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TOPIC PAGE: Sustainability in the fertilizers industry
Updated on 21 January. 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 Fertiglobe, Masdar, Engie to develop green hydrogen for ammonia production By Richard Ewing 19-Jan-2022 LONDON (ICIS)– Nitrogen fertilizer major Fertiglobe on Wednesday signed a collaboration agreement with Masdar and ENGIE to co-develop green hydrogen for ammonia production at Al Ruwais in the United Arab Emirates. Czech Republic’s Spolana enhances granular AS production By Erica Sesay 18-Jan-22 13:54 LONDON (ICIS)–Neratovice-based Spolana has upgraded its granular ammonium sulphate (AS) production facilities, enabling it to manufacture a new product suitable both for gardeners and large-scale agriculture, the company said India’s Reliance to invest $80bn in green energy projects By Priya Jestin 17-Jan-22 04:41 MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s petrochemical major Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) plans to invest Indian rupees (Rs) 5.95tr ($80bn) in green energy and other projects in western Gujarat state as it aims to achieve its net zero carbon emissions target by 2035. Yara, Sweden’s Lantmannen aim to commercialise green ammonia by 2023 By Jonathan Lopez 13-Jan-22 13:43 MADRID (ICIS)–Yara and Swedish agriculture co-operative Lantmannen are aiming to commercialise ammonia produced with renewable energy by mid-2023, the Norwegian fertilizers major said on Thursday. Novatek and Uniper target Russia to Germany blue-ammonia supply chain By Richard Ewing 22-Dec-21 12:14 LONDON (ICIS)–Russia's Novatek and Germany's Uniper on Wednesday agreed a term sheet (non-binding deal) for the long-term supply of up to 1.2m tonnes/year of low-carbon (blue) ammonia, primarily for the German market. Fertz giant Yara goes green with electrification of Norwegian factory By Richard Ewing 17-Dec-2021 LONDON (ICIS)–Scandinavian fertilizer major Yara was on Friday granted the local equivalent of $32m for a green ammonia initiative at its large Herøya plant in Norway that will see hydrogen produced from renewable energy rather than liquefied fossil gas. Canada Arianne Phosphate exploring use of phosphate for hydrogen technology By Mark Milam 16-Dec-21 20:56 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Arianne Phosphate announced it is working with the University of Quebec at Three-Rivers (UQTR) to assess the use of Arianne's high-purity phosphate concentrate in electrolysers that produce hydrogen for use in hydrogen fuel cells. FAO and IFA renew MoU to promote sustainable fertilizer use By Erica Sesay 13-Dec-21 17:05 London (ICIS)–The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fertilizer Association (IFA) renewed their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Monday, agreeing to promote the sustainable use and management of fertilizers. Sumitomo Chemical, Yara to explore clean ammonia collaboration By Nurluqman Suratman 10-Dec-2021 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Sumitomo Chemical and Norwegian fertilizer major Yara have agreed to explore a potential tie-up to advance the use of clean ammonia, the Japanese producer said on Friday. US fertilizer producer Mosaic broadening environmental stewardship commitment By Mark Milam 09-Dec-21 21:48 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US fertilizer producer Mosaic said it is broadening its commitment to environmental stewardship by announcing targets to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in Florida by 2030 and companywide by 2040. OCI and Navigator strike CO2 transportation and storage deal in Iowa By Richard Ewing 29-11-21 LONDON (ICIS)–Iowa Fertilizer Company (IFCo) facility has teamed up with Navigator CO2 Ventures to provide CO2 transportation and storage services on the latter’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) system, the Heartland Greenway, IFCo's Dutch parent OCI disclosed on Monday. Sri Lanka revokes ban on imports By Deepika Thapliyal 24-Nov-21 10:47 LONDON (ICIS)–The private sector will be permitted to import chemical fertilizers including urea, nitrates, phosphates and potash from today, Agriculture Minister Mahidananda Aluthgamage said. Fertz major Yara launches world's first electric and self-propelled container ship By Richard Ewing 19-11-21 LONDON (ICIS)–The world's first electric and self-propelled container ship – Yara Birkeland – on Friday made its maiden voyage in the Oslo fjord, Norwegian fertilizer major Yara announced. Australia's Woodside secures site for green ammonia/hydrogen project By Richard Ewing 12-Nov-21 12:11 LONDON (ICIS)–Australia's Woodside said Friday it had secured land for its proposed H2TAS hydrogen plant, as the energy producer looks to develop large-scale production of green (renewable) hydrogen and ammonia. Australia's Fortescue to convert offshore vessel to run on green ammonia By Richard Ewing 11-Nov-21 12:50 LONDON (ICIS)–Australia's Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) on Thursday announced that a high-tech vessel powered almost completely by green ammonia will hit the water in 2022. 