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Crude falls by $2/bbl, Asia petrochemical shares dip on China COVID-19 protests
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Crude prices slumped on Monday, tumbling by more than $2/bbl, while shares of petrochemical companies in Asia took a beating on demand concerns amid growing protests in China against strict pandemic curbs. At midday, Brent crude was down by $2.27 at $81.36/bbl, while US crude fell by $2.11 at $74.17. As of 04:30 GMT, Chinese bourses in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong were down by more than 1%. Company/Stock Exchange (At 04:30 GMT) % Change Nikkei 225 (Japan) -0.50% Asahi Kasei -0.63% ENEOS Holdings -0.55% Mitsubishi Chemical -1.27% Mitsui Chemicals -1.75% HANG SENG INDEX -1.98% China Petroleum & Chemical Corp -1.97% PetroChina -2.03% KOSPI Composite Index -1.08% OCI Company -2.66% SK Innovation -0.93% LG Chem 0.42% Lotte Chemical -0.28% Hanwha Solutions -0.93% TSEC weighted index (Taiwan) -1.08% Formosa Petrochemical Corp -3.11% Nan Ya Plastics 0.13% Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp -0.41% STI Index (Singapore) -0.43% Wilmar International -0.49% SSE Composite Index (Shanghai, China) -1.03% Wanhua Chemical -1.50% Shenzhen Index -1.05% Jakarta Composite Index (Indonesia) -0.23% Chandra Asri Petrochemical -0.43% SET Index (Thailand) -0.19% PTT Global Chemical -0.53% Siam Cement 0.59% Thai Oil -0.45% China has been recording spikes in daily COVID-19 caseloads, dashing hopes that strict lockdowns in the world’s second biggest economy will be lifted anytime soon. The country is a major importer of petrochemicals and is an important market for most of Asia. Protests against COVID-19 restrictions erupted over the weekend at dozens of Chinese cities – including the major industrial hubs of Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chongqing, Beijing and Shanghai – and continues to spread, after a fatal fire incident in Urumqi in northwestern China. In response to the protests, the Chaoyang district in Beijing re-opened 75 high-risk communities, while Guangzhou province cancelled curbs on dozens of communities over the weekend. In Urumqi, 10 people were killed while nine others were injured in the blaze that erupted at a residential building on 24 November. Emergency exits in the building at the time were sealed off as the city capital of Xinjiang has been under strict pandemic curbs for nearly four months, according to media reports. A day after the incident, Urumqi’s city government announced a gradual lifting of the lockdown. China’s central government had announced on 11 November measures to ease COVID-19 restrictions, such as cutting quarantine time and no lockdowns on low-risk areas. Local governments, however, were hesitant to relax the strict pandemic curbs amid rising domestic infection rates. As of 27 November, new infections in China stood at 40,347, with 3,822 symptomatic and 36,525 asymptomatic cases, according to the National Health Commission (NHC). China’s economy is being weighed down by its zero-COVID policy and an ailing property sector, with its central bank cutting interest rates when most of its global counterparts are doing the opposite. The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has announced a 25-basis point cut in banks’ reserve requirement ratio (RRR) from 5 December, which would release some yuan (CNY) 500bn ($70bn) in liquidity into the financial system. It last trimmed the RRR on 25 April 2022. “Coming on the back of the 16-point rescue package for the real estate market, the RRR cut was not unexpected and could contribute to the additional credit support to the country’s developers by reducing the amount of reserves that banks need to hold,” said Ho Woei Chen, economist at Singapore-based UOB Global Economics & Markets Research, in a note on Monday. China’s central bank could continue with monetary policy easing, with another cut in the RRR and or policy interest rates likely in the first quarter of 2023, Ho said. UOB expects China to post a weaker annualized GDP growth of 3.9% in the fourth quarter, compared with its earlier forecast of a 4.5% increase “given increasing headwinds facing the economy”, but maintains its full-year growth forecast of 3.3%. “The main source of uncertainty is the current surge in COVID-19 infections and spreading anti-lockdown protests that are unprecedented in China,” Ho said. For 2023, UOB projects China’s economic growth to accelerate to 4.8% “as we anticipate further gradual easing of its COVID-19 measures next year as well as flow-through of the stimulus measures to be positive for the economy”, Ho said. Focus article by Pearl Bantillo and Fanny Zhang ($1 = CNY7.20) Thumbnail image: China yuan notes. (Photo by How Hwee Young/Epa/REX/Shutterstock) Click here to read the Ukraine topic page, which examines the impact of the conflict on oil, gas, fertilizer and chemical markets.Visit the ICIS Coronavirus topic page for analysis of the impact on chemical markets and links to latest news.
Asia top stories – weekly summary
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News Asia and the Middle East for the week ended 25 November 2022. China’s weak phenol imports to prompt deeper output cuts in Asia China’s phenol imports are being weighed down by a combination of ample domestic supply, rising COVID-19 caseloads, easing upstream markets, and the absence of restocking ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays in late January. NE Asia ethylene output to remain weak up to at least H1 2023 Northeast Asia’s ethylene production is expected to be constricted by heavy cracker turnarounds, poor margins and weak downstream demand up to at least the first half of 2023. Malaysian shares rally as Anwar appointed as new prime minister Malaysian shares rallied on Thursday following news that opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was appointed as the country's new prime minister, ending a five-day political impasse. SE Asia PE market dazed by China stop-start demand Initial spot import offers for December shipments of polyethylene (PE) in southeast Asia were announced in the same range as the previous week’s assessment or softer this week, with market players baffled by the stop-start nature of China’s demand for PE. Saudi Arabia’s SABIC to study oil-to-chemicals complex in Ras Al-KhairSaudi Arabia state-owned chemicals major SABIC on Thursday announced its intention to study the establishment of a complex to convert oil and liquids into chemicals in Ras Al-Khair, Saudi Arabia. The complex is expected to convert 400,000 bbl/day of oil into chemicals, the company said in a filing on the Saudi bourse, Tadawul. S Korea unionised truckers' strike begins; may disrupt petrochemical ops anew South Korea's unionised cargo truck drivers began a nationwide strike on Thursday, potentially disrupting petrochemical production and logistics operations across the country. INSIGHT: Gasoline blending dynamics driving Asia MX and toluene Mixed xylenes (MX) and toluene prices in the second half of 2022 have notably become decoupled from, or even defied, the dynamics of theIr downstream counterparts and moved more in line with gasoline blending economics. IMF urges China to further recalibrate COVID-19 strategy The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged China to further recalibrate its COVID-19 strategy and provide additional support to its beleaguered property sector to mitigate risks from a global economic slowdown. South Korea bracing for another truckers' strike from 24 November South Korea's unionised cargo truck drivers are planning to stage an indefinite nationwide strike for the second time this year starting 24 November, potentially causing manufacturing and supply chain disruptions at major petrochemical sites. Falling crude, feedstocks weigh on NE Asia polyester; outlook bearish The recent declines in crude and feedstock prices have weighed on the spot polyester export market in northeast Asia, with the year-end outlook bearish. China plans CNY200bn refinancing to help delivery of pre-sold homes China’s central bank is planning to provide yuan (CNY) 200bn interest-free refinancing to commercial banks to encourage them to support delivery of unfinished homes, the official Xinhua news outlet reported. Crude, China petrochemical futures, shares tumble on demand concerns Crude prices were extending their losses on Monday, with declines in China equities and petrochemical futures markets, due to demand concerns amid continued lockdowns in the world's second-biggest economy caused by rising COVID-19 cases. Yansab to shut Saudi complex for 53 days in '23 amid poor global demand Yanbu National Petrochemical Company (Yansab) plans to shut its complex in Saudi Arabia at the start of 2023, for nearly two months of turnaround amid weakening global demand.
TOPIC PAGE: War in Ukraine, gas crisis
Updated at 09:00 GMT on 25 November. Please scroll down to see headlines. The war in Ukraine first caused oil price volatility, which increased as surging COVID-19 cases in China led to fresh lockdowns, hitting demand and disrupting supply chains. China is the world’s second biggest economy and largest oil importer. Now Russia's decision to reduce flows of natural gas to Europe means the continent has to look forward to a winter of potential rationing, which could hit chemical production. Tightened supply has also sent gas prices soaring, with high costs forcing production cuts, especially in fertilizers. India is facing a shortage of fertilizers and edible oil amid wide-ranging trade disruptions as the Ukraine war rages on, with financial sanctions tightening on Russia. Europe’s energy challenge is immense and put into stark relief by the response to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Cutting the ties that bind EU and non-EU nations to Russian gas and oil will be extremely painful this year and in years to come. This topic page examines the impact of the Ukraine conflict on oil, gas, fertilizer and chemical markets. Image credit Vadim Ghirda/AP/Shutterstock Europe’s energy markets witnessed a year of record prices and extreme volatility in 2021. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has led to more difficult conditions for global markets in 2022. GAS SUMMARY Gas storage over 90% in Europe, winter demand will be 30% higher than rest of year Record shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe so far in 2022 LNG plus Norwegian, Algerian, Azerbaijani pipeline imports compensate for Russian supply shortfall Europe LNG processing operating at full capacity Nord Stream I and II pipelines damaged by explosions, zero flows to Europe EU implements voluntary 15% cut to consumption, industry may face much tougher reductions AMMONIA SUMMARY Russia supplies 20% of global seaborne ammonia market Disrupted supply has pushed up fertilizer and food prices OIL SUMMARY Friendship oil pipeline flows through Ukraine Russian oil feeds around a quarter of Europe demand Europe seeks to end reliance on Russian crude oil EU agrees ban on seaborne imports from 5 December 2022, petroleum products from 5 February 2023 CHEMICALS SUMMARY High Europe gas, electricity prices force capacity closures Volatile oil and feedstock prices dent chemical producer margins Elevated oil, gas prices dent consumer confidence and demand Prospect of recession, more cheap imports from Asia CEOs plan now for winter gas rationing Europe is heavily reliant on Russian gas and exposed to disruptions in supply, but Russia is also an important oil exporter and a supplier of fossil fuel products, which find their way to international markets via Ukraine's ports. Sanctions and measures against Russian exports of oil and gas have sent shockwaves across the global economy, lifting the cost of living, impacting industrial and agricultural production and potentially leading to social unrest. How vulnerable are energy and energy-related Russian supplies to disruptions? Europe depends for close to 40% of its annual gas consumption on Russian supplies, imported via four routes – Ukraine, Belarus-Poland as well as the Nord Stream 1 and TurkStream corridors linking Russia to Germany and Turkey via the Baltic and Black Sea, respectively. Overall Russian pipeline supplies were limited throughout 2021, and since the beginning of this year producer Gazprom has shipped only one-third of the gas that it was expected to deliver to European consumers via Ukraine as part of a five-year transit agreement. Russia has banned exports of gas to several EU countries, and flows through the Nord Stream I pipeline have been halted. European petrochemicals players face even higher gas prices as a result. Fertilizer companies – where gas can account for 80% of costs – have been forced to curtail production. Chemicals are also now affected, especially those with high exposure to gas prices through utilities or feedstocks. If the conflict escalates, Ukraine transit pipelines may come under attack but disruptions could be limited because the infrastructure has been built to grant flexibility, allowing the operator to reroute flows away from potentially damaged segments. AMMONIA IMPACT The Togliatti-Azot pipeline, the world’s longest ammonia pipeline stretching 2,471km from the Togliatti Azot plant in Russian Samara Oblast to the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Yuzhny, could be caught up in the cross-fire. Russian ammonia supplies account for around 20% of the global seaborne merchant ammonia market each month. Around two thirds of those volumes are exported via Yuzhny, with the rest reaching European and global markets via Baltic ports. Ammonia is a prime material for fertilizers, so curtailments could potentially lead to higher food prices and shortages. Ammonia market players are scrambling to cover positions and assess options as the Russian invasion of Ukraine saw loadings at the key export hub of Yuzhny halted with immediate effect. Russian nitrogen fertilizer major Togliatti confirmed the suspension of the transit of ammonia to the Black Sea port via pipeline to ensure the safety of people living in the vicinity of the lengthy conduit. OIL PIPELINES VULNERABLE Supplies on the world’s longest oil pipeline, the Friendship (Druzhba) pipeline, could be threatened if the conflict leads to tough sanctions. The pipeline carries oil from central Russia 4,000km west to Ukraine and Belarus and runs close to the Belarus-Ukraine border. Russia exports around 5m bbl/day, of which half are exported to Europe, including via this pipeline. Russian oil accounts for about a quarter of Europe’s consumption, with the Druzhba pipeline carrying close to 1m bbl/day. Should sanctions be imposed and exports hindered, Europe will need to secure alternative cargoes from the global market. Europe consumed most exports of Urals, Russia’s biggest export grade, in 2021 after Saudi Arabia boosted market share in China. Almost 10m tonnes of Urals went through Rotterdam in the first half of last year, up 2m tonnes on 2020. Germany stands most exposed because it gets 25% of its oil from Russia. CHEMICALS IMPACT Gas and electricity are important components in the production costs of many chemicals. Surging gas and feedstock prices in Europe have caused big hikes in contract and spot prices. Now millions of tonnes of fertilizer and chemical capacity are offline in Europe. Clink on the link to make it larger ICIS has also created an interactive timeline which shows the history of the gas impact since July 2021. These products have been most badly affected by outages in Europe, with more than half of capacity offline or running at reduced rates in some cases. Analysis by the ICIS Margin Analytics team shows the products which are most exposed to energy and gas prices in Europe as a feedstock or utility. Europe is at a competitive disadvantage to other regions and some customers are seeking new sources of lower-priced supply, especially from Asia and the Middle East. There are fears of a recession thanks to high inflation and Europe's chemical sector may be at a turning point similar to 2008/9 and early 2020. The conflict in Ukraine has pushed European gas prices back up to record levels, forcing exposed chemical producers to cease production, or add further energy surcharges. Rising oil prices since late 2021 have already put chemical margins under pressure, and volatility has continued into 2022. As oil and naphtha prices soared, margins for ethylene production based on naphtha went negative for the first time ICIS record began. The are now are swinging wildy in tandem with oil price movements. Chemical producers are struggling to pass on increasing feedstock and energy costs in Europe. Elevated oil and gas prices also dent downstream consumer confidence and spending, with recession a possibility later in 2022 or 2023. What contingency plans are being put in place? Europe is preparing for a difficult winter although rising storage fullness levels, falling demand and more import capacity for liquefied natural gas (LNG) could help it get by, assuming there will not be an extensive cold spell. As of 20th October, storage facilities across Europe were 92% full, some 12 percentage points higher than the levels mandated by the European Union. There were also expectations that some 30bn cubic meters of new capacity would be added between September 2022 and March 2023. The capacity would include offshore terminals in the Netherlands, Germany and Estonia/Finland. Furthermore, demand has been decreasing by more than 20% in the industrial sector in north-west European countries and by 20-30% for households in Germany, according to official data. Nevertheless, there is a possibility that Russia may completely stop its gas supplies to Europe via the last two remaining routes – Ukraine and Turkey, which could lop off some 70 cubic meters of Russian gas entering Europe daily. In such a scenario, the most affected countries would be those in eastern and central Europe, which are landlocked and have been struggling to secure regasified LNG from importing countries. For oil markets, in case of an attack but no international sanctions, the worst-case scenario would be for approximately 240,000 bbl/day of lost Russian exports via Ukraine. There are other seaborne routes, including the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. Gas rationing – impact on Europe petrochemicals, fertilizers Embattled European fertilizer and petrochemical producers may be the first in line to cut gas consumption as political pressure is mounting to save supplies ahead of a difficult winter. As Russia, Europe’s largest gas supplier, has been limiting exports to less than a quarter of its deliveries two years ago and may stop them altogether amid its political stand-off with the EU, Brussels has now issued guidance to reduce demand by 15% between 1 August 2022 – 31 March across member states. Policymakers recommend voluntary reductions but say these would become mandatory in case of a supply emergency jeopardising the bloc’s security. DEMAND REDUCTION The EU’s largest consumers include households, accounting for 37% of total demand, electricity and heat generation covering around 30% and industrial consumption accounting for another 30%. Record high gas prices and an ongoing gas supply crunch over the least year have already been forcing industrial consumers to limit or stop production or seek import substitution globally. EU proposals for demand reduction released on 20 July indicate the industrial sector may be priority target for major reductions, with three sectors – glass, ceramics and chemicals – consuming half of the sector’s total. FERTILIZERS The fertilizer sector, one of the most gas-intensive industries, has also been one of the most affected so far as gas can account for up to 80% of production costs. Production has been cut back drastically because it is no longer economic. At a gas price of $85.35/MMBtu, it would cost around $3,100/tonne to produce ammonia and nearly $2,300/tonne to manufacture urea. Late August market levels are significantly below this, at just over $1,200/tonne CFR (cost & freight) NWE (northwest Europe) for ammonia. ICIS experts focusing on the fertilizer sector estimate 50-60% of nitrogen production is currently down as producers have been forced to temporarily shut due to soaring natural gas prices. PETROCHEMICALS On the petrochemicals side, there are now deep production cuts for products such as methyl methacrylate (MMA) and melamine which are heavily exposed to natural gas for utilities or as a feedstock. Producers are making detailed plans for rationing, particularly in Germany, where the chemicals and pharmaceuticals industry uses about 140 TWh per