Epichlorohydrin (ECH)

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Discover the factors influencing epichlorohydrin (ECH) markets

The market for epichlorohydrin (ECH) can be subject to swings. This is a direct result of the relatively small structural supply base in Europe and fluctuating demand from the various sectors that depend on it. These include paints and coatings, water treatments, wet strength resins/the pulp and paper industry. Movements in upstream feedstock markets can also have an impact and affect how negotiations and deals progress. But when you know what to expect, you can respond quickly.

Understanding the nuances of ECH trade across Europe and Asia demands time and effort. Our experts are located at the heart of ECH key markets around the world. They help to build networks of key contacts and monitoring prices and trends closely. By helping you stay informed, we play our part in ensuring that you have the timely information and expert insight required to maximise opportunities quickly.

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Epichlorohydrin (ECH) news

Asia top stories – weekly summary

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News Asia and the Middle East for the week ended 31 May 2024. APIC ‘24: Transition to low-carbon, high value-added products crucial for Asia – KPIA chair By Nurluqman Suratman 31-May-24 09:36 SEOUL (ICIS)–A technological transition to low carbon-based and high value-added products is “absolutely necessary” for the Asian petrochemical industry, to address challenges posed by the shift towards carbon neutrality, the chairman of the Korea Petrochemical Industry Association (KPIA) said on Friday. APIC ’24: INSIGHT: Asia SM capacity remains in expansion but growth eases By Jenny Yi 31-May-24 13:30 SEOUL (ICIS)–Asia's capacity for styrene monomer (SM) started its expansion cycle in 2019 and reached the peak in 2021. Capacity increase is expected to decelerate significantly in 2024 but will remain higher than demand growth. APIC '24: India chemicals demand to surge; ample Asia supply weighs on prices By Nurluqman Suratman 30-May-24 07:00 SEOUL (ICIS)–India's petrochemical demand is set to surge in 2024, driven by robust economic growth and industrial production, but suppressed prices caused by ample supplies and new capacities in Asia will negate any benefit to domestic producers, the Chemicals & Petrochemicals Manufacturers' Association (CPMA) of India said. INSIGHT: Surging freight rates hamper Asia petrochemical trades By Pearl Bantillo 29-May-24 17:54 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. APIC '24: Policy fragmentation stalls Asia's plastics circularity drive By Nurluqman Suratman 29-May-24 11:00 SEOUL (ICIS)–Asia's journey towards a circular plastic economy is gaining momentum, but the region's diverse waste management practices and fragmented regulations present challenges to realizing this vision. Asia refined glycerine demand stays tepid on weak downstream ECH market By Helen Yan 28-May-24 14:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s refined glycerine demand is likely to remain tepid, with buyers and sellers locked in a tug-of-war amid an uncertain outlook. India to develop Iran’s Chabahar port; expand international trade By Priya Jestin 27-May-24 17:34 MUMBAI (ICIS)–India and Iran are currently charting plans to acquire equipment and machinery to enhance the capacity and increase vehicular movement at Chabahar port, after the two countries signed a 10-year deal to develop part of the Iranian port. China Apr industrial profits up 4% on year; reverses Mar fall By Fanny Zhang 27-May-24 13:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s industrial profits in April increased by 4.0% year on year, reversing the 3.5% contraction in March, official data showed on Monday.


APIC '24: China oversupply presents challenges and opportunities for Taiwan – PIAT chair

SEOUL (ICIS)–Oversupply of petrochemicals in China has not dampened the country’s role as a key demand driver, presenting Taiwan with both challenges and opportunities, the chairman of the Petrochemical Industry of Taiwan (PIAT) said on Friday. “As we all know, many large-scale integrated projects are carried out in various parts of China by these years leading to an oversupply of petrochemicals … [but] China remains the primary driver of demand growth,” Mihn Tsao told delegates at the Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC) in Seoul, South Korea. “Taiwan, being an export-oriented economy, cannot ignore China's vast market,” he added. Last year proved exceptionally challenging for Taiwan's petrochemical sector, Tsao said, as global economic growth slowed due to inflation, geopolitical tensions, trade disputes, and climate change concerns, Tsao said. The termination of tariff preferences for 12 petrochemical products under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China added further strain, he said. Weak global demand and inventory pressures resulted in a significant 12.5% year-on-year decline in Taiwan's overall industrial production index last year, the largest in history, Tsao noted. Taiwan’s petrochemical firms thus experienced reduced operation rates and lower-than-expected profits last year, he said. Going forward, Taiwan's petrochemical industry is actively pursuing sustainable solutions, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance production processes and efficiency, while transitioning towards green energy-related products such as ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer (EVA), epichlorohydrin (ECH), and carbon fiber, Tsao said. Investments in low-carbon energy transformation, circular economy initiatives, and increased renewable energy adoption are also underway to bolster climate change resilience, Tsao added. The two-day APIC event ends Friday.


India’s DCM Shriram plans epoxy resins plant; to start up ECH, caustic soda lines

MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s DCM Shriram plans to expand into the production of advanced materials through a greenfield epoxy resins plant, while its new epichlorohydrin (ECH) and caustic soda plants are due to start up in the next four months. “The company is planning to invest Rs10bn ($120.6m) over the next few years to set up a greenfield state-of the-art epoxy manufacturing plant,” it said in a statement on 28 February. Details on capacity, timeline and location of the plant were not provided. “We are bullish about this entry into the advanced materials space. We already have some of the key raw materials like ECH and caustic in our portfolio which paves a logical way forward into the epoxy and value-added products,” DCM Shriram chair and senior managing director Ajay Shriram said. “Advanced materials products like liquid epoxy resins, hardeners, reactive diluents and formulated resins are finding increasing applications in sectors such as wind-blades, EVs [electric vehicles], aeronautics, electronics, fire-proofing … [among other] industries,” it added. DMC Shriram expects to begin operations at its 51,000 tonne/year ECH plant at Jhagadia in Bharuch in the western Gujarat state between April and June 2024. It noted that more than “80% of the ECH produced globally is used in the manufacture of epoxy”. Separately, the company expects to begin operations at its expanded caustic soda at Bharuch in March, a company source said. Post expansion, the company’s caustic soda and chlorine capacities at the site will both be 60% higher at 813,000 tonnes/year and 715,696 tonnes/year, respectively, based on the company’s report submitted for environmental clearance in November 2019. “Our caustic soda project should come online in this quarter,” the source said. “We expect to take two years to ramp up capacity to full at the plant beginning with 50% capacity utilization in financial year 2024-25 and a gradual increase to around 90% by the end of fiscal 2025-26,” he added. India’s fiscal year ends in March. ($1 = Rs82.89)


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.


