The xylenes markets are covered by ICIS weekly in Asia, Europe and the US and daily in Asia. Independent and unbiased price assessments are quoted for isomer and solvent grade in Asia, solvent grade in Europe and for mixed xylenes in the US. Our network of locally-based reporters can provide you with trustworthy and reliable information upon which you can make informed business choices.
Our news and analysis within the commentary of the reports includes overviews, upstream and downstram news, production updates, tank inventories, outlooks, demand and supply and any other factors pertinent to the market at the time.
Updated to Q2 2021
Supply lessened due to a compact schedule of planned maintenance in northeast Asian countries. A couple of Japan’s producer including Idemitsu, Cosmo Oil, Fuji Oil and Taiyo Oil planned maintenance during the May-June period. June supply remained curbed as a few producers were unable to finish turnarounds on time, due to manpower shortages from the coronavirus pandemic.
Demand was lower due to worsened PX production margins and a weak gasoline blending market in China. Higher prices of MX due to supply shortage rendered many PX producers unprofitable. They had to reduce MX purchase volumes and lower operating rate. China announced mixed aromatics import taxes from June and demand for MX as blend stock also reduced accordingly, due to less profitability and less activity among the gasoline blenders.
At the beginning of Q2, supply was considered to be in a range of balanced and tight. Availability limitations were partly due to reduced operating rates at refineries, along with some plants being under maintenance. In May, the situation became long as there were fewer requirements, although isomer grades were snug continuing on into June. Q2 was considered to have had better availability than Q1, mainly linked with downstream outages.
Overall consumption was on a downward trend in Q2. This was mainly due to purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant outages. Spot demand was still weak even after the restarts. Exports to the US and Asia were down. Gasoline blending demand was low due to competition from other octane options. Premiums over Eurobob gasoline prices were considered to be deterring some buying activity. Consumption for contractual volumes was considered to be carrying on as normal.
Supply was mostly steady in Q2, coming off a very active production period in Q1. Volumes of MX have levelled off recently as the US summer driving season initially favoured toluene over MX as an octane enhancer in fuel blending activity.
Demand grew steadily in Q2 as rising consumption during the summer driving season was met with strengthening derivative demand as regional economies reopen.
We offer the following regional Xylenes-Mixed xylenes analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Xylenes-Mixed xylenes marketplace.
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Xylenes are produced, along with benzene and toluene, from a reformer after running naphtha through an ethylene cracker.
The major use for xylenes is in the production of paraxylene (PX) and orthoxylene (OX). They are also used as a solvent in the paints industry and for other solvent uses.
Mixed xylenes (MX) are produced by high-severity catalytic reforming of naphtha from which the C8 stream contains OX, metaxylene and PX, as well as ethylbenzene (EB).
Xylenes are also obtained from the pyrolysis gas (pygas) stream in a naphtha steam cracker and by toluene disproportionation (TDP) and transalkylation.
Mixed xylenes occur as a colourless, flammable liquid or crystals, with a characteristic odour. They are insoluble in water and miscible with most organic solvents.
Mixed xylenes are a clear, sweet and flammable aromatic liquid or vapour. They are harmful or fatal if swallowed or inhaled, causing respiratory tract irritation, eye and skin irritation or an allergic skin reaction.