Mono propylene glycol (MPG)

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Discover the factors influencing mono propylene glycol (MPG) markets

Commonly used in unsaturated polyester resins (UPR) and coatings, antifreeze and de-icing applications on an industrial scale, mono propylene glycol (MPG) demand responds to activity levels in the construction, aviation and automotive sectors. The MPG USP grade is used in pharmaceutical, cosmetics and other consumer related applications. Seasonal factors and consumer trends can also cause noticeable market movements – as can upstream fluctuations in feedstocks and crude oil. This level of volatility highlights the importance of accurate and timely information. The most success comes from informed decision-making.

By constantly monitoring the rapidly changing dynamics in play, and digging deeper into the factors driving change, our MPG experts provide a market intelligence picture that is unrivalled. Our independence ensures that ICIS pricing and analysis can be relied upon by traders, producers and buyers worldwide as they act on the opportunities they identify.

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Mono propylene glycol (MPG) news

APIC '24: PODCAST: Asia C3 derivative demand still slow amid uncertainty

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia's oxo-alcohols buyers maintained a wait-and-watch approach on the market amid possibility of added plant capacities in China. The acrylonitrile (ACN) market continues to see limited spot demand in northeast Asia. Even with recent higher production rates at downstream acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) plants, ACN producers were unlikely to increase operating rates. For the acrylates downstream, butyl-A market in Asia continues to take direction from Chinese domestic prices. With India's Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) requirements preventing Chinese-origin imports, cargoes from China were flowing into southeast Asia and northeast Asia. In this podcast, ICIS editors Julia Tan and Corey Chew discuss trends in the Asia propylene (C3) and derivatives markets. (This podcast first ran on 15 May.) Visit ICIS during APIC ’24 on 30-31 May at Booth 13, Grand Ballroom Foyer of the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas in South Korea. Book a meeting with ICIS here.

28-May-2024

APIC '24: PODCAST: Weak demand persists for Asia propylene, downstream PO

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia's propylene market will continue to see weak demand, although potential curbs in plant run rates in China amid weak margins could lend market support. Downstream, China’s propylene oxide (PO) import demand may continue to be adversely impacted by domestic start-up capacities, while demand in the main downstream polyols sector is unlikely to recover in the second quarter. South Korea June-loading propylene volumes likely to increase month on month Domestic Chinese PO start-ups to keep domestic supply lengthy, hampering import demand Global PO supply ex-China remains tight; downstream polyols likely muted in Q2 In this chemical podcast, ICIS editors Julia Tan and Shannen Ng discuss trends in the Asian propylene and PO markets. (This podcast first ran on 9 May.) Visit ICIS during APIC ’24 on 30-31 May at Booth 13, Grand Ballroom Foyer of the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas in South Korea. Book a meeting with ICIS here.

27-May-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 24 May 2024. INSIGHT: Asia plasticisers producers brace for mounting selling pressure amid soaring freight rates By Julia Tan 24-May-24 12:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Recently surging freight rates have led to a largely pessimistic outlook for the Asia plasticisers spot market, particularly for producers who rely heavily on export sales, as higher freight rates will continue to keep selling pressure high as sellers find it difficult to move product out of the region. SE Asia PE June offers firmer due to shipment delays, tight supply By Izham Ahmad 24-May-24 11:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Initial spot import offers for June shipments of polyethylene (PE) in southeast Asia were announced mostly firmer so far in the week ending 24 May, with gains driven by tight supply, which is being aggravated by delays in cargo delivery from the Middle East. US tariff hikes on China EVs, batteries take effect 1 August By Fanny Zhang 23-May-24 13:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Starting August, US tariffs on imports of electric vehicles (EVs) from China will quadruple to 100%, while those for battery materials will more than triple to 25%, the US Trade Representative (USTR) said. Freight rates on China exports soar amid Red Sea crisis By Fanny Zhang 22-May-24 11:56 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Freight rates for China's exports, including petrochemicals, have been spiking in recent weeks and are expected to remain firm in the next three to six months on the back of improving overseas demand and amid continued logistics disruptions in the Middle East. INSIGHT: China's industrial activity gathers pace but lopsided April data clouds outlook By Nurluqman Suratman 21-May-24 12:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China's industrial output grew by 6.7% year on year in April, signalling a further strengthening of its manufacturing sector, but weaker retail sales and bleak property data suggest that its overall growth momentum remains weak. INSIGHT: Asia MEG market continues to brace for headwinds By Judith Wang 20-May-24 20:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)– Asia monoethylene glycol (MEG) market continues to face headwinds in the near term as it is grappling with the ample supply in China and soft global textile demand. Asia IPA supported by acetone strength; demand lagging By Joy Foo 20-May-24 14:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–After seeing a sharp increase in late April, tracking a surge in feedstock acetone cost, Asia’s isopropanol (IPA) spot prices have remained buoyant on cost support.