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. Should it decide to restrict the use of urea, that would leave growers with just ammonium nitrate-based fertilizers. PREVIOUS NEWS HEADLINES Sri Lanka encourages transition to organic fertilizer at COP 26 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 BLOG: China provides major climate hope as latest IEA report underlines that it is all about the developing world Fertiglobe goes green with Red Sea zero-carbon ammonia pro Australian fertilizer major Incitec Pivot teams up for green ammonia study Yara partners up to explore clean ammonia bunkering and distribution in Japan Fertilizer Canada concerned cutting fertilizers to meet emissions target could impact farmers Yara and Kyushu Electric Power explore clean ammonia collaboration in Japan INTERVIEW: BASF to scale up new decarbonisation tech in second half of decade – CEO Australian Minbos Resources completes bulk sample from Cabinda Phosphate project 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% ADNOC concludes fresh sale of blue ammonia from the UAE to Japan Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies selects St Louis for new Crystal Green fertilizer facility India to launch $1.35tr infra plan, enhance green hydrogen output Norway Yara partners with Aker, Statkraft to launch green ammonia firm Blue and green ammonia to advance rapidly 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
TOPIC PAGE: Coronavirus, oil price direction – impact on chemicals
US paints and coatings companies have warned that rising costs and supply-chain issues dragged down their earnings during the final months of 2021, providing a sneak preview of the challenges that could be faced by other chemical companies as they report their results in the upcoming days. In China, fresh COVID-19 cases triggering travel restrictions days ahead of the world’s largest annual human migration, and battling Omicron under the “Zero Covid” policy are testing the country’s ability to maintain its high-speed economic growth. Market participants are mixed as regards the Asia propylene market's outlook in the post-Lunar New Year period due to uncertainties generated by Omicron, despite a somewhat sunny outlook for the major derivative polypropylene (PP). Firm sentiment continues to linger in US domestic epoxy resin markets, but improved supply-demand fundamentals are making buyers more weary of high prices. US polyethylene terephthalate (PET) production curtailments have reduced the country's production by some 20%. This situation is expected to tighten supply through most of the first quarter. Acrylonitrile (ACN) markets around the world have seen spot prices soften amid improving supply, although logistics problems and rising costs remain key concerns. Tune in to the latest ICIS podcast on the ACN markets. In ICIS Think Tank podcast, the theme centers on growth in China’s spending on chemicals research and innovation (R&I), which has far outpaced Europe and the US and that leaves chemical companies in the west facing a formidable challenge in the race to develop low carbon technologies. Watch the ICIS video as editor Samuel Wong discusses latest developments in the Asian paraxylene (PX) market. Updated on 21 January with news story links On this topic page we analyse the impact of coronavirus and oil price dynamics on chemical markets and bring together the latest news reported by ICIS. Scroll down to see the latest interactive graphics, podcasts and videos. Click here to register for regular updates to help you navigate these challenging times. LATEST HEADLINES INSIGHT: Omicron threatens Asia C3 demand despite upbeat PP sentiment By Julia Tan 21-Jan-22 11:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Market participants are mixed as regards the Asia propylene market's outlook in the post-Lunar New Year period due to uncertainties generated by the relatively nascent Omicron variant, despite a somewhat sunny outlook for the major derivative polypropylene (PP). US January epoxy firm as weariness grows over high prices By Tarun Raizada 20-Jan-22 01:08 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Firm sentiment continues to linger in US domestic epoxy resin markets, but improved supply-demand fundamentals are making buyers more weary of high prices. INSIGHT: US paint firms warn of more inflation, Omicron illness By Al Greenwood 20-Jan-22 10:22 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US paints and coatings companies have warned that rising costs and supply-chain issues dragged down their earnings during the final months of 2021, providing a sneak preview of the challenges that could be faced by other chemical companies as they report their results in the upcoming days. PODCAST: Global ACN supply eases; logistics, ongoing issues and costs monitored By ICIS Editorial 20-Jan-22 19:46 LONDON (ICIS)–Acrylonitrile (ACN) markets around the world have seen spot prices soften amid improving supply, although logistics problems and rising costs remain key concerns. Reduced US PET production to tighten supply By Luly Stephens 19-Jan-22 06:56 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US polyethylene terephthalate (PET) production curtailments have reduced the country's production by some 20%. This situation is expected to tighten supply through most of the first quarter. PODCAST: Europe, US chemicals face China dominance in race for low carbon technology By Will Beacham 18-Jan-22 21:45 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Growth in China’s spending on chemicals research and innovation (R&I) has far outpaced Europe and the US, leaving chemical companies in the west facing a formidable challenge in the race to develop low carbon technologies. VIDEO: Asia PX fundamentals healthy, uncertainty remains By Samuel Wong 18-Jan-22 17:47 