year, or about 15 percent of Germany's gas consumption. Gas is mainly used by petrochemicals to generate energy such as electricity and steam as well as to fire furnaces for production complexes such as crackers. Sites are able to lower operating rates significantly, but they may be forced to close if gas supplies drop so much that production becomes uneconomic or difficult from a technical perspective. Companies with flexibility are switching from natural gas to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or other sources of energy. Ukraine conflict threatens Europe oil supply, chemicals production With Russia's invasion of Ukraine, sanctions could cut supplies of crude oil through the Druzhba pipeline, threatening oil refinery operations and chemicals production at installations in Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland and the former East Germany. Russian oil supplies up to a quarter of Europe’s crude imports, with refineries in central and eastern Europe, which are attached to the Druzhba pipeline, particularly reliant on these supplies. Any interruption to these supplies could force refineries to reduce operating rates unless they can find alternative supplies. Analysis of the ICIS Supply & Demand database shows that the countries Druzhba runs through, except for Germany, are reliant on Russian crude oil for more than half of their imports, led by Slovakia which obtained 96% of its supplies from Russia in 2021. Chemical production downstream of refineries in these countries could be impacted by any reduction in operating rates. The ICIS data forecast that for 2022, 2.79m tonnes of ethylene (11% of total European capacity) and 2.34m tonnes of propylene (12% of total European capacity) are reliant on refineries located along the Druzhba pipeline. While some alternative sources of crude oil could be sourced, it is unlikely normal levels of operations could be maintained. Michael Connolly, ICIS Principal Analyst Refining said: “Although many have built alternate sources, keeping full operating rates would be difficult for them as they rely on a consistent and reliable source of crude. Most refiners in Europe are aware of the risk of Russian crude and over the past 5-10 years have tried to reduce their dependence, or at least to build some capability to have an alternate supply – it doesn't mean they would be unaffected, but there should be a little bit of resilience, depending on the site.” Connolly explained that some land-locked refineries along the Druzhba pipeline have built pipelines to the coast, allowing alternative sources of crude oil to be sourced. However, these pipelines may not have capacity to feed the whole refinery. A spokesperson for Grupa LOTOS said: "The LOTOS refinery has dealt with suspended supplies by land before. Due to the contamination of Russian oil with chlorines, PERN, the state-owned operator of transmission and storage infrastructure, had to completely discontinue the transmission of crude oil from the eastern direction between 24 April and 9 June 2019." He added that scheduling of oil supplies by sea helped to secure volumes sufficient to maintain an unchanged level of throughput and maximise fuel production. UKRAINE CHEMICALS UNDER THREAT With Russian forces present in Ukraine, chemical and fertilizer facilities may be threatened by physical damage, interrupted power and gas supplies or logistics disruption. Kalush cracker closed Karpatnaftohkhim's cracker at Kalush has been closed down because of the imposition of martial law in Ukraine. It has capacity (tonnes/year) of 250,000 (ethylene); 117,000 (propylene) 110,000 (LLDPE), 300,000 (PVC), 100,000 (benzene). Black Sea export hub closed Ammonia market players have scrambled to cover positions and assess options as the Russian invasion of Ukraine saw loadings at the key export hub of Yuzhny halted with immediate effect. Russian nitrogen fertilizer major Togliatti confirmed the suspension of the transit of ammonia to the Black Sea port via pipeline to ensure the safety of people living in the vicinity of the lengthy conduit. The Samara Oblast-based giant also confirmed the shut down of four of its seven ammonia units, with the other three plants operating at reduced rates. Russia export disruptions to shift global trade flows, future capacities threatened Disruptions to Russia’s chemicals and polymers exports will change trade flows, particularly to Europe and Asia, as international sanctions, lack of logistics and even “self-sanctions” limit volumes. While Russia’s capacities are relatively small on a global scale, they can still have a significant impact on regional markets if these exports are disrupted. Key Russia exports include methanol, polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), styrene and paraxylene (PX). Russia has increased exports of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP) in particular in 2020 and 2021 as new capacity started up from SIBUR’s ZapSibNeftekhim complex in Tobolsk in 2020. LATEST HEADLINES NE Asia ethylene output to remain weak up to at least H1 2023 By Yeow Pei Lin 25-Nov-22 11:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s ethylene production is expected to be constricted by heavy cracker turnarounds, poor margins and weak downstream demand up to at least the first half of 2023. UK price cap to have minimal impact on consumers, hedging By Jack Grant 25-Nov-22 01:45 LONDON (ICIS)–Energy regulator Ofgem announced a further increase to the level of the default tariff cap to £4,279 from 1 January 2023 with impact to consumers and suppliers remaining minimal amid the current energy price guarantee. INSIGHT: Poor demand plagues MX, PX and OX value chain in Europe By Zubair Adam 24-Nov-22 22:42 LONDON (ICIS)–Sluggish consumption is widespread among mixed xylenes (MX) and downstream products paraxylene (PX) and orthoxylene (OX), with no significant recovery expected in the near term. Malaysian shares rally as Anwar appointed as new prime minister By Nurluqman Suratman 24-Nov-22 17:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Malaysian shares rallied on Thursday following news that opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was appointed as the country's new prime minister, ending a five-day political impasse. SE Asia PE market dazed by China stop-start demand By Izham Ahmad 24-Nov-22 16:36 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Initial spot import offers for December shipments of polyethylene (PE) in southeast Asia were announced in the same range as the previous week’s assessment or softer this week, with market players baffled by the stop-start nature of China’s demand for PE. S Korea unionised truckers' strike begins; may disrupt petrochemical ops anew By Nurluqman Suratman 24-Nov-22 13:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korea's unionised cargo truck drivers began a nationwide strike on Thursday, potentially disrupting petrochemical production and logistics operations across the country. INSIGHT: A third US cracker wave would crest much lower By Joseph Chang 24-Nov-22 05:42 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Chevron Phillips Chemical (CP Chem) and partner QatarEnergy’s announcement on a final investment decision (FID) for their $8.5bn integrated cracker project in Orange, Texas will kick off speculation on whether the US will see a new or third wave of new cracker projects. CDI Economic Summary: All eyes on US inflation and the Fed By Joseph Chang 24-Nov-22 05:16 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Inflation and the Fed – all eyes are on this key metric and the central bank’s response which will drive the U.S. economy heading into 2023. On a slightly weaker-than-expected Consumer Price Index (CPI) print, both Treasury and equity markets rallied hard on hopes that the Federal Reserve may finally be ready to ease the pace of rate increases after four consecutive jumbo hikes of 0.75 percentage points. CP Chem, partner working towards Qatar cracker project FID for 2023 – CEO By Joseph Chang 24-Nov-22 01:52 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Chevron Phillips Chemical (CP Chem) and joint venture partner QatarEnergy are working towards a potential final investment decision (FID) on an integrated cracker and polyethylene (PE) complex in Qatar in 2023, said CP Chem’s CEO. German energy caps to maintain demand pressure By Daniel Muir 24-Nov-22 01:25 LONDON (ICIS)–German domestic power and gas price cap proposals should be sufficient to support domestic energy reductions in the face of a tight supply outlook, according to ICIS analysis. Rising fuel costs cap coal plant margins gains By David Battista 23-Nov-22 23:57 LONDON (ICIS)–European coal prices climbed on cooler temperatures and supply issues, as winter power demand picked up following a mild start to November. INSIGHT: Gasoline blending dynamics driving Asia MX and toluene By Jun Kai Heng 23-Nov-22 23:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Mixed xylenes (MX) and toluene prices in the second half of 2022 have notably become decoupled from, or even defied, the dynamics of theIr downstream counterparts and moved more in line with gasoline blending economics. IMF urges China to further recalibrate COVID-19 strategy By Nurluqman Suratman 23-Nov-22 18:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged China to further recalibrate its COVID-19 strategy and provide additional support to its beleaguered property sector to mitigate risks from a global economic slowdown. INSIGHT: Sustainability a double-edged sword for China’s petrochemical industry By Yvonne Shi 23-Nov-22 17:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s accelerating sustainability drive opens doors of opportunity for the chemicals sector as well as posing challenges. China’s EVA market sentiment sluggish, supply exceeds demand By Joanne Wang 23-Nov-22 16:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Supply outstripped demand amid downbeat sentiment owing to a combination of strict zero-COVID measures and ample supply from home and abroad. South Korea bracing for another truckers' strike from 24 November By Nurluqman Suratman 23-Nov-22 12:52 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korea's unionised cargo truck drivers are planning to stage an indefinite nationwide strike for the second time this year starting 24 November, potentially causing manufacturing and supply chain disruptions at major petrochemical sites. Singapore 2023 GDP growth to ease to 0.5-2.5% on weaker external demand By Nurluqman Suratman 23-Nov-22 11:19 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore's economy is projected to grow by 0.5% to 2.5% in 2023, slowing down from the expected growth of around 3.5% this year, on the back of worsening external demand, official data showed on Wednesday. INSIGHT: China’s new property market policy expected to drive longer-term demand recovery By Lina Xu 22-Nov-22 23:03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–On 11 November, the People’s Bank of China and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission jointly issued a notice to financial institutions laying out plans to ensure the “stable and healthy development” of the property sector. PODCAST: China chemicals demand outlook poor on scheduled shutdowns, pandemic policies By Morgan Condon 22-Nov-22 22:13 LONDON (ICIS)–Global holidays loom large, with Thanksgiving taking place this week, Christmas a month away and the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations on the horizon, taking place at the end of January 2023. Falling crude, feedstocks weigh on NE Asia polyester; outlook bearish By Judith Wang 22-Nov-22 12:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The recent declines in crude and feedstock prices have weighed on the spot polyester export market in northeast Asia, with the year-end outlook bearish. China plans CNY200bn refinancing to help delivery of pre-sold homes By Fanny Zhang 22-Nov-22 12:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s central bank is planning to provide yuan (CNY) 200bn interest-free refinancing to commercial banks to encourage them to support delivery of unfinished homes, the official Xinhua news outlet reported. INSIGHT: A warm November, easing costs, benefit Europe’s cracker operators By Nigel Davis 22-Nov-22 01:03 LONDON (ICIS)–Gas-driven energy costs in Europe have come off spectacular highs but petrochemical producers in the region are still contending with the exceptionally difficult operating environment. VIDEO: European power outlook for Winter 2022 By Laura Mendes 21-Nov-22 21:02 LONDON (ICIS)–The ICIS Power team presents the key drivers for the remaining of Q4 '22 and for Q1 '23 in the main Global weekly spot IPEX little changed as gains in NE Asia offsets losses in NW Europe, US Gulf By Yashas Mudumbai 21-Nov-22 18:42 LONDON (ICIS)–The weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) was barely changed in the week, rising by 0.1% as gains in northeast Asia offset declines in northwest Europe and the US Gulf. Asian currency appreciation attracts limited PE pipe grade import buying interest By Hazel Goh 21-Nov-22 17:15 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Limited Asia PE black 100 pipe grade import buying interest emerged from the appreciation of Asian currencies against the US dollar. Crude, China petrochemical futures, shares tumble on demand concerns By Pearl Bantillo 21-Nov-22 17:04 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Crude prices were extending their losses on Monday, with declines in China equities and petrochemical futures markets, due to demand concerns amid continued lockdowns in the world's second-biggest economy caused by rising COVID-19 cases. Yansab to shut Saudi complex for 53 days in '23 amid poor global demand By Pearl Bantillo 21-Nov-22 14:03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Yanbu National Petrochemical Company (Yansab) plans to shut its complex in Saudi Arabia at the start of 2023, for nearly two months of turnaround amid weakening global demand. India faces further LNG import decline in 2023 on greater spot exposure, domestic supply growth By Joachim Moxon 21-Nov-22 10:55 SINGAPORE(ICIS)–Indian LNG imports are tumbling to the weakest levels since 2017 and could fall again in 2023 as the disruption in a long-term contract has opened up a significant supply gap. Asia fatty alcohol ethoxylates to remain sluggish on weak macro conditions By Helen Yan 18-Nov-22 16:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s fatty alcohol ethoxylates (FAEs) spot market is expected to remain sluggish till the end of the year due to prevailing weak macroeconomic conditions and the global downturn. China’s phenol faces headwinds from poor demand, new capacities By Yoyo Liu 18-Nov-22 15:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s phenol prices are expected to fluctuate downwards in the short term as a result of intensive start-ups of new capacities and muted downstream demand, said most market participants. China C2 spot buying supported up to year-end; '23 term talks see slow start By Yeow Pei Lin 18-Nov-22 10:50 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s spot ethylene (C2) buying is expected to remain healthy until at least the end of the year due to the uncertain term supply for 2023, downstream capacity growth and weak domestic methanol-based output. Asia-US container rates continue to slide despite increase in blank sailings By Adam Yanelli 18-Nov-22 06:44 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Rates for shipping containers from east Asia and China to both US coasts fell this week as waning US consumer demand for goods has outweighed reduced capacity along the trade lane. Production cuts to continue in European P-series glycol ethers market By Cameron Birch 17-Nov-22 23:33 LONDON (ICIS)–Production curtailments on P-series glycol ethers already in place for some time are to continue for the foreseeable future, with the European market set to see persistent weakness at the end of the year. Bulgaria's Maritsa East 2's power selling activity to continue in the near-term By Luka Dimitrov 17-Nov-22 21:23 LONDON (ICIS)–Bulgarian coal producer Maritsa East 2 (ME2) is set to continue selling forward power futures on local exchange IBEX in the near term as Bulgarian spot price remains high, according to local market sources. INSIGHT: Lacklustre demand from various outlets impacting polyols, TDI and toluene By Zubair Adam 17-Nov-22 21:03 LONDON (ICIS)–Weaker activity from the automotive and flexible foam industries is impacting the consumption of polyols and toluene diisocyanate (TDI), with some additional impacts from the latter on feedstock toluene due to lower production. No short term demand recovery is envisaged for the whole value chain. Saudi Aramco to build $7bn Shaheen petrochemical project in South Korea By Nurluqman Suratman 17-Nov-22 13:05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi Aramco, through its subsidiary S-Oil, will build a won (W) 9.3tr ($7bn) petrochemical project in Ulsan, South Korea which would include a 1.8m tonne/year mixed-feed cracking facility. Rail strike could fuel recession; US Congress must act to prevent it – ACC By Adam Yanelli 17-Nov-22 01:38 HOUSTON (ICIS)–With the possibility of a rail worker strike looming, the American Chemistry Council is urging Congress to take action to prevent it or risk pushing the US economy closer to a recession. Coal prices climb on mounting supply fears By Jack Grant 17-Nov-22 00:29 LONDON (ICIS)–Profit margins for German coal-fired power plants continued to fall in week 46, with front-year margins reaching their lowest level since July 25 as global supply risks mounted. Tight nuclear in France likely to support Q1 '23 delivery By Karishma Sadanandan 17-Nov-22 00:06 LONDON (ICIS)–French power supply margins are likely to tighten significantly in Q1 ‘23 if, as is likely, further nuclear maintenance and outages endure into the first quarter. PODCAST: Macroeconomics prove challenging for global chems in 2023, although some bright spots remain By Morgan Condon 16-Nov-22 22:50 LONDON (ICIS)–After several challenging years in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, volatile geopolitical conditions and a tough macroeconomic backdrop mean that things are unlikely to turn a corner for global chemicals producers heading into the new year. INSIGHT: China’s property rescue plan to boost some petrochemicals By Fanny Zhang 16-Nov-22 20:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s latest measures to rescue the stressed property sector are expected to lift some petrochemicals, although they are unlikely to reverse bearish sentiment on the sluggish property market, according to economists and analysts. Europe epoxy under pressure in Nov; further Dec operational actions likely By Heidi Finch 16-Nov-22 19:03 LONDON (ICIS)–Europe epoxy resins prices are generally under downward pressure in November, due to the recent easing in gas and raw material costs, depressed demand and very competitively priced Asian product. China outlook dims further on fresh COVID-19 surge, real estate slump By Nurluqman Suratman 16-Nov-22 13:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s economic outlook just turned dimmer amid downbeat October data, with surging domestic COVID-19 infections and slumping real estate market threatening to aggravate weak petrochemical demand. INSIGHT: US refiners prioritise diesel, limiting base oil output By Amanda Hay 16-Nov-22 02:06 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Several US refiners are maximizing distillate (diesel and fuel oils) production to address global shortages and strong demand for these products – a move that limits base oil output. Weak demand outweighs refined COVID-19 policy, capping China PP price rise By Zhibo Xiao 15-Nov-22 16:02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polypropylene (PP) futures surged following the release of the refined COVID-19 policy on 11 November, but the market may still face pressure toward the year-end amid tepid demand recovery, intensive arrivals of competitively-priced imports and expected new plant start-ups. Prompt prices to support Dutch power exports to Germany By Daniel Muir 15-Nov-22 01:53 LONDON (ICIS)–Volatile prompt prices and power production uncertainty in France are likely to continue to support German imports of Dutch power throughout winter 2022. APLA '22: INTERVIEW: Indorama expects surfactants demand growth in ag, oil By Al Greenwood 14-Nov-22 21:00 CANCUN (ICIS)–Indorama expects surfactants demand in South America will continue to grow in the agricultural and energy markets, an executive said. Global weekly spot IPEX ticks higher after gains