TOPIC PAGE: Coronavirus, oil price direction – impact on chemicals

Note: this page is no longer updated and is held on the ICIS archive. Oil prices are expected to continue retreating during the rest of June as worries over the health of the global economy and bearish oil demand prospects depress market sentiment. However, dwindling spare capacity and a tighter sour-crude market could rekindle price volatility in July. In Asia, state-owned refiners continued to ramp up operations in view of low gasoil and gasoline inventories at refinery sties and extremely low gasoil inventories in some regions. ICIS China expects crude throughputs to increase in June, especially ahead of The Dragon Boat Festival holiday period (22-24 June). China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that oil refinery output increased by 15.4% in May compared with the same period last year. Although the comparison was enhanced by a weak May 2022 as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, the total of 62.0m tonnes was the second highest monthly total on record. Updated on 16 June 2023 On this topic page we analyse the impact of coronavirus and oil price dynamics on chemical markets and bring together the latest news reported by ICIS.  Scroll down to see the latest interactive graphics, podcasts and videos.  Click here to register for regular updates to help you navigate these challenging times. LATEST HEADLINES (Last updated at 04:00 GMT on 16 June 2023) INSIGHT: Shell joins list of companies reviewing chemicals as demand tanks, overcapacity grows By Will Beacham 15-Jun-23 22:36 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Shell has joined the ranks of major chemical companies which are reviewing and rationalising their operations as demand and profitability continue to fall amid rampant overcapacity. JUNE CRUDE OUTLOOK: Bearish demand narrative confronted by tightening global oil supplies By Cecilia Barreiro 13-Jun-23 22:39 LONDON (ICIS)–Oil prices are expected to continue retreating during the rest of June as worries over the health of the global economy and bearish oil demand prospects depress market sentiment. However, dwindling spare capacity and a tighter sour-crude market could rekindle price volatility in July. Saudi Arabia, China ink $10bn worth of investments, including EV deal By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Jun-23 13:19 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi Arabia and China have inked $10bn worth of investment agreements, including a $5.6bn deal involving Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Human Horizons. Saudi Arabia 2023 GDP growth slows to 2.1% on oil output cuts – IMF By Nurluqman Suratman 08-Jun-23 15:31 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, is expected to post a slower GDP growth of 2.1% this year in view of production cuts announced in April, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Asia's naphtha crack flips into discount; bearishness could linger By Li Peng Seng 08-Jun-23 15:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s naphtha crack flipped into the negative zone for the first time in almost seven months, as the weak global economy has crimped demand. ICIS China May petrochemical price index slumps 7%; June demand stays weak By Yvonne Shi 08-Jun-23 11:33 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Sluggish demand sent the ICIS China Petrochemical Price Index in May tumbling by 7% from end-April despite some stability in the upstream crude market during the period. INSIGHT: Asia polyester fibre market backed to grow in 2023, but at slow pace By Jimmy Zhang 09-Jun-23 00:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Historically, polyester fibre demand in Asia has decreased only in 2008, 2020 and 2022 as recorded from 1978 in the ICIS Supply and Demand database. The reasons for the falls in demand were financial crises and the coronoavirus pandemic. No major oil price boost from Saudi output cut amid demand headwinds By Nurluqman Suratman 07-Jun-23 13:58 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi Arabia's planned oil output cut in July is not expected to boost oil prices by much amid strong global macroeconomic headwinds and weak demand from China, the world's biggest importer of crude. Oil jumps after Saudi output cut pledge; Asia petrochemical shares rise By Nurluqman Suratman 05-Jun-23 12:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices rose by more than $2/bbl in early trade on Monday following a pledge by Saudi Arabia – the world's largest crude exporter – to cut its production by another 1m bbl/day in July. Dow cuts Q2 sales guidance on challenging macros By Joseph Chang 02-Jun-23 04:48 NEW YORK (ICIS)–US-based Dow is taking down its Q2 sales forecast to a range of $11.0bn-11.5bn from its prior estimate of $11.75bn-12.25bn on challenging macroeconomic conditions and lower pricing levels, its CEO said at an investor conference. NE Asia C2 outlook downbeat on rising regional supply, weak China data By Yeow Pei Lin 01-Jun-23 11:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s ethylene (C2) players are cautious on expectations of rising regional supplies and weak downstream outlook for the third quarter as the recovery in the Chinese economy loses momentum. Caixin China May manufacturing PMI rises to 50.9, first expansion in three months By Nurluqman Suratman 01-Jun-23 11:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Caixin’s China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) picked up from 49.5 in April to 50.9 in May, marking the first expansion in three months, the Chinese media firm said on Thursday. China manufacturing weakness weighs on crude; outlook dims further By Nurluqman Suratman 31-May-23 13:36 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China's manufacturing sector lost further momentum in May, heightening concerns that oil consumption in the world’s second-biggest economy could weaken further. INSIGHT: Petrochemical prices and margins under relentless pressure By Nigel Davis 31-May-23 00:38 LONDON (ICIS)–The persistent global weak demand environment continues to put pressure on producers and prices are falling as the balance with output remains elusive. PODCAST: Demand flops in chemical markets around the world, gloomy outlook By Will Beacham 30-May-23 20:25 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Chemical markets around the world are suffering from collapsed demand conditions and oversupply with no prospect of a turnaround in the coming months. Depressed US manufacturing activity weighing on PP demand By Zachary Moore 26-May-23 05:40 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Demand for polypropylene (PP) in the US is facing a bearish short-term outlook as the US manufacturing sector remains in contractionary territory. INSIGHT: A tale of two economies, as resurgent services eclipses languishing industry By Tom Brown 25-May-23 23:05 LONDON (ICIS)–After the dark warnings of late 2022, ministers at the European Commission could be forgiven for sounding a little smug. PODCAST: Rampant China chemicals overcapacity could rebalance by 2024/5 By Will Beacham 25-May-23 21:00 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Excess capacity plaguing China’s petrochemical markets could return to more balanced conditions by 2024/5 as the current wave of additions ends and demand gradually improves. APIC '23: INSIGHT: Asia petrochemicals navigate poor demand amid China start-ups; carve 'green' path By Pearl Bantillo 24-May-23 19:50 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Uncertainties will hound Asia’s petrochemical markets for the rest of the year and possibly into 2024 amid the global economic slowdown at a time of strong capacity additions in regional powerhouse China. INSIGHT: Europe petrochemicals demand remains weak and prices under intense pressure By Nigel Davis 23-May-23 23:10 LONDON (ICIS)–This striking chart from Germany’s chemicals and pharmaceuticals trade association, the VCI, does not even tell the full story for the country’s petrochemical and polymers sectors. INSIGHT: Europe chemicals rebound slow going as distributors face tough Q2 By Tom Brown 16-May-23 22:27 LONDON (ICIS)–The much-heralded rebound in European chemicals demand is yet to register above a murmur, with demand tepid as destocking weighs further on consumption and manufacturing remains bearish, conditions are becoming increasingly chilly for distributors. Unencumbered by the scale of large capital assets operated by chemicals producers and without the burden of energy-intensive goods production, chemicals distribution was not as hard-hit as the wider industry by the energy crisis that bedevilled Europe through much of 2022. Germany-based major Brenntag reported a close to twofold increase in post-tax profits in 2022, while Netherlands-based IMCD reported a 37% increase in gross profit for the year. Global chemicals recovery delayed to 2024 on interest rates, China slower recovery – Unigel CEO By Jonathan Lopez 18-May-23 04:27 SAO PAULO (ICIS)–The upturn in global petrochemicals will not come in earnest until 2024 as China’s recovery is proving slower than expected and high interest rates continue depressing demand for durable goods, the CEO at Brazil’s chemicals producer Unigel said on Wednesday. Roberto Noronha added that the second quarter is being “as tough” as the first one; some green shoots should start appearing in the second half of this year, he added. He was speaking to reporters and financial analysts following the publication of Unigel’s Q1 sales and earnings figures, which posted sharp year-on-year falls. APIC '23: India to see wave of new capacities through to 2030 – CPMA chief By Nurluqman Suratman 19-May-23 12:28 NEW DELHI (ICIS)–India will see a wave of new petrochemical production capacities through to 2030 as it seeks to meet growing domestic demand amid strong economic growth, the president of India’s Chemicals & Petrochemicals Manufacturers’ Association (CPMA) said on 19 May. In 2023, India added 1.25m tonnes/year of new polyethylene (PE) capacity and 0.5m tonnes/year of polypropylene (PP) capacity, Kamal Nanavaty told delegates of the Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC) in New Delhi, India. Another 1m tonnes/year of new PE and PP capacities will be added in 2024, he said. INSIGHT: Weak demand dominates chemicals in Q2 as economies drag By Nigel Davis 11-May-23 00:41 LONDON (ICIS)–The persistence and wide spread of the demand slump is the key issue for chemical producers in 2023, now mid-way through the second quarter. Recent financial reporting from chemical companies of all types and in all locations has underlined the impact of weak demand on sales in the first quarter. The year-on-year comparisons have proved to be stark, and reduced production the driver of lower revenues at a time of still high costs of sales. China the lynchpin for global polyolefins demand recovery – LyondellBasell exec By Joseph Chang 10-May-23 23:27 NEW YORK (ICIS)–China will be the lynchpin for global demand recovery in polyolefins, a LyondellBasell executive said on Wednesday. INSIGHT: Opportunities and challenges for China’s polyolefins post-COVID: 3, Entering a new phase of uncertain demand By Lucy Shuai 08-May-23 17:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Social and economic activity in China is gradually recovering following removal of zero-COVID policies in late 2022 and the demand outlook is attracting worldwide attention. China to continue avoiding BPA spot imports; wide buy-sell gap to persist By Li Peng Seng 08-May-23 11:40 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The strong buying momentum for bisphenol A (BPA) in the two weeks leading up to the Labour Day break in China has failed to extend into the post-holiday period. INSIGHT: Opportunities and challenges for China polyolefins post-COVID: 1, Changing trade flows By Lucy Shuai 04-May-23 14:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Surging capacities in China's polyolefins market in recent years have increased China’s footprint in the global supply chain and changed global trade flows. Meanwhile, an intensive period of new plant start-ups in south China this year have also altered domestic trade. INSIGHT: Opportunities and challenges for China polyolefins post-COVID: 2, Seeking new outlets By Lucy Shuai 05-May-23 14:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polyolefins industry will need to seek new outlets in 2023 as capacities keep on rising while margins may remain curbed after slumping a year ago. Caixin China Apr manufacturing PMI slips to 49.5 on weaker domestic demand By Nurluqman Suratman 04-May-23 15:59 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Caixin’s China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for April slipped to 49.5 from the neutral 50.0 mark in March amid subdued domestic demand conditions, the Chinese media firm said on Thursday. Lacklustre Europe butadiene eyes Asia for relief By Nel Weddle 04-May-23 21:13 LONDON (ICIS)–Europe's butadiene (BD) market fundamentals are just about satisfactory, market sources say, given the recent past and current macroeconomic challenges. Players are pinning hopes on Asia to steer the way to better times. NSIGHT: Permit reform may help US chems maintain cost advantage By Al Greenwood 05-May-23 03:41 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US lawmakers are continuing to file permit-reform proposals to make it easier to build pipelines and other infrastructure projects, which could help US chemical producers maintain their cost advantage by giving them more access to cheap fuel, feedstock and renewable power. Asian, Mideast PET makers see lower selling pressure amid tight supply By Zachary Tia 27-Apr-23 15:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Many Asian and Middle Eastern polyethylene terephthalate (PET) producers faced lower selling pressure in April given tight supply, amid higher production costs on the back of firming upstream feedstock prices in April. Oil tankers line up in China’s Shandong on stockpiling, tighter checks By Fanny Zhang 25-Apr-23 15:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Crude carriers have been spending longer times waiting for discharge in China’s Shandong ports, as high inventories reduced tank availability. Also, customs widened cargo checks to crack down on false declarations, according to industry sources. INSIGHT: China aromatics markets volatile with gasoline demand By Seymour Chenxia 26-Apr-23 19:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s domestic gasoline demand volatility on the back of the pandemic and crude market dynamics since the third quarter of 2022 has impacted on mixed aromatics, toluene and xylene. Price trends for the three products have varied slightly based on respective market fundamentals. INSIGHT: Hope for 2023 European construction market recovery falters as spring demand uptick fails to materialise By Nicole Simpson 19-Apr-23 20:52 LONDON (ICIS)–Since late 2022, chemicals players have been hopeful that better demand is just around the corner but optimism is faltering as economic conditions remain challenging and spring construction demand has failed to ignite. INSIGHT: Plastics, petchems in Europe still waiting for construction season, Q2 may be reality check By Vicky Ellis 20-Apr-23 21:45 LONDON (ICIS)–As warmer, sunnier days grow more frequent, Europe’s construction industry should be ramping up for a busy period. But the season is proving a disappointment, with weaker demand across a wide range of petrochemical and plastics EU chems trade surplus for Jan-Feb 2023 rises on previous year By Morgan Condon 20-Apr-23 21:54 LONDON (ICIS)–The EU chemicals sector trade balance increased in January and February compared to the previous year, according to the latest data from Eurostat on Thursday. Imports decreased during the period, but exports to countries outside the of the EU showed marginal gains. North America EO operating rates to recover with new derivatives capacity – CDI By Joseph Chang 17-Apr-23 19:33 MONTCLAIR, New Jersey (ICIS)–North America ethylene oxide (EO) operating rates are poised to recover with new derivatives capacity starting up in the coming years and a recovery in China, a Chemical Data (CDI) analyst said. Global oil demand growth hopes pinned on faltering Chinese economy By Barney Gray 12-Apr-23 18:42 LONDON (ICIS)–Chinese government data for March, published earlier this month, indicated that domestic consumer demand is weak and the manufacturing sector was under pressure at the end of Q1, which could hinder the anticipated China-led growth in global oil demand. ExxonMobil's Singapore resid upgrade project on track for 2025 start-up By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Apr-23 14:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ExxonMobil is on track to start commercial production at its latest upgrade project for lubricant base stocks in Singapore in 2025 after facing construction delays due to the pandemic, according to a company official. IMF keeps developing Asia 2023 growth forecast at 5.3%; trims India projections By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Apr-23 13:23 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has kept its 2023 growth forecast for developing Asia at 5.3% but trimmed its forecast for next year amid rising risks in global financial conditions. Japan's Asahi Kasei cuts medium-term income targets as demand slows By Nurluqman Suratman 11-Apr-23 18:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japanese chemicals major Asahi Kasei on Tuesday slashed its medium-term operating income target, citing heavy blows from prolonged semiconductor shortages, stagnant demand due to lockdowns in China, and high prices of feedstock and fuel. INSIGHT: China LDPE supply likely to exceed demand all this year By Joanne Wang 13-Apr-23 14:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The supply of low density polyethylene (LDPE) in China is likely to exceed demand for the remainder of this year putting severe pressure on prices. Domestic prices plunged to a 32-month low on 7 April caused mainly by increased domestic production and destocking by foreign suppliers at the end of 2022. INSIGHT: US chemical earnings ‘rebound’ in H2 may disappoint By Joseph Chang 11-Apr-23 06:16 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Approaching Q1 earnings season, players will be watching closely for signs of a sustainable recovery from the Q4 trough ravaged by inventory destocking. While results through 2023 should certainly bounce from a horrendous Q4, they may well disappoint, given deteriorating macroeconomic indicators. UK car sales hit post-pandemic peak in March on better supply By Morgan Condon 05-Apr-23 18:09 LONDON (ICIS)–UK car sales rose to their highest level since before the COVID-19 pandemic in March, according to the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) on Wednesday. INSIGHT: Asia petrochemical demand