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch ICIS editor Samuel Wong discuss latest developments in the Asian paraxylene (PX) market. Omicron ahead of the Spring Festival tests China's economy By Yun Xie 18-Jan-22 10:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Fresh COVID-19 cases triggering travel restrictions days ahead of the world’s largest annual human migration, and battling Omicron under the “Zero Covid” policy are testing China’s ability to maintain its high-speed economic growth. NE Asia ABS, SAN declines halt on feedstock support, momentum flat By Angeline Soh 14-Jan-22 13:24 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) markets were stable, tracking subdued momentum amid feedstock support. INSIGHT: Buoyant Asia biodiesel sentiment atypical on bullish palm oil futures By Felicia Loo 13-Jan-22 18:52 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–An upbeat mood hardly prevails in Asian palm methyl ester (PME) biodiesel markets during the winter, when there is a seasonal demand lull in key export outlets Europe and China. US spot styrene-benzene spreads narrow on stronger crude, fundamentals By Adam Burkin 13-Jan-22 06:44 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Spreads between US spot styrene and benzene continue to narrow into new year on elevated upstream cost pressures and strengthening fundamentals. US crude futures surge $1.42/bbl on tight supplies and rising demand By Ignacio Sotolongo 13-Jan-22 05:31 HOUSTON (ICIS)–NYMEX WTI crude futures for February delivery finished up for the second consecutive session, settling at $82.64/bbl, up $1.42, hitting two-month highs in response to a much greater than forecast drawdown in crude oil inventories revealed by the weekly supply statistics from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). INSIGHT: China lockdowns, US congestion threaten more trouble for global supply chains By Will Beacham 13-Jan-22 00:37 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Early January lockdowns in two cities which are home to some of China’s busiest container shipping ports, plus long delays at US ports, spell more trouble for global supply chains at the start of 2022. PODCAST: Supply chain crisis delaying inevitable downturn for chemicals By Will Beacham 11-Jan-22 22:54 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Congested global supply chains are masking a downturn in demand for chemicals, driven by China’s slowing economy, high energy prices plus falling consumer confidence and spending. New COVID outbreaks in new year likely to impact cargo movement – Maersk By Adam Yanelli 11-Jan-22 13:49 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The container shipping industry is continuing to battle with congested ports and labour issues, including outbreaks of COVID-19 in the area surrounding one of China's largest ports that are making it harder to move product from region to region. Ningbo lockdown creates C3 logistics issues By Julia Tan 11-Jan-22 12:23 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Recent coronavirus resurgences in the Ningbo region of China have disrupted the movements of both propylene imports and domestic propylene, although market sentiment is slightly mixed as regards the extent of the disruption. OUTLOOK ‘22: Asia EVA demand driven by China’s PV, supporting capacities By Helen Lee 07-Jan-22 10:47 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) market faces near-term headwinds on rising supply, but demand growth driven by the renewable energy and photovoltaic (PV) industry is poised to support capacity expansions longer term in 2022. OUTLOOK '22: Europe ABS supply shortage into H1, potential recovery by H2 By Stephanie Wix 07-Jan-22 00:03 LONDON (ICIS)–The supply shortage in the European acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) market is expected to continue until Q2 2022 at least due to ongoing pressures including production issues and low imports amid strong demand trends. OUTLOOK ’22: Mideast polyols Q1 demand uncertain amid Omicron spread, shipping woes By Damini Dabholkar 06-Jan-22 13:45 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Middle East polyols market outlook is somewhat uncertain in the first quarter of 2022 as a result of raging spread of Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the world and still very high freight rates making shipment costs expensive. US PET market conditions remain stable despite surge in Omicron infections By Luly Stephens 06-Jan-22 17:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US polyethylene terephthalate (PET) market fundamentals remain strong amid robust demand and stable pricing for virgin resin while prices for recycled PET increased. OUTLOOK ’22: Asia’s FAE to see Chinese interest in early January despite Omicron concerns By Helen Yan 05-Jan-22 11:47 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s fatty alcohol ethoxylates (FAE) market is expected to see emerging Chinese spot interest in early January, despite concerns over the impact of the highly infectious Omicron coronavirus variant on the global economic recovery. OUTLOOK ’22: Middle East base oils market faces uncertain outlook By Izham Ahmad 05-Jan-22 13:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Middle East base oils spot market faces an uncertain outlook in 2022, with supply of most grades expected to be largely sufficient but demand expected to remain stable to soft due to sluggish economic growth and global automotive sales. CRUDE SUMMARY: Oil up as Omicron optimism offsets US demand slump By Richard Price 05-Jan-22 14:29 LONDON (ICIS)–Crude futures extended their ascent on Wednesday, as investors continued to focus on price supportive developments. US crude stockpiles fell for the sixth consecutive week on Wednesday, confirming industry reports released late on Tuesday. OUTLOOK ’22: Asia nylon shaken by pessimistic automotive projections amid Omicron fears By Angeline Soh 04-Jan-22 11:04 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia Nylon 6, or polyamide (PA) resins 6, is set to start the year on shaky ground, on the back of gloomy derivative automotive projections as several lockdowns have been imposed due to Omicron, the latest COVID-19 variant. OUTLOOK ’22: Europe PVC expectations driven by pandemic trends, global weakness By Chris Barker 28-Dec-21 19:00 LONDON (ICIS)–European polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is expected to remain tight in 2022 on high underlying demand. Global developments, however, point in a longer direction and the impact on feedstock prices is as yet unclear. The challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic have dominated discussions since early 2020, with the market potentially reverting towards the mean if the disease recedes across Europe. OUTLOOK ’22: Omicron surge dampens Europe investor confidence but chems M&A to continue By Tom Brown 30-Dec-21 20:00 LONDON (ICIS)–Portfolio optimisation, private equity interest, and the intensifying pressure of sustainability targets are likely to continue to drive the chemicals mergers and acquisitions (M&A) market, despite the battering that investor confidence took in late 2021 when the Omicron COVID-19 variant emerged. OUTLOOK ’22: US chemical equities likely to continue on upswing on strong demandBy Janet Miranda 29-Dec-21 23:12 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Chemical equities are on track to end 2021 higher, as demand in key end markets continues, the upswing may likely continue into the new year as post-pandemic demand accelerates. But several factors such as ongoing high inflation rates, the US Federal Reserve’s new monetary policy tilt, including the acceleration of the reduction of its monthly bond purchases, and the rise of the Omicron COVID-19 variant increase volatility. Not to mention the supply chain and logistics challenges that have left no sector of the economy untouched. OUTLOOK ’22: Europe PVC expectations driven by pandemic trends, global weakness By Chris Barker 28-Dec-21 19:00 LONDON (ICIS)–European polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is expected to remain tight in 2022 on high underlying demand. Global developments, however, point in a longer direction and the impact on feedstock prices is as yet unclear. The challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic have dominated discussions since early 2020, with the market potentially reverting towards the mean if the disease recedes across Europe. OUTLOOK ’22: Asia ADA outlook mixed on supply cuts, slowing demand By Judith Wang 24-Dec-21 13:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The outlook for the Asian adipic acid (ADA) market is mixed in the first quarter of 2022 as producers in north China will be forced to cut operations in January and February, but slowing demand may mitigate the supply cuts. OUTLOOK '22: Seasonal demand likely for US IPA, but Omicron a caveat By Larry Terry 24-Dec-21 05:23 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Softer propylene will continue to exert downward pressure on US isopropanol (IPA) early in 2022, but the solvent is expected to see typical demand patterns next year, albeit with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus remaining a significant caveat. Feedstock costs of US glycol ethers decline in December, as Omicron variant looms By Deniz Koray 24-Dec-21 00:35 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US glycol ethers have loosened from their tightest points of 2021, back in the late winter and early spring, which followed multiple producer disruptions in the aftermath of winter storm Uri. Demand remains strong among end users, but the sudden rise of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus could test market fundamentals if cases continue to rapidly increase. PODCAST: Europe oxo-alcohols, acrylates and butac markets stable despite production limitations By ICIS Editorial 24-Dec-21 00:21 LONDON (ICIS)–The European oxo-alcohols chain is largely quiet due to seasonal low demand, although Arkema and INEOS declared force majeures during December. Butyl acetate (butac) report editor Nick Cleeve examines the impact of these limitations with oxo-alcohols editor Nicole Simpson and acrylate esters editor Mat Jolin-Beech. PODCAST: UAN market eyes 2022 with high prices and US import duty concerns By Sylvia Traganida 23-Dec-21 19:22 LONDON (ICIS)–The UAN market in 2021 had it all – from high nitrogen and natural gas prices to tight supply and countervailing duties in the US. It has certainly been a bumpy year. Senior UAN editors Sylvia Traganida and Mark Milam discuss the factors affecting the market this year and look ahead to what to expect in 2022. PODCAST: China benzene in downtrend amid gradually increasing inventories By Sam Liang 23-Dec-21 14:45 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Listen to ICIS analyst Jady Ma and Sam Liang discuss the current state and outlook of China's benzene market. INSIGHT: Omicron, China slowdown, supply