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Updated to Q2 2021
Q2 saw PTA production loss of around 2.04m tonnes because of scheduled shutdowns. Operating rates in Taiwan were weighed down by water shortages. Chinese producers’ margins were squeezed due to mounting costs pressure from feedstocks PX and acetic acid, which had kept run rates low. The average operating rates of PTA facilities in China stood at around 78% in Q2.
Middle East and Turkish demand was steady, following tightly supplied European and US markets. Demand in domestic Chinese markets was relatively healthy, amid positive polyester production margins, and the peak demand season. Average operating rates of polyester facilities in China stood at around 88.7%. In India, demand weakened with reduced downstream run rates as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.
INEOS Aromatics’ force majeure declaration on PTA out of Belgium on 3 March until end-May shortened the market and impacted the chain to PET. It coincided with significant and lengthy production problems at PKN Orlen’s PTA plant in Poland and a string of logistic curtailments that weighed on the markets. Logistics and imports were already an issue when shortages in Mexico exacerbated the situation.
Demand for domestic PTA increased at PET plants because of all the local PTA supply issues and the shipping delays affecting imported material for both products. This situation resulted in Indorama announcing a surcharge on its PTA throughout April. End-user requirements for downstream PET, however, remained subdued as it was impacted by quarantine restrictions.
Supply during Q2 was extremely tight as downstream PET producers faced supply shortages of PTA from Mexico.
Demand was strong in Q2 as buyers faced supply shortages of PTA from Mexico while trying to build inventories prior to hurricane season along the US Gulf Coast.
Updated to Q3 2021
Supply in Q3 is expected to remain tight as demand from the downstream PET sector continues to be strong. Consumption from this sector is likely to remain unchanged unless consumers’ buying patterns started during the pandemic switch back to pre-pandemic patterns.
Demand in Q3 is expected to be strong as consumption from the downstream PET sector remains robust through the summer and possibly beyond.
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