and pricing could be challenged this year compared to 2022 By Jimmy Zhang 05-Apr-23 15:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China's petrochemical industry growth this year could be more subdued than earlier projections, according to participants in an ICIS webinar late last month. INSIGHT: Crude oil jump not likely to kick start petrochemicals trend By Nigel Davis 04-Apr-23 23:55 LONDON (ICIS)–The OPEC+ decision driven increase in crude oil prices on Monday puts upward pressure on oil products and petrochemicals prices in what remains an uncertain demand environment. China’s demand recovery remains focal point for oil markets – analysts By Nurluqman Suratman 04-Apr-23 15:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s consumption recovery will be the key focal point for oil markets for the rest of the year, as attention shifts towards demand growth following the shock move by OPEC and its allies earlier this week to further cut supply. SE Asian NBR dented by slower buying, demand outlook murky By Ai Teng Lim 30-Mar-23 15:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Spot discussions in southeast Asia for acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) are under pressure from waning buying interest, and trade liquidity may stay curbed in the near term if buyers and sellers remain divided in their pricing outlook. AFPM '23: US construction season may be late, slow – Huntsman By Al Greenwood 29-Mar-23 04:11 SAN ANTONIO (ICIS)–Early signs in the US are pointing to a residential construction season that will be later and slower than typical, the CEO of Huntsman said on Tuesday. Asia fatty acids market to remain flat in near term on uncertainties By Helen Yan 28-Mar-23 15:59 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s fatty acid demand is expected to remain flat in the near term as buyers retreat from the market and adopt a cautious stance, given the uncertainties and weak macro-economic conditions. INSIGHT: US recycled plastics industry continues to navigate changes in global trade according to latest statistics By Emily Friedman 28-Mar-23 01:41 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Though competitive recycled resin imports continue to pressure the domestic US recycled plastics market as freight rates improve, Q4 and full-year 2022 US import and export data of plastic scrap show a setback in overall import volume despite the recent trend. AFPM ’23: With supply chain constraints largely over, freight costs expected to trend lower By Adam Yanelli 26-Mar-23 23:19 SAN ANTONIO (ICIS)–Participants in the US chemicals industry have been coping with high costs for transporting products over the past two years because of persistent supply chain constraints brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. AFPM '23 – INSIGHT: US petchem exports poised to hit record on capacity, logistics and cost advantage By Joseph Chang 25-Mar-23 03:33 NEW YORK (ICIS)–With the last wave of new capacity additions and easing of logistics constraints, the US petrochemical sector has a clear path to boosting exports to new records in 2023, heading into this year’s International Petrochemical Conference (IPC). Southeast Asia PP market braces for a tough Q2 By Jackie Wong 18-Mar-23 00:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–With demand on a considerable slowdown since the end of the Lunar New Year holiday in early February, the polypropylene (PP) market in southeast Asia is now bracing itself for an even tougher Q2 as different elements come together, threatening to create a perfect storm. Intra-Asia chemical tanker demand hampered by aromatics plant turnarounds By Hwee Hwee Tan 21-Mar-23 17:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Aromatics plant turnarounds in Asia and cargo diversions to the US gasoline blending sector are expected to continue to curtail intra-regional shipping demand into the second quarter. China PP prices fall to nearly three-year low amid increasing supply, lower-than-expected demand By Lucy Shuai 22-Mar-23 12:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China polypropylene (PP) prices fell to a nearly three-year-low amid increasing supply and lower-than-expected demand, and the market may remain under pressure in Q2. Asia petrochemicals demand tepid on macroeconomy, oversupply concerns By Nurluqman Suratman 24-Mar-23 14:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia's petrochemical markets continue to face tepid demand as economic recovery in regional bellwether China remains slower than initially expected, with new production capacities adding to oversupply concerns. Recessionary conditions to define H1, Q1 destocking still ‘palpable’ – LANXESS CEO By Tom Brown 15-Mar-23 21:15 COLOGNE (ICIS)–2023 will be a difficult for the chemicals sector, with market conditions likely to remain bleak through the end of the second quarter, the CEO of LANXESS Matthias Zachert said on Wednesday. Zachert also said the destocking trend that emerged in the closing months of 2022 continues to be felt. The impact of weaker demand in a high-cost, low-growth environment is likely to weigh on chemicals players globally through the first six months of 2023, with destocking continuing and customers hesitant about making substantial new commitments, according to Zachert. INSIGHT: China growth ambitions deliver a reality check while financial risk multiplies By Nigel Davis 14-Mar-23 23:33 LONDON (ICIS)–Petrochemicals production turned up in January following months of decline, as demand started to improve and prospects for growth brightened. But the take-off, from a miserable few months at the end of 2022, was slower than some hoped for – as evidenced by capacity utilisation. Subsequently, the brightness seen by some around the Lunar New Year holiday in China in February has dimmed and China’s government has delivered a dose of reality. ICIS data focus on basic chemicals and synthetic materials (that is, resins, elastomers and fibres), so the core petrochemical industry building blocks and the major polymers. In January, production of those materials rose 0.9% globally, to 280.9m tonnes. As ICIS chief economist, Kevin Swift, notes, this follows a 0.1% decline in December, a 1.9% decline in November “and generally declining activity since March”. The sector is by no means in a good place. Overall, production volumes were down 5.2% year on year in January with gains largely centred on North America, Central & South America, Europe and the Middle East. Production in northeast Asia was weak. Capacity utilisation improved in January by 0.4 percentage points to 66.2% which was encouraging but this rate compared with a much more robust 71.7% in January 2022. INSIGHT: US petchem exports to hit record on capacity surge, easing of logistics constraints By Joseph Chang 14-Mar-23 01:00 NEW YORK (ICIS)–With the last wave of new capacity additions and easing of logistics constraints, the US petrochemical sector has a clear path to boosting exports to new records in 2023. Even with a recessionary global economic outlook dampening demand overseas and capacity surging in China, the US cost advantage is simply too great to hold back the floodgates. US petrochemical exports will run into a big headwind from a surge of new projects starting up in China. China will be adding record-breaking chemical and fertilizer capacity in 2023 of 137m tonnes/year, dwarfing the previous record of around 93m tonnes/year in 2014 and driving global oversupply, according to an ICIS analysis. S Korea Q4 '22 GDP contracts on quarter; full-year '23 growth to slow on weak exports By Pearl Bantillo 07-Mar-23 13:50 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korea’s economic output shrank by 0.4% in the October-December 2022 from the previous quarter, unchanged from advance estimates, as manufacturing and exports contracted amid a global economic slowdown. For the whole of 2022, manufacturing growth decelerated to 1.4% from 6.9% in the previous year, while export of goods posted a much slower growth of 3.4% from 10.5% in 2021. For 2023, full-year growth is projected to slow down to 1.6% amid high inflation and interest rates. “Growth will fall even further below its pre-pandemic average this year on a tougher base effect, high energy prices and higher interest rates. However, eased Covid-19 restrictions will provide some support,” said Matthew Cunningham, economist at Spain-based FocusEconomics had stated in a recent note. China sets conservative 5.0% GDP growth target; petrochemical markets cautious By Fanny Zhang 06-Mar-23 14:33 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China has set its 2023 economic growth goal at around 5%, a conservative number underscoring an overall cautious outlook that sent crude prices falling on Monday after recent strong gains, while Chinese petrochemical futures markets largely mixed. At the start of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing on 5 March, Chinese Premiere Li Keqiang announced the GDP growth target, lower than the previous year’s target of around 5.5% although the figure represents an acceleration from the actual 3.0% growth recorded in 2022. China’s parliament will be in session for 10 days to outline the country’s broad goals and plans for 2023. Economists deemed the GDP target realistic as the economy recovers from severe COVID-19 impact over the past three years. INSIGHT: LatAm petchems at mercy of global markets as China’s reopening key for prices By Jonathan Lopez 04-Mar-23 00:26 SAO PAULO (ICIS)–Latin American petrochemicals companies are dependent on a recovery in global prices to post healthier spreads in 2023 as all eyes are now on China’s economy reopening. Although Latin American petrochemicals producers and distributors concentrate on domestic consumers, China and other foreign markets are important for the region because they influence margins and stimulate demand for commodity exports. INSIGHT: Optimism on China recovery as manufacturing PMI leaps into expansion By Joseph Chang 02-Mar-23 07:00 NEW YORK (ICIS)–The long-awaited China recovery may finally be at hand, as a key leading indicator of manufacturing activity surged higher. Asia fatty alcohols to see improved sentiment following China Feb PMI data By Helen Yan 02-Mar-23 14:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s fatty alcohols and other oleochemical markets are likely to see an improvement in sentiment and demand, following the latest February data showing factory activity rising significantly in China. INSIGHT: European chemical producers see demand weakness persist but look to H2 2023 By Nigel Davis 28-Feb-23 23:51 LONDON (ICIS)–A slower than hoped for re-start in China but a turn up in key indicators in the US colour the macroeconomic outlook and the driving forces behind industrial production demand for chemicals. INSIGHT: East China toluene xylene price gap fluctuates amid shifting market dynamics By Veronica Zhang 28-Feb-23 19:39 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The East China toluene-xylene price gap has fluctuated widely in 2022 and early 2023 amid a shift in supply-demand fundamentals as export demand grew and domestic consumption remained more subdued. China phenol, acetone industry out of the red; uncertainties loom in March By Yoyo Liu 27-Feb-23 15:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s phenol and acetone industry has emerged from the red on increased prices after the Lunar New Year holiday on 21-27 January. INSIGHT: China imports of Russia oil to rise further in 2023 on cheap prices By Fanny Zhang 27-Feb-23 21:59 SINGPORE (ICIS)–China is expected to boost imports of Russia oil further in 2023 to take advantage of price discounts, with a significant increase likely in volumes flowing to independent refineries in Shandong. INSIGHT: Northeast Asia plasticizers exports to drive intense competition globally By Nicole Simpson 27-Feb-23 21:40 LONDON (ICIS)–Northeast Asian plasticizers exports are expected to continue to drive strong competition between sellers globally as China import interest remains low. INSIGHT: Weak consumer confidence weighs on China recovery post-reopening By Pearl Bantillo 22-Feb-23 23:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s prospects turned brighter after it abandoned its zero-COVID policy, but two of its major growth engines – exports and the property sector – may struggle to perform amid a general weakness in consumer confidence. The possibility of the world plunging into recession still cannot be ruled out. Bank of Korea pauses interest rate hikes, lowers economic growth forecast By Nurluqman Suratman 23-Feb-23 10:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korea’s central bank on Thursday kept interest rates unchanged at 3.50% and lowered its economic growth forecast for 2023 amid slowing domestic consumption and exports. Asia Group II base oils supply to dip slightly on China demand pick-up By Matthew Chong 23-Feb-23 12:31 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s Group II base oils spot supply is expected to be slightly reduced in the coming months, after being in relative abundance since late 2022. INSIGHT: China bounce a bust By Joseph Chang 17-Feb-23 04:09 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Hopes for a quick rebound in China’s economy and demand for chemicals and plastics after the Lunar New Year and zero-COVID in the rearview mirror have been dashed thus far. While it is still early days and there are some signs of recovery, disappointment reigns for now. INSIGHT: China's reopening having a gradual, positive impact on PE demand By Amy Yu 17-Feb-23 00:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Polyethylene (PE) markets in Asia are expected to recover more strongly in 2023 but the magnitude of growth may depend on the speed of demand recovery in China. Currently, demand in February is not stronger than expected. INSIGHT: Asia petrochemical prices to rise but margins under pressure in February – ICIS analysts By Ann Sun 15-Feb-23 20:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Higher prices in most value chains are expected in the Asia petrochemical market in February in view of balanced-to-tight fundamentals driven by subdued supply and restocking activities. However, companies are still struggling with negative margins. Global oil supply to exceed demand in H1 2023 – IEA By Tom Brown 15-Feb-23 19:54 LONDON (ICIS)–Global oil supply is expected to exceed demand for the first half of 2023, but the balance could quickly snap the other way later in the year as demand recovers and some Russian output and is shut out of parts of the world, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. Thai domestic PET average prices rise on increased buying pressure By Zachary Tia 14-Feb-23 22:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The average price for Thailand domestic spot bottle-grade polyethylene terephthalate (PET) cargoes firmed on the back of higher buying pressure in the week ended 10 February. China disappoints hopes of swift PP demand lift, global markets eye exports closely By Vicky Ellis 14-Feb-23 20:47 LONDON (ICIS)–A raft of offers of Chinese polypropylene (PP) into other regions, and signs that demand is not pinging back quickly, are denting hopes that a fast Chinese recovery will pull up global markets. Thai PTTGC expects demand recovery in 2023 on China reopening By Nurluqman Suratman 14-Feb-23 14:39 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Thai petrochemical major PTT Global Chemicals expects demand for its aromatics and polymers products to improve this year following China's reopening. Singapore Q4 economy expands by 2.1%, full-year 2022 GDP growth at 3.6% By Nurluqman Suratman 13-Feb-23 11:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore's economy grew by 2.1% year on year in the fourth quarter, moderating from the 4.0% expansion in the previous quarter, amid a slowdown in the manufacturing sector, official data showed on Monday. INSIGHT: Petrochemicals beginning to expand again but margins challenged By Nigel Davis 07-Feb-23 00:25 LONDON (ICIS)–Signs of a tentative upturn for the major petrochemicals and polymers are welcome although it is clear that profitability is likely to remain under pressure in the first half. For the big polyolefins, polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), additional supply creates a headache that will persist for some time. Thailand R-PET feedstock supply rises on recovering tourism By Arianne Perez 07-Feb-23 12:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Spot availability of post-consumer bale feedstock in Thailand has been increasing for weeks now due to more tourists coming back to the country. China January petrochemical markets rebound; near-term outlook mixed By Yvonne Shi 08-Feb-23 13:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical markets posted strong gains in holiday-shortened January, largely in anticipation of strong demand post Lunar New Year as both production and consumption picked up after the country abandoned its zero-COVID policy. NE Asia C2 up in supply-led recovery; China downstream demand still slow By Yeow Pei Lin 10-Feb-23 11:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene (C2) prices advanced as supply decreased on cracker turnarounds and reduced inflows from other regions. Asian EPDM stays soft, eyes on Q2 China recovery By Ai Teng Lim 08-Feb-23 11:51 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Discussions are limited this week in Asia’s spot market for ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) imports, as sluggish buying persisted. Lower demand drives down slack wax prices in the US By Daniel Lopes 09-Feb-23 07:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US slack wax prices are falling based on lacklustre demand and ample supply in Q1. A market participant said sales in January were particularly low when compared to the same period last year, and this is due to continued high inflation and economic uncertainties, which have changed consumption habits. Asia naphtha buoyed by crude oil; thin demand limits gains By Melanie Wee 08-Feb-23 17:03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia naphtha markets are being propped up by gains in global crude oil futures although a lack of robust demand is keeping a lid on the upward pressure. Asia BDO extends post-Lunar New Year gains amid snug availability By Clive Ong 03-Feb-23 11:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia's butanediol (BDO) market extended gains after the Lunar New Year holidays, while snug availability and renewed demand in the region fuelled talk of further potential strength in the market. Asia soda ash market firms on limited supply, robust China demand By Helen Lee 02-Feb-23 15:52 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s soda ash market has firmed on the back of limited export volumes from China, where domestic demand strengthened after the Lunar New Year holidays. China post-holiday demand key