chains and energy prices pose 2022 chems demand risks By Will Beacham 22-Dec-21 22:16 BARCELONA (ICIS)–The rampant spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, a slowdown in the world’s largest chemical market China, continued supply chain disruption and elevated energy prices add risks to economic growth and demand for chemicals in 2022. OUTLOOK ’22: Global oil braced for tighter supply and demand balance By Cecilia Barreiro 22-Dec-21 18:15 LONDON (ICIS)–Global crude oil markets face a new faster-spreading coronavirus variant and increasing output, while geopolitics could take centre stage next year. VIDEO: China PE faces ample supply, weak demand in Q1 2022 By Joanne Wang 16-Dec-21 17:56 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch industry analyst Joanne Wang discuss the polyethylene (PE) market in China which is currently weakening. Asia biodiesel offers fall on CPO losses, thin demand By Felicia Loo 16-Dec-21 13:31 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Selling indications for palm methyl ester (PME) biodiesel continued to decline, tracking persistent losses in feedstock crude palm oil (CPO) futures at a time of weak demand and market uncertainty. INSIGHT: Logistics woes intensify as Omicron variant rocks Europe By Tom Brown 16-Dec-21 00:11 LONDON (ICIS)–The supply chain pressures that have dogged the European chemicals sector since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic are hitting harder than ever in the run-up to the holiday season, as governments respond to rising infection rates. Zhejiang COVID-19 outbreak hits east China petrochemical logistics By Fanny Zhang 14-Dec-21 15:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Tightening restrictions at factories and ports in Zhejiang following a fresh COVID-19 outbreak are causing delays in transportation of petrochemicals in China’s eastern province. PODCAST: Economy, chemicals may switch from inflation to deflation in 2022 By Will Beacham 14-Dec-21 21:54 BARCELONA (ICIS)–The global economy may reverse from price inflation to deflation next year as supply chains unblock amid tepid underlying demand. VIDEO: China BG sentiment may remain weak; import supply to tighten By Bonnie Yin 14-Dec-21 12:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch ICIS editor Bonnie Yin discuss China's butyl glycol (BG) market developments and outlook. INSIGHT: Omicron variant is driving deterioration in business sentiment By Nigel Davis 13-Dec-21 22:49 LONDON (ICIS)–The fear of rising infections from the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is grabbing news headlines this week as governments react by raising coronavirus risk levels. Some further national lockdowns might be expected for early next year as the fast spread of the variant causes greater concern. Additional travel restrictions are already being introduced. OPEC revises down 2021 global GDP estimates, Omicron hits Q4 crude demand By Tom Brown 13-Dec-21 23:00 LONDON (ICIS)–Q4 crude oil demand is likely to be weaker than expected as a result of European countries’ response to the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, OPEC said on Monday, while full-year GDP growth is also likely to come in below forecasts. Indian SBR, PBR import trades under pressure on slowing demand By Ai Teng Lim 09-Dec-21 10:51 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Softer demand is taking a toll on discussions this week on India-bound import cargoes of synthetic rubber grades like styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) and polybutadiene rubber (PBR). PODCAST: GCC eyes stronger PP demand in 2022 By Jasmine Khoo 09-Dec-21 12:10 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)’s polypropylene (PP) market has had a volatile run in 2021, with vast contrasts and swings in PP prices rendering buyers unclear on what 2022 is set to bring. VIDEO: Asia benzene rebounds; volatile SM may extend into 2022 By Angeline Soh 08-Dec-21 18:02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch pricing editors Angeline Soh and Trixie Yap discuss current developments and outlook for Asia’s benzene and styrene monomer (SM) markets. China November petrochemical markets slump as supply disruptions ease By Yvonne Shi 07-Dec-21 14:45 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China's petrochemical markets slumped in November following a sharp surge in the previous month, as energy consumption curbs that caused heavy production disruptions have eased. PODCAST: As China moves to PP self-sufficiency, expect scramble for global market share By Will Beacham 07-Dec-21 22:05 BARCELONA (ICIS)–China may become self-sufficient in polypropylene (PP) from 2022, raising the prospect of a scramble for market share globally and a possible price war. Europe glycerine supply to remain tight until year-end despite easing feedstock pressures By Samantha Wright 06-Dec-21 23:38 LONDON (ICIS)–European glycerine availability is expected to remain very short for the rest of the year, despite improvements in upstream biodiesel production. INSIGHT: Europe PP 2022 contracts discussed as security of supply vies with new output By Linda Naylor 06-Dec-21 23:50 LONDON (ICIS)–Many polypropylene (PP) buyers in Europe are still discussing 2022 volume and pricing contracts, mindful of product shortages in 2021, but also of the swathe of new capacity coming on-stream next year. Crude rises more than $1/bbl on demand optimism after Saudi price hike By James Dennis 06-Dec-21 