Asia 1,4-butanediol (BDO) market had already faced the first round of new capacities in China, with even more to follow. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia synthetic rubber braces for soft demand; hopes pinned on China Soft downstream demand, underscored by lingering macroeconomic headwinds, is expected to weigh on Asian’s spot import market for various synthetic rubber grades – from styrene-butadiene-rubber (SBR), polybutadiene rubber (PBR) to acrylonitrile-butadiene-rubber (NBR). OUTLOOK ’24: Mideast, S Asia PS to remain dull, potential restocking ahead of Lunar New Year Polystyrene (PS) markets in both South Asia and the Middle East struggled to show any momentum in the last quarter of 2023, as evidenced by the poor demand and sales. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia PS market to face competition, macro uncertainties After struggling with feedstock styrene monomer (SM) market uncertainties and shallow margins for a year, Asia’s polystyrene (PS) market players appear to have a mostly conservative market outlook for 2024. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia caustic soda demand likely mixed; producers grapple with costs Asia's caustic soda spot market is likely to see uneven demand, while producers are likely to struggle with squeezed margins amid higher operating costs. OUTLOOK '24: Asia nylon markets to meet tougher challenges in 2024 The nylon markets in Asia saw obstacles in 2023 which have mostly yet to be overcome. Macroeconomic factors and increased frugality among consumers of end-use products, such as textiles and clothing, have driven down demand, especially with ramped-up recycling and upcycling efforts. OUTLOOK ‘24: China n-butanol to see ample supply on capacity expansions Supply will likely remain sufficient in the first half of 2024 due to few turnarounds for n-butanol (NBA) despite the switch to 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) production at some oxo-alcohols plants. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia styrene players eye changing trade landscape, recovery may stay slow Asia's styrene market players faced a challenging year in 2023 amid slow demand and shallow production margins. OUTLOOK ’24: China SM capacity growth to slow, competition to intensify China’s styrene monomer (SM) capacity growth is expected to slow down significantly in 2024, after rapid expansions in 2020-2023, with only Chambroad Petrochemical’s 600,000 tonne/year and Luoyang Petrochemical’s 120,000 tonne/year plants likely to come on stream. Despite the slowing capacity additions, competition will intensify as the industry is in the process of seeking a dynamic balance. OUTLOOK ’24: China acetic acid may face pressure from capacity expansion China’s acetic acid market may face pressure from imbalanced fundamentals in 2024. A number of new units are scheduled to start up while there are many uncertainties on the demand side. OUTLOOK '24: Asia fatty acids demand tepid in Q1, with pick up from Q2 Asia fatty acids demand for the first quarter of 2024 is likely to be tepid but is expected to strengthen from the second quarter onwards if there is an ease in the macro-economic headwinds which have battered the global economy. OUTLOOK '24: Asia fatty alcohols subdued in Q1 but CPKO rally may bolster demand Asia fatty alcohols market is likely to be subdued in the first quarter of 2024, but a rally in the feedstock crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) price will bolster demand. OUTLOOK ‘24: Asia EVA supply overhang clouds Summer Olympics optimism Asia’s ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) market outlook in the near-term faces supply length and slow demand pressures, as the downstream footwear and photovoltaic (PV) industries focus on destocking activities hence clouding optimism from the 2024 Summer Olympics multiplier effect. OUTLOOK ‘24: TiO2 trend could mirror 2023, but potential ADD may be a game changer Spot titanium dioxide (TiO2) prices could continue to trend similarly to 2023 while Chinese makers are bracing for potential antidumping duties (ADDs) on Chinese products to Europe. OUTLOOK’24: Asia’s phenol market faces rationalisation as China’s capacity growth threatens Phenol and acetone market rationalisation in Asia is underway as output cuts in 2023 failed to safeguard margins amid capacity growth in China. Leading producers will push for a benzene cost-based approach in the 2024 contract pricing. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia’s PO markets likely to remain subdued, minimal downstream support Asia’s propylene oxide (PO) markets will likely continue grappling with weak demand in 2024, with supply mixed across the region, and the downstream sectors unlikely to provide significant support to demand. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia polyols demand outlooks mixed across region Asia’s import markets for slabstock polyols were in the doldrums for most of 2023, and the demand outlooks for 2024 are mixed across the region. OUTLOOK ’24: China phenol to wrestle between supply surge and demand China’s phenol capacity expansions in 2024 may be slower than in 2023, but the market will continue to feel supply-side pressure as a number of new plants coming on stream around the end of 2023 are likely to release output in 2024. Whether downstream producers could digest the supply additions and whether exports will increase in 2024 are a key concern for the market. OUTLOOK '24: Asia chemical freight rates may remain elevated Charterers have advanced discussions for chemical shipments in Asia amid expectations that tanker supply may remain tight into the new year. OUTLOOK ‘24: China BPA imports to drop further on new start-ups The expected surge in 2024 domestic supply following start-ups of more capacities in end-2023 will further erode demand for overseas cargoes. OUTLOOK ’24: Mideast polyether polyols market to see supply outstrip demand in 2024 Middle East polyols markets are expected are facing excess supply and tepid demand next year on additional capacities for both polyols and their feedstock, propylene oxide (PO). OUTLOOK ’24: Asia’s acetone market braced for higher term prices on reduced output outside China Asia’s acetone market players were braced for higher 2024 term prices as global supply shortages in 2023 – due to planned and unplanned output cuts and outages at phenol/acetone plants – supported pricing discussions. OUTLOOK '24: Asian BPA sellers brace for tough times as China cuts imports Asian bisphenol A (BPA) makers will continue to have a challenging time in most of the first quarter as China is likely to keep its import volume low due to growing domestic supplies and weak downstream demand. OUTLOOK ‘24: Asia Group I base oils supply to stay tight, Group II supply to rise Asia’s Group I base oils supply is expected to remain tight in Q1 2024 due to a refinery turnaround and production cuts in southeast Asia. OUTLOOK '24: Asia caprolactam market anticipates China’s shift from net importer A shift in caprolactam (capro) supply and dynamics throughout 2023, especially in China, has led to expectations that China, once a net importer, could be self-sufficient as soon as 2024 or 2025. OUTLOOK '24: Asia MA mired in demand weakness while supply expands Asia’s maleic anhydride (MA) markets are likely to remain subdued in the first quarter of 2024 amid weak demand and ample supply. OUTLOOK ‘24: Asia oxo-alcohols stalemate to persist amid tight import supply The stalemate in Asia's oxo-alcohol import markets is expected to continue into the first half of the first quarter. OUTLOOK '24: Asia methanol prospects marred by production expansions, stagnant demand Methanol market participants in Asia are maintaining a bearish outlook, weighed by the rise in production capacity expected in 2024 and following a slower-than-expected recovery from last year. OUTLOOK '24: Asia PA near-term demand to remain muted, supply-driven upside capped Asia’s phthalic anhydride (PA) markets are likely to stay subdued in H1 2024, with tepid demand outweighing cost-push factors. OUTLOOK '24: Asia MTBE supply glut persists, demand may improve Trading of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) in Asia has been active in Asia on ample supply in 2023, while the extent of oversupply could be reduced with potentially improving demand in 2024. OUTLOOK '24: China MTBE capacities to continue growing; exports to SE Asia persist China's methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) capacity expansion will continue into 2024, exacerbating the domestic supply pressure amid expectations of limited local demand as gasoline consumption may have peaked, but southeast Asia may still require some incremental volumes. OUTLOOK '24: Asia’s PVC market enters 2024 in a sombre mood If Asia’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) spot market performance in 2023 is anything to go by, players are bracing themselves for similar challenges in 2024. OUTLOOK ’24: Mideast, south Asia PVC Q1 uptake expected to be healthy, oversupply remains a challenge Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) markets in both South Asia and the Middle East saw a lot of volatility in 2023, affected by events like the safeguard investigation in India, seasonal factors and economic challenges faced by major economies, like China. OUTLOOK '24: China methanol supply-demand to grow at slower pace; imports to stay high China’s methanol output and demand are expected to grow further in 2024, albeit at a slower pace, while the import volumes may remain at high levels. OUTLOOK '24: Asia plasticizers demand sluggish, 2-EH to remain key market driver The Asian plasticizers market is expected to remain sluggish in H1 2024, as a seasonal lull in demand coincides with weak end-user consumption due to the bearish construction sector in China. OUTLOOK ’24: New capacities to exert further pressure on China PO market China's domestic propylene oxide (PO) market is expected to suffer further supply pressure because of new capacity start-ups in 2024. OUTLOOK ’24: China 2-EH supply to remain tight in H1 2024 China’s 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) market is likely to experience a tight balance in the first half of 2024 due to limited new capacities. OUTLOOK '24: Easing Asia acetic acid supply may outstrip demand upside in Q1 Asia acetic acid supplies will lengthen during the first half of 2024, offsetting upside from regional plant outage and increased downstream plant utilisation in two key markets. OUTLOOK ’24: Asia glycerine demand to stay tepid in Q1 on bearish sentiment Asia’s glycerine demand is expected to remain soft in the first quarter of 2024 given continued weakness in the global economy. OUTLOOK '24: Asia PET supply expected to outstrip demand on new capacities Asia's polyethylene terephthalate (PET) supply is set to outstrip demand in 2024 on the back of new capacities coming on stream. OUTLOOK '24: Asian PTA capacity expansion continues, downstream demand growth to lag The purified terephthalic acid (PTA) markets in Asia will undergo another challenging year ahead, amid continual expansions of new