indicator for oleochemical trade flows By Lucas Hall 02-Feb-23 02:48 ORLANDO (ICIS)–Chinese demand following the end of Lunar New Year will be the key indicator in determining oleochemical trade flows in 1H 2023, according to sources on the sidelines of the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) annual meeting and industry convention. US styrene market stabilises after plants return to production By John Donnelly 31-Jan-23 22:55 HOUSTON (ICIS)–After several plant outages that boosted spot prices, the US styrene market has stabilised with units back in operation although running at reduced rates. Soft demand and rising feedstock costs promise to pressure margins through Q1. China official Jan manufacturing PMI swings to expansion mode at 50.1 By Nurluqman Suratman 31-Jan-23 12:33 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China's official manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) crossed to expansionary territory in January at 50.1, from a 34-month low of 47.0 in the previous month as the country relaxed its zero-COVID policy, official data showed on Tuesday. China 2023 GDP growth forecast revised up to 5.2% as activity recovers – IMF By Nurluqman Suratman 31-Jan-23 11:58 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China's GDP growth is projected to rebound to 5.2% in 2023 from 3.0% last year as a sudden lifting of most its pandemic-related restrictions paved the way for a rapid rebound in economic activity, according to the World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released on Tuesday. Developing Asia economic growth forecast raised to 5.3% – IMF By Nurluqman Suratman 31-Jan-23 11:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Economic growth in emerging and developing Asian economies is expected to rise in 2023 and 2024 to 5.3% and 5.2%, respectively, after the deeper-than-expected slowdown in 2022, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday. Dow expects Chinese stimulus, reopening to boost demand By Al Greenwood 27-Jan-23 03:37 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Dow is seeing signs that China's reopening from COVID-19 lockdowns is progressing, and that should increase demand for its products, along with government stimulus, the CEO said on Thursday. "We're seeing China opening up. We're not seeing issues with people coming to work," said Jim Fitterling, CEO. He made his comments during an earnings conference call. Other CEOs have also remarked that employees are returning to work, according to Fitterling. Right now, Dow is not seeing any COVID-19 outbreaks that China cannot manage, he said. Asia naphtha market sentiment mixed; eyes on China’s recovery By Melanie Wee 26-Jan-23 12:18 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia naphtha markets are being kept afloat by hopes of recovering China petrochemical demand, although diminishing downstream margins are keeping demand cautious. Spot naphtha CFR (cost and freight) Japan indicative prices averaged at $715.50/tonne for first-half March delivery at midday session on Thursday, holding on to the previous day’s Asia close. Prices have climbed by some 10% compared with month-earlier levels, fluctuating with volatile crude oil futures, ICIS data shows. CRUDE SUMMARY: Oil prices steady as market awaits OPEC+ panel meeting By Eloise Radley 26-Jan-23 04:27 LONDON (ICIS) – Crude prices remained relatively steady on Wednesday, staying within $1/bbl of Tuesday’s settlement price. Hopes of increased demand in China balanced builds in US crude and gasoline stocks.Weekly data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed that US crude stocks saw a marginal build of 0.53m bbl last week. Despite this build, the rise was over six times smaller than the anticipated 3.4m bbl. This applied slight upwards pressure to prices in afternoon trading. However, gasoline stock increased by 1.76m bbl, over double the expected 0.62m bbl. US distillate stocks fell by 0.51m bbl, less than the predicted 1.90m bbl drop. Asia petrochemicals pin hopes on China’s post-holiday demand By Pearl Bantillo 25-Jan-23 14:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical players are largely betting on strong revival of China’s demand following lifting of most COVID-19 curbs, having built up stocks in the weeks leading to the Lunar New Year holiday. At midday, naphtha, as well as aromatics products benzene and toluene, were trading higher on the back of crude gains, which were being driven up by optimism over China’s economic prospects after the world’s second-biggest economy abandoned its zero-COVID policy. China is on holiday the whole week for the Lunar New Year festivities. Most other countries in northeast Asia and southeast Asia also observed the holiday at the start of the week. VIDEO: China chemicals market review and outlook By Chris Qi 20-Jan-23 11:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch ICIS China information director Chris Qi review China chemical industry in 2022 and an outlook for the industry in 2023. China ethylene buyers' price ideas edge up ahead of holiday By Yeow Pei Lin 20-Jan-23 11:14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia's spot ethylene prices rebounded slightly in recent days, aided by limited offers, improving prices for certain derivatives in China and strong feedstock naphtha costs. European engineering plastics demand stays sluggish in light of persistent economic uncertainty By Yashas Mudumbai 20-Jan-23 00:34 LONDON (ICIS)–The engineering plastics markets for polyacetal (POM) and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) in Europe are continuing to see lower than usual demand, as macroeconomic challenges cause market players to be circumspect. INSIGHT: Chems face rough earnings season amid warnings, lower margins By Al Greenwood 20-Jan-23 00:04 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Chemical companies have kicked off the earnings season by waring that they could miss analysts' estimates and struggle to keep up with rising costs. Malaysia central bank maintains 2.75% key interest rate amid economic headwinds By Nurluqman Suratman 19-Jan-23 18:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Malaysia’s central bank on Thursday unexpectedly kept its key benchmark interest rate unchanged amid expectations that the country’s 2023 economic growth will moderate this year amid a global slowdown. Pakistani buyers struggle to pay Asian R-PET, R-PE cargoes By Arianne Perez 19-Jan-23 18:10 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–As Pakistan struggles with a financial crisis, importers of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) and recycled polyethylene (R-PE) have struggled to settle payments with suppliers. China MDI markets see active restocking spurred on by planned turnarounds By Shannen Ng 19-Jan-23 12:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–News of two major methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) producers in China planning turnarounds for February spurred restocking activity in the week ending 18 January, ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. Oil falls by more than $1/bbl on surprise build in US crude inventories By Nurluqman Suratman 19-Jan-23 12:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices fell by more than $1/bbl on Thursday after industry data showed a surprise build in US crude inventories for the second straight week, raising concerns of faltering fuel demand. Asia BDO rebounds as buyers pin hopes on renewed post-holiday demand By Clive Ong 19-Jan-23 11:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s 1,4-butanediol (BDO) market surged this week as buying momentum for February cargoes picked up on expectations of firmer demand post-Lunar New Year. US economy poised to enter mild recession as inflation has peaked – ICIS economist By Joseph Chang 19-Jan-23 05:30 NEW YORK (ICIS)–The US economy is likely to enter a relatively mild recession in 2023, the ICIS chief economist said on Wednesday. INSIGHT: Poor demand, high costs stifle Europe industry despite falling gas prices By Aura Sabadus 18-Jan-23 22:56 LONDON (ICIS)–Falling gas prices could reignite some interest in European industrial output but a combination of high operating costs and sluggish demand, reminiscent of the 2008 financial crisis, is likely to slow recovery this year, according to ICIS research. European phenol struggles with costs while acetone tightens, but demand remains slow By Jane Gibson 18-Jan-23 22:07 LONDON (ICIS)–The recent fall in gas prices is good news for the phenol and acetone chain. But this alone is unlikely to prompt producers to increase operating rates quite yet. Japan’s Toyota targets record '23 car output of 10.6m units, with caveat By Pearl Bantillo 18-Jan-23 13:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Global automotive giant Toyota is targeting to produce 10.6m units in 2023, subject to a possible downward adjustment of 10% if problems with supply of semiconductors persist. Bank of Japan maintains low interest rates despite rising inflation By Nurluqman Suratman 18-Jan-23 12:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Bank of Japan (BOJ) on Wednesday maintained its ultra-low interest rate policy despite rising inflation levels and warned that risks to the country's economic outlook remain extremely high. Asia MEC underpinned by hopes of post-Lunar New Year recovery By Keven Zhang 18-Jan-23 11:32 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia methylene chloride (MEC) was buoyed by spot demand in the last week before the Lunar New Year. Europe ECH demand muted in Q1, could improve in Q2 By Heidi Finch 18-Jan-23 00:21 LONDON (ICIS)–Europe epichlorohydrin (ECH) demand is likely to face a tough first quarter, as macroeconomic headwinds and Asian competition continue to weigh. OUTLOOK ’23: Chemical M&A stymied by rates, uncertainty but may rebound in H2 By Joseph Chang 18-Jan-23 00:00 NEW YORK (ICIS)–High interest rates, lack of available financing and economic and earnings uncertainty are holding back chemical industry mergers and acquisitions (M&A). However, activity may be poised to rebound in H2 2023 as the backlog of undone deals builds up, a clearer earnings picture emerges and especially if the financing market improves. INSIGHT: Asia petrochemicals to rebound in January amid demand recovery – ICIS analysts By Jenny Yi 17-Jan-23 21:45 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asia petrochemical market is expected to rebound from January in view of demand recovery in the coming months with China’s abandonment of its strict zero-COVID policy. The appreciation of Asia currencies against the US dollar should also support the outlook. PODCAST: Europe PE, PP analytical 2023 outlook By Ben Lake 17-Jan-23 19:35 LONDON (ICIS)–European polymer editors Vicky Ellis and Ben Lake are joined by analysts Emiliano Basualto and Lorenzo Meazza to discuss the year ahead in what could be a transitional 12 months for the polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) markets. NE Asia polyester prices stable to firm; post-holiday outlook optimistic By Judith Wang 17-Jan-23 16:30 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Spot polyester prices in northeast Asia were stable to firm during the week, on the back of stronger feedstock prices, while overall buying has slowed ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. China 2022 GDP growth slows to 3%; re-opening to drive 2023 recovery By Nurluqman Suratman 17-Jan-23 16:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s economy grew by 3% in 2022, marking its slowest pace of expansion in decades, highlighting the impact of the country's long-standing zero-COVID strategy. India December exports fall 12.2% amid global economic slowdown By Priya Jestin 17-Jan-23 14:21 MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s merchandise exports in December declined by 12.2% year on year to $34.5bn, with further weakness likely in 2023 amid the global economic slowdown, with its major markets – the US and Europe – possibly facing a recession. BPA prices in China, India at more than two-year low; ample supply may linger By Li Peng Seng 17-Jan-23 11:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Import prices of bisphenol A (BPA) in China and India have slumped to their lowest levels in more than two years, weighed down by ample supply. INSIGHT: Weak, sometimes negative product margins challenged petchem players in 2022 By Nigel Davis 16-Jan-23 23:54 LONDON (ICIS)–As in the depths of the COVID-19 downturn, chemical producers, particularly those based largely in northwest Europe, remain focused on cash. Global weekly spot IPEX up on rising chemical prices across all regions By Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez 16-Jan-23 18:57 LONDON (ICIS)–Spot chemical prices were up 2.2% on the back of firmer values across all regions, according to latest figures from the weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX). Qatar's $6bn Ras Laffan project to boost Mideast PE exports, shift trade flows By Nurluqman Suratman 16-Jan-23 13:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Qatar’s $6bn joint venture Ras Laffan petrochemicals complex is expected to boost the Middle East’s polyethylene (PE) exports and could result in a major shift to global trade flows once it comes on stream, according to ICIS analysts. China re-opening bodes well for SE Asia PE, but Lunar New Year slowdowns ahead By Izham Ahmad 16-Jan-23 11:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s surprise announcement of the re-opening of its borders and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions has injected renewed vigour into the southeast Asian PE market, but the impact could be short-lived as market activity slows down for the typical Lunar New Year holiday lull. INSIGHT: A turbulent 2020s requires near-term focus but clear, longer-term strategies By Nigel Davis 12-Jan-23 00:49 LONDON (ICIS)–The World Economic Forum (WEF) talks of a global risks landscape this year that “feels both wholly new and eerily familiar” in its Global Risks Report 2023. INSIGHT: Downward pressure on petchem and plastics prices persists globally By Nigel Davis 11-Jan-23 01:19 LONDON (ICIS)–Falling base chemical and polymer prices globally reflect the weaker and uncertain demand environment while shifted supply and demand balances have coloured spot activity at the end of 2022 and the start of 2023 for a handful of chemical commodities. The ICIS Petrochemical Index tracked down further in December with the focus on the US Gulf basket of prices: the 12 commodities and polymers collated for the index. China petrochemical players build stocks on hopes of strong post-holiday demand By Fanny Zhang 12-Jan-23 11:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Players in China’s petrochemical markets are actively building up stocks on expectation of a strong recovery in post-Lunar New Year demand. East Asia, Pacific 2023 growth seen at 4.3% on China rebound – World Bank By Nurluqman Suratman 11-Jan-23 15:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Economies in the east Asia and Pacific region in 2023 are expected to log an average growth of 4.3%, accelerating from the estimated 3.2% pace in 2022 but lower than the previous forecast of above 5% for the current year, the World Bank said. NE Asia ethylene falls on weak China demand, ample supply By Yeow Pei Lin 06-Jan-23 10:56 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia's spot ethylene market started 2023 on a soft note due to China’s raging COVID-19 outbreak, which has exacerbated the seasonal downstream demand lull ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. China Dec petrochemical markets weak; better post-Lunar New Year demand eyed By Yvonne Shi 05-Jan-23 14:14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical markets stayed depressed in December despite substantial relaxation of pandemic-related lockdowns, as a consequent spike in COVID-19 infections continued to restrict logistics operations. Any recovery in demand is unlikely until after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday on 21-27 January. OUTLOOK '23: US PVC and vinyls chain face new year of weakened demand By Bill Bowen 05-Jan-23 04:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US polyvinyl chloride (PVC) enters 2023 with mixed outlook: nominations for price increases for January and an economic outlook that runs counter to those separately proposed increases. OUTLOOK ’23: China ACN, downstream capacities to expand; oversupply challenges prevail By Candy Nie 06-Jan-23 12:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s acrylonitrile (ACN) market will continue to see a slew of capacity expansions, particularly in the first half of 2023. Downstream demand is also expected to rise with new downstream units coming online and some COVID-19 restrictions gradually easing since end-2022. OUTLOOK ’23: Plant activity will tighten US propylene balance even as economy undermines demand By John Donnelly 05-Jan-23 03:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Derivative demand for US propylene will remain weak until at least Q3, but plant maintenance and a new propylene oxide/tertiary butyl alcohol (POTBA) plant will help support the market in the first half of the year. OUTLOOK ’23: Weak demand, import pressure to persist in Europe MPG market By Nicole Simpson 05-Jan-23 18:30 LONDON (ICIS)–Demand in the European mono propylene glycol (MPG) market is expected to remain lacklustre, especially in Q1, as macroeconomic headwinds and pressure from Asian imports persist. OUTLOOK ’23: Jet kerosene demand to increase on relaxed COVID-19 restrictions By Cassandra Abolaji 04-Jan-23 20:00 LONDON (ICIS)–The outlook for the European jet kerosene market is optimistic for 2023, as the world reaches almost full recovery from COVID-19 travel restrictions. OUTLOOK ‘23: New capacity, China’s COVID-19 surge weigh on Asia EVA market By Helen Lee 04-Jan-23 15:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s supply of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) is expected to lengthen as new capacities start-up, while surging COVID-19 cases in China following easing of pandemic-related restrictions could cap demand recovery in the first quarter of 2023. China Dec PMI at 34-month low; recovery expected to come in Feb By Fanny Zhang 03-Jan-23 15:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) slumped to a 34-month low of 47.0 in December amid fast-spreading COVID-19 outbreaks. Recovery is expected to happen in February when factories come back on stream from the Lunar New Year holiday break. OUTLOOK '23: Mid East, South Asia PS markets to hinge on SM trend, China’s recovery By Damini Dabholkar 29-Dec-22 10:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Q1 2023 outlook for polystyrene (PS) markets in the Middle East and South Asia remains uncertain and will largely be dependent on the availability and prices of upstream commodities. The market is not