The Paraxylene-Orthoxylene (PX-OX) markets are covered by ICIS’ network of locally-based reporters in Asia, Europe and the US. The weekly reports bring you in-depth news on spot on contract markets and analysis in the commentary provides intelligence on developments in market activity, upstream movements, production news and graphs.
These are an essential tool for those involved in the industry to keep abreast of market movements and make crucial commercial choices.
Updated to Q2 2021
Asia saw PX production loss of around 1.22m tonnes in Q2, with 35% from unplanned shutdowns. Supply was especially tight from Japan, amid unplanned production losses at several of ENEOS’ PX facilities. Thailand’s ESSO shut its 520,000 tonne/year unit for an unknown prolonged duration since the beginning of April. Coupled with scheduled maintenance, supply was limited.
Q2 saw a loss of demand due to several scheduled shutdowns at downstream PTA units, with total PTA production loss of around 2.04m tonnes. This was equivalent to PX demand loss of around 1.35m tonnes. A water shortage issue in Taiwan led to unplanned shutdowns and reduced run rates at local PTA facilities. Furthermore, Chinese PTA makers faced cost pressures, resulting in persistent lowered PTA operating rates in China. ”
The supply of PX remained tight in April, but rebalanced in early May on quieter demand. Supply generally remained balanced through June, despite continued logistical constraints on the availability of imports from Asia.
Demand for PX was strong in April, driven by the need for domestic production of derivative PTA and PET due to limited import availability from Asia. Demand decreased in May and generally remained steady to the end of the quarter, although a trader said in June that spot activity was limited with most business covered by contractual volumes.
Supply increased over Q2, with soaring co-product benzene prices encouraging selective toluene disproportionation (STDP) use. Inventories were re-stocked amid lower downstream run rates, helping PX to recover more quickly than other commodities affected by the February polar storm.
Demand was lower in Q2, with shortages of co-feedstock acetic acid limiting run rates for downstream PTA. In addition, in mid-Q2 Mexican PTA plants were under force majeure due to local water issues, further reducing demand. PET producers turned to imported PTA to meet their own customer orders.
Updated to Q2 2021
Prompt lifting availability for spot cargoes was limited, as run rates at existing units were operating at a minimum due to high production costs and squeezed margins. There was no availability for deep-sea origin cargoes from Europe, with negative arbitrage window economics. Inventories in China stayed high, with ample local production ensuring supply. Cargoes from Asia were being diverted west, amid better netbacks.
Planned maintenance took place at several downstream PA units in northeast Asia, with production loss of around 18,500 tonnes during Q2. Shandong Hongxin Chemical kept some PA lines idled since 1 April, as the company moves to rationalise operations. Spot demand for OX was weak, as the majority of end-users were sufficiently covered on contractual bases.
The supply of OX was tight in April and early May, following a first quarter of strong demand and limited availability. Supply eased to a balanced-to-tight condition during May in line with reduced demand. OX remained balanced to tight until the end of Q2, with healthy demand keeping some pressure on the availability of material.
Demand was strong early in the quarter, but decreased in May. The consumption of OX was largely driven by downstream demand from the PA sector. Good demand for the derivative kept OX consumption healthy throughout Q2.
Supply was tight throughout Q2, with plants recovering from storm-related outages as well as unfavourable margins. Imported material was seen at times, due to attractive netbacks.
Demand was slightly lower in Q2 amid a month-long downstream turnaround, although overall consumption was healthy.
We offer the following regional Paraxylene-Orthoxylene analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Paraxylene-Orthoxylene marketplace.
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Paraxylene (PX) is the largest volume isomer of the mixed xylenes. Orthoxylene (OX) is the second largest of the three commercial isomers of xylene.
Paraxylene (PX) is the largest volume isomer of the mixed xylenes. Around 98 percent of PX demand comes from the polyester chain via the one of its intermediates purified terephthalic acid (PTA) or dimethyl terephthalate (DMT). The breakdown for polyester demand is 65 percent from fibre, 27 percent from polyethylene terephthalate(PET) bottle resin and the remainder from film and other plastic end uses. Polyester demand is expected to grow at six percent a year over the next few years with the PET resin bottle market seeing the fastest growth. A small amount of PX is used as a solvent and in the production of di-paraxylene and herbicides.
Paraxylene is a flammable liquid and a fire hazard. When heated to decomposition, paraxylene emits acrid smoke and fumes. Vapours may travel to a source of ignition and flash back.
Orthoxylene (OX) is the second largest of the three commercial isomers of xylene. Almost all OX produced is consumed in the manufacture of phthalic anhydride, which is converted to plasticisers, alkyd and polyester resins. Small quantities are used in solvent applications and to make bactericides, soybean herbicides and lube oil additives. It is also used to make phthalonitrile, which is converted to copper phthalocyanine, a pigment.
Orthoxylene is a flammable liquid and a fire hazard. When heated to decomposition, orthoxylene emits acrid smoke and fumes. Vapours may travel to a source of ignition and flash back.