in all regions By Yashas Mudumbai 14-Nov-22 20:05 LONDON (ICIS)–The weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) rose by 0.8% on the back of gains in all three main regions. INSIGHT: Chemicals specialisation, focus on sustainability paying dividends in tough operating environment By Nigel Davis 14-Nov-22 19:44 LONDON (ICIS)–Specialisation and a focus on higher added value chemicals and services provided some shelter from the storm for certain producers in Europe in the third quarter. Asia butyl acetate slides to two-year low on tepid demand By Melanie Wee 14-Nov-22 17:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia butyl acetate (butac) market fundamentals were undermined by lacklustre demand, sending spot prices to a two-year low, although some pick-up in sentiment may be seen towards year-end. China PC import price at over two-year low; demand outlook poor By Li Peng Seng 14-Nov-22 09:34 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China's average import price of moulding grade polycarbonate (PC) slumped to more than a two-year low as poor demand lingered while supply stayed plentiful. APLA '22: LatAm PE supply to remain sufficient to good By Bruno Menini 13-Nov-22 22:00 CANCUN, Mexico (ICIS)–Latin America polyethylene (PE) fourth-quarter supply is expected to remain sufficient to good for most regional markets amid normal plant operations and improving US export availability as logistic challenges eased, heading into this year’s annual meeting of the Latin America Petrochemical Association (APLA). PODCAST: China's EVA producers overhaul plants amid price routs By Joanne Wang 11-Nov-22 13:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analysts Jady Ma and Joanne Wang discuss the recent developments in China's Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) market. Asia ethylene little changed as players await direction from '23 term talks By Yeow Pei Lin 11-Nov-22 11:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s ethylene spot import prices for December-arrival cargoes were broadly stable this week, as the weak downstream margins and strong US arrivals continued to be counterbalanced by limited regional supply. Bearish sentiment dominates Asia November petrochemical markets By Amy Yu 11-Nov-22 10:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Bearish sentiment in Asian petrochemical markets has risen due to weak demand from late October, and we expect prices of most products in the region to remain on a downward trend in November. German Cal ’23 facing downward revision on bearish fundamentals By Daniel Muir 11-Nov-22 00:47 LONDON (ICIS)– The German power front-year baseload contract looks set to continue its downward revision towards expiry on bearish winter ’22 fundamentals. Europe capro and nylon 6 demand to stay weak By Marta Fern 10-Nov-22 23:58 LONDON (ICIS)–Europe caprolactam (capro) and nylon 6 demand is expected to stay subdued in November and December and output curtailed, limiting overproduction. INSIGHT: Imminent US slowdown piles up problems for Mexican chems By Al Greenwood 10-Nov-22 23:16 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The imminent downturn in the US economy will slow growth in Mexico, lowering demand for plastics and chemicals in an industry that can't get enough feedstock. Europe’s energy-intensive chemicals could reach ‘point of no return’: Brenntag CEO By Will Beacham 10-Nov-22 22:50 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Europe’s energy-intensive chemical sector and value chains could reach the “point of no return” as they operate at an increasing cost disadvantage to other regions, according to the CEO of Brenntag, the world’s largest distributor of chemicals. Brenntag to double M&A war chest, expand digital focus By Will Beacham 10-Nov-22 22:11 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Brenntag has doubled its annual mergers & acquisitions (M&A) budget with an eye to investing beyond the chemicals distribution space to enhance its data and technology offering. Saudi Arabia H1 2022 PE exports increase year on year By Nadim Salamoun 10-Nov-22 16:07 DUBAI (ICIS)–Latest available data on the ICIS Supply and Demand Database showed that Saudi Arabia’s polyethylene (PE) exports during the first half of 2022 increased year on year by 5.6% from a total of 4,584,012 tonnes to a total of 4,842,267 tonnes. VIDEO: China faces strong gasoil demand, gasoline demand softening By Floria Dai 10-Nov-22 15:51 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch industry analyst Floria Dai discuss China's gasoline and gasoil market which have seen varying trends in wholesale prices. Asia naphtha slumps on poor downstream margins, maintenance shutdowns By Melanie Wee 10-Nov-22 15:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia naphtha markets could remain undermined by bearish conditions, generating downward pressure on spot prices. Asia BDO retreats on poor demand, weak domestic China market By Clive Ong 10-Nov-22 11:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian 1,4-butanediol (BDO) market trended lower as demand in the region dissipated amid a poor economic outlook. Some participants believe that demand in the region, in particular China, could remain weak until after the Lunar New Year in late January. China, India ethanolamines markets under downward pressure as demand wanes By Clive Ong 10-Nov-22 14:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The ethanolamines markets in China and India remain under downward pressure amid prevailing weak demand and ample supply. British industrial demand to remain below previous years By ICIS Editorial 10-Nov-22 01:05 LONDON (ICIS)–Despite recent pressure to NBP Day-ahead and front month gas prices, a return to high levels of industrial offtake in Britain is unlikely, ICIS analysis shows. INSIGHT: Some recent energy cost relief for Europe but demand outlook poor By Nigel Davis 10-Nov-22 00:35 LONDON (ICIS)–ICIS price-based indexes have tracked down in the second half of the year with significant falls pushing year on year comparison deeply negative. INTERVIEW: Chemical industry must attract talent to tackle world’s big challenges – Dow CEO By Joseph Chang 09-Nov-22 23:42 NEW YORK (ICIS)–The chemical industry needs to attract qualified people to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges such as decarbonisation, the CEO of Dow said. German front year clean darks hit 3-month low By Jack Grant 09-Nov-22 23:16 LONDON (ICIS)–Front year profit margins for German coal-fired power plants continued to fall going into week 45, reaching the lowest level since July, despite fuel costs falling and becoming less expensive relative to revenue. PODCAST: European companies resume imports and gas injections in Ukraine By Aura Sabadus 09-Nov-22 21:14 LONDON (ICIS)– Ukrainian energy companies are facing one of their toughest winters ever, scrambling to repair infrastructure damaged by ongoing Russian missile attacks ahead of winter and secure financial resources to keep the energy system running. Despite the risks, European companies are importing and injecting gas in storage, taking advantage of falling gas prices and Ukraine’s large available capacity. Thailand’s PTTGC swings to Q3 net loss amid weaker petchem margins By Nurluqman Suratman 09-Nov-22 16:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) swung to a net loss of Thai baht (Bt) 13.4bn in the third quarter amid weaker petrochemical spreads, the Thai producer said on Wednesday. Asia petrochemical markets mixed amid high inflation By Felicia Loo 09-Nov-22 14:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical markets were mixed amid economic headwinds and dampening consumption in China amid a slowing economy, with no let-up on its harsh zero COVID-19 policy, dampening consumption. SE Asia MTBE supply shortage keeps export window for China open By Keven Zhang 09-Nov-22 12:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Supply of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) tightened in Asia due to low production and plant issues, keeping China’s export window to the region wide open. Dull outlook for India synthetic rubbers import talks amid declining offers By Ai Teng Lim 09-Nov-22 11:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Discussions for Indian imports of various synthetic rubbers, from styrene-butadiene-rubber (SBR) to polybutadiene rubber (PBR), may stay under pressure in the near term, as import offers are softening amid stiffer competition for market share. INSIGHT: ICIS price indexes continue extended downtrend on demand concerns By Nigel Davis 09-Nov-22 01:18 LONDON (ICIS)–ICIS petrochemical indexes started to turn down in mid year, with the NE Asia IPEX taking a lead on coronavirus lockdowns and deepening concern about China’s rate of economic growth. PODCAST: Asia IPA tight despite weak demand also seen in Europe and US By ICIS Editorial 08-Nov-22 19:58 LONDON (ICIS)–Demand for isopropanol (IPA) is globally soft, though tight supply in Asia has contributed to continued limited exports to Europe. Philippines' Petron Jan-Sept net profit surges; to build coco-methyl ester plant By Pearl Bantillo 08-Nov-22 15:08 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Petron Corp posted a 64% year-on-year increase in nine-month net profit on the back of higher fuel demand even as recession fears drove down oil prices in the third quarter, the Philippine refiner said on Tuesday. Supply uncertainty drives risk premium towards Dutch TTF gas curve and away from the prompt By Rob Dalton 08-Nov-22 00:06 LONDON (ICIS)–Since the outbreak of conflict between Russia and Ukraine, much of the risk premium which was attached to the Dutch TTF gas prompt has shifted to the curve in the second half of the year amid supply uncertainty to the continent. HYDRO MONTHLY: Less rain across continental Europe to limit hydro stocks levels By Laura Mendes 07-Nov-22 23:18 LONDON (ICIS)–Lower precipitation levels than previously anticipated throughout continental Europe is set to decrease hydropower supply in the region during November. This could provide some upside for wholesale electricity prompt prices in the near term, particularly if supply margins tighten elsewhere. PODCAST: India's PVC market sees bearish sentiment, weak demand By Damini Dabholkar 07-Nov-22 22:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–India’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market has been on a steady downtrend over the last year. In this podcast, PVC editor Damini Dabholkar discusses recent developments and what lies ahead for PVC. Germany’s gas-thirsty chemicals still at risk of shutdowns – analysts By Jonathan Lopez 07-Nov-22 20:09 MADRID (ICIS)–Risks of shutdowns in German chemicals plants dependent on natural gas for electricity production during the winter remain, despite storage levels at highs and gas prices in Europe easing, according to analysts at Oxford Economics. Global weekly spot IPEX down on decreases across regions By Yashas Mudumbai 07-Nov-22 18:14 LONDON (ICIS)–The weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) fell by 2.3% on the back of declines across all regions. Asia ethyl acetate markets face bearish times, demand sluggish By Melanie Wee 07-Nov-22 16:33 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia ethyl acetate (etac) markets could see a downbeat demand scenario in the coming days, faced with waning economic conditions. NE Asia C2 sellers seek higher prices for spot Dec cargoes; buyers hesitant By Yeow Pei Lin 04-Nov-22 13:47 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Spot ethylene (C2) buyers in China and Taiwan headed for the sidelines due to higher selling price indications for December-arrival cargoes and falling downstream margins. China BD import discussions stall on domestic market losses; outlook mixed By Ai Teng Lim 04-Nov-22 11:47 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Discussions in China for butadiene (BD) imports stalled after domestic prices in the country plummeted early in the week. UK power divergence to NBP dynamics likely to subside By Jack Grant 04-Nov-22 01:46 LONDON (ICIS)–Price signals and fundamental indicators suggest that the previous divergence between UK power and equivalent NBP contracts has likely subsided despite supply risks in the first quarter of 2023. INSIGHT: Greater commitment needed to move climate dial further By Nigel Davis 04-Nov-22 01:33 LONDON (ICIS)–The world is nearing ‘peak oil’ and, indeed, the peak of demand for all fossil fuels as the drive to abate rampant climate change continues. PODCAST: Weak MEK demand across Europe and Asia, previous short supply supports US demand By Nick Cleeve 04-Nov-22 00:59 LONDON (ICIS)–Demand for MEK is weak in Europe amid softer natural gas and energy pricing, while China's ongoing zero-Covid policy is limiting activity in Asia. Profitability and prices slide further, supply concerns mount By Jack Grant 03-Nov-22 00:23 LONDON (ICIS)–Rolling front-month profit margins for German coal-fired power plants plummeted going into week 44, reaching the lowest level since 9 June, before resurging into the opening of November. K FAIR '22 PODCAST: "Less gloomy" than expected but pessimism clear for Europe's PE, PP, EVA, PET markets By Vicky Ellis 03-Nov-22 20:52 LONDON (ICIS)–After two long years in the shadow of COVID-19, many will have felt things are back to normal as they returned to meetings in person in October at K, the plastics and rubber trade fair that filled the halls of Dusseldorf’s Messe. INSIGHT: Asia October PMIs point to broadening export downturn By Nurluqman Suratman 02-Nov-22 17:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Amid falling new orders and inventory build-up, Asia’s export downturn is broadening with the latest data pointing to further weakness in factory activity across the region. Asia glycerine suppliers target China amid oversupply, Europe demand slump By Helen Yan 03-Nov-22 13:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s glycerine suppliers are targeting the Chinese market amid an oversupply from increased biodiesel output and slumping demand in Europe. INSIGHT: More pain for chemicals as US Federal Reserve has ‘a ways to go’ on rate hikes By Joseph Chang 03-Nov-22 06:25 NEW YORK (ICIS)–US and global chemical producers will likely see more pain ahead as the US Federal Reserve still has a “ways to go” in its tightening cycle to bring inflation down to its 2% target. It’s not pausing or pivoting, and not budging from its target. Asian recyclers seek balance between feedstock security, storage constraints By Arianne Perez 02-Nov-22 17:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian producers of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) and recycled polyethylene (R-PE) require a delicate balance between continuous purchases of feedstock while avoiding full storage capacities at plants. China’s Oct petchem market falls on oversupply, poor confidence By Yvonne Shi 02-Nov-22 12:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical market fell significantly in October. As of October 31, the ICIS China Petrochemical Price Index (which tracks 17 commodities) dropped 5.4% from September 30 to close at 1220.11 points. POWER MONTHLY INDICES: Winter supply risk subsides amid bearish weather signals By Jack Grant 01-Nov-22 23:56 LONDON (ICIS)—Fading supply risk across European wholesale electricity markets, underpinned by bearish weather forecasts, resulted in the majority of November ’22 indices outturning below their October ’22 counterparts. INSIGHT: New prospects for China's petrochemical industry following 20th Party Congress By Joey Zhou 01-Nov-22 19:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China aims to shift its economy from “high-speed” growth” towards “high quality” growth, president Xi Jinping said in a report at the opening session of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on 16 October. The report lays out the country’s development objectives for 2035, with the goal of “significantly increasing economic strength, scientific and technological capabilities, and composite national strength”. INSIGHT: Weak global demand to continue dampening China PE market confidence By Joanne Wang 01-Nov-22 11:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Bearish domestic and overseas demand may continue to dampen confidence in China’s polyethylene (PE) market in the fourth quarter, or even in 2023. NE Asia propylene tumbles on poor demand, upstream in focus By Julia Tan 01-Nov-22 17:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The average price for spot propylene (C3) imports in northeast Asia fell in the week ended 28 October, tracking losses in the Chinese domestic spot markets. US caustic soda likely to remain in tight supply through Q4 and into 2023 By Bill Bowen 01-Nov-22 06:41 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Two separate factors appear likely to keep the US liquid caustic soda market tightly supplied for the coming months, according to an emerging market consensus. INSIGHT: Crashing gas spurs fertilizer ramp up, petchems still shuttered By Deepika Thapliyal 01-Nov-22 01:07 LONDON (ICIS)–Around a third of European ammonia production which shut down over the summer has reportedly ramped up in October, although overall gas demand remained subdued, ICIS research shows. Asia’s caustic soda spot supply to improve as arbitrage demand cools By Jonathan Chou 31-Oct-22 17:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Slowing arbitrage demand from Europe for Asian spot material of liquid caustic soda may lead to improved supply in Asia, while near-term spot demand in Asia is likely to be capped amid macroeconomic challenges. Saudi Arabia's SABIC Q3 net profit falls 67.1% amid higher costs By Nurluqman Suratman 31-Oct-22 11:34 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi petrochemicals major SABIC posted a 67.1% year-on-year drop in its third quarter net profit on the back of higher costs despite an increase in sales volumes. Asia MEG prices plunge to a two-year low; outlook bearish By Judith Wang 28-Oct-22 15:14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) weekly prices plunged to a two-year low during the week amid weak downstream performance, while the market outlook is expected to remain bearish amid rising supply and low year-end demand. China to continue facing strong gasoil demand, soft gasoline demand in near term By Floria Dai 28-Oct-22 12:31 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China is likely to continue facing robust gasoil demand and weak gasoline demand in the near-term, which has seen divergent trends in wholesale prices for gasoil and gasoline despite the upward adjustment in retail ceiling prices on 25 October. China C2 import appetite strong despite weak downstream margins By Yeow Pei Lin 28-Oct-22 12:06 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene (C2) import prices were underpinned by restocking demand in China even as the country’s domestic downstream prices suffered further declines this week. INSIGHT: A new world for Asia olefins as capacity surges, demand remains uncertain By Amy Yu 28-Oct-22 12:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asia olefins industry is witnessing a new world of significantly squeezed margins for all producers, with incremental capacity addtions set against the backdrop of weak demand. High inventories, weak demand weigh on US propylene By John Donnelly 28-Oct-22 01:29 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US propylene market continues to be well-supplied and is looking at continued weak derivative demand through Q4. European acrylate esters continue to see destocking amid wider uncertainties By Mathew Jolin-Beech 28-Oct-22 01:20 LONDON (ICIS)–The European acrylate ester markets are expected to see destocking continue while the wider macro-economic uncertainties continue. Low prices may limit future German onshore subscriptions By Daniel Muir 28-Oct-22 01:07 LONDON (ICIS)–Concerns amongst onshore wind power project participants suggest that the current environment for project development could see future German onshore wind auctions be significantly undersubscribed. INSIGHT: M&A to be big part of chem's shift to sustainability By Al Greenwood 28-Oct-22 00:18 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) will play a big part in what Deloitte Consultancy sees as a pivotal moment in the chemical industry, which will increasingly focus on sustainability and securing supply chains. European LNG sendout to remain elevated early November By Christopher Rene 27-Oct-22 21:21 LONDON (ICIS)–Persistently high LNG sendout is forecast from the start of November with unseasonably high regasification