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Updated to Q4 2020
Supply on the Chinese import front tightened significantly due to a number of unprecedented plant shutdowns and reduced operating rates. For instance, Japan’s Mitsui Chemical’s Osaka plant was shut down briefly due to equipment failure, while LG Chem’s Yeosu plant reduced its operating rates due to a cracker fire. However, supply increased somewhat in China towards the end of the year as domestic traders attempted to liquidate cargoes ahead of the new year.
The demand for bisphenol A cargoes waned as prices climbed too high for many buyers to accept, as producers were unwilling to lower their selling indications to move cargoes due to tight supply. In China, buyers generally refrained from purchasing imported spot cargoes amid a rapidly declining domestic market. Demand also weakened in India, with most buyers opting to retreat to a wait-and-see stance due to shipping delays and poor market sentiment.
The market tightened significantly during Q4 2020, due to the Asian import deficit, European turnarounds and Hexion’s production-related force majeure. Better-than-expected domestic demand in Q4 from the epoxy resins and polycarbonate sectors also compounded the market tightness.
Contract demand was solid, buoyed by downstream recovery. Spot demand increased, as output disruption in Europe and Asia on top of Q4 turnarounds, triggered some short-covering needs.
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