16:02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Benchmark crude prices rallied on Monday, rising by more than $1/bbl or over 2% on the previous close, amid a more optimistic demand outlook after Saudi Arabia raised its January Official Selling Prices (OSP) for customers in Asia. Crude prices rise further following OPEC+ decision By James Dennis 03-Dec-21 16:45 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Benchmark crude prices rose by more than $1/bbl on Friday following on from gains made in the previous session, OPEC and its allies (OPEC+) announced that they will maintain plans to raise production by 400,000 bbl/day in January 2022. Global chemical sentiment bearish on Omicron spread By Felicia Loo 03-Dec-21 13:15 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Global chemical sentiment has become bearish amid the rise of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, with buyers sidelined at a time of uncertainty and as several countries undertook imposed travel restrictions and temporary border closures. INSIGHT: SE Asian IPA Q1 market sentiment weak on shipping woes By Julia Tan 03-Dec-21 11:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Southeast Asian isopropanol (IPA) markets are expected to see bearish sentiment in the first quarter of 2022, as upstream acetone and propylene are unlikely to provide significant support to a market that is already struggling with weak seasonal demand and supply chain disruptions. US crude futures finish up 93 cents/bbl on rollercoaster action By Ignacio Sotolongo 03-Dec-21 06:01 HOUSTON (ICIS)–NYMEX WTI crude futures experienced another wild intra-day low/high swing of $5.00/bbl before showing a preference for the upside and settling at $66.50/bbl for January delivery. It was a day of headline trading, with concerns that the Omicron coronavirus variant would result in lockdowns and travel restrictions adversely impacting global economic growth. US Q1 glycerine contract negotiations ongoing amid major cost pressures By Lucas Hall 03-Dec-21 07:50 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US Q1 glycerine contract negotiations are ongoing. Most major contracts are finalised, with freely negotiated settlements largely heard at least 15-20% higher from their Q4 levels. Northeast Asian C3 bearish despite healthier margins By Julia Tan 02-Dec-21 20:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Despite healthier margins amid falling feedstock prices, bearish sentiment continues in the northeast Asian propylene spot markets, with participants anticipating limited support from derivative sectors. INSIGHT: Omicron variant may further erode US PE margins By Al Greenwood 02-Dec-21 09:09 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The Omicron variant of the coronavirus could further erode US margins for polyethylene (PE) if travel restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the disease lead to a sustained decline in oil prices. INSIGHT: Energy crisis in Europe intensifies as weather takes its grip By Nigel Davis 01-Dec-21 23:23 LONDON (ICIS)–The uncertainties surrounding energy price direction in December and through the winter months in northern Europe weigh heavily on regional petrochemical producers. Influx of US ethylene supply on the way as demand remains strong By Michael Sims 01-Dec-21 07:58 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US ethylene supply is set to loosen as the year comes to a close, with plant turnaround completions and two new steam cracker start-ups approaching. Europe capro demand weaker in December on downstream slowdown By Marta Fern 30-Nov-21 22:35 LONDON (ICIS)–The European caprolactam (capro) market faces weaker buying interest for December, ample supply and ongoing pressure from high production costs. INSIGHT: Omicron variant, Fed’s hawkish tilt point to slower US and global economic growth By Joseph Chang 30-Nov-21 16:25 NEW YORK (ICIS)–The emergence of the Omicron variant and the US Federal Reserve’s new hawkish tilt point to slower US and global economic growth going forward, putting pressure on the outlook for economically sensitive sectors such as chemicals. US crude futures plunge $3.77/bbl on vaccine effectiveness By Ignacio Sotolongo 30-Nov-21 15:44 HOUSTON (ICIS)–NYMEX WTI crude futures experienced another round of length liquidation, settling at $66.18, down $3.77, for January delivery on concerns that COVID-19 vaccines may not be as effective against the Omicron variant. PODCAST: Omicron risks further chemicals supply chain and demand disruption By Will Beacham 30-Nov-21 09:22 BARCELONA (ICIS)–The Omicron coronavirus variant may further disrupt supply chains while impacting demand for chemical markets around the world. VIDEO: China toluene flips into backwardation as prompt prices rise By Veronica Zhang 30-Nov-21 16:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch industry analyst Veronica discuss China's toluene which is currently in backwardation amid unusually buoyant prompt prices. INSIGHT: New coronavirus variant concerns slam oil, raise new woes By Nigel Davis 27-Nov-21 00:42 LONDON (ICIS)–A concerted effort by major consuming nations to cap the run up in crude oil prices this week, on the face of it, failed miserably – prices rose after the US, China, India, South Korea, Japan, and the UK agreed to release reserves. Concerns over fuel and energy price inflation are pitted against the reluctance of the OPEC+ producing nations to pump significantly more crude. Crude