volumes contributing to the erosion of supply risk from shorter-dated European gas contracts late-October. K Fair ‘22: Cost saving key for Europe TiO2 players in challenging climate By Heidi Finch 27-Oct-22 18:59 LONDON (ICIS)–Cost saving is vital in the fourth quarter and into 2023 in the Europe titanium dioxide (TiO2) market, as demand is falling and economic conditions are worsening, as discussed by players at K Fair. INSIGHT: China PP export outlook – 1, trending to be a major, global exporter By Lucy Shuai 27-Oct-22 18:41 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China is trending to be a major, global exporter of polypropene (PP) in view of massive domestic capacity start-ups and supply pressure that needs to find export outlets. Asia Group II base oils supply to be reduced until year-end By Matthew Chong 27-Oct-22 15:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s Group II base oils spot supply is expected to shrink until at least the year-end, after having been in relative abundance from June to September earlier this year. Global fossil fuel demand approaching peak – IEA By Tom Brown 27-Oct-22 12:00 LONDON (ICIS)–Global demand may be approaching a peak or plateau for all fossil fuels based on current government policy frameworks, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday, with consumption potentially set to recede in the decades ahead. S Korea Q3 GDP grows by 3.1% on household consumption, construction growth By Nurluqman Suratman 27-Oct-22 10:39 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korea’s economy grew by 3.1% year on year in the third quarter on the back of stronger household consumption and a recovery in the construction sector, preliminary official data showed on Thursday. Weak derivative markets pulling down US ethylene By John Donnelly 27-Oct-22 04:06 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The ethylene market continues to be long with ample supply and spot prices near ethane cracking costs. This is likely to continue through at least the first part of Q4. Spanish power discount to France to maintain exports By Daniel Muir 27-Oct-22 01:05 LONDON (ICIS)–Large discounts between the Spanish and French Q1 products are likely to continue to support Spanish power exports through the winter. INSIGHT: BASF expecting extremely volatile markets and further uncertainty By Nigel Davis 26-Oct-22 23:54 LONDON (ICIS)–BASF is sticking with its 2022 financial forecasts and is targeting earnings at the upper end of its €6.8-7.2bn range for earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), a steep fall on last year, but is having to be creative in the way it handles the energy crisis in Europe and the wider global economic downturn. Some EU firms resume Ukraine storage injections to clear supply overhang By Aura Sabadus 26-Oct-22 23:49 LONDON (ICIS)–Some EU-based companies have resumed gas injections in Ukrainian storage as hub prices have been falling and markets are facing a supply overhang, several traders told ICIS. Asia PVC likely to see muted demand, healthy supply in the short term By Jonathan Chou 26-Oct-22 16:52 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Regional spot demand for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in Asia is likely to remain muted on the back of recession fears and rising inflation, while availability is expected to stay healthy in the short term. Asia EDC demand to stay weak while deep-sea supply grows By Jonathan Chou 26-Oct-22 12:57 SINGAPORE(ICIS)–Asia’s spot ethylene dichloride (EDC) demand is being weighed down by sluggish downstream polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market, while spot availability of the intermediate chemical is likely to improve toward the end of the year. US epoxy resins softening as market tries to gauge 2023 demand By Tarun Raizada 26-Oct-22 06:14 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US epoxy resins continued to be pressured in October due to aggressively-priced imports and slowing demand tied to seasonal and economic headwinds. Extension of UK nuclear fleet would cut gas, import reliance By Jack Grant 26-Oct-22 00:55 LONDON (ICIS)–EDF Energy recently announced it was considering extending the life of two of the UK’s nuclear plants, with a combined capacity of 2.4GW, given the severity of the energy crisis that has developed over the last 12 months. PODCAST: Global chemicals loses China as engine of demand growth By Will Beacham 25-Oct-22 22:10 BARCELONA (ICIS)–China’s economic growth will continue at low levels, removing a major source of expanding demand for the global chemical sector. NE Asia polyester extends losses on lower feedstock cost, sluggish demand By Judith Wang 25-Oct-22 12:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Spot polyester prices in northeast Asia weakened further, weighed down by lower feedstock cost and an overall sluggish demand for downstream textiles. Singapore eyes hydrogen developments to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 – minister By Nurluqman Suratman 25-Oct-22 11:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore is aiming to develop hydrogen to supply up to half of its power needs by 2050 in a bid to accelerate its ambitions for net zero emissions, a senior government official said on Tuesday. INSIGHT: Asia C3 to face headwinds in fourth quarter By Julia Tan 25-Oct-22 10:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian propylene market is facing headwinds as it steps into the fourth quarter as demand looks likely to remain weak until the end of the year on poor derivative margins. Europe methanol storage terminals at capacity, lengthy market conditions for November By Eashani Chavda 25-Oct-22 00:53 LONDON (ICIS)–European methanol storage terminals are full in late October, driving lengthy market conditions heading into November. K Fair ‘22: Europe BPA Q4 demand low, cautious support for early 2023 By Heidi Finch 24-Oct-22 22:38 LONDON (ICIS)–Europe bisphenol A (BPA) demand is downbeat in the fourth quarter, on macroeconomic woes, the low season and residual energy cost impacts. INSIGHT: Europe readies for winter without Russian gas, chemicals may avoid rationing By Will Beacham 24-Oct-22 19:00 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Europe’s chemical sector may not suffer mandatory cuts to natural gas consumption this winter, unless exceptionally cold weather boosts domestic heating demand significantly. K Fair '22: Solvay materials unit spared from downturn on healthy aerospace, defence sectors By Jonathan Lopez 24-Oct-22 15:56 DUSSELDORF, Germany (ICIS)–Solvay’s Materials division has so far been spared from a downturn on the back of healthy order books from the aerospace and defence industries, according to an executive of the Belgium-headquartered chemicals major. Some EU firms resume Ukraine storage injections to clear supply overhang By Aura Sabadus 26-Oct-22 16:49 LONDON (ICIS)–Some EU-based companies have resumed gas injections in Ukrainian storage as hub prices have been falling and markets are facing a supply overhang, several traders told ICIS. October European LNG imports could be second highest ever By Christopher Rene 20-Oct-22 22:39 LONDON (ICIS)–European LNG imports are in line to hit a seven-month high for October, narrowly missing out on the all-time monthly high of 11m tonnes recorded in April this year. K Fair ‘22: Europe TiO2 market and downstream hope adapting to challenges will bring stability By Heidi Finch 20-Oct-22 20:44 DUSSELDORF (ICIS)–Strict operational and supply management in the Europe titanium dioxide (TiO2) and downstream markets is vital, amid a challenging cost and demand environment, as players long for much needed stability in these areas, according to sources at the K Fair. Germany manufacturing input shortages could last beyond mid-term shocks – ifo By Tom Brown 18-Oct-22 16:05 LONDON (ICIS)–Material shortages for Germany’s manufacturing sector could last beyond current disruptions, a researcher at economics institute ifo said on Tuesday, with structural changes set to persist and production potentially set to decline. Input shortages that have dogged the manufacturing sector in the country are likely to last beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, according to ifo researcher Joachim Ragnitz. K Fair ‘22: Europe R-PET market faces tough and unpredictable Q4 By Matt Tudball 18-Oct-22 14:00 LONDON (ICIS)–The European recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) market has entered one of the most turbulent periods in its history as industry veterans and newcomers alike struggle to predict the outlook as they meet at the K Plastics Fair. In a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’, the R-PET market has gone from tight supply and record-high prices in the first half of the year to massive oversupply, slow demand, and record-breaking price drops in October. US LNG surpasses Russian natural gas flows to Europe for the first time By Edward Cox 17-Oct-22 16:27 LONDON (ICIS)–US LNG supply to Europe exceeded combined Russian gas and LNG for the first time in September, with the trend likely to continue based on forward market price spreads. US LNG provided 5.3 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas in September, with total Russian supply at 3.7bcm. Asia FAE market to remain sluggish in Q4 on economic slowdown and uncertainties By Helen Yan 14-Oct-22 16:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s fatty alcohols ethoxylates (FAE) market is expected to remain sluggish in the fourth quarter amid a global economic slowdown and gloomy macroeconomic outlook. INSIGHT: Europe chemicals pressured by costs, challenged by demand By Nigel Davis 14-Oct-22 16:00 LONDON (ICIS)–Chemical producers in Europe know they are facing a tough winter given exceptionally high natural gas and electricity prices and high oil-based feedstock costs but the collapse in demand in late summer gives them even greater cause for concern. Singapore Q4 GDP growth slows to 4.4%, monetary policy tightened By Nurluqman Suratman 14-Oct-22 11:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore's central bank on Friday tightened its monetary policy to dampen persistent price pressures which has slowed its economy to a year-on-year growth of 4.4% in the fourth quarter. NE Asia C2 rebounds; China MTO output cuts boost post-holiday import demand By Yeow Pei Lin 14-Oct-22 10:42 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene (C2) import prices rose for the first time in five weeks, aided by post-holiday restocking demand in China, limited spot offers for November and the rising cost of US supply. INSIGHT: Demography to determine chemical demand – prepare for a slower growth world By Kevin Swift 14-Oct-22 03:25 CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (ICIS)–From a demand side, population determines the size of markets. It is why companies have been attracted to China and all those consumers. Moreover, the age composition of the population, incomes, and the development of downstream durable and non-durable end-use markets, and other factors also impact plastic resin demand. Norway power production tax risks investment By Daniel Muir 14-Oct-22 00:23 LONDON (ICIS)– Norway’s proposed power price tax could have contrasting impacts on project investment across the country’s bidding zones, producers have told ICIS. Increasing Dutch LNG supply helps cover domestic gas demand By Marta Del Buono 13-Oct-22 18:19 LONDON (ICIS)–Dutch LNG sendout in the country’s supply mix, as well as at European level, will represent a greater share going forward as Russian flows to the continent have been dropping over the past months. 2023 refinery solvents demand to reverse 2022 pattern By Jane Gibson 13-Oct-22 17:41 LONDON (ICIS)–Refinery solvents markets will see a year of two halves in 2023, with the second half expected to see a more positive outlook, reversing the trend seen in 2022. However, natural gas costs, downstream demand and volatile feedstocks will remain on the watchlist all year. INSIGHT: Wall Street turns more negative on TiO2 outlook on weakness in Europe and China By Joseph Chang 13-Oct-22 03:59 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Wall Street analysts are turning more negative on the outlook for titanium dioxide (TiO2) producer earnings as demand weakens, especially in Europe and China. While pricing has held up in the US and Europe thus far, downward pressure is building. US Plug mulls green ammonia shipments to Europe By Al Greenwood 13-Oct-22 03:28 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US green hydrogen company Plug is thinking about some type of project that could develop plants in Europe that would extract hydrogen from green ammonia shipped from the US, the CEO said on Wednesday. EU adds NPK, MOP, nitrates to Russian export sanctions list By Andy Hemphill 12-Oct-22 23:50 LONDON (ICIS)–The European Commission's (EC) latest list of products sanctioned for export from Russia to the EU has been extended to include phosphate fertilizers, alongside muriate of potash (MOP), nitrates, and nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium (NPK) blends. UK facing two-hour daily peak demand window with less French import potential By Anna Coulson 12-Oct-22 23:37 LONDON (ICIS)–French power grid operator RTE’s assertion that France should be able to export power during peak times this winter to the UK may not apply to some evening peak hours. Canada chemicals monitor fallout from China slowdown, Ukraine war – exec By Stefan Baumgarten 12-Oct-22 23:21 TORONTO (ICIS)–Canada’s chemical industry is “carefully watching” as the slowdown in China and economic weakness elsewhere in Asia have created pricing pressures on some chemical commodities, the CEO at the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) said to ICIS. IMF trims developing Asia growth outlook on China weakness By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Oct-22 12:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has trimmed its economic growth forecast for emerging and developing Asian economies on account of China's slowdown. S Korea raises benchmark interest rate to 10-year high of 3% By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Oct-22 12:40 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korea's central bank on Wednesday raised its key interest rate by half a percentage point to a 10-year high of 3% as inflationary pressures, fuelled by a strong US dollar, continue to weigh on its economy. INSIGHT: Petchems dealing with bottom of cycle conditions, challenged to the core by sustainability By Nigel Davis 11-Oct-22 23:12 LONDON (ICIS)–Petrochemical producers globally are having to deal with bottom of the cycle conditions alongside the distortion primarily created by Russia’s war in Ukraine. It has, therefore, been very much a question of managing through the trough and streamlining costs to more effectively match customer demand. NE Asia C3 short-term demand outlook bleak By Julia Tan 11-Oct-22 19:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Spot prices for northeast Asian propylene imports firmed on Tuesday on recent upstream gains and firmer derivative futures, but market participants underlined that the short-term demand outlook for the market remains bleak. China September petrochemical markets up; demand outlook still bleak By Yvonne Shi 11-Oct-22 14:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical markets were mostly higher in September on supply tightness in some products and aided by pre-holiday restocking, but overall demand is not expected to improve by much in the coming months. Tight supply persists for SE Asian solvent-grade MX By Jun Kai Heng 11-Oct-22 12:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Supply tightness in southeast Asia for solvent-grade mixed xylenes (MX) brought about by low regional production levels and a lack of feasible import options continued to plague buyers. EPCA '22: Bearish outlook for Europe styrene market for Q4, at least By Fergus Jensen 11-Oct-22 06:10 LONDON (ICIS)–Heightened bearish sentiment has dominated the European styrene market in recent months and threatens to continue to overshadow consumption through to the end of 2022, as the broader market grapples with high inflation, spiking energy costs and expectations of a recession in several regions. EPCA '22: European MEG supply could be limited in Q4 on imports, local cuts; demand remains uncertain By Melissa Hurley 11-Oct-22 01:56 LONDON (ICIS)–European monoethylene glycol (MEG) market players have faced a challenging 2022 and there are mixed expectations for the end of the year and beyond. Global weekly spot IPEX slightly up on rises in NE Asia, NW Europe By Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez 10-Oct-22 23:34 LONDON (ICIS)–The weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) rose by 0.1%, supported by a rise in northeast Asia and northwest Europe spot prices. EPCA '22: Europe polyol demand stymied by TDI shortages, demand forecast weaker in ‘23 By Zubair Adam 10-Oct-22 23:27 LONDON (ICIS)–Demand for polyether polyols is currently somewhat hindered by the shortage of supply of toluene diisocyanate (TDI) in Europe, with some projections for overall consumption to be weaker in 2023. ICE Futures US to trade ICIS-linked Europe ethylene monthly contracts By Nel Weddle 10-Oct-22 20:24 LONDON (ICIS)–The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has launched its first Europe ethylene futures contracts. EPCA 22: INSIGHT: Europe BDO costs bite and demand concerns grip the market By Katherine Sale 10-Oct-22 17:00 BERLIN (ICIS)–Uncertainty reigns in the European butanediol (BDO) market, with local sellers hit by potential market changing costs, and demand looking to fall off a cliff from November. Asia PP import appetite marred by weak local currencies, possible supply lengthening By Jackie Wong 07-Oct-22 15:05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Southeast Asia's import appetite for polypropylene (PP) continues to be marred by soft domestic currencies against the US dollar, and the possible lengthening of supply from October onwards would likely pile on the pressure. Asia BD stays under pressure; demand outlook hazy By Ai Teng Lim 07-Oct-22 11:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s spot discussions for butadiene (BD) were muted this week with many regional outlets inactive amid various holidays, including a week-long closure in China from 1-7 October. US labour market to remain tight even as economy heads into recession – ICIS economist By Joseph Chang 07-Oct-22 04:28 NEW YORK (ICIS)–The US labour market will continue to be relatively tight, even with the economy likely heading into a recession, according to the ICIS senior economist. INSIGHT: So far, chem earnings highlight drag from Europe, Asia, energy By Al Greenwood 06-Oct-22 23:27 HOUSTON (ICIS)–A surge in profit warnings from chemical companies has cited high energy prices as well as weakness in Europe and Asia as the main reasons why producers cut their guidance for the third quarter and for the full year. EPCA ’22: Europe olefins preparing for the worst, production cuts key By Nel Weddle 06-Oct-22 21:47 BERLIN (ICIS)–Every conversation on the sidelines of the European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting has been the same – anyone hoping to find some positives or even just some clarity among all the pessimism over the months ahead will likely not have been too successful. Thailand's SCG Chemicals IPO gets SEC nod; eyes listing in 2023 By Pearl Bantillo 06-Oct-22 17:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–SCG Chemicals’ (SCGC) planned initial public offering (IPO) has secured approval from Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but its launch may not happen this year, its parent firm Siam Cement Group (SCG) said on Thursday. EPCA ’22: Lack of visibility prompts Europe ACN players to prepare for the worst By Jane Massingham 06-Oct-22 16:20 BERLIN (ICIS)–The most common phrase heard from many European acrylonitrile (ACN) buyers is no-one knows what will happen and as such players are having to prepare worst case scenarios to try and find a way to survive the coming quarters. Asia Q4 petrochemical demand faces headwinds as global economy slows By Felicia Loo 06-Oct-22 14:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Petrochemical demand in Asia will be largely undermined because regional factories face continued weakness in export demand in the fourth quarter. Asia naphtha gathers ground on crude oil gains, supply driven By Melanie Wee 06-Oct-22 13:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia naphtha markets are buoyed by crude