Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)

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Discover the factors influencing ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) markets

Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) has a wide range of foaming and packaging applications. It can also be used in hoses and tubes, adhesives, wire and cable insulation, as a coating for heat sealing and for encapsulation in solar cells, according to the ratio of ethylene to VA.

With coverage of Asia-Pacific, Europe and the US, alongside multiple Chinese quotes, ICIS became the first company to provide global EVA pricing in 2022. Gain an in-depth, comprehensive view of the EVA market and its drivers, including a weekly outlook for polyethylene (PE), acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM).

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Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) news

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

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

22-Jul-2024

Mexico petchems could have more opportunities under Sheinbaum amid nearshoring – Braskem Idesa exec

LONDON (ICIS)–Mexican petrochemicals have much to gain under President-Elect Claudia Sheinbaum as the country taps into the nearshoring trend, which will require large public and private investments, according to an executive at polymers producer Braskem Idesa. Sergio Plata, head of institutional relations and communications at the mostly polyethylene (PE) producer, added that nearshoring – North American companies bringing back to the region production facilities – will require a large country effort, which the public sector alone now dominates the energy sector, will not be able to provide. Plata added that the first signs from Sheinbaum towards chemicals were encouraging: even as President-Elect, she has already visited the petrochemicals production hub in the state of Veracruz – the largest in the country. In it, she mentioned specific industry issues such as supply of certain raw materials which were very much welcomed by executives. Last week, ICIS published the first part of this interview, in which Plata said supply of ethane from Mexico’s state-owned crude oil major Pemex had stabilized after a renegotiation of the contract’s terms, although he added global PE market remained in the doldrums and a recovery may not arrive until the second half of 2025. Braskem Idesa operates the Ethylene XXI complex in Coatzacoalcos, south of the industrial state of Veracruz, which has capacity to produce 1.05 million tonnes/year of ethylene and downstream capacities of 750,000 tonnes/year for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and 300,000 tonnes/year for low-density polyethylene (LDPE). Braskem Idesa is a joint venture made up of Brazil’s polymers major Braskem (75%) and Mexican chemical producer Grupo Idesa (25%). WHAT SORT OF PRESIDENT SHE WILL BESheinbaum won an overwhelming majority in the Presidential election in June, with 60% of the vote, and her party Morena achieved a ‘supermajority’ in parliament of two-thirds which initially spooked financial markets and brought the Mexican peso down. Financial analysts have warned that, for Mexico to tap into the nearshoring trend, its infrastructure – transport but also aged electricity transmission lines – will need to be upgraded during the remaining of this decade. That effort, most analysts agree, will only be possible with large sums of private investment, so the state-owned electricity utility CFE may need to give some way to private players. Equally, during Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s term, Mexico’s emissions rose, in opposition to the country’s commitments agreed in the 2015 Paris Accord and later enshrined into its domestic law. Lopez Obrador handpicked Sheinbaum to succeed him. Despite not being that apart generationally – he is 70, she is 62 – the President-Elect is a climate scientist who started her career in environmental roles, and most analysts think she may run free from her successor – by personal choice or forced by the circumstances – in issues like climate, if she wants to keep Mexico as a respected economy which fulfils its commitments. “I think she has a very clear vision in this regard – she knows the commitments [Mexico adhered to]. Something we are liking a lot is the appointments she is making – people with experience to work in the departments they are being appointed to: they have the necessary technical knowledge,” said Plata. “We have also seen her approaching the private sector and that, without a doubt, for us as an industry that is a very good start. In those meetings, our concerns about compliance with regulations have been raised. Something is very clear: to grasp the opportunities in nearshoring, collaboration with private sector is essential to bring real benefits to all Mexicans.” Plata said that, while Sheinbaum has not met Braskem Idesa yet, she has had a busy schedule meeting with industrialists, including with the country’s chemicals trade group Aniq as well as the Veracruz industrial trade group, which Plata presides. “When she visited the south of Veracruz, she talked about reactivating the petrochemical industry, and talked about very specific issues that the industry is worried about, such production of ethane, of ethylene, of ammonia: things that sounded very good to us,” said Plata. MEXICO, VENEZUELA COMPARISONSHe was asked if, given Morena’s ‘supermajority’ in parliament, Mexico could become a new Venezuela – when the governing party takes over all resorts of power and the country stops being a democracy worth the name. “I really believe that her vision is constructive, and she intends to work with the private sector so her Administration can work for everyone. We will have to see what decisions she takes along the way. For instance, she has spoken many times about the interoceanic corridor [a project to link Mexico’s east and west coasts by water],” said Plata. “Precisely, the promotion of the corridor has at its base the chemicals and the petrochemicals industries, because one of the objectives of the corridor is to take advantage of the raw materials in the area, which would benefit petrochemicals but also agriculture, for instance, and give added value. We see plenty of opportunities there.” Front page picture: Braskem Idesa’s facilities in Coatzacoalcos Source: Braskem Idesa Interview article by Jonathan Lopez