falls sharply amid oversupply fears and new coronavirus threat concerns By James Dennis 26-Nov-21 17:08 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Crude fell sharply during Asian trading with ICE Brent futures falling by close to 5% amid heightened concerns of a potential oversupply of crude in first quarter of 2022 resulting from US-led inventory release plans by leading consumers, and heightened demand worries following the emergence of new coronavirus variant. NE Asia C2 supply to rise in Dec/early ‘22 on increased S Korea output By Yeow Pei Lin 26-Nov-21 12:58 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene (C2) supply is expected to rise in December and January on the back of increased output and weak downstream conditions in South Korea. PODCAST: Europe oxo-alcohols chain stabilises in November By Eashani Chavda 26-Nov-21 00:53 LONDON (ICIS)–European oxo-alcohols availability has improved in Q4 following the lifting of force majeures by BASF and OQ. ICIS Editors Eashani Chavda, Nicole Simpson, Nick Cleeve and Mathew Jolin-Beech discuss the latest for the oxo-alcohols chain including; glycol ethers, butyl acetate (butac) and acrylate esters. Arbitrage window opens slightly for Asia and Europe propylene By Julia Tan 25-Nov-21 19:42 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The arbitrage window has opened slightly between Asia and Europe for propylene, with some Asian suppliers hoping to send cargoes to European buyers with better netbacks. US glycerine markets to remain bullish into Q1 as demand outpaces supply By Lucas Hall 25-Nov-21 07:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US glycerine markets are expected to remain bullish well into Q1 as demand continues to outpace supply because of ongoing disruptions globally. PODCAST: China’s dual control policy – what now? By Jasmine Khoo 25-Nov-21 12:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China has pledged to achieve peak carbon emission by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, and the dual control policy is part of this movement towards an environmentally-friendly future. In this episode of the ICIS Podcast, Markets Editor Julia Tan speaks with Jimmy Zhang, ICIS analyst to delve into the policy; looking at what it is, how it has broadly affected the markets, and how long its effects can be expected to last. High US TEG prices attract Europe imports; DEG stabilising By Antoinette Smith 24-Nov-21 08:51 HOUSTON (ICIS)–High US triethylene glycol (TEG) spot prices have attracted imports from Europe, as domestic demand continues to significantly outpace supply. US ABS faces continued tight supply through year-end By John Donnelly 22-Nov-21 22:50 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) supplies will remain tight through the end of the year but the resumption of two plants and falling auto demand could offer relief in Q1. PODCAST: Latest global ACN supply improved but costs a concern for US and Europe By ICIS Editorial 24-Nov-21 19:06 LONDON (ICIS)–The global acrylonitrile (ACN) markets are calmer than in recent months but there are many factors still to take into account. In this podcast, ICIS pricing editors Jane Massingham (Europe), Lucas Hall (US) and Li Li Chng (Asia) discuss the latest developments in the market and what can be expected in the short-term. German states urged to adopt compulsory COVID-19 vaccinations, US warns against travel By Stefan Baumgarten 23-Nov-21 11:38 LONDON (ICIS)–Germany’s state governments must consider compulsory vaccination to contain the unrelenting rise in infections from the coronavirus' fourth wave, the head of the country’s prosperous Baden-Wurttemberg state said on Tuesday. Europe methanol downtrend pauses on firmer demand in late Q4 By Eashani Chavda 22-Nov-21 19:13 LONDON (ICIS)–European methanol demand is expected to remain robust heading into December, supporting spot prices after a rapid decline. ANALYSIS AND RESOURCES
BLOG: New supply chain problems prolong the big HDPE divide as imbalances build
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Click here to see the latest blog post on Asian Chemical Connections by John Richardson. Just when it looked as if supply chain problems might be easing, China's Zero Covid policy threatens more disruptions. Also looming on the horizon is the expiry of labour contracts in July at two key US ports, Long Angeles and Long Beach. The last time contracts were up for renewal, there was industrial action. And then there is the global shortage of truck drivers. But China's high-density polyethylene (HDPE demand growth is undergoing a long-term decline because of Common Prosperity with Zero Covid also damaging growth. China plans to raise its HDPE capacity by another 23% in 2022. South's exports could increase to 2.4m tonnes this year from 1.6m tonnes in 2021 on its new capacity, with new plants scheduled to start-up in the Philippines and India. As US production normalises, and as US HDPE capacity also rises, US exports could jump from 2.9m tonnes in 2021 to 4.5m tonnes in 2022. Something must give. European and US margins, which have recently fallen, must eventually move much closer to the depressed Asian levels. Last week, Northeast Asian HDPE margins were at a record low at minus $198/tonne. But the odds of this major rebalanacing happening in 2022 have declined because of the new supply chain issues that continue to limit exports of Asian surpluses to the West. 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.