oil gains on potential supply curbs and improved spot demand, lifting the product’s crack spread. Global merchandise trade growth to slow to 1% in 2023 – WTO By Nurluqman Suratman 06-Oct-22 12:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–World trade is expected to lose momentum in the second half of 2022 and remain subdued in 2023 as multiple shocks weigh on the global economy, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said late on Wednesday. EPCA '22: HELM Asia, Europe sales hit by downturn, US stable By Will Beacham 06-Oct-22 01:24 BERLIN (ICIS)–Poor economic conditions around the world, especially in Europe, have hit the revenues of Germany’s HELM, a major distributor and marketer of bulk and intermediate chemicals. German front-year clean dark spread hits two-month low By Jack Grant 06-Oct-22 00:20 LONDON (ICIS)—Potential front-year profit margins for German coal-fired electricity generation reached €259.02/MWh on 4 October, the lowest level since 10 August. Later-dated German clean dark spreads have trended downwards since 26 August, with fuel costs becoming more expensive relative to revenue. EPCA ’22: INSIGHT: European Commission cautious on energy as chems sector faces the winter By Tom Brown 05-Oct-22 19:42 BERLIN (ICIS)–The European Commission is treading carefully with respect to its energy policy response, with policymakers trying to walk a line between mitigation of high costs and preservation of hard-won stocks as industry faces up to a difficult winter. EPCA '22: Europe melamine production crippled by gas costs, imports and poor demand By Melissa Hurley 05-Oct-22 17:00 LONDON (ICIS)–European melamine market conditions remain fraught with difficulties, as poor demand continues to clash with high production costs in Europe. Asia manufacturing faces Q4 gloom; export demand may weaken further By Nurluqman Suratman 05-Oct-22 13:04 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia's factories will likely face continued weakness in export demand in the fourth quarter as European and the US economies may be looking at a sharp slowdown. US Sept auto sales rise, but headwinds persist from higher interest rates, economic slowdown By Adam Yanelli 05-Oct-22 04:17 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US September sales of new light vehicles rose from the previous month and are up by double digits year on year, but higher interest rates and waning economic fundamentals are eroding consumer purchasing plans. EPCA ’22: ‘Time to survive’ for the European chemical industry By Katherine Sale 04-Oct-22 23:19 BERLIN (ICIS)–Survival has been a key theme of this year’s European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) annual meeting, with emphasis on making it through the winter. EPCA ’22: EU energy crisis points to ‘major’ role for fossil fuels, need for staggered regulations – EPCA pres By Tom Brown 04-Oct-22 20:14 BERLIN (ICIS)–The reinvention of the EU’s energy mix in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war is likely to keep fossil fuels as a key energy source and raw materials until the late 2030s and should prompt a re-examination of new chemicals legislation, according to the president of the European Petrochemicals Association (EPCA). EPCA '22: ‘Two parallel worlds’ for European chemicals – Brenntag CEO By Will Beacham 04-Oct-22 17:38 BERLIN (ICIS)–Europe’s chemical markets are moving in two different directions, with declining downstream demand hurting some value chains, but others suffering from extreme tightness caused by energy-related outages, according to the CEO of Germany’s Brenntag, the world’s largest chemical distributor. Singapore Sept manufacturing shrinks for first time since 2020 as outlook dims By Nurluqman Suratman 04-Oct-22 13:41 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore's factory activity in September contracted for the first time in more than two years, as external demand continued to be weighed down by the impact of high inflation and interest rates hikes. CRUDE OUTLOOK: Demand concerns to outweigh tight supply, at least for now By Eloise Radley 03-Oct-22 23:24 LONDON (ICIS)–As global recession looms, oil prices may be in for a bumpy decline for the rest of October amid prospects of lower oil demand as central banks tighten monetary conditions. Global weekly spot IPEX falls on declines in northeast Asia, US Gulf By Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez 03-Oct-22 19:20 LONDON (ICIS)–The weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) dropped by 1.9% week on week, on the back of price declines in northeast Asia and the US Gulf. INSIGHT: Plant operations and profitability in Europe suffer as costs mount By Nigel Davis 03-Oct-22 17:05 LONDON (ICIS)–EU energy ministers meeting on Friday approved most of a proposed energy crisis package to cut energy usage across the bloc, cap excess revenues from power plants that don’t use gas, and impose a levy on the exceptional profits made in 2022 by oil and gas companies. Oil prices rise by more than $2/bbl as OPEC+ eyes huge output cut By Nurluqman Suratman 03-Oct-22 11:47 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices jumped more than $2/bbl on Monday, fueled by expectations that oil cartel OPEC and its allies (OPEC+) would introduce a hefty production cut to bolster the market. NE Asia C2 stays on downward trajectory on strong US exports By Yeow Pei Lin 30-Sep-22 10:39 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s ethylene (C2) import prices slumped as sellers lowered offers in a bid to re-ignite buyer interest ahead of a long holiday in China. INSIGHT: Trends converging to create Q4 glut in US plastics By Al Greenwood 30-Sep-22 05:21 HOUSTON (ICIS)–North American polymer markets are facing a growing glut because of weakening demand, expanding capacity and rising inventories. Lignite power generation to bolster German power supplies By Daniel Muir 30-Sep-22 01:23 LONDON (ICIS)–The German federal ministry for economic affairs and climate action (BMWK) announcement that five lignite-fired power plants can return to the market from reserve capacity from 1 October 2022 could see hard coal and lignite-fired power generation climb through 2023 and into 2024, according to ICIS analysis. FRENCH POWER MONTHLY: Winter risks may keep October prompt prices supported By Karishma Sadanandan 30-Sep-22 00:18 LONDON (ICIS)–The French October is likely to remain supported into delivery as demand rises with colder temperatures and uncertainty remains over nuclear availability. Europe economic sentiment dropping as Germany on brink of recession By Morgan Condon 29-Sep-22 23:13 LONDON (ICIS)–European economic sentiment continued falling in September, for both the EU and the eurozone, and the German economy is heading towards a recession, as sentiment is shaped by sustained high energy prices. PODCAST: Oxo-alcohol chain developments, demand and energy cost concerns By Cameron Birch 29-Sep-22 21:18 LONDON (ICIS)–The European oxo-alcohol and its derivative markets continue to face problems with high energy costs and demand. There are growing fears that energy costs will spike again in Q4 and demand will come under further pressure as macroeconomic headwinds pick up. Lockdowns, property crisis to slow China 2022 GDP growth to 2.8% – World Bank By Nurluqman Suratman 29-Sep-22 13:30 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China, the world’s second-biggest economy, is projected to grow at a much slower pace of 2.8% this year compared with an earlier forecast of 5.0%, according to the World Bank, amid the country’s zero-COVID policy and ongoing property crisis. US EDC leads the global trend downward By Bill Bowen 29-Sep-22 06:25 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Ethylene dichloride (EDC) in the US and globally is facing shrinking demand and collapsing prices as its downstream derivative polyvinyl chloride (PVC) slumps worldwide. Europe EVA Q4 sentiment bearish on lukewarm demand By Samantha Wright 28-Sep-22 22:44 LONDON (ICIS)–European ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) market sentiment is softening for the fourth quarter as demand erodes from some applications. Coal margins retreat despite escalation in European energy conflict By Raymond Shi 28-Sep-22 22:43 LONDON (ICIS)–European coal profitability continued to retreat across the previous seven-day period, despite a late surge in fuel prices following an escalation in Europe’s energy conflict with Russia. East Asia's 2-EH price at 11-week high, but demand slow By Li Peng Seng 28-Sep-22 18:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–East Asia’s import prices of 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) hit an 11-week high while cash margins reached the highest since June as run rate cuts have overturned weak spot demand in China, Asia’s largest importer of the chemical. Asia petrochemical shares, oil slump on recession fears, strong US dollar By Pearl Bantillo 28-Sep-22 14:05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Shares of petrochemical companies in Asia were trading lower early Wednesday afternoon, with oil prices down by more than 1%, on demand concerns amid growing adverse global economic ramifications of a strong US dollar. Mideast petchems a mixed picture on supply and demand By Felicia Loo 28-Sep-22 11:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Middle eastern petrochemicals is facing a mixed picture on demand and supply, with bad economic situations engulfing both Jordan and Lebanon when it comes to products like polyethylene (PE). US Q4 epoxy resins to be pressured by slower demand, cheaper imports By Tarun Raizada 28-Sep-22 07:01 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US epoxy resins continued to be pressured in September as the sizable gap between domestic and import prices provided leverage in some places. INSIGHT: ‘King Dollar’ poses growing threat to US chems, global economy By Joseph Chang 28-Sep-22 01:21 NEW YORK (ICIS)–The relentless surge in the US dollar to record or multi-decade highs against European and Asian currencies will be a greater headwind for US-based chemical company earnings going forward. INSIGHT: Exceptionally high utility costs and historically low consumer confidence – a toxic mix By Nigel Davis 27-Sep-22 23:59 LONDON (ICIS)–Chemical prices have been falling with the cost of oil, although it is rising inflation and weaker demand that is of greatest current concern. PODCAST: China polymer markets ‘worst in 25 years' By Will Beacham 27-Sep-22 22:57 BARCELONA (ICIS)–China’s polymers are in bad shape as demand collapses amid a big uptick in capacity additions; global markets beware. Asia fatty acids buyers retreat on decline in upstream CPO and recession fears By Helen Yan 27-Sep-22 15:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s fatty acids buyers are retreating to the sidelines following the decline in the upstream crude palm oil (CPO) price earlier this week amid mounting fears of a global recession. Asia’s caustic soda may continue seeing export opportunities to Europe in Q4 By Jonathan Chou 27-Sep-22 14:34 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Demand for spot liquid caustic soda in Asia is likely to be supported by arbitrage trade to Europe in the near term. INSIGHT: High cost threatens Asia petrochemical output as regional currencies tumble By Pearl Bantillo 27-Sep-22 12:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical production is at risk of shrinking further as imported raw materials get more expensive each day that Asian currencies tumble to new lows. INSIGHT: Russia-Ukraine war, surging inflation continue to dim growth expectations By Tom Brown 27-Sep-22 00:17 LONDON (ICIS)–The outlook for global growth is continuing to darken as the economy loses momentum in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war, with fresh economic projections pointing to a substantial deterioration in prospects from 2023 even relative to a few months ago. Global weekly spot IPEX down on declines across regions By Yashas Mudumbai 26-Sep-22 17:27 LONDON (ICIS)–The weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) was down last week, with indices across regions declining. Asia naphtha market falters on feeble demand, weak macroeconomics By Melanie Wee 26-Sep-22 14:01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s naphtha markets are being pressured by waning demand caused by poor downstream margins, compounded by falling regional currencies against the strong US dollar. NE Asia ethylene weakens; November outlook bleak on deep-sea influx By Yeow Pei Lin 23-Sep-22 12:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s ethylene prices fell on concerns about a looming supply overhang in November, as an influx of deep-sea cargoes will coincide with South Korean cracker restarts and regional capacity expansion. Asia BD import market slows on soft demand By Ai Teng Lim 23-Sep-22 11:24SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Spot discussions for Asian butadiene (BD) imports are limited this week as regional buyers retreated deeper into the sidelines amid uncertainties in the global macroeconomic outlook. Federal Court suspends Barossa gas project’s drilling permit By Yun Xie 23-Sep-22 12:01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–An Australian Federal Court has ordered the gas producer Santos to suspend drilling and completion activities at its Barossa gas project on 21 September. US HB Fuller sees rebound in Asia, slowdown in Europe By Al Greenwood 23-Sep-22 05:43 HOUSTON (ICIS)–HB Fuller began to see a rebound in Asian demand during its fiscal third quarter because China is reopening from its COVID-19 lockdowns, the US-based adhesives producer said on Thursday, a trend that other chemical producers have yet to see. Weak demand, high costs could keep Europe capro, nylon 6 output low By Marta Fern 23-Sep-22 04:03 LONDON (ICIS)–European caprolactam (capro) and downstream nylon 6 supply could stay curtailed in the near-term as challenging market fundamentals, which have led to further output reductions during August and September, continue. French Q4 '22 premium to hold over UK despite supply support By Jack Grant 23-Sep-22 01:02 LONDON (ICIS)–A widening French power premium over UK equivalents on quarterly contracts this winter suggests French spot prices are set to deliver higher than the UK during the high-demand season for the first time in recent history. Spain confirms 1.5bcm increase gas export capacity to France By Andrea Battaglia 22-Sep-22 23:48 LONDON (ICIS)–As Spain is set to increase by 1.5billion cubic metres (bcm)/year its gas exports capacity towards France, this could potentially offer some help to the European gas supply this gas winter. Asia MEG market under pressure as downstream cuts operation to ease high inventories By Judith Wang 22-Sep-22 18:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) market has been under pressure during the week as downstream polyester sector initiated another round of operation cuts in a bid to relieve inventory pressure. Japan bucks global monetary tightening trend; yen slumps to new 24-year low By Nurluqman Suratman 22-Sep-22 17:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japan’s central bank decided on Thursday to keep its ultra-low interest rates unchanged, bucking the global monetary policy tightening trend in the fight against rising inflation, causing the yen to slump to a fresh 24-year low. Asia Group II base oils supply to lengthen on increased output By Matthew Chong 22-Sep-22 13:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s Group II base oils spot supply is expected to increase as several northeast Asian refiners have already or are about to resume full production. Asian petrochemicals shares tumble after US Fed interest rate hike By Nurluqman Suratman 22-Sep-22 11:36 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian petrochemical shares fell on Thursday as fears of a global recession grew after the US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised interest rates by 75 basis points (bps) to the highest level since early 2008. INSIGHT: Widespread demand reduction makes a tough quarter tougher By Nigel Davis 21-Sep-22 23:49 LONDON (ICIS)–It has been a tough third quarter for most upstream producers of chemicals and others as weaker demand and rising costs have combined to hit earnings and shift guidance. Developing Asia GDP growth forecast cut to 4.3% amid higher inflation – ADB By Nurluqman Suratman 21-Sep-22 11:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday cut its economic growth forecast for developing Asian economies to 4.3% this year from a previous projection of a 5.2% expansion amid the continued rise in inflation in the region. PODCAST: Europe chemicals could benefit from lower gas prices By Will Beacham 20-Sep-22 21:20 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Natural gas prices could fall significantly in the next 2-3 years, relieving pressure on Europe’s beleaguered petrochemical sector. Global weekly spot IPEX stable despite declines in NW Europe, US Gulf By Yashas Mudumbai 20-Sep-22 16:52 LONDON (ICIS)–The weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) was stable week on week, despite a small decline in northwest Europe and the US Gulf. INSIGHT: Changes on China polyolefins trade flows By Joey Zhou 19-Sep-22 18:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China polyolefins continue to see decreasing imports and increasing exports in 2022 amid its fundamental changes. China’s moulding grade PC import price at eight-week high, but demand seen sluggish By Li Peng Seng 19-Sep-22 11:05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Chinese import prices for moulding grade polycarbonate (PC) rose for the first time since March to reach an eight-week high, as sellers raised prices to combat poor margins. Asia’s benzene projections cautious on upcoming additions By Angeline Soh 19-Sep-22 16:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s benzene market players are cautious about Q4 given the five upcoming additions in China, though some pessimism was balanced out by the scheduled derivative additions. Asia petrochemical export opportunities to Europe growing amid energy crisis By Nurluqman Suratman 16-Sep-22 11:51 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian petrochemical markets could find new pockets of opportunities to export to the EU in the coming months as European producers continues to struggle with high production costs amid record energy prices. S Korea Oct C2 output falls on turnarounds; NE Asia supply outlook mixed By Yeow Pei Lin 09-Sep-22 12:09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Ethylene (C2) output in South Korea, Asia's largest exporter, will decline in October due to cracker turnarounds but supplies in northeast Asia may not necessarily fall short of demand. INSIGHT: Oil falls to pre-war levels, pushing down chem prices By Al Greenwood 09-Sep-22 00:07 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Brent futures contract prices fell below $90/bbl this week, reaching levels not seen since before Russia's invasion of Ukraine and adding more downward pressure on chemical markets that are already contending with weaker demand. Further interest rate hikes ahead for eurozone – Lagarde By Tom Brown 08-Sep-22 23:53 LONDON (ICIS)–The 75 basis point increase to the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) key interest rate is expected to be followed by several more hikes over the next few months, on persistent high inflation expectations, President Christine Lagarde said on Thursday. ICIS VIEW: Why are British NBP gas prices so high? By Rob Dalton 08-Sep-22 23:33 LONDON (ICIS)–Despite Britain’s diverse range of gas supplies and its reduced dependence on Russian gas, British NBP prices continue to soar as Russian deliveries to Europe drop further. Rising interest rates, low inventories weigh on US auto sales, slight uptick in Q4 expected By Adam Yanelli 08-Sep-22 23:31 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US auto industry continues to face headwinds from tight dealer inventories and rising interest rates, but sales could improve in the fourth quarter amid strong employment and persistent consumer demand. Energy costs to push Germany into recession next year – institutes By Stefan Baumgarten 08-Sep-22 23:02 LONDON (ICIS)–High energy costs will push Germany into recession next year, two economic research institutes said in forecasts on Thursday. VTP front-quarter premium to PSV widens on Russian pipeline supply risk By Ed Martin 08-Sep-22 20:29 LONDON (ICIS)-The Austrian gas VTP front-quarter contract looks likely to remain at a premium to its Italian PSV counterpart into