22-Jul-2024

Braskem Idesa ethane supply more stable, PE prices to recover in H2 2025 – exec

MADRID (ICIS)–Supply of ethane from Pemex to polyethylene (PE) producer Braskem Idesa is now more stable after a renegotiation of the contract – but the global PE market remains in the doldrums, according to an executive at the Mexican firm. Sergio Plata, head of institutional relations and communications at Braskem Idesa, said a recovery in global PE prices could start in the second half of 2025 as the market is expected to remain oversupplied in the coming quarters. Plata explained how Braskem Idesa had to renegotiate the terms of an agreement with Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned crude oil major, for the supply of natural gas-based ethane, one of the routes to produce PE, to its facilities in Coatzacoalcos. Supply is now more stable and in the quantities agreed, he said. Braskem Idesa operates the Ethylene XXI complex in Coatzacoalcos, south of the industrial state of Veracruz, which has capacity to produce 1.05 million tonnes/year of ethylene and downstream capacities of 750,000 tonnes/year for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and 300,000 tonnes/year for low-density polyethylene (LDPE). Braskem Idesa is a joint venture made up of Brazil’s polymers major Braskem (75%) and Mexican chemical producer Grupo Idesa (25%). ETHANE FLOWING, TERMINAL IN Q1 2025 Pemex agreed with Braskem Idesa to supply the PE producer with a minimum volume of 30,000 barrels/day of ethane until the beginning of 2025, when Braskem Idesa plans to start up an import terminal in Coatzacoalcos to allow it to tap into exports out of the US Gulf Coast. However, both parties sat to renegotiate that agreement after Pemex’s supply proved to be unstable, with credit rating agencies such as Fitch warning in 2023 of the “operational risk” such a deal with the state-owned major represented for Braskem Idesa. The outcome of the renegotiation is starting to bear fruit, explained Plata diplomatically, without providing any details. He conceded, however, that to outsiders, Pemex’s businesses could look rather odd. “We understand the positions of a public entity such as Pemex, and we understand its methods could look questionable to eyes outside our relationship,” said Plata. “However, at Braskem Idesa we were confident that if we sat down with them to renegotiate, clearly stating what we require from each other, we could reach a point in the renegotiation which worked for us as a company and for the Mexican petrochemicals sector as a whole.” Together with more stable supply from Pemex, Braskem Idesa also adopted the so-called Fast Track to import ethane while its own import terminal starts up. The terminal, known as Terminal Quimica Puerto Mexico (TQPM), closed the last financing details at the end of 2023. Plata said the terminal would start up “without a doubt” by the beginning of 2025, adding that construction was 70% complete by the beginning of July. According to Plata, with Pemex’s more stable ethane supply and the Fast Track system, Braskem Idesa is operating at 70-75% capacity utilization. PE MARKET WOES As a PE producer, Braskem Idesa remains exposed to the global downturn in polymers prices due to oversupplies. Plata said the downturn has been a “very hard” period for polymers producers, who may still face 12 more months of downturn. In its latest financial statement for the first quarter, Braskem Idesa’s sales fell by 2%, year on year, and the company posted a net loss. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) rose. Braskem Idesa (in $ million) Q1 2024 Q1 2023 Change Q4 2023 Change Q1 2024 vs Q4 2024 Sales 229 234 -2% 199 15% Net profit/loss -85 1 N/A -101 -16% EBITDA 36 26 36% 26 39% PE sales volumes (in tonnes) 205,500 195,100 5.4% 174,500 17.8% “We have had a very complex environment, with increased capacities in the US or China and with the war in Ukraine raising our production costs. We are undoubtedly in a down cycle and as a company we have tried to take care of our margins by controlling our costs and look closely at our investments,” said Plata. He said he “would not have the answer” about what to do with China’s dumping of product around the world, a fact that in Brazil, the largest Latin American economy, has prompted chemicals trade group Abiquim to lobby hard for higher import tariffs in polymers, as well as dozens of other chemicals. “Market analysts predict the current cycle may come to an end in the second half of 2025. Let’s hope so… This has been such a long crisis, aggravated by external factors such as wars and global convulsions, which undoubtedly also affect the industry, and the environment remains very uncertain.” Front page picture: Braskem Idesa’s facilities in Coatzacoalcos Source: Braskem Idesa Interview article by Jonathan Lopez Next week, ICIS will publish the second part of the interview with Plata, with his views on the challenges and opportunities for the chemicals and manufacturing sectors under the upcoming Administration led by President-Elect Claudia Sheinbaum amid the nearshoring trend