expected show any strong signs of recovery, however, at least until end January, which is when many countries in Asia celebrate the Lunar New Year. Post Lunar New Year, demand is likely to see an uptick, as has been observed historically. OUTLOOK '23: Automotive sector hits the brakes for growth prospects By Morgan Condon 28-Dec-22 22:30 LONDON (ICIS)–Conditions have been challenging for the automotive industry in recent years, and no immediate reprieve is expected in the near term against a backdrop of geopolitical volatility. Growth expectations for 2022 were not fulfilled and the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February stifled any post-pandemic macroeconomic recovery. This trend looks set to continue in the industry in 2023. China downgrades COVID, stops quarantine for inbound travellers By Fanny Zhang 27-Dec-22 11:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China will downgrade COVID-19 to a more common infectious disease, manage it at Category B instead of the top-level Category A and scrap quarantine for inbound travellers from 8 January, the National Health Commission (NHC) announced late on Monday. Currently, COVID-19 is classified as Category B but managed as Category A that applies to diseases like plague and cholera in China. OUTLOOK ’23: Europe naphtha demand to improve, Russian sanctions to tighten supply By Cassandra Abolaji 23-Dec-22 00:30 LONDON (ICIS)–The Europe naphtha market ended 2022 on a volatile note and will remain volatile at the start of 2023. This after months of weakening feedstock demand partially caused by China's absence from the market due to lingering COVID-19 restrictions and high oil prices. OUTLOOK ’23: Europe MX to lag behind pre-COVID-19 levels despite improved consumption By Zubair Adam 23-Dec-22 00:30 LONDON (ICIS)–2022 has been a rough year for mixed xylenes (MX) in Europe mainly due to issues with gasoline and global events impacting chemical demand with no significant recovery prior to pre-pandemic levels. OUTLOOK 23’: China toluene market may face oversupply and trade flow change China toluene market pivoted from net import to net export in 2022 amid Russia-Ukraine war, but in 2023 the domestic market might face increased supply whereas demand weakness may persist putting pressure on the export market. OUTLOOK '23: Asia PP's potential oversupply may outweigh China's demand recoveryPossible oversupply in Asia's polypropylene (PP) market may outweigh the impact of demand recovery in China in 2023. OUTLOOK ’23: Asia BDO to struggle with long supply while awaiting demand rebound The Asian 1,4-butanediol (BDO) market continues to be mired in weakness, while the malaise could extend into the new year given the slow market conditions amid the yearend lull and the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays in the second half of January. OUTLOOK ’23: Asia IPA to see poor demand, ample supply in H1 2023 Asian isopropanol (IPA) spot markets will likely face headwinds in the first half of 2023 on poor demand and ample supply. OUTLOOK ’23: Asian PET to face headwinds as supply likely to outstrip demand Asia’s polyethylene terephthalate (PET) supply will likely outstrip demand in 2023 on the back of new capacities scheduled to come online in the upcoming year. OUTLOOK '23: Asia adipic acid supply to increase amid demand concerns Asia’s adipic acid market will see an increase in overall production capacity in 2023, however, the bigger question for the industry is whether its downstream derivatives are growing at a pace quick enough to support it. OUTLOOK ‘23: China’s MX to face further uncertainty from downstream PX China’s mixed xylene (MX) prices surged to a decade-high level on soaring crude oil prices in the first half of 2022, before fluctuating downwards in the second half of 2022. In 2023, the market may see support from the launch of some downstream paraxylene (PX) units, but this could depend on the profitability of the PX industry. OUTLOOK ’23: East, south Asia ethanolamines to face supply headwind The ethanolamines market in east and south Asia remains under downward pressure towards the end of the year. Tepid demand appears entrenched with limited signs of any significant rebound in the near term. OUTLOOK '23: East and South Asia LAB mired in weakness although optimism remains The linear alkylbenzene (LAB) markets in east and south Asia continue to be mired in weakness with demand in a low ebb. Buyers remain mostly unhurried with supply ample in most regions. Asia petrochemicals sector to bottom out in December By Jimmy Zhang 16-Dec-22 12:15 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Although bullish sentiment has started to develop in Asian petrochemical markets from early December amid China’s easing of pandemic curbs, concerns are still in place amid the global economic headwinds and slowing of trading activity ahead of year-end holidays. China petchems demand recovery unlikely before Q2 2023 despite easing COVID restrictions By Jenny Yi 14-Dec-22 23:34 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China's zero-COVID strategy has been eased since early December. ICIS analysts expect, however, that demand for most commodity petrochemicals will not improve significantly in the short term, and that large-scale recovery may only begin in the second quarter of 2023. Asia fatty acids near-term demand tepid; may pick up after Lunar New Year By Helen Yan 14-Dec-22 12:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s fatty acids demand will remain tepid in the near term amid the year-end holiday lull but will likely pick up after the Lunar New Year holidays next year. INSIGHT: Chemicals output falls as industrial activity contracts globally, 2023 expected weak By Nigel Davis 14-Dec-22 00:23 LONDON (ICIS)–It is not so much a question of how low will it go but how slow will it be – and for how long? Capacity utilisation data show that the chemicals sector globally has geared down in the face of current headwinds. And there are many of those. China petrochemical futures mixed; near-term demand recovery in doubt By Fanny Zhang 08-Dec-22 13:03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical futures markets were mixed on Thursday morning as demand may remain soft despite a further relaxation in the country’s COVID-19 curbs. “We don’t see any strong demand recovery for commodities in the short term,” said Zhang Junfeng, an analyst at brokerage China Merchant Securities. “Consumer confidence still needs time to rebuild,” Zhang said. Late on 7 December, the Chinese government announced 10 measures to optimise its COVID-19 policy, including allowing people with mild or no symptoms to quarantine at home, and cancelling of testing requirements for domestic travelers. GPCA ’22: Supply chain localisation could help reduce logistics pressure – Saudi society By Tom Brown 07-Dec-22 23:15 RIYADH (ICIS)–Supply chain operators should shift further towards localised operations and away from globalisation to build resilience and adapt to the volatility that has strained logistics for several years, the chairman of the board for the Saudi Supply Chain and Procurement Society said. The current state of extreme stress on global trade links that has been seen since the COVID-19 pandemic decoupled movement along traditional supply routes is unlikely to be a temporary phase, and further localisation of supply chains could be a solution, according to Supply and Procurement Association board chair Saleh Ibrahim Al-Shabnan. INSIGHT: Easing in supply chains could signal further problems for Europe's chems sector ahead By Morgan Condon 02-Dec-22 20:46 LONDON (ICIS)–Easing supply chain disruption has given petrochemical producers in Europe some respite in the wake of recent crashing demand. But the smoother flow of product could lead to further destabilising of market fundamentals, rather than providing balance to the market. As new orders in Europe have subsided, this has given room for producers to catch up with backlogs, smoothing out extended lead times, and allowing congested bottlenecks to dissipate. While this has been some help in the short-term, the likelihood is that diminished appetite for materials could eventually disrupt logistics, as deliveries slow down to match need. US manufacturing contracts for first time in 30 months By Stefan Baumgarten 02-Dec-22 01:04 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell by 1.2 points from 50.2 in October to 49.0 in November – pushing the index into contraction territory, last seen in May 2020 during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, ICIS senior economist Kevin Swift said. He was commenting on the November PMI report by Institute for Supply Management (ISM), released earlier on Thursday, which showed the first contraction in manufacturing after 29 consecutive expansions. Caixin's Nov China manufacturing PMI rises to 49.4 By Nurluqman Suratman 01-Dec-22 10:33 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Caixin’s China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 49.4 in November from 49.2 in October but remained in contractionary territory as ongoing COVID-19 containment measures continued to weigh on the sector, the Chinese media firm said on Thursday. A PMI reading above 50 indicates  expansion in the manufacturing economy, while a lower number denotes contraction. Manufacturers in China registered a further fall in output, with the rate of contraction picking up slightly from October, amid a sustained reduction in sales, Caixin said in a statement. Companies frequently linked the decline to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on operations and customer demand," Caixin said. UK manufacturing woes continue as output, new orders and employment fall By Jonathan Lopez 01-Dec-22 20:45 MADRID (ICIS)–The UK’s manufacturing sectors remained in contraction territory in November because of lower output, shrinking orders, and reduced employment levels, analysts at S&P Global said on Thursday. The UK’s PMI index came in at 46.5 points in November, a slight improvement from October’s 46.2 points, but any reading below the 50.0 points mark shows contraction. “The intermediate goods sector fared especially poorly, while downturns also continued at consumer and investment goods producers,” said the analysts. INSIGHT: Preparing for a difficult winter in Europe and a tougher 2023/24 By Nigel Davis 26-Nov-22 00:56 LONDON (ICIS)–A mild autumn has alleviated some of the tension in Europe’s energy markets and the pressure on natural gas availability. But colder weather beckons and gas usage will rise putting, as it does in normal years, upward pressure on gas prices. The filling of storage tanks across the continent has provided a buffer against the worst damage that the Russia-Ukraine war can do to Europe’s energy supply, while reduced demand by industry has made a significant contribution. What is not clear is how energy availability to industry, and the costs of that gas and power, change moving into 2023. NE Asia ethylene output to remain weak up to at least H1 2023 By Yeow Pei Lin 25-Nov-22 11:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s ethylene production is expected to be constricted by heavy cracker turnarounds, poor margins and weak downstream demand up to at least the first half of 2023. China’s weak phenol imports to prompt deeper output cuts in Asia By Helen Lee 25-Nov-22 16:06 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s phenol imports are being weighed down by a combination of ample domestic supply, rising COVID-19 caseloads, easing upstream markets, and the absence of restocking ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays in late January. SE Asia PE market dazed by China stop-start demand By Izham Ahmad 24-Nov-22 16:36 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Initial spot import offers for December shipments of polyethylene (PE) in southeast Asia were announced in the same range as the previous week’s assessment or softer this week, with market players baffled by the stop-start nature of China’s demand for PE. German manufacturers increase warehouse capacity post-pandemic By Morgan Condon 23-Nov-22 20:40 LONDON (ICIS)–German industrial players have expanded warehouse capacity and focus more on supply chains in the wake of the pandemic, according to the latest data released by the Ifo Institute on Wednesday. Results of the study from the economic research group found that 68% of companies surveyed increased warehouse sizing, with 65% seeking additional suppliers since 2020, and 54% of firms now monitor their supply chains more closely. The outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 initially caused a slowdown in manufacturing, as regions applied lockdowns, and implemented restrictions at ports and borders to contain the spread of the virus. IMF urges China to further recalibrate COVID-19 strategy By Nurluqman Suratman 23-Nov-22 18:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged China to further recalibrate its COVID-19 strategy and provide additional support to its beleaguered property sector to mitigate risks from a global economic slowdown. Following the recovery from the initial impact of the pandemic, the world’s second-biggest economy remains under pressure, with growth projected to slow to 3.2% in 2022, from an 8.1% pace last year, before improving to 4.4% in 2023 and 2024, the IMF stated on 22 November following a review of China’s economic conditions. PODCAST: Sustainable development may create new growth space for petrochemical industry By Yvonne Shi 18-Nov-22 11:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analysts Jady Ma and Yvonne Shi discuss how sustainable development is working on the petrochemical industry and subsequent reactions. PODCAST: Macroeconomics prove challenging for global chems in 2023, although some bright spots remain By Morgan Condon 16-Nov-22 22:50 LONDON (ICIS)–After several challenging years in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, volatile geopolitical conditions and a tough macroeconomic backdrop mean that things are unlikely to turn a corner for global chemicals producers heading into the new year. Senior economist for global chemicals Kevin Swift talks to senior reporter for Europe Morgan Condon about the outlook for the coming year, and the key features for the market in 2023. INSIGHT: Lacklustre demand from various outlets impacting polyols, TDI and toluene By Zubair Adam 17-Nov-22 21:03 LONDON (ICIS)–Weaker activity from the automotive and flexible foam industries is impacting the consumption of polyols and toluene diisocyanate (TDI), with some additional impacts from the latter on feedstock toluene due to lower production. No short term demand recovery is envisaged for the whole value chain. INSIGHT: China’s property rescue plan to boost some petrochemicals By Fanny Zhang 16-Nov-22 20:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s latest measures to rescue the stressed property sector are expected to lift some petrochemicals, although they are unlikely to reverse bearish sentiment on the sluggish property market, according to economists and analysts. China outlook dims further on fresh COVID-19 surge, real estate slump By Nurluqman Suratman 16-Nov-22 13:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s economic outlook just turned dimmer amid downbeat October data, with surging domestic COVID-19 infections and slumping real estate market threatening to aggravate weak petrochemical demand. Asia soap noodles to remain sluggish in near term on year-end holiday lull By Helen Yan 16-Nov-22 10:52 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s soap noodles market is likely to remain sluggish in the near term as buyers remain cautious and are reluctant to lock in large forward spot volumes ahead of the year-end holiday lull. China’s zero COVID-19 policy has had an impact on regional trade. Weak demand outweighs refined COVID-19 policy, capping China PP price rise By Zhibo Xiao 15-Nov-22 16:02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polypropylene (PP) futures surged following the release of the refined COVID-19 policy on 11 November, but the market may still face pressure toward the year-end amid tepid demand recovery, intensive arrivals of competitively-priced imports and expected new plant start-ups. Asia’s MIBK players pin hopes in 2023 rally By Angeline Soh 15-Nov-22 16:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) players expressed hopes in a 2023 rally, after the easing of global COVID-19 infection rates, and China’s easing of some of its strictest restrictions based on its zero-Covid policy. China eases COVID-19 curbs, petrochemical futures boosted By Fanny Zhang 11-Nov-22 16:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China will relax its COVID-19 control measures in view of changing circumstances, shoring up equity markets accordingly. The National Health Commission (NHC) announced 20 measures on Friday in a push for more targeted and optimised control of the pandemic. Under the new policies, the quarantine time for close contacts of cases is shortened to five days in centralised locations from seven previously. Asia ethylene little changed as players await direction from '23 term talks By Yeow Pei Lin 11-Nov-22 11:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s ethylene spot import prices for December-arrival cargoes were broadly stable this week, as the weak downstream margins and strong US arrivals continued to be counterbalanced by limited regional supply. Bearish sentiment dominates Asia November petrochemical markets By Amy Yu 11-Nov-22 10:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Bearish sentiment in Asian petrochemical markets has risen due to weak demand from late October, and we expect prices of most products in the region to remain on a downward trend in November. US chem shares surge as broader market rises on positive inflation data By Adam Yanelli 11-Nov-22 06:23 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US-listed shares of chemical companies surged on Thursday, largely outperforming the broader market which rose significantly on favourable economic data on inflation.The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 3.7%, while the Dow Jones US Chemicals Index rose by 4.95% and the S&P 500 Chemicals Industry Index rose by 5%. Europe PET buyers lured by imports, but demand questionable By Caroline Murray 11-Nov-22 01:58LONDON (ICIS)–The window of opportunity for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) importers appears wide due to Europe’s unique cost situation, but demand is so low that PET buyers are unsure how to proceed. British industrial demand to remain below previous years By ICIS Editorial 10-Nov-22 01:05 LONDON (ICIS)–Despite recent pressure to NBP Day-ahead and front month gas prices, a return to high levels of industrial offtake in Britain is unlikely, ICIS analysis shows. Normal industrial demand over the past five years has averaged 10mcm daily. However, since the rise