ICIS publishes weekly reports on the methanol markets in Asia, China, Europe and the US. Our trusted and reliable independent reports cover contract and spot markets in Europe and the US, and spot activity in Asia and China.
Market news and intelligence are analysed by our reporters in each location, and the information is reflected in market commentaries that include overviews, regional updates, production news, crude oil developments, plant capacities, graphics and shipping information. These reports are a valuable tool to allow you to keep up-to-date and abreast of factors driving prices, and ensure you are fully informed while making commercial choices.
Updated to Q4 2020
Asian prices rose to record 2020-high levels as supply tightened. The fall in supply was due to lowered production in China and Iran from gas curtailment in winter, as well as unexpected shutdowns and delayed restarts in southeast Asian plants. In addition, Asian buyers faced strong competition from Europe, which was also facing supply tightness. Despite firming prices in Asia, a price spread between the region and Europe persisted, with many Asian buyers unable to purchase spot volumes.
Overall demand was relatively stable towards the year-end period, although a string of production issues saw some increase in spot demand. The Indian market had the strongest spot demand as buyers deemed prices for Iranian volumes as too firm and faced competition with European buyers for non-Iranian materials. The surge in prices were supported by tighter supply and higher European prices, rather than by demand.
Methanol supply tightened further in Q4 due to unplanned outages at Tomet’s facility in Russia and Equinor’s site in Norway. This together with persistent outages across the globe contributed to lower supply levels with imports also slowing in late Q4. Spot availability was extremely limited by December. Healthy demand made it difficult for producers to satisfy the market.
Methanol demand was healthy at the start of Q4 as downstream businesses were largely unaffected by the second wave of the coronavirus. A number of global methanol outages tightened the market and by December downstream demand exceeded sellers’ expectations. Players noted a surprisingly strong recovery in formaldehyde demand.
Q4 saw continued regional production cuts that helped to boost both spot and contract pricing in the US methanol market to two-year highs. But supplies are still available and there has not been a significant increase in demand for export material to put more of a dent in supply levels. Compared with global oversupply issues seen in 2019, product has had a drawdown.
Consumption of US methanol in Q4 saw some pockets of increases as more of the country reopened despite the ongoing pandemic concerns. But no significant downstream demand recovery has taken place in the market. As China and Asian markets begin to take in more product, US exports are expected to increase.
We offer the following regional Methanol analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Methanol marketplace.
More information about the price reports we publish on Methanol
Independent price assessments and market coverage by region
More information about the historical price data we publish on Methanol
Track historical price data
News & market analysis specifically relating to Methanol
Breaking news of latest developments affecting the markets.
Insight and analysis of factors driving prices.
Regional price assessments, published daily or weekly, enabling you to keep track of trading prices, understand price drivers/fluctuations and set a benchmark for contract price settl ements. ICIS offers reports on over 180 commodities across the global petrochemical, energy and fertilizer markets. Information covered in our price reports includes:
Information is accessed online, via the ICIS dashboard service and is configurable to suit your preferences.
Produced by the ICIS Consulting team, these reports give a robust rolling 12-month price forecast, trade balances and in-depth analysis into where markets are heading – providing a valuable tool to support your short- to medium-term plans.
ICIS pricing intelligence is delivered to you online via the ICIS dashboard. Here you can view your reports and also access other useful services including related news, analysis, historical data and market alerts.
ICIS dashboard also makes it easy for you to create pricing charts, download price history and export data to create tailored analytical models.
ICIS weekly margin reports deliver the detail you need to understand how production costs and prices are affecting margins, enabling you to judge the likely impact on your business and optimise your upstream and downstream business decisions.
The Supply and Demand Window on the ICIS Dashboard provides a snapshot view of historical and forecast information for supply and demand, production capacity and trade flows – a key tool to help safeguard future investments within the chemicals market.
24-hour global coverage of breaking news in the petrochemical industry, including updates on production, shutdowns and key transacted deals, keeping you informed of market developments as they happen. The ICIS news service allows you to customise the market alerts delivered to your email inbox, providing the business-critical information you need straightaway.
An expert view of supply and demand comprising four fully-reconciled databases, giving you access to extensive data for more than 100 markets. Information is included on global and regional trade flows, production, capacity and sources of demand in the short-, medium- and long-term. Data can be downloaded, customised and queried to support your planning requirements and your strategic decisions.
ICIS provides specialist training courses across the global petrochemicals, base oils and fertilizers industries. Our training team of industry experts can help you increase your knowledge of the industry and gain the insight and know-how needed to operate and trade effectively.
Find out more about ICIS training courses >>
ICIS produces a series of highly informative and timely conferences. Extensive research is carried out to ensure that each programme delivers the information you need and addresses current industry issues. We source speakers who have the appropriate expertise and experience to deliver excellent quality papers.
Find out more about ICIS conferences >>
Working closely with you to understand your strategies, challenges and ambitions, the ICIS consulting team deliver tailored advice and solutions to suit your unique requirements. With many years’ experience of guiding business leadership teams, we show you how market conditions can make a positive or negative impact on your long-term plans.
ICIS expert consultants can provide your organisation with the insight, intelligence and data needed to build and grow your business in China. We can help you to gain a clear view on the short and long-term supply and demand picture in the chemicals, energy, iron and steel, non-ferrous metals and paper and pulp markets in China.
ICIS price assessments are based on information gathered from a wide cross-section of the market, comprising consumers, producers, traders and distributors from more than 250 reporters world-wide. Confirmed deals, verified by both buyer and seller, provide the foundation of our price assessments.
Our in-depth market knowledge drives our specialist focus, as we recognise the importance of individual market dynamics and not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Over 25 years of reporting on key chemicals markets, including Methanol, has brought global recognition of our methodology as being unbiased, authoritative and rigorous in preserving our editorial integrity. Our global network of reporters in Houston, London, Singapore, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Mumbai, Perth and Moscow ensures unrivalled coverage of established and emerging markets.
Methanol is primarily used to produce formaldehyde, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and acetic acid, with smaller amounts going into the manufacture of DMT, MMA, chloromethanes, methylamines, glycol methyl ethers and fuels.
Methanol is a colourless, volatile and flammable liquid with a characteristic odour. It is soluble in water, ethanol, ether and most organic solvents.
It is primarily used to produce formaldehyde, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and acetic acid, with smaller amounts going into the manufacture of DMT, MMA, chloromethanes, methylamines, glycol methyl ethers, and fuels.
Methanol is seeing growing demand in fuel applications such dimethyl ether (DME), biodiesel and the direct blending into gasoline.
It also has many general solvent and antifreeze uses, such as being a component for paint strippers, car windshield washer compounds and a deicer for natural gas pipelines.
Methanol can also be used to extract, wash, dry and crystallise pharmaceutical and agricultural chemicals.
Watch markets editor Bonnie Yin discuss the recent developments in the China's glycol ether (BG) market which has surged after the Lunar New Year holiday, driven by cost pressure from upstream...Read
LONDON (ICIS)--Chemical prices continued to climb in January, with the ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) improving strongly from December. Price levels generally are above those before the slump and,...Read
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Unlike previous years, post-Lunar New Year chemical markets in 2021 will be uniquely different in China - the world's number-two economy - as well as in other parts of Asia where...Read