18-Jul-2024

PODCAST: Weather, demand factors impact arbitrage for US ethylene into Asia

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–In this podcast, Asia ethylene editor Josh Quah and analyst Aliena Huang discuss the factors impacting arbitrage flows of ethylene from the US to Asia. Spot arbitrage window between US and Asia closed but term arrivals for July remain healthy Storm Beryl, low affordability in Asia, may keep spot arbitrage trades closed into Aug Panama Canal traffic levels expected to return to pre-congestion levels by Oct

18-Jul-2024

INSIGHT: Asia freight rates stay elevated on heavy congestion at key ports

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Ocean container freight rates in Asia are expected to remain high in the near term amid persistent congestion at key ports in the region, particularly Singapore. Peak demand season, capacity issues continue to push up rates Singapore port wait times reduced, but challenges remain ASEAN Express offers faster rail alternative to sea freight The Drewry World Container Index (WCI) edged up 1% to $5,901 per forty-foot equivalent unit (FEU) for the week ending 11 July, with the rate of increase easing from a double-digit pace se in recent weeks. The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI), which measures spot rates for shipping containers from Shanghai to major global ports, meanwhile, dipped 1% week on week to 3,674.86 points in the week ending 12 July. The convergence of seasonal peak demand and strained capacity as commercial vessels continued to avoid the Red Sea and Suez Canal, are expected to keep shipping costs firm in the near term for container routes globally, said Judah Levine, the head of research at online freight shipping marketplace and platform provider Freightos. According to supply chain advisors Drewry, ocean freight rates are expected to remain high until the end of the peak season, which typically falls between August to October each year. SINGAPORE CONGESTION EASING In Singapore, the world's second-largest port and the largest transshipment hub connecting Asia and the west, the average wait time to berth has been "reduced to two days or under", port operator PSA Singapore said in a statement on 10 July. This compares to waiting times up to seven days for a berth in the port of Singapore in late May this year, according to logistics data group Linerlytica. Singapore has experienced high berth demand and unscheduled vessel arrivals since the start of 2024, leading to increased waiting times despite utilizing all available berths, PSA said. PSA has since "significantly ramped up its capabilities to support increased activity and mitigate the impact of global supply chain disruptions since the beginning of 2024". However, the PSA warned that “the Red Sea crisis has significantly disrupted global shipping and trade and we anticipate this challenging situation to persist for a prolonged period, potentially extending port congestion from Asia to Europe”. For chemical tankers, shipping brokers have reported varying degrees of congestion and delays at Singapore ports. A broker involved in bio-chemicals and clean petroleum product (CPP) trades noted congestion at all terminals with delays of at least one week. A tanker carrying methyl acetate (MEAC) was facing a two-week delay in discharging cargoes at a key terminal in Jurong Island, another broker said. Jurong Island is Singapore’s petrochemical hub. A third broker indicated that delays in unloading and loading of cargoes at Singapore ports were generally measured in days rather than weeks. A Singapore-based acrylates producer was having difficulties securing vessel space, as shipping companies were bypassing the congested port. This congestion has also spilled over into Malaysia, impacting customers in both countries which are now experiencing delays of up to a week for July shipments. Overall port congestion levels in Malaysia have been reduced, but berthing delays remain at five days at Port Klang, while Tanjung Pelepas has limited delays, Linerlytica said in an update on 10 July. In India, heavy congestion is also reported at Colombo port, resulting in backlogs and delays, with adverse weather conditions around the Cape of Good Hope compounding the situation, causing further delays, according to global digital freight forwarder Zencargo in a note on 15 July. Vessels are increasingly navigating around the Cape of Good Hope to avoid the heightened risks in the Red Sea and Suez Canal due to escalating Houthi attacks since November 2023, opting