of gas prices in Britain, industrial gas offtake has dropped to around 5.6mcm from January to November 2022. EU, eurozone September chems prices decline modestly in split market By Morgan Condon 10-Nov-22 01:30 LONDON (ICIS)–Chemical pricing in September was mixed for European producers, with some key manufacturing nations bucking the modest declines recorded in the eurozone and wider EU, according to the EU’s statistical agency, Eurostat. The latest data from Eurostat indicates that Italy and Poland recorded single-figure gains compared with the previous month, supported by smaller gains in France and Germany. Asia BDO retreats on poor demand, weak domestic China market By Clive Ong 10-Nov-22 11:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian 1,4-butanediol (BDO) market trended lower as demand in the region dissipated amid a poor economic outlook. Some participants believe that demand in the region, in particular China, could remain weak until after the Lunar New Year in late January. Asia petrochemical markets mixed amid high inflation By Felicia Loo 09-Nov-22 14:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical markets were mixed amid economic headwinds and dampening consumption in China amid a slowing economy, with no let-up on its harsh zero COVID-19 policy, dampening consumption. China, India ethanolamines markets under downward pressure as demand wanes By Clive Ong 10-Nov-22 14:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The ethanolamines markets in China and India remain under downward pressure amid prevailing weak demand and ample supply. Participants continue to expect weak markets in the near term as the global economic outlook remains uncertain. China's MEC demand disrupted by zero-COVID strategy By Keven Zhang 09-Nov-22 11:41 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China's methylene chloride (MEC) prices saw steep falls in the past two weeks due to disruption to its domestic demand by the new round of lockdowns implemented to contain the COVID-19 spread in the country, although production cutbacks may provide some support in the near term. INSIGHT: More pain for chemicals as US Federal Reserve has ‘a ways to go’ on rate hikes By Joseph Chang 03-Nov-22 06:25 NEW YORK (ICIS)–US and global chemical producers will likely see more pain ahead as the US Federal Reserve still has a “ways to go” in its tightening cycle to bring inflation down to its 2% target. It’s not pausing or pivoting, and not budging from its target. The US equity market as measured by the S&P 500 fell 2.5% on 2 November on disappointment that the Fed gave no indication it will stop interest raising rates, other than acknowledging it has already tightened monetary policy significantly. The Fed hiked its benchmark rate by 0.75 percentage points – its third consecutive hike of that magnitude – to a range of 3.75-4.00%. “Our message is clear – we think we have a ways to go. We have some ground to cover with interest rates before we get to that level… we think is sufficiently restrictive,” said Fed chair Jerome Powell at the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) press conference. INSIGHT: Asia October PMIs point to broadening export downturn By Nurluqman Suratman 02-Nov-22 17:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Amid falling new orders and inventory build-up, Asia’s export downturn is broadening with the latest data pointing to further weakness in factory activity across the region. The slowdown in manufacturing activity has now widened from northeast Asia to also include southeast Asia amid waning export demand. Asia’s manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMIs) fell in October to an average of 49.6, down from 50.7 in September, due largely to a fall in new orders and lower production as export orders weakened further. China’s Oct petchem market falls on oversupply, poor confidence By Yvonne Shi 02-Nov-22 12:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical market fell significantly in October. As of October 31, the ICIS China Petrochemical Price Index (which tracks 17 commodities) dropped 5.4% from September 30 to close at 1220.11 points. The quick fall after a sharp rise after the National Day holiday reflects sluggish demand and lack of market confidence. China’s petrochemical market started the downtrend from the middle of the month till the end. An official source before the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China disclosed that China's epidemic prevention and control will continue to adhere to the zero-COVID policy, which hit market confidence severely. UK manufacturing sector output contracts further as new orders dry up By Tom Brown 01-Nov-22 20:00 LONDON (ICIS)–UK manufacturing sector output slipped further into contraction in October, and hit a 29-month low as new order volumes shrank at the fastest rate since May 2020, according to data from S&P Global on Tuesday. The sector purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell further in the month, dropping to 46.2 from 48.4 in September, although they were stronger than initial readings for the month of 45.8. A PMI score below 50.0 signifies contraction. It was the third consecutive month of contraction for the sector, as the economic outlook continued to deteriorate. New orders and new export business both declined in the month. Players in the UK cited softer demand from China, the war in Ukraine and ongoing obstacles to exporting posed by Brexit. Business optimism slipped to the lowest level since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. China posts 3.9% Q3 GDP growth; President Xi secures third term By Pearl Bantillo 24-Oct-22 13:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China posted an annualised GDP growth of 3.9% in the third quarter, up from 0.4% in the previous quarter, but a combination of a zero-COVID policy and a property downturn will continue to weigh on the world's second-biggest economy. US economy continues to slow, recession likely – NABE survey By Stefan Baumgarten 24-Oct-22 22:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US economy continues to slow and is likely already in recession or may soon be in recession, according to findings in the latest business conditions survey by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) on Monday. INSIGHT: Asia C3 to face headwinds in fourth quarter By Julia Tan 25-Oct-22 10:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian propylene market is facing headwinds as it steps into the fourth quarter as demand looks likely to remain weak until the end of the year on poor derivative margins. China PP lacks post-holiday support as weak demand overshadows high costs By Zhibo Xiao 27-Oct-22 12:34  SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Domestic polypropylene (PP) prices in China rose and then fell after the country’s National Day holiday on 1-7 October as bearish demand outweighed the brief surge in crude values. INSIGHT: A new world for Asia olefins as capacity surges, demand remains uncertain By Amy Yu 28-Oct-22 12:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asia olefins industry is witnessing a new world of significantly squeezed margins for all producers, with incremental capacity addtions set against the backdrop of weak demand. CDI Economic Summary: Recession odds rise as slowdown takes hold amid Fed tightening By Kevin Swift 27-Oct-22 23:07 CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (ICIS)–Monetary tightening across the world led by the US Federal Reserve, protracted inflation and geopolitical events have raised the odds of recession in many major economies. Asia petrochemicals stay bearish as China keeps zero-COVID policy By Nurluqman Suratman 21-Oct-22 11:40 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Bearish sentiment prevails across Asia’s petrochemical markets with no immediate end in sight on China’s zero-COVID strategy, which has been weighing on overall industrial activities of the world’s second-biggest economy. South and East Asia LAB quiet while rising feedstock costs squeeze margins By Clive Ong 20-Oct-22 17:02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The linear alkyl benzene (LAB) market in East and South Asia remains quiet while suppliers talked of squeezed margins from rising feedstock costs. The desire for higher values, however, were countered by the persistently weak demand in the region. India, SE Asia ethanolamines remain under pressure from competitive offers By Clive Ong 20-Oct-22 15:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)—The ethanolamines markets in southeast Asia and India remain under downward pressure from competitive offers and tepid demand. Participants anticipate further weakness in the near term as the Chinese market looks set to remain weak. INSIGHT: Japan economy to find succor in automotive output recovery By Pearl Bantillo 20-Oct-22 12:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japan may be able to count on a recovery in car production, which should provide much-needed boosts to related industries, including petrochemicals, to cushion its economic downturn. INSIGHT: European home improvement sector slumps on economic slowdown, post-COVID effects By Nicole Simpson 19-Oct-22 21:33 LONDON (ICIS)–As the threat of recession looms over Europe and consumers look to cut back on unnecessary spending, demand for home improvement and do-it-yourself (DIY) goods has plummeted. Asia oleochemicals market likely flat in Q4 on zero-COVID policy in China By Helen Yan 19-Oct-22 12:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s oleochemicals market is expected to remain flat in the fourth quarter due to the prevailing sluggish demand from China amid its zero-COVID policy, which is expected to remain in place for the rest of this year. INSIGHT: Global demand slump eclipses Asia export benefits from currency falls By Pearl Bantillo 18-Oct-22 13:14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia's tumbling currencies will not spell strong exports for the region as a combination of surging inflation and high interest rates slows the pace of global economic activities. EPCA ’22: Chemicals supply chains lengthening, security of supply increasingly important – Vopak CEO By Nigel Davis 07-Oct-22 17:40 BERLIN (ICIS)–Chemicals supply chains are becoming necessarily longer as consumers and producers see markets balancing between imports and local production, the CEO at tank storage operator Vopak said this week. China September petrochemical markets up; demand outlook still bleak By Yvonne Shi 11-Oct-22 14:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical markets were mostly higher in September on supply tightness in some products and aided by pre-holiday restocking, but overall demand is not expected to improve by much in the coming months. IMF trims developing Asia growth outlook on China weakness By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Oct-22 12:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has trimmed its economic growth forecast for emerging and developing Asian economies on account of China's slowdown. Asia BDO market faces lengthening supply, uncertain demandBy Clive Ong 13-Oct-22 13:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The nascent recovery in Asian’s 1,4-butanediol (BDO) market in September now faces the challenge of lengthening supply with demand staying uncertain. Singapore Q4 GDP growth slows to 4.4%, monetary policy tightened By Nurluqman Suratman 14-Oct-22 11:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore's central bank on Friday tightened its monetary policy to dampen persistent price pressures which has slowed its economy to a year-on-year growth of 4.4% in the fourth quarter. EPCA ’22: Chemical industry may slow but must manage through cycle, Equate CEO By Nigel Davis 06-Oct-22 17:11 BERLIN (ICIS)–The chemical industry may slow over the next 12 months but it is a question of managing through the cycle, Equate’s CEO Naser Aldousari said on the sidelines of EPCA 2022 on Wednesday. Aldousari remains optimistic for the sector and emphasises its resilience. Asia Q4 petrochemical demand faces headwinds as global economy slows By Felicia Loo 06-Oct-22 14:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Petrochemical demand in Asia will be largely undermined because regional factories face continued weakness in export demand in the fourth quarter. EPCA ’22: COVID-19 pandemic set gender parity back a generation – Dow exec By Tom Brown 05-Oct-22 23:21 BERLIN (ICIS)–The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic set the progress of gender parity back 30 years, Dow’s head of inclusion and diversity said on Wednesday, because of the disproportionate impact it had on women's participation in the labour market. EPCA '22: Europe ADA, nylon 6,6 demand may weaken further in October By Marta Fern 05-Oct-22 16:00 LONDON (ICIS)–European adipic acid (ADA) and downstream nylon 6,6 markets face affordability concerns, high costs of production and competition with lower priced imports from Asia. EPCA ’22: European auto output will only recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2025 – analyst By Jonathan Lopez 04-Oct-22 18:21 BERLIN (ICIS)–Production from the European petrochemicals-intensive automotive sector is unlikely to recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2025 at the earliest, a chemicals analyst at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) said on Tuesday. Andreas Gocke, global lead for chemicals at BCG, said the war in Ukraine and supply-chain issues have only seen a further deterioration in the outlook for the automotive sector, which was already negative in 2021. EPCA ’22: Weak demand, wider uncertainty shapes Europe acrylate esters outlook By Mathew Jolin-Beech 04-Oct-22 22:00 LONDON (ICIS)–Europe's acrylate esters markets are set to be gripped by ongoing weak demand and wider macroeconomic uncertainty in Q4 and early 2023. EPCA '22: PODCAST: Europe petrochemicals face ‘winter of discontent By Will Beacham 04-Oct-22 15:19 BERLIN (ICIS)–Europe’s petrochemical sector faces a ‘winter of discontent’, battered by high energy costs, collapsing downstream demand and increased imports from Asia. In this Think Tank podcast, Will Beacham interviews ICIS Insight editor Nigel Davis, ICIS senior analyst Lorenzo Meazza, and Paul Hodges, chairman of New Normal Consulting. The European Petrochemicals Association (EPCA) annual meeting runs on 4-6 October in Berlin. EPCA ‘22: Demand concerns loom over Europe PC market in Q4 By Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez 03-Oct-22 19:14 LONDON (ICIS)–Pessimism reigns in the European polycarbonate (PC) market moving into the end of 2022 as demand from the key customer sectors is likely to remain tepid due to Europe's dim macroeconomic outlook. INSIGHT: Trends converging to create Q4 glut in US plastics By Al Greenwood 30-Sep-22 05:21 HOUSTON (ICIS)–North American polymer markets are facing a growing glut because of weakening demand, expanding capacity and rising inventories. Europe economic sentiment dropping as Germany on brink of recession By Morgan Condon 29-Sep-22 23:13 LONDON (ICIS)–European economic sentiment continued falling in September, for both the EU and the eurozone, and the German economy is heading towards a recession, as sentiment is shaped by sustained high energy prices. Lockdowns, property crisis to slow China 2022 GDP growth to 2.8% – World Bank By Nurluqman Suratman 29-Sep-22 13:3 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China, the world’s second-biggest economy, is projected to grow at a much slower pace of 2.8% this year compared with an earlier forecast of 5.0%, according to the World Bank, amid the country’s zero-COVID policy and ongoing property crisis. INSIGHT: India PVC market weathers stormy first half, safeguard investigation begins By Damini Dabholkar 29-Sep-22 11:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS) –India’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market stabilised slightly in September, after having weathered a storm over the previous 12 months. China’s PE prices rebound, eyes on demand sustainability By Sijia Li 28-Sep-22 12:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polyethylene (PE) prices have rebounded following continual declines in the past two months, finding support from improved end-user demand during the September-October traditional peak season. INSIGHT: High cost threatens Asia petrochemical output as regional currencies tumble By Pearl Bantillo 27-Sep-22 12:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical production is at risk of shrinking further as imported raw materials get more expensive each day that Asian currencies tumble to new lows. INSIGHT: Russia-Ukraine war, surging inflation continue to dim growth expectations By Tom Brown 27-Sep-22 00:17 LONDON (ICIS)–The outlook for global growth is continuing to darken as the economy loses momentum in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war, with fresh economic projections pointing to a substantial deterioration in prospects from 2023 even relative to a few months ago US HB Fuller sees rebound in Asia, slowdown in Europe By Al Greenwood 23-Sep-22 05:43 HOUSON (ICIS)–HB Fuller began to see a rebound in Asian demand during its fiscal third quarter because China is reopening from its COVID-19 lockdowns, the US-based adhesives producer said on Thursday, a trend that other chemical producers have yet to see. INSIGHT: US plastics becomes sixth-largest industry By Melissa Wheeler 22-Sep-22 23:21 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US plastics industry has moved two spots up to become the sixth-largest industry in the country, according to the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS). Asia MEG market under pressure as downstream cuts operation to ease high inventories By Judith Wang 22-Sep-22 18:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) market has been under pressure during the week as downstream polyester sector initiated another round of operation cuts in a bid to relieve inventory pressure. INSIGHT: Widespread demand reduction makes a tough quarter tougher By Nigel Davis 21-Sep-22 23:49 LONDON (ICIS)–It has been a tough third quarter for most upstream producers of chemicals and others as weaker demand and rising costs have combined to hit earnings and shift guidance. US inland truck capacity increases as demand remains firm By Adam Yanelli 21-Sep-22 05:15 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Spot and contract rates for inland truck deliveries have fallen from record-highs as capacity has increased and demand has remained strong, according to panelists on a webinar hosted by supply chain market intelligence provider Freightwaves. INSIGHT: Asia petrochemical market to rebound in September By Amy Yu 15-Sep-22 18:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)– Some Asia petrochemical prices rebounded in early September after the decrease in August. ANALYSIS AND RESOURCES


