ICIS provides reliable and trustworthy weekly price assessments for propylene in Asia, China, Europe and the US. Daily market intelligence is also available for coverage of the Asian markets. Depending on the region, quotations are for spot and contract. Our locally-based expert reporters can provide those involved with propylene or related markets with up-to-date and unbiased intelligence allowing this essential tool to be used in decision-making processes.
Market commentary gives news and analysis on day to day activity, production updates, upstream and downstream movements, import and export activity and any other key factors influencing prices.
Updated to Q3 2019
Propylene supply was tight in northeast Asia on maintenance work in Taiwan at Formosa’s and CPC’s production units. Certain Japanese and South Korean producers were also in the spot market to buy cargoes. The former faced various technical plant issues, leading to lower run rates. The latter suffered a technical glitch at its integrated downstream unit had to sell its propylene previously. It was in the process of buying.
Import demand from China was generally stable, but buyers were cautious as they came under heavy cost pressure. Demand outside of China was strong. In Japan, one producer was running at lower rates and was in the position to buy in order to cover the shortage for its contract customers. One South Korean integrated producer floated buy tenders ahead of a plant turnaround. Taiwanese buyers were restocking as CPC started its plant turnaround in September.
Supply was fairly lengthy throughout most of the third quarter despite planned and unplanned production upsets. A combination of poorer-than-expected demand, regular imports and derivative production issues meant that some volumes were weighing very heavily on the spot market.
Propylene demand was poor for non-polymer derivatives, which have been impacted by reduced export opportunities due to higher costs in Europe compared with the rest of the world, as well as the effects of the trade tensions and bearish economic data. Demand from the polypropylene (PP) sector held up, albeit still at below general expectations for the period.
Despite prolonged production outages, supply continued to outpace demand. Inventory levels dropped by more than 30% from record highs reached in February amid a refinery closure and flexible cracker outages. Exports also cut into inventories but the domestic market remained sufficiently supplied.
Although consumption was set to increase with the restart of INEOS’ Green Lake acrylonitrile (ACN) plant in Green Lake, downstream demand remained sluggish. Polypropylene (PP) margins in particular are under pressure, amid oversupply. The dim macroeconomic outlook has led many companies to keep leaner inventories, tempering demand.
We offer the following regional Propylene analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Propylene marketplace.
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Propylene is a colourless, highly flammable gas. It is produced by several routes, the most common of which is as a co-product of ethylene production from steam crackers.
Propylene is a colourless, flammable gas that burns with yellow, sooty flames. It is a dangerous fire risk because it is highly flammable and explosive when mixed with air or oxygen.
The dominant outlet for propylene is polypropylene (PP). Propylene is also used to produce acrylonitrile (ACN), propylene oxide (PO), a number of alcohols, cumene and acrylic acid.
The two main sources of propylene are as a byproduct from the steam cracking of liquid feedstocks such as naphtha as well as LPGs, and from off-gases produced in fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) units in refineries. The remainder of propylene is produced using on-purpose technologies such as propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and metathesis.
Propylene is highly flammable and needs to be stored in pressurised or refrigerated tanks.
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