for a longer-but-safer route despite the added time and costs. "The market from the Indian subcontinent to Europe is experiencing significant disruptions," it said. "Carriers have stopped accepting bookings from South India for Europe due to heavy congestion in Colombo, causing a minimum delay of three weeks in transshipment. Carriers are only quoting on spot rates due to the tight space situation​." Historically, Colombo has handled a substantial portion of India’s containerized exports and imports due to insufficient direct line-haul connections from the country’s east coast ports, according to Zencargo. However, recent months have seen an unusual surge in volumes, exacerbated by vessel diversions linked to Red Sea shipping disruptions, with ships languishing for over five days before securing a berth, it said. In China, port delays have worsened in the week to 10 July after recent improvements due to bunching of vessel arrivals, with wait times of up to four days in Shanghai and up to two days in Ningbo, Linerlytica added. China is also set to continue grappling with rising container prices and leasing rates in July, according to Haoze Lou, a member of the broker team at online shipping container leasing firm Container xChange. Scarcity of available slots for China-Europe and China-US routes has intensified, prompting offline suppliers to offer competitive prices to attract customers, Lou said. "In June, we've observed a continued rise in container prices in China, impacting both trading and leasing activities," he said, adding that a rebound is expected over the next month as slot availability tightens again. CONTAINER RATES HINGES ON CONSUMER DEMAND The outlook for the container trading and leasing market in the second half of 2024 hinges on a revival in consumer demand but faces uncertainties due to geopolitical disruptions and potential labor unrest, according to Container xChange. Continued Houthi attacks threaten supply chains, while potential labor issues in US ports could further disrupt operations, it said. "However, if the current market conditions persist without major changes, we expect container rates to ease,” Container xChange noted. “This reduction in rates could trigger an uptick in container buyer activity, as the buyer side is currently waiting for prices to decline before resuming trading and leasing activities." RAIL OPTIONS OPEN UP FOR CHINA-SE ASIA ROUTE The successful inaugural trips of the ASEAN Express – a new cargo rail service connecting Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, and China – highlight its potential as a faster and more efficient alternative to traditional ocean freight as it connects new trade routes and inland ports across Asia. This includes the Kontena Nasional Inland Clearance Depot in Selangor, Malaysia; Latkrabang Inland Port in Thailand; and the Thanaleng Dry Port in Laos, which connects to a railway terminal in Chongqing, southwest China. The first ASEAN Express cargo train successfully completed a round trip between Malaysia and China on 11 July, carrying electronic appliances and agricultural products, marking a milestone in regional trade connectivity which could boost trade of petrochemical end-products. The recently launched cargo rail service has been met with optimism by Asian recyclers, though immediate impact is expected to be limited. While the service directly benefits buyers and sellers in China, Malaysia, Thailand, and Laos, recyclers in Taiwan, Indonesia, and Vietnam anticipate primarily using ships, potentially freeing up shipping capacity and alleviating tightness in vessel and container space. This new service significantly reduces transit time compared to sea freight, taking just under 14 days compared with up to three weeks by sea. "This service will provide smoother and more efficient goods flow throughout the region as well as enhance rail cargo transport capacity while reducing logistics costs by an estimated 20% from current market rates," Malaysian transport minister Loke Siew Fook said in a speech at the flag-off ceremony for the new rail service on 27 June. "The shorter transport times are also expected to open up new markets, with the agricultural sector in particular to benefit by allowing perishable products to be transported more quickly by rail," he added. Insight article by Nurluqman Suratman Additional reporting by Hwee Hwee Tan, Corey Chew, Arianne Perez and Ai Teng Lim Thumbnail image: At the Keppel and Brani port terminals in Singapore, 15 June 2024 (By Joseph Nair/NurPhoto/Shutterstock)