APIC ’23: Taiwan petrochemical output value contracts 5.7% in 2022

NEW DELHI (ICIS)–Taiwan’s petrochemical output value in 2022 declined by 5.7% as producers shut facilities amid a demand slowdown and price falls in the second half of last year, an industry executive said on Friday. “Petrochemical industry players in Taiwan responded to shrinking demand and lower prices by shutting down for maintenance, and the output of major petrochemicals declined,” said Mihn Tsao, chairman of the Petrochemical Industry Association of Taiwan (PIAT) at the 41st Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC) in New Delhi. In the same year, however, green energy-related products such as ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer (EVA), epichlorohydrin (ECH), and carbon fibre “grew steadily in 2022, in sharp contrast with the dismal operation of petrochemical commodities”, said Tsao, who is also the president of Formosa Petrochemical Corp (FPCC). In February 2023, the Taiwanese government promulgated the “Climate Change Response Act”, which set out a net-zero emissions goal by 2050, he said. “The government is also releasing policies and measures in response to net zero emissions, providing opportunities for petrochemical companies to transform and develop,” Tsao said. In line with the net-zero emissions target, “Taiwan’s petrochemical industry is deploying toward new energy and new materials, investing in electric vehicles, battery materials, energy storage, focusing on the development of electronic chemicals, wind power products, and automotive products", he said. The industry is also "developing recyclable and sustainable materials to reduce the impact of disposable waste on the environment”. Petrochemical companies are also cutting carbon emissions, investing in low carbon energy transformation, circular economy, increasing usage of renewable energy and CCUS (carbon capture, utilization and storage), Tsao added. “Taiwan is an export-oriented economy that is actively investing in the use of artificial intelligence to improve production processes and efficiency, accelerate product transformation, and strengthen risk management of climate change issues,” the PIAT chief said. The two-day APIC 2023 organized by India’s Chemicals & Petrochemicals Manufacturers’ Association (CPMA) ends Friday.


INSIGHT: Hope for 2023 European construction market recovery falters as spring demand uptick fails to materialise

LONDON (ICIS)–Since late 2022, chemicals players have been hopeful that better demand is just around the corner but optimism is faltering as economic conditions remain challenging and spring construction demand has failed to ignite. “Quarter after quarter people were hoping the next quarter would be better. Now, the outlook for Q3 is depressed and it seems questionable if we can see recovery in Q4,” stated one oxo-alcohols buyer. Mono propylene glycol (MPG), plasticizers, oxo-alcohols, epichlorohydrin (ECH) and polyols are some of the markets where sources are uncertain when consumption may return to pre-COVID levels. The fourth quarter of 2022 was a period of harsh destocking and historically low demand in several chemicals markets as players down the value chain aimed to end the financial year with low working capital. Sellers were hopeful consumption would pick up in the first and second quarter of 2023 but any improvements in demand have been marginal and in some markets, such as polyols, consumption has slowed. Market participants are now uncertain if buying activity will improve at all in 2023 with one plasticizers producer commenting, “I’m a bit worried in general if we will continue to see softer demand through next year as well.” High interest rates, inflationary pressures and low consumer confidence are the key factors subduing market participants hopes of demand recovery. “It boils down to one thing: consumer confidence. It comes down to how much do you have to spend with the current inflation rates and with what is forecasted for the autumn. There will be no relief, at least this year, for households,” said one plasticizers producer. SEASONAL DEMAND ABSENTThe construction sector is a key demand benchmark in many European chemicals markets including MPG, plasticizers, oxo-alcohols, ECH and epoxy resins. Demand from construction-related applications, including architectural coatings, unsaturated polyester resins (UPR), flooring and roofing membranes, typically peaks over spring when temperatures are mild. Sources previously expected the 2023 peak construction season would be slow to start and not as pronounced as in previous years. However, oxo-alcohols, ECH and MPG sellers are yet to see any uptick in volume requirements from the construction sector and plasticizers sellers have actually seen a slowdown in construction demand. "Construction picks up with the warmer weather so logically there should be an improvement in demand in Q2 but I don't know if this will happen this year," said one ECH producer. High interest rates and inflationary pressures are the main factors dampening construction activity but difficulty securing permits and environmental regulations are also weighing on the sector. “Demand for housing is there but there is a number of other factors. Investors are hesitant with high interest rates, there’s environmental protections, pressure to make low income rent [apartments]. All these factors makes a difficult climate,” said one oxo-alcohols buyer. EU construction output is forecast to contract 0.8% this year, according to Oxford Economics. For oxo-alcohols and plasticizers sellers, offtake from industrial and infrastructure construction projects, including new hospitals and schools, are holding up better than residential projects. Many market participants no longer expect there to be any seasonal peak in construction demand in 2023 and some are even concerned activity in the construction sector will slump further. “Flooring and roofing membranes is pretty bad for the time being. I don’t see it recovering soon, especially in Germany. Building activity is low and there’s no indicator showing it’s improving,” said one plasticizers seller. "According to one European resins producer, March demand was 20% lower than typical for the period. One UPR resins manufacturer is operating at 70% capacity and another resins manufacturer is operating at 60-70%. Construction is not the only sector where the usual spring uptick in demand has not materialised. In the plasticizers market, do-it-yourself (DIY) sales did not spike as usual before Easter and in the MPG market, flavours demand has not picked up as typical in spring. For one DIY company, Q1 sales were higher than forecasted but 30% below pre-pandemic levels. For some players, the lack of seasonal demand has highlighted market conditions are even more challenging than previously realised. SHIFTING CONSUMER PATTERNSThe COVID-19 pandemic and poor consumer confidence have altered historic patterns of consumer demand making it difficult for sellers in some markets to predict when order intake will pick up. This is particularly challenging for players with a large exposure to the domestic appliances, DIY and comfort sectors. “Lack of visibility is an overall challenge that the industry is facing. Old demand patterns were broken over COVID and people are trying to understand what new trends and patterns will emerge,” said one MPG producer. Money was spent by consumers through COVID-19 lockdowns that will not be spent again for a while especially when inflationary pressures are strong and household budgets are shrinking. In the polyether polyols market, sources are uncertain when to expect demand recovery as many purchases of large ticket comfort items, such as mattresses, were made during lockdown and such products have a long lifecycle. “For spending, there needs to be much more evidence. In consumers’ crystal balls, they need solid proof and communications from central banks that things will improve,” said one plasticizers producer. According to the European Central Bank's March projection, inflation should continue to fall during 2023, driven by declines in energy inflation. As cost pressures fade and the ECB’s monetary policy measures gradually take effect, inflation should come back to the 2% target in the second half of 2025. LOOKING AHEADAs demand remains tepid from many applications which typically have a seasonal peak in spring, market participants are resigning to the idea that market recovery may be further away than previously anticipated. “It is a crisis, a huge crisis in my opinion. The situation will continue for the next year or one and a half years. When I looks as gas flows and the situation in investments and banks etcetera… this is not something that is pleasant at all…Some companies will not survive,” lamented one oxo-alcohols producer. Some remain cautiously hopeful that consumption could pick up in the second half of 2023 but these sources accept there is no solid basis for this outlook. “There is a lot of hope but not a lot of substance so far,” said one plasticizers producer. Insight article by Nicole Simpson Thumbnail picture source: Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto/Shutterstock


PODCAST: Asia glycerine sees interest for May shipments on expected rebound in China

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s glycerine market is likely to see more spot interest for May shipments on expectation of a rebound in the Chinese market in the second half (H2) of this year. In this glycerine podcast, ICIS editors Damini Dabholkar and Helen Yan discuss recent market conditions with an outlook ahead in Asia. China market expected to rebound in second half (H2) of 2023 Downstream industrial ECH to pick up in H2, now still sluggish Suppliers target food and pharmaceutical sectors, more gains


India to allot $4.3bn in fiscal 2023-24 budget to boost clean energy sector

MUMBAI (ICIS)–India plans to allocate rupees (Rs) 350bn ($4.3bn) in the fiscal year 2023-24 national budget for energy transition in the pursuit of the country’s net zero carbon emissions objective by 2070. The plan was laid out by Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday to the parliament, as part of the government’s measures to increase production and consumption of green energy, including ethanol and green hydrogen in the coming fiscal year ending March 2024. The government’s National Green Hydrogen Mission launched in January with an allocation of Rs197bn is also meant to help bring down carbon emissions while reducing the country’s dependence on fossil fuel imports, Sitharaman said. The Rs350bn will be utilised as capital support for oil marketing companies like Indian Oil, and other large companies to set up projects that will help contribute towards the goals of energy transition and to achieve their net zero goals. “Our target is to reach an annual (green hydrogen) production of 5m tonnes/year by 2030,” Sitharaman said. To provide impetus to its green energy goals, the government plans to grant customs duty exemption on imports of capital goods and machinery required to produce lithium-ion cells for batteries used in electric vehicles. The exemption will also apply to imports of denatured ethyl alcohol. The customs duty on acid-grade fluorspar was reduced to 2.5% from 5%, while that on crude glycerine used in the manufacture of epichlorohydrine (ECH) was cut to 2.5% from 7.5%, with immediate effect. India is targeting to reduce its fiscal deficit to 5.9% of GDP in 2023-24 from an expected ratio of 6.4% in the current fiscal year ending March 2023, Sitharaman said. Focus article by Priya Jestin ($1 = Rs81.92)