27-May-2024

LOGISTICS: Container rates surge, chem tanker rates ease; Canada rail strike unlikely before July

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Rates for shipping containers continued to surge, liquid chemical tanker rates were flat to softer, and a possible freight rail strike in Canada is unlikely before mid-July, highlighting this week’s logistics roundup. CONTAINER RATES The global average for shipping containers has surged past the level seen in late January because of unseasonal increases in demand for ocean freight ex-Asia, as shown in the following chart. Rates are being pressured higher because of possible start of a restocking cycle in Europe and as US importers pull forward some peak-season demand on concerns of pending labor issues or additional Red Sea disruptions later in the year, according to Judah Levine, head of research at online freight shipping marketplace and platform provider Freightos. Rates for containers ex-Asia to both US coasts and to Europe are also nearing multimonth highs, as shown in the following chart. Drewry expects the spike in spot freight rates to lessen in the next few months. But Levine pointed to general rate increase (GRI) announcements for June, which he said indicate that carriers are not expecting demand to ease or conditions to improve in the short term. CMA CGM is setting Asia – north Europe rates at $6,000/FEU (40-foot equivalent unit) starting 1 June, and Hapag-Lloyd has announced an Asia – North America Peak Season Surcharge of $600/FEU to start June that will climb to $2,000/FEU mid-month. Container ships and costs for shipping containers are relevant to the chemical industry because while most chemicals are liquids and are shipped in tankers, container ships transport polymers, such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), are shipped in pellets. They also transport liquid chemicals in isotanks. LIQUID CHEM TANKER RATES Rates for liquid chemical tankers ex-US Gulf were flat to lower this week. US chemical tanker freight rates assessed by ICIS were mostly steady to lower as rates fell from the US Gulf (USG) to both Asia and India while also edging lower from the USG to Rotterdam. However, were unchanged from the USG to Caribbean and South America. Overall, the market was subdued entering the long holiday weekend. From the USG to Asia, this market has remained overall soft despite a few larger monoethylene glycol (MEG) parcels being seen in the market. From the USG to Rotterdam, it has remained quiet again this week, with available space for part cargo still open amid a lack of inquiries or interest from charterers. CANADA FREIGHT RAIL LABOR ISSUES A possible freight rail strike in Canada is not likely to begin before mid-July, according to rail carrier Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC). The ongoing uncertainties over the looming strike make it hard for Canadian chemical, fertilizer and other industrial producers, in particular exporters, to prepare for a work stoppage. After about 9,300 unionized conductors, train operators and engineers at freight rail carriers CPKC and Canadian National (CN) earlier this month voted for a strike as early as 22 May. Canada’s federal labor minister referred the matter to the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB), a quasi-judicial tribunal charged with keeping industrial peace in Canada. PORT OF BALTIMORE The full reopening of the Port of Baltimore is closer after the Key Bridge Response Unified Command (UC) refloated the container ship Dali on Monday morning and moved it away from the scene of the collision. The Dali struck the Francis Scott Key bridge on 26 March, causing its collapse, and essentially closing the port. The closing of the port did not have a significant impact on the chemicals industry as chemicals make up only about 4% of total tonnage that moves through the port, according to data from the American Chemistry Council (ACC). PANAMA CANAL Wait times for non-booked southbound vessels ready for transit fell this week for traffic in both directions, according to the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) vessel tracker and as shown in the following image. Wait times a week ago were 3.6 days for northbound vessels and 13.9 days for southbound vessels. With additional reporting by Kevin Callahan and Stefan Baumgarten