delivery on the back of Russian pipeline supply fears. Germany proposes to cap electricity revenues for inframarginal technologies By Stefan Konstantinov 08-Sep-22 16:59 LONDON (ICIS)–The German government announced on Sunday 4 September that it would impose a windfall tax on some electricity producers. It would use the resulting proceeds to finance a new €65bn energy relief package designed to support consumers and mitigate the impact of high inflation and energy bills. This new package brings the total cost of the aid measures Germany has enacted this year to €95bn. Asia naphtha market in limbo on thin demand, ample supply By Melanie Wee 08-Sep-22 13:39 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s naphtha prices are being weighed down by thin demand and ample supply, with its forward market structure languishing at parity. Japan upgrades Q2 GDP growth to 3.5% on stronger consumer spending By Nurluqman Suratman 08-Sep-22 12:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japan's economy in the second quarter grew at an annualized rate of 3.5%, up from the initial estimate of 2.2% as domestic spending improved more than expected, official data showed on Thursday. Supply concerns galvanise UK power bulls, but delivery uncertain By Jack Grant 07-Sep-22 21:48 LONDON (ICIS)–As Europe braces for this winter’s perfect storm, market opinion is split on the delivery of UK power prices through September and into the fourth quarter. Demand still robust for Europe’s chemical distributors By Will Beacham 07-Sep-22 19:34 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Europe’s chemical distributors have not yet suffered the downturn in demand and torrid market conditions suffered by chemical producers across the region, according to delegates at the European Association of Chemical Distributors (Fecc) annual congress in Sitges near Barcelona. Saudi Arabia Q2 economic growth revised up to 12.2% year on year By Pearl Bantillo 07-Sep-22 19:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi Arabia’s economy posted a revised second-quarter annualized growth rate of 12.2%, the highest in nearly 11 years, on the back of oil price spikes, official data showed on Wednesday. Russian oil faces fresh G7 sanctions By Eloise Radley 07-Sep-22 18:17 LONDON (ICIS)–G7 financial ministers met on Friday last week when a decision was made to impose a price cap on Russian oil. Although details have yet to be announced, it could be set at a level of around half the current Brent oil price. The move is aimed at hacking away at Russia’s war fund and curbing rising energy prices. PODCAST: Sliding fundamentals could reshape global chemicals production By Morgan Condon 07-Sep-22 02:00 LONDON (ICIS)–Although summer in the northern hemisphere draws to a close, the typical swing in seasonal demand has not returned for September, and the global chemicals industry faces a challenging close of 2022. INSIGHT: Strong oil boosts Saudi Arabia coffers for future growth By Pearl Bantillo 06-Sep-22 17:55 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi Arabia looks set to stand among the strongest-growing economies in the world in 2022, reaping strong benefits from elevated energy prices – an unwelcome offshoot of the Russia-Ukraine war. European farmers ditch nitrate fertilizers as prices soar By Manuja Pandey 06-Sep-22 17:27 LONDON (ICIS)–The price of nitrate fertilizers has soared on the back of reduced supply after a fresh round of production outages was announced by European chemical and fertilizer producers. LNG charter rates soar in the Pacific basin By Roman Kazmin 06-Sep-22 16:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The charter rates in the Pacific basin have seen a drastic hike on the back of extreme shortage of tonnage, Singapore-based shipbrokers said. INSIGHT: Lengthy supply, weak demand reflect extremely difficult September in Europe By Nigel Davis 05-Sep-22 23:41 LONDON (ICIS)–Market players in Europe usually expect to return from summer breaks with something of a spring in their step. The quietest days of August give way to a busier September and often a relatively strong fourth quarter. OPEC+ drop production levels for October By Eloise Radley 05-Sep-22 23:23 LONDON (ICIS)–OPEC+ members met on Monday and agreed to cut production quotas by 0.1m bbl/day in October. UK power exports fall during August, net flows to France set to persist By Jack Grant 05-Sep-22 21:45 LONDON (ICIS)–Discounts on UK baseload power prompt products compared with equivalent contracts on European markets suggests the UK will maintain its net export position to Europe through delivery in September. Global weekly spot IPEX down on declines in NW Europe, US Gulf By Yashas Mudumbai 05-Sep-22 17:00 LONDON (ICIS)–The weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) dropped by 1% as declines in northwest Europe and the US Gulf offset the slight uptick seen in northeast Asia. Singapore industries face demand headwinds; Aug PMI slips to 50 By Nurluqman Suratman 05-Sep-22 13:14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore's manufacturing sector is expected to face further demand headwinds following a marginal drop in its key purchasing managers' index (PMI) in August as new export orders slow down. Oil rises $1/bbl on possible OPEC supply cuts; China lockdowns cap gains By Nurluqman Suratman 05-Sep-22 11:19 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices rose by more than $1/bbl on Monday morning as investors fret over a possible production cut by OPEC and its allies later in the day to support the market. SE Asia palm biodiesel market stays afloat in strong demand By Keven Zhang 02-Sep-22 10:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Southeast Asian palm methyl ester (PME) biodiesel was supported by buying activities from EU, betting against the consensus of a weakening demand as winter approached. NE Asia C2 surges on limited Sept supply; outlook for Oct mixed By Yeow Pei Lin 02-Sep-22 11:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia's spot import prices for September ethylene (C2) rose at an accelerated pace on limited supply but the near-term outlook was clouded by the ailing downstream sectors. Europe chems stocks dip on growing economic fears By Tom Brown 02-Sep-22 00:21 LONDON (ICIS)–European chemicals company stocks slumped on Thursday in line with wider markets as fresh negative manufacturing sector data drove increasingly bearish economic growth expectations. INSIGHT: Global chemicals must ‘prepare for pain’ as central banks press ahead to quash inflation By Joseph Chang 01-Sep-22 23:45 NEW YORK (ICIS)–‘Pain and sacrifice’ – those are the words coming from the head of the world’s largest central bank – the US Federal Reserve – and the European Central Bank (ECB) on what looms on the horizon. Stamping out inflation is job number one, and they will do whatever it takes, even if it means recession and higher unemployment. INSIGHT: New Ecovyst CEO eyes growth in petroleum and renewable energy By Al Greenwood 01-Sep-22 23:35 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Ecovyst's new CEO expects demand to remain resilient for its sulphuric acid and catalysts, which are used to make petroleum based-fuels and polyethylene (PE) as well as renewable fuels and mining metals needed to make lithium-ion batteries and copper wiring. Gas uncertainty could cause German power spot prices to rise in Q4 delivery By Karishma Sadanandan 01-Sep-22 23:18 LONDON (ICIS)–German Q4 spot prices are likely to rise above the current forward contract, should cold spells, low winds, and rising gas prices combine to support prices in delivery. European LNG sendout to remain elevated early September By Christopher Rene 01-Sep-22 23:10 LONDON (ICIS)–Above-average European LNG sendout will persist in the first half of September, continuing the trend observed throughout 2022 amid ongoing supply tightness and elevated regional hub prices. India economy posts 13.5% fiscal Q1 growth; outlook dims By Pearl Bantillo 01-Sep-22 17:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–India posted a 13.5% annualized GDP growth in April-June 2022, the first quarter of its current fiscal year, marking the strongest pace of increase recorded in a year on a combination of low base effects and strong growth in private consumption. NE Asia August factory activities weaken amid slowing global economy By Nurluqman Suratman 01-Sep-22 13:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Factory activities across northeast Asia weakened in August on poor overseas demand amid slowing global economic growth. US PE offers in China stoke fears of extended oversupply in SE Asia By Izham Ahmad 01-Sep-22 09:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The appearance of offers for US polyethylene imports in China earlier in August has driven fears of worsening oversupply conditions in southeast Asia amid an ongoing slump in downstream demand. Demand returns to European refinery solvents markets but costs a concern By Jane Gibson 01-Sep-22 01:33 LONDON (ICIS)–European refinery solvents markets pricing is likely to remain volatile in September as feedstocks and energy prices impact price targets amid some regional tightness and cautious September demand. EU considering “emergency intervention” into power markets: Proposals and likely outcomes By Matthew Jones 31-Aug-22 19:38 European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated this week that the electricity market requires “emergency intervention” in order to reduce the skyrocketing prices of power across the bloc. China’s PVC exports could be capped but rising deep-sea supply may affect Asia By Jonathan Chou 31-Aug-22 16:59 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Despite exports from China having fallen in recent weeks, producers in Asia are likely to continue seeing competition in the form of deep-sea cargo at competitive prices. China industries contract in August amid power cuts, COVID-19 curbs By Nurluqman Suratman 31-Aug-22 14:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China's manufacturing activity continued to contract as the country grapples with power outages caused by record heatwave and drought in August, with fresh COVID-19 curbs hampering overall industrial output and consumption. Asia fatty acids likely to remain flat near term on slowing global demand By Helen Yan 31-Aug-22 10:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia's fatty acids market is likely to remain flat in the near term, as a strong US dollar versus local currencies curbs spot interest amid softening upstream crude palm oil (CPO) prices. European PMMA to remain gripped by high costs and weak demand By Mathew Jolin-Beech 31-Aug-22 00:06 LONDON (ICIS)–The European polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) market is expected to remain gripped by a combination of high energy costs and soft demand. Global weekly spot IPEX down on falls in northwest Europe, US Gulf By Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez 30-Aug-22 23:16 LONDON (ICIS)–The spot chemicals index dropped by 0.2% as falls across northwest Europe and the US Gulf outweighed the slight increase in prices seen in northeast Asia, according to the latest figures from the weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX). PODCAST: Chemicals must stay on low carbon track despite current crises By Will Beacham 30-Aug-22 22:41 BARCELONA (ICIS)–The global chemical industry must remain committed to the net zero agenda, and not be distracted by current macroeconomic and geopolitical crises. INSIGHT: Impact of power restrictions on China petrochemicals likely to be limited amid weak demand By Jenny Yi 30-Aug-22 21:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Power supply restrictions in many parts of China have been exacerbated this year by prolonged heatwaves in Sichuan, Chongqing, Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Hubei. Record high temperatures have prompted petrochemical plant operating rate cuts and shut downs. Global oil outlook: Five factors to watch in Week 35 By Eloise Radley 30-Aug-22 19:43 LONDON (ICIS)–Crude rebounded last week, with Brent climbing to over $100/bbl. Supply concerns intensified as OPEC+ threatened to cut production quotas and the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve was at its lowest level in decades. Asia refiners cut Group II base oils output on negative margins By Whitney Shi 30-Aug-22 17:08 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–While Asian refiners had cut export prices for Group II base oils in July-August due to weak demand, they have also recently reduced output. PP demand to slow down in East Med as region enters low-demand season By Nadim Salamoun 30-Aug-22 05:32 DUBAI (ICIS)–Despite the summer season being traditionally a high-demand season in the region, the economic crisis coupled with the high unemployment rates and soaring inflation Jordan and Lebanon are facing have taken a toll on the purchasing power of the population. Demand has been low during the season. China’s Sinopec H1 net profit up 10.5%; chemical earnings slump 94% By Fanny Zhang 29-Aug-22 14:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Chinese petrochemical giant Sinopec reported a 10.5% year-on-year increase in first-half 2022 net profit on the back of strong crude, even as its chemical earnings shrunk 94% as demand collapsed amid COVID-19 curbs. China’s PE market may remain under pressure from rising supply, weak demand By Sijia Li 29-Aug-22 10:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polyethylene (PE) market may face further pressure from rising supply and weak demand amid high global inflation and tepid recovery in end-use consumption, curbed by power rationing policies on rising temperatures. Asia naphtha crack sinks in negative zone, poor margins dent demand By Melanie Wee 26-Aug-22 13:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia naphtha markets are under pressure from feeble demand as a result of poor downstream margins, sending the product’s crack spread into deeper negative terrain. Asia MEG market falls into a narrow band; outlook mixed By Judith Wang 26-Aug-22 13:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) market discussions have fallen into a narrow band during the week as market participants were weighing higher upstream cost against rising supply and slowing demand, while the outlook is mixed in the absence of clear market indicators. Asia SM eyes downstream recovery potential in Sep as suppliers limit rates By Trixie Yap 26-Aug-22 12:41 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia's styrene monomer (SM) discussion levels will hinge on downstream market activity and recovery entering September as supply fundamentals continue to tighten with makers remaining adamant on production cuts amid volatile SM margins. Indonesia’s extended waiver on palm oil export levy to have limited impact on oleo market By Helen Yan 26-Aug-22 11:59 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Indonesia’s extension of its waiver on its export levy on palm oil till the end of October is unlikely to have any significant impact on the oleochemicals market in southeast Asia. NE Asia C2 spot demand for September rises as output cuts bite By Yeow Pei Lin 26-Aug-22 10:34 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Buying enquiries for September spot ethylene (C2) imports increased in northeast Asia due to reduced domestic supply caused by output cuts, which were largely in response to poor margins and high propylene inventory. INSIGHT: Dow PE operating rate cut highlights global weakness, overcapacity and logistics constraints By Joseph Chang 26-Aug-22 04:37 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Dow’s announcement on slashing polyethylene (PE) operating rates is a clear sign of weakening global demand and oversupply of the polymer, along with persistent logistics constraints. European local melamine production heavily reduced on soaring gas prices; affordability concerns grow By Melissa Hurley 26-Aug-22 01:03 LONDON (ICIS)–European melamine market players are faced with record level gas prices, leading to more shutdowns and reduced run rates. Concerns over affordability are mounting as costs drift further away from market dynamics. US LNG to Europe to remain at elevated level By Christopher Rene 25-Aug-22 22:49 LONDON (ICIS)–US LNG exports to Europe are set to be twice as large as 2021 volumes by the end of September, with demand driven by the current energy crisis, ICIS data shows. INSIGHT: Downside uncertainty hits Europe refined products market but tightness remains By Tom Brown 25-Aug-22 22:19 LONDON (ICIS)–Pricing for some refined products has started to ease from the highs during the summer as the peak demand season comes to a close and macroeconomic pressure intensifies, but structural tightness in the sector continues to buffer pricing and galvanise future demand upticks. CDI Economic Summary: US macro challenges build amid labour resilience By Joseph Chang 25-Aug-22 05:00 NEW YORK (ICIS)–US GDP is expected to slow further but labour and manufacturing are showing resilience while inflation may have peaked. Mideast TDI market sees cautious optimism after FM announcement in Europe By Damini Dabholkar 25-Aug-22 17:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Middle East market saw more activity and producers heard more enquiries from customers this week on expectations of lower supply. Asia OX supply to tighten further; wide buy-sell gap persists By Samuel Wong 25-Aug-22 14:45 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian supply of orthoxylene (OX) is expected to stay tight, especially in China, on the back of several planned maintenance shutdowns. South Korea hikes key interest rate to 2.5% amid soaring inflation By Nurluqman Suratman 25-Aug-22 10:36 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korea’s central bank on Thursday raised its key interest rate by 25 basis points to 2.5% in a move to contain soaring inflation, which it expects to remain at a high level for a considerable period of time. INSIGHT: Falling demand expectations cut into crude outlook By Tom Brown 24-Aug-22 23:17 LONDON (ICIS)–Crude demand and pricing has remained firm through the summer, but the imminent end of the peak driving season and rapidly-deteriorating macroeconomic picture are driving down price and demand expectations for the rest of 2022. Europe PE/PP players agree to exit 2022 contracts to cut costs By Ben Lake 24-Aug-22 17:00 LONDON (ICIS)–European polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) players, desperately looking for ways to trim costs, have resorted to agreeing to mutually abandon parts or the entirety of their 2022 contract agreements – and the relationship between buyers and sellers is likely to remain in flux for the rest of the year. French power spot on track to deliver above UK in Q4 if nuclear woes persist By Jack Grant and Karishma Sadanandan LONDON (ICIS)–A widening French power premium over UK equivalents on quarterly contracts this winter suggests French spot prices are likely to deliver higher than the UK during the high-demand season for the first time in recent history, if nuclear uncertainty continues to cause concerns for winter supply. Soaring European gas prices force 13.5m tonnes of fertilizers, chemicals offline or cut By Deepika Thapliyal 23-Aug-22 23:23 LONDON, BARCELONA (ICIS)–Soaring natural gas prices in Europe have led to at least 13.5m tonnes of fertilizer and chemical capacity being shut down or run at reduced rates, representing up to 63% of regional capacity for the worst-affected products. Russia’s Sakhalin-2 faces difficulties on spot LNG sales By Roman Kazmin 23-Aug-22 15:15 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Russia’s Sakhalin-2 project is experiencing difficulties to find participants for spot tenders, a source close to Russia’s incumbent Gazprom told ICIS. Europe caustic soda tightens on production issues, lower utilisation rates By Chris Barker 22-Aug-22 22:04 LONDON (ICIS)–European caustic soda players expect the market to tighten in the fourth quarter of 2022, as production of chlorine and caustic soda has decreased and force majeures and maintenance have rocked the market. Malaysia's PCG Q2 net profit rises 0.5%; warns of waning demand By Nurluqman Suratman 22-Aug-22 14:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–PETRONAS Chemicals Group (PCG) on Monday reported a marginal year-on-year increase in its second-quarter net profit thanks to higher product prices, but the Malaysian producer warned of weaker demand in the second half of 2022. Supply chain, freight transportation problems plague chem manufacturers – ACC survey By Adam