17-Jul-2024

Europe top stories: weekly summary

LONDON (ICIS)–Here are some of the top stories from ICIS Europe for the week ended 12 July. Europe ethylene spot prices turn firmer on demand, feedstock, looming cracker turnarounds European ethylene spot prices have firmed week on week on the back of better-than-expected demand amid higher feedstock values and an increasing focus on upcoming planned cracker maintenance outages. Global crude demand slows in Q2, China consumption contracts – IEA Global crude oil demand slumped to 710,000 bbl/day in Q2 2024 as China’s post-pandemic economic rebound ran its course, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday. Storm Beryl damage, economic loss to US estimated at $28-32 billion Total damage and economic loss in the US from Storm Beryl amounted to $28-32 billion, according to meteorology firm AccuWeather. Europe chemicals players expect construction demand to remain sluggish until H1 2025 Chemicals players in Europe do not expect any substantial recovery from the building and construction industry until the first half of 2025 at least. Flooding to continue across central US as Beryl moves inland Flash flooding is expected as Storm Beryl continues to progress across the central US, with blackouts and logistic shutdowns seen in parts of Texas. ‘Life-threatening’ storm surge in Texas as Hurricane Beryl makes US landfall Hurricane Beryl has made landfall in eastern Texas and looks set to batter parts of the state’s key petrochemicals production hubs, with the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) warning of a life-threatening storm surge on Monday.

15-Jul-2024

Asia top stories – weekly summary

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News Asia and the Middle East for the week ended 12 July 2024. OUTLOOK: Asia naphtha market braces for supply uncertainties By Li Peng Seng 12-Jul-24 12:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s naphtha market sentiment is expected to be choppy in the short term due to a lack of clarity on arbitrage supplies against volatile demand. OUTLOOK: Asia EVA market loses shine as demand from PV sector lags By Helen Lee 11-Jul-24 11:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Demand for ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) from China’s photovoltaic (PV) industry is likely to remain lackluster amid an oversupply in the entire industry chain. PODCAST: China to accelerate hydrogen development via energy law By Patricia Tao 10-Jul-24 11:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China's recent decision to include hydrogen in its draft national energy law signals a transformative shift in the country's energy landscape. China EV giant BYD to invest $1 billion in Turkey production plant By Nurluqman Suratman 09-Jul-24 15:24 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Chinese electric vehicle (EV) giant BYD has agreed to invest $1 billion to set up a manufacturing plant in Turkey which will produce up to 150,000 vehicles per year. PODCAST: Asia recycling market sees increased interest in pyrolysis By Damini Dabholkar 09-Jul-24 11:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Market players in Asia are increasingly becoming more interested in the use of pyrolysis oil as fuel. OUTLOOK: SE Asia PE to see some demand recovery in H2, challenges persist By Izham Ahmad 09-Jul-24 15:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The southeast Asian polyethylene (PE) market is expected to face modest demand recovery in the second half (H2) of the year, but this is likely to be negated by increased supply and the threat of high freight costs affecting import shipments.