24-May-2024

INTERVIEW: Brenntag CEO says Europe must play to its strengths

BARCELONA (ICIS)–Europe’s chemical sector is seeing a wave of commodity production closures, which is likely to accelerate as the region is suffering from structurally higher energy costs and depressed margins since it lost access to cheap Russian gas. There are fears that entire industrial value chains may lose access to essential raw materials and will have to rely instead on imports, which can be subject to logistics disruption. Some have likened the situation to a Jenga tower which will collapse if the wrong piece is removed. Brenntag  CEO Kohlpaintner believes the chemical industry in Europe should steer towards a higher degree of specialization and innovation, making the region a potential leader in specialty chemicals. He told ICIS, “Reinvestments or even new capacity in high energy value chains will not happen in Europe for as long as it does not solve the energy costs topic. The industry will react with a higher degree of specialisation and innovation, as it has in the past, but this adjustment will not go without pain.” Kohlpaintner believes bold transformational moves will be required by industry leaders in Europe.  “The entire chemical industry needs to think about how to reshuffle portfolios to create competitive players going forward. That is an overarching strategic question which the industry needs to figure out: it’s not the doomsday of the chemical industry in Europe, it will be a painful adjustment.” TRADE FLOWS OFFER OPPORTUNITIESAs the wave of closures gathers pace, Europe will become more of an import destination, especially for commodity chemicals sourced from low-cost and oversupplied countries such as the US and China. This could create opportunities for distributors such as Brenntag which is already gearing up by acquiring assets which will enable these shifting trade flows. According to Kohlpaintner, “We believe that trade flows will change: moving LNG from North America to Europe is just the first ambassador of what’s to come. It will gradually go down the value chain.” The Essentials business has reorganized internally into regions, supported by a global sourcing organization which can take a worldwide view on sourcing to adapt to new trade flows. Brenntag Specialties, on the other hand, is steered by global end use markets. According to Kohlpaintner, “By breaking down the regional view of our business we can really look at global trade flows and how Brenntag can participate here. We will source still domestically if it makes sense, but we always have alternatives and that is a key strength.” In December 2023, Brenntag announced it would acquire Solventis Group, a glycols and solvents distributor with access to port facilities at Antwerp in Belgium. A month earlier the group bought chlor-alkali distributor US Old World Specialty Chemicals, giving it access to sea terminal facilities to enhance its exporting capabilities. Ewout Van Jarwaarde, CEO of Brenntag Essentials, said, “Brenntag Essentials has implemented a “triple” strategy of leveraging our last mile service operations, regional sourcing and supply chain services and global supply chain capabilities. We are investing into what we call a “tollgate” – these are big transportation hubs with access into regional markets. Here we have sufficient storage capacity to bring in, for example, large vessels into the trade flow between North America and Europe.” He added, “With this we secure access to supply for those European partners that really need it, and also offer great optimization opportunities in case of energy price or demand fluctuations or supply fluctuations everywhere in the world.” COMPANY SPLITS ITS BUSINESSESAt a Capital Markets Day in December 2023 Brenntag revealed it would legally split the Essentials and Specialties business to create fully autonomous businesses. The company is under pressure from activist shareholders to spin off its specialties business. According to Kohlpaintner, “The specialties business model is substantially different from the industrial chemicals business model. This is why we are continuing the disentanglement of our two divisions down to the legal entity disentanglement, to be prepared for further steps.” “That leads us to a clear conclusion that the legal entity driven full-line distributor model, at least on the scale Brenntag is operating, is obsolete. We need to focus on what our suppliers really need from our Essentials or Specialties divisions. There is very little overlap,” he said. The CEO believes that by splitting the company, Brenntag will be ready to participate in more distributor consolidation or other strategic moves by 2025/2026. “We want to be prepared to seek all the opportunities which can arise and for that we need to disentangle first.  We need to be ready to play our cards when we need to. The chemical distribution industry is extremely fragmented – we’re still the leader but we have maybe only 5 or 6% market share globally.” He believes consolidation will gain speed and will happen in bigger steps. Many of the larger distributors are private equity owned and by definition this ownership will be limited in time as these groups seek an exit from their investments. The CEO prefers to continue with the strategy of bolt on acquisitions which need to become bigger as Brenntag itself grows. The company aims to spend €400 million to €500 million per year on M&A. “Nobody in the industry is deploying annual M&A funds on the level of Brenntag. In cases where larger combinations are possible and make sense, we also would know how to manage overlaps. But we continue to prefer bolt-on acquisitions at this time” he said. “Splitting the company is one, but only one option we want to be prepared for. How the world will look in 2025/26/27 nobody knows but I want to be prepared – and I don’t want Brenntag to act like a sleeping giant.” Interview by Will Beacham Thumbnail photo: Brenntag's headquarters in Essen, Germany (Source: Brenntag) Clarification: 13th paragraph – Ewout Van Jarwaarde's title is CEO of Brenntag Essentials