Yanelli 19-Aug-22 02:31 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Chemical manufacturers in the US have continued to be plagued by major supply chain and transportation issues that have led to 97% of respondents modifying operations, according to the results of an American Chemistry Council member survey. New Sakhalin-2 operator says contracts stay in place By Ed Lane 19-Aug-22 07:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The new operator of the Sakhalin-2 project, LLC Sakhalin Energy, was announced in a press statement on 19 August as several offtakers from the project confirmed it has offered the same purchasing terms for clients, but with payment to Gazprombank JSC. Germany’s chem R&D stalls on impacts from Ukraine war, pandemic By Stefan Baumgarten 18-Aug-22 23:54 LONDON (ICIS)–Investment on research and development (R&D) in Germany’s chemicals and pharmaceuticals industry has stalled, according to chemical producers’ trade group VCI. Europe chemicals buyers shift from contractual volumes to spot market on crest of falling demand By Morgan Condon 18-Aug-22 19:19 LONDON (ICIS)–As economic indicators continue to warn of a downturn towards the end of 2022, Europe’s chemicals markets are adjusting buying habits in a bid to shelter from the crash. Eurozone construction output slips in June on widespread fall in demand By Tom Brown 18-Aug-22 18:53 LONDON (ICIS)–Construction output in the eurozone fell 1.3% month on month in June on the back of substantial declines in civil engineering and building productivity in the region, according to data from Eurostat on Thursday. Philippine central bank hikes key interest rates anew to tame inflation By Pearl Bantillo 18-Aug-22 18:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced on Thursday a 50 basis point (bps) hike in its key interest rates, with further monetary tightening possible as average inflation this year is expected to exceed its 2.0-4.0% target. INSIGHT: Asia petrochemical margins shrink amid price slump, poor demand By Nurluqman Suratman 18-Aug-22 13:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical margins are being eroded by sharp price declines, high feedstock costs and tepid downstream demand, with market sentiment weighed down by economic uncertainties in China and fears of a global recession. Challenges to mount in Europe ECH market in autumn on imports vs energy By Heidi Finch 18-Aug-22 01:35 LONDON (ICIS)–The Europe epichlorohydrin (ECH) market could face various challenges in the autumn, amid a flurry of competitive imports, gathering macro-economic clouds and a slow derivative epoxy market on the one hand, and heightened energy cost/supply concerns on the other. Germany's order backlog hits new high, chem backlog eases By Stefan Baumgarten 18-Aug-22 01:00 LONDON (ICIS)–The backlog of unfilled manufacturing orders in Germany reached yet another record high in June amid the ongoing supply chain issues and raw material shortages, according to the latest statistical data on Wednesday. Asia petrochemicals bottoming out; concerns on demand recovery, margins remain By Joey Zhou 17-Aug-22 16:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian petrochemical market is expected to bottom out and start rebounding in August, while most products still see lower average prices than July. India’s GAIL runs Pata complex at reduced rates on LNG supply issue – sources By Priya Jestin 17-Aug-22 14:33 MUMBAI (ICIS)–State-owned Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) will continue operating petrochemical plants at its Pata complex in Uttar Pradesh at reduced capacity to ensure adequate gas supply to its customers, a company official said on Tuesday. INSIGHT: High inflation, global economic uncertainty weigh on China PE market By Amy Yu 17-Aug-22 11:02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Rising inflation and concerns over the global economic outlook are likely to weigh on China’s polyethylene (PE) demand growth in the second half of the year. INSIGHT: IPEX downturn points to difficult time to come By Nigel Davis 15-Aug-22 23:39 LONDON (ICIS)–Petrochemical price falls across the board in northeast Asia and a sharp price downturn in northwest Europe point either to a feedstock correction from earlier highs or building pressure on demand. Saudi Aramco posts record Q2 net profit on higher oil prices By Nurluqman Suratman 15-Aug-22 11:04 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi Aramco's second-quarter net profit surged to a record riyal (SR) 181.6bn ($48bn), on the back of higher crude oil prices and sales volumes. Malaysia’s Q2 GDP expands 8.9%, growth to moderate on global uncertainties By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Aug-22 15:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Malaysia’s economy grew by 8.9% year on year in the second quarter of this year on improving domestic demand, but heightened global uncertainties are expected to weigh on its growth outlook, the central bank said on Friday. High production costs erode Asian R-HDPE margins By Arianne Perez 12-Aug-22 13:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–As production costs of recycled high-density polyethylene (R-HDPE) blow moulding pellets remain high in Asia while demand stays lacklustre, sellers’ margins will continue to narrow in the weeks ahead. PODCAST: Asian olefins producers challenged to preserve margins in H2 – ICIS analysts By Morgan Condon 12-Aug-22 05:00 LONDON (ICIS)–Asian olefins capacity is set to increase in the coming months, but against the prospect of a global recession and challenging demand it is unclear how this will develop for producers. Trade data show US base oil export availability has not returned to pre-pandemic levels By Amanda Hay 12-Aug-22 03:04 HOUSTON (ICIS)–ICIS trade data reveal that the US has not yet returned to pre-pandemic export levels of base oils as supply constraints, shifting trade flows and high prices have curbed export activity. Gas-fired generation drives German power Cal ’23 By Anne Petersen 12-Aug-22 00:45 LONDON (ICIS)–The price of gas remains the main driver for the German power Cal ’23, despite the German government’s focus on limiting the use of gas for power production. OPEC revises crude demand forecast down on slowing global economy By Jonathan Lopez 11-Aug-22 22:40 MADRID (ICIS)–While crude oil demand continued its “strong recovery” to pre-pandemic levels, economic growth showed signs of a slowdown in July and, with it, crude demand also took a hit, producing cartel OPEC said on Thursday. UK to face increased competition for LNG in fourth quarter By Hector Falconer 11-Aug-22 19:20 LONDON (ICIS)–Britain is likely to face increased competition for LNG supply in the fourth quarter of 2022 amid uncertainty over Russian piped supply to mainland Europe, supporting NBP winter contracts especially in the case of cold weather. Oil prices exposed to opposing fundamentals, extreme volatility By Cecilia Barreiro 11-Aug-22 18:58 LONDON (ICIS)–The August outlook for oil prices is subject to increased uncertainty resulting from a number of bullish and bearish factors. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will continue to be a central driving force and keep oil markets volatile while rising global inflation is expected to keep a lid on demand. Singapore trims 2022 GDP growth forecast to 3-4% on global headwinds By Nurluqman Suratman 11-Aug-22 11:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore on Thursday trimmed its 2022 GDP growth forecast to 3-4%, from the previous estimate of 3-5%, due to the deteriorating global economic environment. SE Asia palm biodiesel to see record export volumes, healthy demand By Keven Zhang 11-Aug-22 11:15 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Southeast Asia's palm methyl ester (PME) export volumes are likely to climb to record highs in July and August, as several bullish factors boost buying interest. PODCAST: Global chemical prices collapse, Europe prepares for dry summer, tough winter By Will Beacham 10-Aug-22 22:43 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Global chemical prices are falling just as Europe braces itself for more summer heatwaves, drought and a winter of gas rationing. Thai PTTGC Q2 net profit falls sharply amid lower chem margins By Nurluqman Suratman 10-Aug-22 15:30 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–PTT Global Chemical’s (PTTGC) net profit fell by 83.9% year on year in the second quarter, weighed partly by lower margins across all of its chemicals businesses, the Thailand-based producer said on Wednesday. Saudi SABIC Q2 net profit up 3.8%; H2 margins to stay under pressure By Nurluqman Suratman 10-Aug-22 12:42 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi petrochemicals major SABIC posted a 3.8% year-on-year increase in second-quarter net profit, while it expects margins to remain under pressure in the second half of 2022. INSIGHT: Indonesia economy surprises in Q2; prospects dim in H2 By Pearl Bantillo 10-Aug-22 21:03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Indonesia’s growth momentum is expected to weaken for the rest of the year and into 2023, as high inflation hits overall domestic consumption. External demand is being threatened by a possible global recession. Saudi SABIC Q2 net profit up 3.8%; H2 margins to stay under pressure By Nurluqman Suratman 10-Aug-22 12:42 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi petrochemicals major SABIC posted a 3.8% year-on-year increase in second-quarter net profit, while it expects margins to remain under pressure in the second half of 2022. China July petrochemical markets slump; outlook stays bearish By Yvonne Shi 09-Aug-22 08:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China's petrochemical markets fell across the board in July on weak demand, which persists into August while supply is projected to grow for the rest of the year. Asia BDO extends losses as demand at a low ebb By Clive Ong 04-Aug-22 16:47 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian butanediol (BDO) market extended losses with the downtrend still firmly entrenched. Market participants expect further downside potential in the near term as the decline that started in April does not appear to have run its course. PODCAST: LPG substitution of higher-priced LNG limited in China By Yan Wang 04-Aug-22 15:37 GUANGZHOU (ICIS)–ICIS analysts Wang Yan and Xu Fei discuss with Asia deputy news editor Pearl Bantillo why China is not aggressively using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as substitute for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in fuel applications in industries despite global supply concerns and soaring LNG prices. Asian import offers for NBR fall with weak demand, outlook bleak By Ai Teng Lim 04-Aug-22 10:34 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian spot import offers for acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) have slipped lower as sellers widened discounts to chase deals in a low-demand market. India July exports slip; trade deficit widens to record $31bn By Priya Jestin 03-Aug-22 14:43 MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s merchandise exports in July dipped for the first time in over a year, while increased imports of crude oil and coal bloated the country’s trade deficit to a record $31bn. Asia butac, etac slump; demand tepid on weak regional currencies By Melanie Wee 02-Aug-22 17:41 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s butyl acetate (butac) markets are being weighed down by tepid demand as continued weakness of currencies in the region continues to undermine imports. Asia July industries – a mixed bag as battle with inflation continues By Nurluqman Suratman 02-Aug-22 13:59 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia's manufacturing sector in July presented a mixed performance, with major economies in the northeast showing a marked slowdown in activity, as the region continues to contend with high input costs and weak demand. OUTLOOK: Asia epoxy resins to stay sluggish; price competition may intensify By Luffy Wu 02-Aug-22 13:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Uncertain end-demand outlook and recession fears continue to haunt Asia’s epoxy resins market, with aggressive exports from China forcing some regional suppliers to lower offer. South Korea July inflation nears 24-year high at 6.3% By Nurluqman Suratman 02-Aug-22 12:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korea's consumer price index (CPI) rose by 6.3% year on year in July, accelerating from 6.0% in the previous month and the fastest rate recorded in nearly 24 years. Will Beacham contributed to this topic page. Topic Page by Aura Sabadus and Will Beacham. Additional reporting by Richard Ewing and Sophie Udubasceanu. Maps and graphs by Yashas Mudumbai.
Malaysian shares rally as Anwar appointed as new prime minister
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Malaysian shares rallied on Thursday following news that opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was appointed as the country's new prime minister, ending a five-day political impasse. The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI index gained 4.04% to close at 1,501.88, with most stocks on the main index setting their best session since November 2020. PETRONAS Chemicals Group, the country's largest petrochemicals producer, settled 3.19% higher, while palm oil giant and oleochemicals maker FGV Holdings was up by 2.27%. Anwar was sworn in as Malaysia’s 10th prime minister on Thursday afternoon, hours after his appointment by Malaysia's King Sultan Abdullah following a meeting with fellow rulers at the national palace. He will be the head of government for the next five years. The elections on 19 November produced the country's first-ever hung parliament as neither Anwar nor ex-premier Muhyiddin Yassin won the simple majority needed to form a government. Anwar’s appointment follows recent positive economic data for Malaysia, with third-quarter GDP growing by 14.2% year on year, extending the 8.9% expansion seen in the preceding quarter. The economy will continue to expand, albeit at a more moderate pace, in the fourth quarter of 2022, Bank Negara Malaysia said in a statement. The Malaysian economy is expected to expand by 4.0-5.0% next year, the central bank said. The country's economy grew by 3.1% year on year in 2021, reversing the 5.5% contraction in 2020. "The Malaysian economy will continue to be supported by firm domestic demand amid continued improvements in the labour market. Growth would also benefit from the realisation of large infrastructure projects as well as higher tourist arrivals," Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said. "However, Malaysia’s growth remains susceptible to a weaker-than-expected global growth, higher risk aversion in global financial markets, further escalation of geopolitical conflicts and re-emergence of supply chain disruptions," she added. Focus article by Nurluqman Suratman
IMF urges China to further recalibrate COVID-19 strategy
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged China to further recalibrate its COVID-19 strategy and provide additional support to its beleaguered property sector to mitigate risks from a global economic slowdown. Following the recovery from the initial impact of the pandemic, the world’s second-biggest economy remains under pressure, with growth projected to slow to 3.2% in 2022, from an 8.1% pace last year, before improving to 4.4% in 2023 and 2024, the IMF stated on 22 November following a review of China’s economic conditions. Forecasts for 2023 and 2024 were unchanged on the assumption that China's current zero-COVID strategy will be gradually and safely lifted in the second half of 2023, the IMF said. “Although the zero-COVID strategy has become nimbler over time, the combination of more contagious COVID variants and persistent gaps in vaccinations have led to the need for more frequent lockdowns, weighing on consumption and private investment, including in housing," the multilateral institution said. Going forward, a fine-tuning of China's COVID-19 strategy should be well prepared and include boosting the pace of vaccinations and maintaining it at a high level, to ensure that protection is preserved, it said. China is currently grappling spiking COVID-19 cases. For 22 November, its National Health Commission (NHC) reported a total of 29,157 infections nationwide, close to the daily record of 29,411 on 13 April this year. Recurring COVID outbreaks and lockdowns and ongoing challenges in the property sector remain key risks for China's economy, it said. "China's regulatory tightening in the property sector has added to severe financial strains for developers, leading to a rapid slowdown in housing sales and investment, along with a sharp decline in local government land sale revenues," the IMF said. The IMF said that additional robust and well-funded mechanisms in China are needed for completing troubled unfinished housing projects and protecting new pre-sale buyers from the risk of non-completion, while forbearance measures should be phased out. "These measures will help restore homebuyer confidence and facilitate market-based restructuring," it added. The multilateral institution made the assessments following virtual discussions on 2-16 November with senior officials from the Chinese government, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), as well as private sector representatives, and academics. Focus article by Nurluqman Suratman Click here to read the Ukraine topic page, which examines the impact of the conflict on oil, gas, fertilizer and chemical markets. Visit the ICIS Coronavirus topic page for analysis of the impact on chemical markets and links to latest news.
BLOG: Little prospect of China recovery in 2023 as zero-COVID, property downturn set to continue
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Click here to see the latest blog post on Asian Chemical Connections by John Richardson. So much for that then! Chinese stock markets have fallen, after last week’s rally, on the cold reality that the real-estate sector isn’t going to be easily turned around and zero-COVID isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. (We don’t believe China’s real-estate sector can be turned around, and, anyway, Beijing doesn’t want to reflate property because this would run counter to their “Common Prosperity” reforms.) A worrying report in the Financial Times last week highlighted the work that needs to be done in boosting healthcare provision and in raising the percentage of over 80s that have received three doses of vaccines, before zero-COVID can be fully relaxed. If zero-COVID were to be relaxed before the above challenges are addressed, experts warned in the FT that China would suffer a big “exit wave” of new cases. And, anyway, as bigger outbreaks in Beijing and Guangzhou have demonstrated this week, Omicron still represents a significant problem for China even with the zero-COVID programme in place. At some point. China will get past zero-COVID, and, because of higher savings rates, a recovery in consumer spending and therefore global chemicals and polymer prices seems inevitable. But how big will the recovery be if, as I suspect, the real-estate sector, worth 29% of GDP, hasn’t recovered? We must more immediately focus on the chemicals demand prospects for 2023, as we do in today’s post which looks at China’s polypropylene (PP) market We see a significant risk that 2023 will be too early for a recovery to take place in China’s PP market. Demand growth could well decline next year following negative growth in 2022. This would be the first two years of consecutive negative growth since 2000. China’s PP market may also be weighed down with further local capacity additions. ICIS expects China’s PP capacity to increase by 16% in 2023. But as is always the case in chemicals markets, you don’t have to take anyone’s word for what happens next. What you instead must do is look at the spreads between chemicals prices and feedstock costs. In PP, the latest spreads data tell us just how far we are from a full recovery: In 2003-2021, spreads between CFR China PP injection grade prices averaged $546/tonne compared with $251/tonne so far this year – a 118% difference. During 1-18 November this year, CFR China PP injection grade spreads were just $176/tonne, the lowest monthly spread since our price assessments began in January 2003. The previous record low was $201/tonne in March this year. Be cautious, be prudent and be realistic and out there. Editor’s note: This blog post is an opinion piece. The views expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of ICIS.