15-Jul-2024

Europe ethylene spot prices turn firmer on demand, feedstock, looming cracker turnarounds

LONDON (ICIS)–European ethylene spot prices have firmed week on week on the back of better-than-expected demand amid higher feedstock values and an increasing focus on upcoming planned cracker maintenance outages. Spot deals this week have been reported at discounts of 32-35% on the pipeline, prior deals had been at discounts of around 38-39%. Producers say they have received several requests for additional volume offtakes in July. This is being attributed to a combination of factors: Improved sentiment from domestic PVC players following the imposition of tariffs on imports ex-Egypt and the US Continued high container freight rates which are restricting some derivative imports Recent hurricane-related production and logistics disruptions ex-US Firmer month-on-month naphtha values which is likely to drive discussions for the August contract reference price settlement Planned cracker maintenance due to get underway from September particularly that due in Germany with alternative supply flexibility likely to be limited at that time due to pressure issues on the ARG pipeline. With crackers having been run at rates closely aligned with contractual demand – still very much below normal albeit better than in 2023 – there is not too much flexibility for additional volumes at short notice. “Many will have assumed that ethylene supply would always be plentiful,” a source said, “and now they find that it is not the case.” Cracker operators have avoided as far as possible marginal tonne production as spot appetite has been extremely low unless at deep discounts to the prevailing contract price. Crackers are underutilised, so in theory, there is space to ramp up. But with August around the corner and few indications at this stage how long this better-than-expected demand will be sustained, sources assume producers will be reluctant to ramp up production in July. Thumbnail photo: Flooding in Houston, Texas, in the wake of Hurricane Beryl on 8 July 2024, one of the causes of firming ethylene prices. Source: Carlos Ramirez/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

12-Jul-2024

PODCAST: US Gulf Coast chemicals must prepare for more persistent disruption

BARCELONA (ICIS)–Climate change and warming oceans mean that the US Gulf Coast chemical sector will have to adapt to more frequent weather events such as Hurricane Beryl. Gulf Coast area where Hurricane Beryl made landfall houses 13m tonnes, 29% of US ethylene production capacity Beryl is earliest Category five hurricane on record; busy season forecast Warming oceans mean there may be double the number of severe hurricanes Energy, chemical industries must adapt to cope with more weather events Move towards net zero carbon gives opportunity to relocate plants, infrastructure In this Think Tank podcast, Will Beacham interviews ICIS Business Solutions Group senior executive Nigel Davis and Paul Hodges, chairman of New Normal Consulting. Editor’s note: This podcast is an opinion piece. The views expressed are those of the presenter and interviewees, and do not necessarily represent those of ICIS. Read the latest issue of ICIS Chemical Business. Read Paul Hodges and John Richardson's ICIS blogs.

09-Jul-2024

Asia top stories – weekly summary

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News Asia and the Middle East for the week ended 5 July 2024. OUTLOOK: Snug import supply supports Asia MEG amid slowing demand By Judith Wang 03-Jul-24 11:52 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Monoethylene glycol (MEG) import supply in Asia for July is expected to stay snug in the near term, while demand looks set to slow down. INSIGHT: Methanol or ethylene, that is the question for China By Doris He 02-Jul-24 17:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s methanol-to-olefins (MTO) industry has always been a focus of attention among methanol market players, as it accounts for half of overall demand. More attention has recently been shifted to ethylene, from the overall margins of a typical MTO plant in coastal regions. OUTLOOK: Asia nylon markets may slow down in H2 2024 on lengthened supply By Charmaine Lim 01-Jul-24 14:40 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Nylon markets in Asia are expected to slow in H2 2024 compared to the first half of the year as the upcoming seasonal lull in Q3 approaches, with new capacities planned to start up in China this year. S Korea antidumping probe on China SM extends to Sept, discussions and hearings ongoing By Luffy Wu 01-Jul-24 15:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Korea Trade Commission is continuing with its anti-dumping probe against styrene monomer (SM) imports from China, with some discussions and hearings between the government and market players heard ongoing. PODCAST: China oxo-alcohols to face supply-demand pressure, new capacity to be a focus By Claire Gao 01-Jul-24 19:24 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–In this podcast, ICIS analyst Claire Gao explores the oxo-alcohols market overview and outlook. OUTLOOK: Persistent economic woes dampen Asia chemical freight demand By Hwee Hwee Tan 02-Jul-24 12:03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s chemical freight demand is dampened as macroeconomic doldrums were pulling back spot trades well into the third quarter despite reducing plant capacity losses for key liquid bulk products.

08-Jul-2024

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