24-May-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 17 May 2024. Asia melamine makers grapple with increased costs, slowing demand By Joy Foo 17-May-24 11:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s melamine spot market for China-origin product was largely stable in the first half of May, even though feedstock urea prices continued to rise, but demand may weaken for the rest of the month. Singapore's April petrochemical exports rise 26.5%; NODX down 9.3% By Nurluqman Suratman 17-May-24 10:45 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore's petrochemical shipments rose by 26.5% year on year in April to Singapore dollar (S$) 1.34 billion, reversing the 3.6% decline in the previous month, official data showed on Friday. PODCAST: China PP exports to weigh on SE Asia on ample propylene supply By Damini Dabholkar 16-May-24 21:55 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The ample supply of propylene in Asia and new polypropylene (PP) capacities in China are expected to weigh on discussions in southeast Asia over the coming months. Tanker incident triggers rate hike on South Korea-Japan trades By Hwee Hwee Tan 16-May-24 11:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The intra northeast Asia tanker market is expected to remain stable despite recent volatility in South Korea-Japan chemical freight rates, following a fatal tanker incident off Japan’s west coast. US hikes tariffs on $18bn worth of China imports, including EVs By Nurluqman Suratma 15-May-24 12:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–US President Joe Biden is ramping up tariffs on $18 billion worth of imports from China, including electric vehicles (EVs), semiconductors, batteries and other goods, in a move that the White House said was a response to unfair trade practices and intended to protect US jobs. Asia polyester discussions stable amid reduced supply, lower feedstock prices By Judith Wang 14-May-24 14:55 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s polyester export discussions were little changed as the pressure of reduced supply in China was balanced out by weaker feedstock prices.

20-May-2024

Houston storm disrupts chems, knocks power out for thousands

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Powerful thunderstorms in Houston and the Gulf Coast disrupted operations at chemical plants while leaving more than 700,000 without power as of Friday. The storms hit Houston on Thursday evening. TPC Group reported that severe weather caused a power outage, which led to flaring at its butadiene (BD) operations in Houston. Power was restored, and operations returned to the site, TPC said in a filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Lotte Chemical has delayed the restart of its cracker and downstream ethylene glycol (EG) unit in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to next week because of bad weather, according to market sources. Lotte did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The storm created winds of 40-78 miles/hour (64-126 km/hour), according to the National Weather Service. Such strong winds created widespread power outages throughout the region. In the late morning, more than 700,000 customers were without power in the Houston area, according to CenterPoint Energy, a power company that is the main transmission company. Overall, more than 777,000 outages were reported in Texas, according to PowerOutage.us. Another 90,000 outages were reported in Louisiana, another state that is home to several petrochemical plants and refineries. The winds reached hurricane force in downtown Houston, where many petrochemical companies have corporate offices. “This was an incredibly dangerous and destructive storm, impacting one of the largest cities and busiest travel hubs in America,” said AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter. “Downtown Houston has not seen wind damage like this since Hurricane Ike in 2008 and Hurricane Alicia in 1983. The winds were even stronger at greater heights because they experienced less friction from low-lying buildings and trees, according to AccuWeather. Wind gusts of 33 miles/hour near ground level would equate to 80 miles/hour at six stories and 90 miles/hour at 10 stories. The wind strength at those elevated stories would be the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale. Preliminary damage estimates from AccuWeather point to $5 billion to $7 billion in total damage and economic loss from the storm in southeast Texas, it said. So far, major railroad companies have not issued any alerts about disruptions to their lines. Port Houston said its terminals are operating as usual. Additional reporting by Adam Yanelli and Melissa Wheeler  (adds paragraphs 3, 5-6, 9-13) Photo shows aftermath of the storms that hit Houston. Image by ICIS.