TOPIC PAGE: Sustainability in the fertilizers industry
Updated on 22 November with the latest headlines. On this topic page, we gather the latest news, analysis and resources, to help you to keep track of developments in the area of sustainability in the fertilizers industry. LATEST NEWS HEADLINES Canadian firms plan fuel cell generator pilot using green ammonia By Stefan Baumgarten 22-Nov-22 14:40 TORONTO (ICIS)–Canadian firms AmmPower and Alkaline Fuel Cell Power (“PWWR”) have signed a non-binding letter of intent to form a joint venture for a fuel cell generator pilot project running on green ammonia, officials said on Tuesday. Deepak Fertilizers awards contract to reduce emissions, increase productivity By Erica Sesay 08-Nov-22 11:54 LONDON (ICIS)–India’s Deepak Fertilizers and Petrochemicals Corporation (DFPCL) has awarded a contract to engineering firm KBR to help three of its plants achieve lower emissions and higher production capacity, KBR announced. Saudi Aramco launches $1.5bn sustainability fund to support net zero ambition By Nurluqman Suratman 27-Oct-22 04:06 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi Aramco is creating a $1.5bn sustainability fund to invest in technologies to support its announced net-zero ambition by 2050 as well as the development of new lower-carbon fuels, the oil giant said late on Wednesday. MOVES: Mayer, Chen to lead expanded clean energy teams at US CF Industries By Adam Yanelli 17-Oct-22 22:24 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Erik Mayer and Lei Chen will lead expanded clean energy teams at CF Industries, the US-based fertilizer producer announced on Monday. CF Industries and ExxonMobil plan CCS project in Louisiana By Stefan Baumgarten 12-Oct-22 20:30 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US fertilizer company CF Industries has entered an agreement with ExxonMobil to capture and permanently store up to 2m tonnes/year of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from its manufacturing complex in Louisiana, officials said on Wednesday. Vopak preparing for green ammonia handling and storage at Vlissingen, the Netherlands By Julia Meehan 11-Oct-22 11:14 LONDON (ICIS)–Vopak is preparing for the storage of green ammonia in the Netherlands at its terminal in Vlissingen, with berths, pipeline and infrastructure availability, it said on Tuesday, as it gauges market interest. US ADM and PepsiCo. announce agreement to reduce carbon intensity By Mark Milam 14-Sep-22 21:51 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US companies Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and PepsiCo. have announced a 7.5-year strategic commercial agreement to closely collaborate on projects that aim to significantly expand regenerative agriculture across their shared North American supply chains. Uniper, Vesta to cooperate on renewable ammonia site in the Netherlands By Gary Hornby 12-Sep-22 18:06 LONDON(ICIS)–German utility Uniper and logistics company Vesta have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to evaluate the potential establishment of a renewable ammonia hub in the Netherlands, a joint press release said 12 September. German Uniper to work with Japan’s JERA on US clean ammonia projects By Stefan Baumgarten 06-Sep-22 19:40 LONDON (ICIS)–German power generation company Uniper and Japanese energy firm JERA plan to jointly develop clean ammonia export projects in the US. ADNOC ships first cargo of low-carbon ammonia to Germany By Stefan Baumgarten 01-Sep-22 14:53 LONDON (ICIS)–Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has send a first demonstration cargo of low-carbon ammonia from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Germany, it said on Thursday. Canada’s plan to cut fertilizer emissions is voluntary – minister By Stefan Baumgarten 19-Aug-22 16:02 TORONTO (ICIS)–The Canadian federal government's target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fertilizers is voluntary, not mandatory, agricultural minister Marie Claude Bibeau said. Canada’s fertilizer emission goal raises food production concerns By Erica Sesay 16-Aug-22 15:38 LONDON (ICIS)–Canada’s emission lowering goal has raised some concerns in the agriculture sector about a possible reduction in the country’s future crop yields. EU CARBON BORDER ADJUSTMENT MECHANISM (CBAM) EXPLAINED What is it? The risk of carbon leakage frustrates the EU’s efforts to meet climate objectives. It occurs when companies transfer production to countries that are less strict on emissions, or when EU products are replaced by more carbon-intensive imports. This new mechanism would counteract this risk by putting a carbon price on imports of certain goods from outside of the EU. How will it work? EU importers will buy carbon certificates corresponding to the carbon price that would have been paid, had the goods been produced under the EU's carbon pricing rules. Conversely, once a non-EU producer can show that they have already paid a price for the carbon used in the production of the imported goods, the corresponding cost can be fully deducted for the EU importer. This will help reduce the risk of carbon leakage by encouraging producers in non-EU countries to make their production processes greener. A reporting system will apply from 2023 with the objective of facilitating a smooth roll out and to facilitate dialogue with non-EU countries. Importers will start paying a financial adjustment in 2026. How is the fertilizer industry affected? The fertilizer industry is one of the sectors to fall under the CBAM. The more energy-intensive nitrogen fertilizers will be affected most in the sector by the mechanism. DEFRA CONSULTATIONS EXPLAINED The UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) launched a consultation at the beginning of November 2020 on reducing ammonia emissions from urea fertilizers. The consultation ran until 26 January 2021. It set out three options for tackling ammonia emissions: A total ban on solid urea fertilizers A requirement to stabilise solid urea fertilizers with the addition of a urease inhibitor. A requirement to restrict the spreading of solid urea fertilizers to between 15 January and 31 March of a given year. Liquid urea is excluded from any new rules or restrictions. DEFRA is currently analysing the feedback received. In March 2022, DEFRA announced that it had delayed introducing restrictions on the use of urea by at least a year to support farmers with fertilizer availability and keep their costs down Should DEFRA decide to restrict the use of urea in the future, growers would be left with just ammonium nitrate-based fertilizers. PREVIOUS NEWS HEADLINES Northern Nutrients produces new nitrogen sulphur fertilizer, targets autumn sales Ameropa and Hynfra sign deal to explore green ammonia, methanol Canada invests about $1.7m towards high-efficiency fertilizer Highfield Resources announces launch of community initiative at Muga Potash project US Mosaic and BioConsortia expand collaboration to microbial biostimulant IMO deems Mediterranean Sea area for sulphur oxides emissions control Canada's Soilgenic launches new enhanced efficiency fertilizers technology for retail Austria's Borealis aims to produce 1.8m tonnes/year of circular products by 2030 European Parliament rejects proposed carbon market reform IFA ’22: southern Africa looks to bio-fertilizer as cheaper, sustainable option IFA '22: Indian farmers will struggle to embrace specialty fertilizers – producer Canadian Nutrien plans to build world’s largest clean ammonia facility in Louisiana Japan's JGC Holdings awards green ammonia plant contract to KBR US ReMo Energy launches green ammonia product to address fertilizer cost and climate change Norway’s Yara evaluates potential stock listing of Yara Clean Ammonia unit on Oslo Stock Exchange Saskatchewan government extends 4R Nutrient Stewardship agreement for three more years Anuvia Plant Nutrients secures funding to scale US production of sustainable fertilizer Verde AgriTech announces technology to incorporate microorganisms in fertilizer products Bayer to partner with Ginkgo to produce sustainable fertilizers OCI looking to expand Texas nitrogen output and create renewable fuel plant Australia Orica and H2U Group partner on Gladstone green ammonia project Canada sets tax credit of up to 60% for carbon capture projects Keras Resources increases ownership of the Diamond Creek Phosphate Mine in Utah UK delays urea restrictions to support farmers as fertilizer costs at record high EU states agree to back carbon border tax Yara to develop novel green fertilizer from recycled nutrients USDA announces plans for $250m grant programme to support American-made fertilizer Canada seeks guidance to achieve fertilizer emissions target Fertilizer titan Pupuk Indonesia develops hydrogen/blue ammonia business India launches green hydrogen/ammonia policy, targets exports Canada AmmPower to develop green hydrogen and ammonia facility in Louisiana US DOE awards grant to project to recover rare earth elements from phosphate production Fertiglobe, Masdar, Engie to develop green hydrogen for ammonia production Czech Republic’s Spolana enhances granular AS production India’s Reliance to invest $80bn in green energy projects Yara, Sweden’s Lantmannen aim to commercialise green ammonia by 2023 Novatek and Uniper target Russia to Germany blue-ammonia supply chain Fertz giant Yara goes green with electrification of Norwegian factoryCanada Arianne Phosphate exploring use of phosphate for hydrogen technology FAO and IFA renew MoU to promote sustainable fertilizer use Sumitomo Chemical, Yara to explore clean ammonia collaboration Sri Lanka revokes ban on imports Tokyo scientists convert bioplastic into nitrogen fertilizer Aramco plans Saudi green hydrogen, ammonia project China announces action plan for carbon peaking & neutrality Saudi Aramco targets net zero emissions from operations by 2050 Fertiglobe goes green with Red Sea zero-carbon ammonia pro Australian fertilizer major Incitec Pivot teams up for green ammonia study INTERVIEW: BASF to scale up new decarbonisation tech in second half of decade – CEO India asks fertilizer companies to speed up production of nano DAP Japan's Itochu set to receive first cargo of blue ammonia for fertilizer use Norway's Yara acquires recycled fertilizers maker Ecolan Bayer Funds US start-up aims to cut nitrogen fertilizer use by 30% BP: Green ammonia production in Australia feasible, but needs huge investment Origin and MOL explore shipping green ammonia from Australia India’s IFFCO seeks to export nano urea fertilizer Sri Lanka reinstates ban on import of chemical fertilizers Nutrien to cut greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030 RESOURCES IFA – Fertilizers and climate change TFI – Sustainability report
PODCAST: China chemicals demand outlook poor on scheduled shutdowns, pandemic policies
LONDON (ICIS)–Global holidays loom large, with Thanksgiving taking place this week, Christmas a month away and the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations on the horizon, taking place at the end of January 2023. While in some ways the world is in a markedly different place, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing energy and cost of living crisis, the same challenges persist as the pandemic and pressure to save the environment remain prevalent issues. Shutdown of the Yansab plant in Saudi Arabia in 2023 indicates poor demand pick-up anticipated in China China’s zero-COVID policies continue to weigh on both manufacturing and services sectors ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations Key takeaways from the COP27 summit – how will they impact the chemicals industry? Industry needs legislative guidance on sustainability metrics but market forces are determining an increased rate of change On the Think Tank podcast this week Senior Reporter for Europe Morgan Condon, talks to ICIS Insight Editor Nigel Davis, ICIS Senior Consultant Asia John Richardson and Paul Hodges, chairman of New Normal Consulting about the current trends impacting the chemicals sector.
EU energy price caps – Short-term gain, long-term pain
By Dr Aura Sabadus, ICIS EU leaders are pushing for a cap on ‘excessive and volatile’ gas prices to shield consumers ahead of winter. Although details are starting to emerge, it is still unclear whether a cap will be implemented and, if so, exactly how. Whilst serving a clear purpose as a palatable solution to extreme price increases for many, price caps can and do have unintended negative consequences. They can increase demand precisely at the time when prices should be signalling that consumers use less. They can turn the distribution of a commodity, from a place of excess supply to one of high demand, from a simple operation to a highly inefficient, expensive and complex one. And they generally have to be paid for in the future, passing on costs that still have to be borne another day and denting long-term economic growth. This paper reviews the risks and shows how market interventions lifted gas demand at a time when it should have been reduced in Spain, affected domestic gas production in Romania and led to significant economic imbalances in Turkey. Proposal One potential mechanism would see the European Commission propose a ‘dynamic corridor’ which would apply to the benchmark TTF month-ahead price, which would prevent transactions from rising above a set limit. To counter potential negative effects, the proposals suggest the price corridor could be adjusted at a level where ‘it would not affect the EU’s security of gas supply and intra-EU flows, nor lead to an increase in gas consumption and would not affect the stability and orderly functioning of energy derivative markets’. The price correction mechanism, as it is called, would be triggered ‘when needed’ and would be reviewed monthly. There would also be allowance for the Commission to order the immediate suspension of the cap at any time if ‘unintended disturbances affecting security of supply’ were to emerge. Apart from the difficulty of finely calibrating the price to a level that would be sufficiently low to shield consumers but high enough to attract supplies while not lifting demand, there are also multiple risks associated with price intervention. The default option Price caps tend to be the default response of governments to unsustainably high energy costs as they seek to shield consumers, rein in inflation and avert social unrest triggered by deteriorating living standards. Important as they may be in protecting consumers from market turbulence, artificially suppressed prices often lead to unintended consequences with long-term implications for the economy, the security of countries and the environment. Firstly, capping wholesale or retail prices below the market value of any given commodity comes at an onerous fiscal cost to economies. Invariably, the difference between the market price and the subsidised tariff leads to higher borrowing to plug the deficit, ultimately resulting in lower spending power long-term. By capping energy prices, governments merely delay the full payment of a rising energy cost which will ultimately have to be reflected in higher taxation. Macroeconomic data published by the International Monetary Fund shows that fossil fuel subsidies cost global economies $5.9 trillion, or 6.8% of their GDP in 2020, but that figure is set to rise to 7.4% of global GDP by 2025. Secondly, in free markets, resources are allocated in line with price signals determined by supply and demand. In regulated markets however, the allocation of resources is either very inefficient or has to be determined in line with complex, pre-defined criteria. For example, the UK has capped retail electricity and gas bills at £2,500 for a period of six months starting from 1 October 2022 but the cap does not distinguish between poor and wealthy households, applying to both. A more targeted resource allocation to vulnerable consumers would have entailed the costly task of defining the eligibility criteria and implementing a vast digital infrastructure to identify recipients as well as crack down on anyone caught abusing the system. Thirdly, suppressed fossil fuel prices encourage higher demand. Right now, following an unprecedented supply crunch since mid-2021, Europe’s priority should be to reduce demand for natural gas to a level where it can be met by available supplies. As Russia has curtailed gas supplies to Europe to a fourth of usual contractual levels, gas prices have soared six-fold over the five-year average, reflecting underlying scarcity and prompting an immediate adjustment in consumption. Contrary to growing criticism that the Dutch TTF price was no longer reflective of underlying fundamental drivers and that it should be reformed, the benchmark correctly reflected the shortfall. This helped to attract alternative LNG supplies and prompted a 24% year-on-year drop in overall gas consumption in the first 10 months of 2022. The latest wholesale gas monitoring report published by the EU’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) confirms that view, noting that despite high volatility and soaring prices, European markets remain functional, providing correct price signals. In the longer-term a price cap on fossil fuels would have the negative effect of driving up demand for cheap natural gas and implicitly lead to higher emissions at a time when the EU is making real efforts to switch to greener forms of generation, having recently raised its target for renewable energy from 40% to 45% of total production by 2030 over the 2020 baseline scenario. Fourthly, in free markets, prices fluctuate flexibly in line with fast-changing movements in the supply-demand balance. That is not the case in regulated markets where once the price is set at a certain level it cannot adjust according to underlying drivers and therefore requires subsequent interventions, leading to ever-more complex regulations and potentially discouraging existing or new investment. The best illustration comes from the fact that, as European gas markets have not been subjected to politically induced shocks in recent weeks, and demand remains subdued, gas prices have started to fall naturally. Finally, price caps could lead to extreme situations where traders would no longer be able to honour contractual obligations, potentially bringing down the entire market structure and creating unprecedented costs, as discussed in a recent paper by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. Anecdotal evidence – Spain To cope with the impact of rising gas prices in 2022, which in turn lifted electricity costs, the Spanish government decided to cap the price of natural gas paid by gas-fired power plants at €40.00/MWh in mid-June. The cap will be in place until the end of May 2023 but from 1 January will rise incrementally by €5.00/MWh to reach €70.00/MWh in the final month of the regulation. In parallel, the government introduced a compensation scheme for affected power generators, which will be paid from money raised via the tariffs charged to retail consumers, also known as the PVPC tariff. A calculation by Spain’s CaixaBank found that by July and August the marginal price of electricity, set by gas-fired plants, was around €140.00/MWh, or 22% below the May price. It also found that in the pre-cap arrangements, the PVPC tariff could typically capture 60% of the natural gas price swing. For example, a 10% monthly increase in the gas price triggered a 6.3% increase in the PVPC tariff. However, after the introduction of the cap, the ratio dropped to 2.9%. Nevertheless, the introduction of the cap coincided with a period of drought, which meant that Spanish hydropower production was reduced. The low gas price combined with falling hydro generation lifted gas demand, which doubled year on year over the summer months at a time when Europe was scrambling to reduce gas demand in response to the Russian supply crunch. Furthermore, cogeneration gas fired-power plants which were more efficient and environmentally friendly but had been left out of the compensation scheme, had to ramp down. Cogeneration production fell from 15% in the immediate pre-cap period to 9% after the introduction of the cap. Another unintended consequence of the price cap was that, facing lower revenue on the domestic market, companies started to export electricity to the comparatively more expensive French market. Electricity exports from Spain to France exploded from 0.3% of total Spanish generation in the months preceding the cap to 4% of the total afterwards. Romania Romania, like Turkey, has a history of heavy regulation, although its electricity and gas markets have alternated between full regulation and complete deregulation in recent years. In 2018, the Social Democrat-led government introduced a price cap on natural gas sold by local producers to suppliers at New Lei 68.00/MWh (€17.00/MWh at the exchange rate of December 2018), 76% cheaper than short-term domestic prices at the time. The introduction of an emergency ordinance not only sparked alarm in the energy sector but also caused reference indices on the Romanian stock exchange BVB to plummet to their lowest levels since 2011, with banks leading losses by nearly 19% and energy companies by 11%. The price cap had multiple negative effects on the market. Firstly, under the ordinance, all domestic gas production was expected to be sold at New Lei 68.00/MWh to companies supplying the gas to households. This meant the local output was not sufficient to cover overall demand, forcing suppliers to import gas at higher prices. Within a few months, prices on European hubs were already plummeting and by August 2019, they were around €3.00/MWh lower than the regulated Romanian gas price. Throughout this period, Romanian companies were at first forced to import gas to supply industrial consumers and then incentivised to buy abroad by falling hub prices. By August 2019, Romanian gas imports were 3.5 times higher than the previous year while domestic production, which had been severely discouraged by the price cap, fell by 2.4%, deepening Romania’s dependence on Russian gas. Apart from the direct impact on production and the revenue of energy companies and banks, the price cap also created layers of regulatory complexity because the government was forced to intervene subsequently to correct the effects of the cap. The heavy regulatory environment caused largely by Romania’s interventionist policies prompted investors to downsize or even exit the market, including the US’ ExxonMobil which sold its 50% stake worth $1bn in the Neptun Deep block in the Black Sea, throwing into doubt Romania’s prospects of offshore production. Turkey Turkey’s electricity and natural gas markets are heavily regulated, with price controls set for all types of consumers: gas-fired power plants, industrial and commercial consumers, and households. The country introduced a cost-based pricing mechanism in 2008 whereby end consumer tariffs were adjusted in line with exchange rate and oil price fluctuations. The two elements were critical because Turkey’s gas import prices were historically indexed to an oil-based formula and denominated in US dollars. Although the government was expected to adjust the tariff in line with these fluctuations on a regular basis, over the years it failed to do so. However, as the Turkish lira depreciated 81% against the US dollar within eight months since the start of 2018, the government had no choice other than to double the tariff to gas-fired power plants by August of that year, triggering shockwaves across the market. As a result of the increase, gas-fired power generators started to cancel contracts with suppliers who, in turn, were forced to cancel contracts with end consumers, bringing the entire market, which was fast developing, to a standstill. The shock was amplified by the fact that many companies did not hedge their positions and preferred to cancel contracts in exchange for paying a fee, as opposed to taking on the significant tariff hike. As electricity generation is over 30% gas-fired, electricity trading was so severely hit that it has not been able to recover to levels seen before the tariff rise. Despite the major negative impact and high costs to the sector, the regulated tariffs remain in place. Since the end of 2020, the government has had to raise the tariff twelve-fold to capture the sharp depreciation of the Turkish lira as well as fluctuations in TTF hub prices, to which Turkey’s newly-renewed gas import contracts are now linked. The true extent of the costs of the gas price cap to the Turkish economy is unknown but earlier in February officials said that, even with continued treasury support worth 14.8bn (€795m) Turkish lira, it had become difficult to borrow from banks as the debt to underpin the subsidies was becoming unsustainable. Conclusion Capping electricity and natural gas prices is a useful tool to protect consumers from short-term volatility in markets and rein in possible inflation. For that reason, price caps provide a valuable social and political dividend and tend to be a government’s default response to soaring costs. However, the evidence of recent history shows that price caps invariably come with unintended consequences, which in the long-term can have a negative impact on the economy, the security of supplies of countries and even the environment. The fact that EU proposals to implement a price cap have led to extensive wrangling over its implementation indicates the difficulties and complexity of such a task, as well as policymaker’s concerns over its long-term impact. As the example of Spain has shown, a gas price cap introduced in June has in fact led to the doubling of demand precisely at the time when Europe has been aiming to rein in gas consumption, jeopardising Spain’s security of gas supply. Very often, the distortions that price caps lead to are so severe that the measures required to correct them add more layers of complexity, creating a risky business environment and deterring investment.
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