Summary of 2023 Europe Outlook stories

LONDON (ICIS)–Here are the Europe Outlook stories for 2023 published on ICIS news in December and January. Global crude prices to remain volatile Crude oil prices are expected to remain volatile throughout 2023, mostly driven by economic uncertainty and political unrest, as both issues will add pressure to fundamentals. Europe olefins’ demand hand-to-mouth, sustained improvements only in H2 The lack of visibility over ethylene and propylene market conditions in 2023 is unprecedented, easily surpassing the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Europe aromatics markets to see more painful months before slow recovery Difficult conditions in Europe's aromatics markets are expected to continue well into 2023 before they rebalance, according to market participants, with an outlook overshadowed by hobbled demand, cost volatility and vulnerability to external shocks. Europe naphtha demand to improve, Russian sanctions to tighten supply The Europe naphtha market ended 2022 on a volatile note and will remain volatile at the start of 2023. Europe MX to lag behind pre-COVID-19 levels despite improved consumption 2022 has been a rough year for mixed xylenes (MX) in Europe mainly due to issues with gasoline and global events impacting chemical demand with no significant recovery prior to pre-pandemic levels. Europe methanol prepares for difficult year on energy costs, weak demand The European methanol market is bracing for another turbulent year with Russian sanctions pending, while high energy costs and lower consumer spending drive reduced demand for key end sectors. Europe PE, PP players hope for uneventful year A year of straightforward mundanity would be very welcome for most polymer players in 2023. INSIGHT: Regaining Europe PET, PTA competitiveness key to survival The Europe polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and upstream purified terephthalic acid (PTA) markets have to recover their competitive edge if they are to avoid becoming victims of production costs. Europe toluene demand to start the new year slowly Consumption in Europe has been mainly sluggish, with no pick up expected at least for the start of 2023. Europe BD supply likely constrained, but at mercy of C2, C3 Butadiene (BD) production in Europe is likely to be constrained in 2023 as cracker utilisation is widely expected to remain at a low rate to offset much reduced ethylene (C2) and propylene (C3) contractual obligations. Europe ADA and nylon 6,6 demand could stay subdued, output curtailments ongoing European demand for adipic acid (ADA) and downstream nylon 6,6 collapsed in the second half of 2022, and is likely to remain low in 2023, as key downstream industries – automotive and construction – faced curtailed production due to bottlenecks in component supply, high production costs and soft end-buyer demand. Europe PS and EPS markets to face further challenges in 2023, weak demand for at least Q1 The European polystyrene (PS) and expandable polystyrene (EPS) markets are expected to be pressured further by weak demand and ongoing uncertainty for 2023. Europe biodiesel market faces volatility, slow spot demand The European biodiesel market is set for a relatively stable 2023 in terms of supply-demand fundamentals, although uncertainty lingers over pricing volatility amid evolving supply chain factors. Europe IPA, MEK and MIBK to be driven by wider economy, energy costs The European solvents markets for isopropanol (IPA), methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) and methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) experienced volatility through H1 2022, largely driven by natural gas costs and technical issues at major producers, before softening through 2H 2022 on weak demand. Europe ABS and SAN markets to remain pressured by demand destruction The European acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) markets are expected to continue to be significantly pressured by weak demand. Europe soda ash firm fundamentals steady but 2024 could bring another turning point The European soda ash market is likely to stay on a similar track in 2023 to the one it was on in 2022, with a slight drop in demand, and shortage turning to tightness in some countries, while tightness turns into balanced-to-tight conditions in others in the coming 12 months. European engineering plastics set for further demand uncertainty amid ongoing supply constraints The European engineering plastics markets of polyacetal (POM) and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) are expecting another dynamic year in 2023, with significant question marks over demand patterns and regional production. Ammonia market almost impossible to predict following events of 2022 After a turbulent 2022 for the ammonia market, the outlook for 2023 remains unclear since its direction is so heavily influenced by developments in the gas market, particularly in Europe, which has become a post 24 February 2022 benchmark. Europe oxo-alcohols demand recovery slow amid high energy costs, economic woes After months of poor offtake, high uncertainty and oversupply, European oxo-alcohols sellers are keen to see the market rebalance in 2023. Europe polyols market to remain under pressure Demand and production for the European polyols market in the last part of 2022 was facing difficulties, with no real signs of recovery in 2023. Europe plasticizers market faces rocky road with dull demand, import pressure The outlook is uncertain for the European plasticizers spot market because of macroeconomic headwinds and high production costs. Europe MA market could still grow in 2023 after hard winter European maleic anhydride (MA) players are grinding their teeth and hoping for at best a gradual recovery from the weakest activity in three years. Weak demand, import pressure to persist in Europe MPG market Demand in the European mono propylene glycol (MPG) market is expected to remain lacklustre, especially in Q1, as macroeconomic headwinds and pressure from Asian imports persist. Europe etac and butac demand to be buffeted by macroeconomic challenges The European ethyl acetate (etac) and butyl acetate (butac) sectors are expected to face continued downward price pressure early this year, as demand from the key automotive, construction, ink coatings and flexible packaging industries remains weak Europe PA could see supply tighten in 2023 Europe's phthalic anhydride (PA) market is finishing the year early with most players away for the Christmas and New Year holidays and offices shutting down for the festive period, but there are positive signs from downstream markets. Urea prices to stabilise after volatile 2022 Global urea prices are expected to stabilise in 2023 after touching historic highs in mid-2022 due to record gas costs with prices estimated to be lower compared to the previous year. Economic woes to weigh on Turkish PE/PP demand Economic issues will continue to plague the Turkish polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) markets and determine the outlook for these products in the first quarter of 2023. Phosphates market to focus on China in 2023 The phosphates market will start 2023 with all eyes on China. Phosphates availability from China remains uncertain for the first quarter of the year. In the fourth quarter China had in place export quotas for phosphates to ensure domestic supply. Jet kerosene demand to increase on relaxed COVID-19 restrictions The outlook for the European jet kerosene market is optimistic for 2023, as the world reaches almost full recovery from COVID-19 travel restrictions. Europe capro, nylon demand could stay low as consumer confidence slumps European demand for caprolactam (capro) and nylon 6 could stay low in 2023, with automotive offtake expected to fluctuate across the year but remain subdued overall. Underlying conditions for Europe recycled polyolefins players still volatile The uncertainty and volatility that has plagued recycled polyolefins markets throughout 2022 is expected to continue into 2023, and forward planning remains a core challenge for the market. European melamine Q1 demand remains weak; local production reduced on high energy costs European melamine market conditions are expected to remain highly challenging for the first half of 2023. INSIGHT: Chemical recycling to continue to scale up, mixed plastic waste access remains key challenge 2023 is likely to see continued high investment in chemical recycling in Europe – particularly for pyrolysis-based processes – with additional capacity coming on stream, particularly if the European Commission’s draft Packaging and Packaging Waste framework revision is adopted in to law. Europe epoxy demand stifled by macro woes, Asian competition The Europe epoxy resins demand outlook is cautious and muted for 2023, weighed down by ongoing macroeconomic headwinds and Asian competition. European EO market worries over energy costs continue Production cost uncertainty remains key for European ethylene oxide (EO) market players in 2023. Europe BPA demand faces multiple challenges European bisphenol A (BPA) demand is likely to face a rocky road in 2023, weighed down by ongoing macroeconomic headwinds and growing Asian capacity and competition. INSIGHT: Europe fatty acid, alcohol markets face uncertainty, limited demand European fatty acids and alcohols supply is likely to remain ample in 2023 while demand is lacklustre. European refinery solvents spot market faces challenging Q1 Europe's refinery solvents market will face a difficult first quarter in 2023 as recession fears, war and the energy crisis dampen market confidence. Europe glycerine market to continue to rely on imports The glycerine market in Europe will continue to see relatively constrained demand next year, and imports will continue to provide supply stability in the region. Europe ECH demand caution high in challenging climate The demand outlook for Europe epichlorohydrin (ECH) is cautious for 2023, amid ongoing macro-economic headwinds. Muted European propylene glycol ethers buying interest to carry over into Q1 The first portion of 2023 is expected to remain challenging for sellers in the European propylene glycol ethers (PGE) market. Slow demand, ample supply to carry over into 2023 for European e-series glycol ethers Length seen in the e-series glycol ethers market is expected to continue into the first quarter, with some sources predicting that demand may begin to recover in the second quarter. Europe R-PET to gain traction if market conquers early challenges The outlook for Europe's recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) market can be described as optimistic for Q2 and beyond, with some anticipating a return to pre-pandemic seasonality, although many uncertainties remain. Europe acetic acid, VAM length in stark contrast to recent past Weak consumption of acetic acid and its derivative vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) is likely to continue into 2023 and put significant pressure on prices that still stood far above historical levels at the end of 2022. Europe OX faces supply headwinds, uncertain demand outlook Concerns about potential episodes of supply tightness of orthoxylene (OX) in 2023 are growing among European players as talk about limited imports from Asia and upcoming plant shutdowns spread throughout the market. Europe PX to remain long amid capacity expansions in Asia, weak demand An oversupply of paraxylene (PX) in Europe remains a concern for 2023 as new production capacities are expected to start up in Asia. Chlorine derivative trends, electricity to drive European caustic soda market European caustic soda’s position as a co-product of chlorine is likely to be a key trend driver for the chemical in the coming year, as demand for chlorine derivatives such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and isocyanates is expected to be low through the first half of 2023. Eurozone prospects improve but daunting long-term challenges remain Economic indicators released in Germany and the wider eurozone in the past few weeks have given petrochemicals players hope the recession will not be as deep as feared. INSIGHT: Global chemical operating rates plunge to 2008/9 levels, braced for storms ahead The global chemical industry has cut operating rates to levels not seen since the 2008/9 financial crisis and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, with shrinking demand, over-capacity and spiralling energy costs clouding the outlook for next year. Financing, energy costs, weak IPO markets to weigh on Europe chems M&A Chemicals merger markets are set to be buffeted next year by the need to shore up capital reserves in the face of a prevailing high-cost, low-growth environment, volatile operating conditions and inaccessible initial public offering (IPO) markets. INSIGHT: Poland's PKN Orlen reaping benefits of energy foresight As 2023 dawns, there will be few analysts able to look back on the tumultuous events of the preceding year with an air of “I told you so”. Automotive sector hits the brakes for growth prospects Conditions have been challenging for the automotive industry in recent years, and no immediate reprieve is expected in the near term against a backdrop of geopolitical volatility. Europe LPG cargoes to start weak but Russian embargo to lend support Muted sentiment across much of Q4 for the propane market in Europe is expected to carry over into 2023, as key downstream petrochemicals markets face ongoing headwinds. Pricing outlook murky for global potash fertilizer market The global muriate of potash (MOP) fertilizer market remains in a state of unprecedented change as 2023 dawns, following two years of political turmoil, seemingly endless supply stability concerns, and all-time-high prices in some regions. European acrylates gripped by uncertainty The European acrylic acid (AA) and acrylate ester markets will be in the grip of uncertainty for much of 2023, following a volatile 12 months. Europe PVC demand weak, uncertain due to variable ECU costs Europe's polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market has been through several tumultuous years since 2019, notably the coronavirus pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war and its impact on energy prices. Europe TiO2 players brace for continued headwinds, uncertainty Ongoing macroeconomic concerns and Chinese spot export competition are likely to continue to cast a shadow over European titanium dioxide (TiO2) demand into 2023. Europe PC demand recovery a distant prospect Players in the European polycarbonate (PC) market are betting that they will have to wait until Q2 2023 – in the best-case scenario – before demand recovers. Weak European ethanolamines demand to carry over into Q1 Many participants in the European ethanolamines are preparing for a slow start in 2023 with few expecting to see any notable recovery to end user demand much before the end of Q1 to early Q2. NWE paraffin wax demand to be driven by fragile, uncertain macroeconomic climate Pricing for all fully refined grades in the northwest Europe (NWE) paraffin wax markets reached its highest for 2022 at the beginning of May, mainly due to poor availability of product in the face of robust demand. INSIGHT: Europe BDO market under pressure from imports, demand uncertainty The European butanediol (BDO) market is expected to remain under pressure from cost-effective imports as well as continued demand uncertainty in 2023. Europe MTBE, ETBE face upstream volatility, stable demand The European methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE) markets are set for stable demand levels through 2023, despite upstream uncertainty. Europe isocyanates face hurdles for demand recovery After a period of low consumption in 2022 for European toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and crude methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), no significant rebounds are forecast for 2023. European MEG import supply lower, demand uncertainty continues European monoethylene glycol (MEG) supply could reduce at the start of next year as local operating rates remain low due to unfavourable selling conditions. Imports could also be low because of high freight rates from the US to Europe. No clear map for sulphuric acid price direction Amid a world in turmoil – as economies recover from a worldwide pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine causes energy and natural gas prices to spike and the spectre of global food security teeters on the edge of collapse – it is little surprise that sulphuric acid prices have seen a bit of a rollercoaster ride in the last year. European SBR demand expected to remain weak in Q1 European styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) demand is expected to remain weak in the first quarter of 2023 and it is currently unclear when the situation will improve. European base oils market braces for impact of Russian oil products embargo The European base oils market is approaching a pivotal moment for domestic production as sanctions on Russian oil products are set to begin in February 2023. Europe ethanol faces uncertain supply-demand dynamics The European ethanol market is set for an uncertain 2023, as various evolving supply and demand factors will continue to shape the market. Europe phenol, acetone to navigate weak demand, high costs The outlook for H1 2023 matches the story in H2 2022 for Europe's phenol and acetone markets – low demand combined with high gas costs. Europe ACN flexibility key to cope with fragile, uncertain conditions The European acrylonitrile (ACN) markets are braced for an incredibly difficult six months ahead but players have adjusted the goal posts and flexibility has been the biggest requirement from both sides. Supply and demand questions dominate European MMA outlook Uncertainty around supply and demand in Europe are the key issues facing European methyl methacrylate (MMA) players heading into 2023.


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