17-May-2024

India’s GAIL to set up C2/C3 pipeline for Pata petrochemical complex

MUMBAI (ICIS)–State-owned GAIL (India) Ltd plans to lay an ethylene/propylene (C2/C3) liquid pipeline from its gas processing complex at Vijaipur in the central Madhya Pradesh state to its Pata petrochemical complex at Auraiya in the northern Uttar Pradesh state. “The project will augment feedstock availability with additional polymer production at Pata Petrochemical Complex, reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint,” the company said in the notes accompanying its fiscal Q4 results. GAIL’s financial year ends in March. The proposed project is expected to cost Indian rupees (Rs) 17.9bn ($215m) and will be commissioned within 32 months, it said. Once operational, the pipeline will have the capacity to transport 950,000 tonnes/year of liquid feedstock to the Pata complex, it added. GAIL reported on 16 May a near-fourfold jump in net profit for the fourth quarter ending 31 March 2024 to Rs21.8bn, from Rs6.0bn in the same period last year. For the full fiscal year 2023-24, GAIL’s net profit increased by 67% year on year to Rs88.4bn. “The robust performance during the year was primarily driven by better physical performance across all major segments, despite lower prices in petrochemicals and liquid hydrocarbons,” GAIL managing director and chairman Sandeep Gupta said. GAIL currently operates a 200,000 tonne/year high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant; two linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE)/HDPE swing plants with capacities of 230,000 tonnes/year and 400,000 tonnes/year; and a 10,000 tonne/year butene-1 line at its Pata complex. The company is also setting up a 60,000 tonne/year polypropylene (PP) unit at the complex which is expected to come on stream in the current calendar year 2024. ($1 = Rs83.45)

17-May-2024

PODCAST: China PP exports to weigh on SE Asia on ample propylene supply

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The ample supply of propylene in Asia and new polypropylene (PP) capacities in China are expected to weigh on discussions in southeast Asia over the coming months. Asia C3 to lengthen after PDH restarts in China, SE Asia volumes China PP exports to weigh on SE Asia discussions Asia PP prices to come under pressure in June-July In this podcast, ICIS editors Julia Tan, Jackie Wong and Lucy Shuai discuss current trends in Asia's propylene and PP markets, and what we can expect going forward. Visit us at Booth 13 at the Grand Ballroom Foyer at the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas! Book a meeting with ICIS here.

16-May-2024

PODCAST: Asia propylene derivative demand still slow amid uncertainty

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian oxo-alcohols buyers maintained a wait and watch approach, amid the possibility of added plant capacities in China weighing on market sentiment. The acrylonitrile (ACN) market continues to see limited spot demand in the northeast Asia market. Even as downstream acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) has seen higher production rates recently, ACN producers were unlikely to increase operating rates. For the acrylates downstream, butyl-A market in Asia continues to take direction from Chinese domestic prices. With India's Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) requirements preventing Chinese origin imports, cargoes from China were flowing into SE Asia and NE Asia. In this podcast, ICIS editors Julia Tan and Corey Chew discuss trends in the Asia propylene and derivatives markets. Visit ICIS during APIC ’24 on 30-31 May at Booth 13 in the Grand Ballroom Foyer in the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas. Book a meeting with ICIS here.

15-May-2024

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