capacities in China. OUTLOOK ’24 INSIGHT: Asia MEG market could improve in 2024 as capacity build-up eases The Asian mono ethylene glycol (MEG) market is expected to hit the pause button in 2024 after aggressively expanding capacity over the past few years. The market is expected to brace for some improvement in prices to help ease poor or even negative margins. OUTLOOK '24: GCC PET supply to recover, demand to rise in 2024 Supply of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) spot cargoes from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is expected to be healthy going into 2024, while domestic demand is expected to be flat. Demand from key export markets, however, is expected to see some slight increase going into 2024. OUTLOOK ‘24: China’s MEG supply-demand to improve on slower capacity growth The capacity boom since 2020, driven by the start-ups of multiple large refining and chemical projects, will ease in 2024, which will give a relief to the pressurized monoethylene glycol (MEG) market and improve the supply-demand fundamentals. OUTLOOK ’24: China slated to transform into net exporter for MIBK Asia’s methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) import demand looks set to contract in 2024 as China dramatically increases its production capacity from as early as the first half of next year. OUTLOOK ’24: Reduced supply may support China’s DEG market As a by-product, the output of diethylene glycol (DEG) has been significantly squeezed in recent years by the low operating rates at monoethylene glycol (MEG) units. MEG producers in various regions based on different routes are facing competition amid persistently thin margins. OUTLOOK '24: Asia soap noodles to remain soft in Q1 on macro headwinds Asia’s soap noodles market is expected to remain soft in the first quarter of 2024 as regional economies grapple with inflationary pressures and global recession fears amid a global economic downturn. OUTLOOK '24: Asia FAE tepid in Q1 on weak demand and bearish sentiment Asia’s fatty alcohol ethoxylates (FAE) market is expected to remain tepid in the first quarter of 2024 amid a slowdown in activities during the Lunar New Year holidays. OUTLOOK ’24: Solar glass demand, supply disruption fuel China’s soda ash market China’s soda ash market may continue to find support in the first quarter of 2024 amid domestic output disruptions on the back of capacity additions in the downstream solar glass sector in 2023 while stock buffering interest among buyers in southeast Asia may stimulate spot market liquidity. OUTLOOK ‘24: Costs to drive China PTA market amid capacity mismatch with upstream PX The domestic purified terephthalic acid (PTA) market is likely to be cost-driven in 2024, as its capacity expansion – albeit slowing down – may lead to a mismatch compared with upstream paraxylene (PX), which may not see any capacity additions next year. OUTLOOK '24: Tight VAM supplies in Asia may persist into Q1 Asia’s vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) prices for prompt imports have risen on signs that bulk cargo availability may remain tight into the first quarter, contrary to previous expectations. OUTLOOK ‘24: China VAM supply may tighten in Q1 despite new capacities China’s domestic vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) production capacity is poised for a consistent upswing in 2024, with the continuous expansion of downstream China's ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) production capacity in recent years.


Americas top stories: weekly summary

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News from the week ended 12 January. Ocean freight disruptions threaten domestic supply, push US PET import prices higher Imports of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) to the US have experienced price increases of 30-40% due to the global ocean freight disruptions and delays, according to market participants. LOGISTICS: Maersk to omit Panama Canal, use land bridge to create Atlantic, Pacific loops Global shipping major Maersk will stop sending ships through the Panama Canal and will instead transport cargo across the Central American country using railroads, the global shipping major announced on Wednesday. INSIGHT: US on track to restrict VCM, ACN, aniline under TSCA The US is on track to use its main chemical safety program to impose restrictions or even bans on various uses of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and acrylonitrile (ACN) as well as aniline, the main feedstock used to make the polyurethane chemical methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI). Oil prices surge, supply chain fears intensify, in wake of US-UK attacks on Yemen Crude oil prices surged on Friday in the wake of missile strikes carried out by the US and UK on targets in Yemen in retaliation for attacks along the Red Sea shipping route, raising fears of further escalation in the conflict and increased supply chain pressure. US Gulf Coast petchems monitor winter forecasts, expect minimal impacts for now The US Gulf Coast chemical industry is bracing for arctic weather forecasted for early next week, but effects on plants and operations are not expected to be catastrophic like winter storm Uri three years ago. LOGISTICS: Ocean freight rates surge on Middle East turmoil; Maersk to rail cargoes across Panama Rates for liquid chemical tankers and containers from east Asia and China to the US jumped this week amid disruptions at the Panama and Suez canals, highlighting this week’s logistics roundup.


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