Container rates from China to both US coasts tick higher
HOUSTON (ICIS)–Shipping container rates from east Asia and China to the US ticked higher again this week as market participants continue to monitor the impact on logistics from strict COVID-19 outbreak containment measures put in place by the Chinese government. Judah Levine, head of research at online freight shipping marketplace and platform provider Freightos, said that, so far, he is seeing no major impacts after steps were quickly taken to stop the spread of cases in multiple locations, including Beijing, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Dalian and several others. Levine said that freight operations in Ningbo have largely recovered, although they did result in some diversions to and increased congestion in Shanghai. “One reason that logistics operations have remained largely intact is that the restrictions have been swift and as targeted as possible,” Levine said. “Also, so far there have not been positive cases among port workers themselves, which was the case last summer when the port of Yantian was partially closed.” Levine expects rates to remain relatively stable over the next couple of weeks because of the Lunar New Year holiday, which runs from 31 January to 6 February this year. Factories in China shut down for the week, and some of the shutdowns can last as long as a month. “Shipments that have not been booked yet are unlikely to get moved in time,” Levine said. “The congestion and delays at US ports may have muted some of the urgency that pushes demand up ahead of Lunar New Year most years.” Congestion at the major Pacific coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach persists despite efforts to work through the backlog. The Marine Exchange of Southern California (MESC) said that as of Wednesday, there were 100 container ships backed up at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Of the 100, seven were at anchor or loitering within 40 miles of the ports, and 93 were slow-speed streaming or loitering outside the Safety and Air Quality Area (SAQA). The count was at 105 container ships on 6 January, which was up from before the Christmas holiday when there were 91 total container ships backed up, including 24 at anchor or loitering inside 40 miles, plus 67 in the queue. The record before the new queuing system was implemented is 116 container ships on 16 November. For context, there were 86 container ships in port on 13 October ahead of the peak-season arrivals, which was also before the new queuing system was initiated. Container ships are relevant to the chemicals industry because while most chemicals are liquids and are shipped in tankers, container ships transport polymers such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), which are shipped in pellets. Additional reporting by Fanny Zhang
More state power generation could hit reliability, emissions in Mexico – study
HOUSTON (ICIS)–Shifting Mexico’s power generation mix to rely more on state-owned power plants could negatively affect system reliability, increase natural gas and other fuel consumption as well as emissions, according to new analysis from the US-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory NREL, which is part of the Department of Energy. The technical impact analysis published in the first half of January 2022 concludes that prioritising state-owned power plants would increase electricity production costs by 31% to 53% depending on the scenario, amid renewables curtailment, higher production costs and decreased private generation participation. The release of the study came between the 22 December and upcoming meetings between the US energy minister Jennifer Granholm and Rocio Nahle, her Mexican counterpart. Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) said on 17 January that Granholm would be in Mexico this week to talk about several issues with a number of ministers. The US Department of Energy announced on 19 January that Secretary Granholm would visit on 20 and 21 January. NATURAL GAS, FUEL CONSUMPTION Natural gas consumption would increase over the reference scenario by 6% to 29%, depending on the scenario, while the consumption of fuel oil would jump several-fold in all scenarios. Coal consumption would increase over the reference scenario by 47% to potentially more than double. The analysis modelled scenarios that simulate increased participation of state-owned power plants in Mexico’s generation mix. Each scenario represented different levels of priority of generation from state-owned power plants. The analysis compared these scenarios against a reference scenario that is supposed to represent current practices in Mexico using data for the year ending 31 August 2021. The increase in the share of annual electricity generation by publicly-owned generators increased in the scenarios from 40% to 74%, displacing private generation. SYSTEM RELIABILITY The analysis concluded a shift in the generation mix could hit grid reliability because of higher forced outage rates of older plants owned by state-run utility CFE and state producer Pemex. It used data from a 2019 Mexico government audit, indicating the average age of CFE power plants was between nearly 34 years and 42 years, while the average age of private power plants holding independent power producer (PIE) contracts with CFE is about 12 years. EMISSIONS Prioritising state-owned generation would up annual CO2 emissions by 26%, or 29.4m tonnes, in the first scenario to 65%, or 73.5m tonnes, in the third scenario while SO2 emissions would more than double or triple. The increased emissions would result from the potential increased use of fuel oil and coal generation and curtailment of wind and solar. Curtailment of these two types of generation was estimated at 0.32TWh, or 0.8% of available wind and solar under the reference scenario. The figure remains the same under NREL’s first scenario but wind and solar curtailment more than doubled in the second scenario. Nearly 91% of generation was curtailed in scenario three. NREL is a national laboratory of the US Department of Energy. The institution said its analysis report is part of the 21st Century Power Partnership program in Mexico. The program is supposed to support Mexico’s power system transformation by accelerating the transition to a “reliable, financially robust and low-carbon system.” NREL said its analysis is not a forecast of the potential effects of the administration’s energy initiative currently being debated in Mexico’s congress.
336MW solar PPAs highlight Polish market growth potential
LONDON (ICIS)–The announcement of 336MW in solar power purchase agreements (PPA) in Poland this week indicates investment interest in a market with untapped potential. On 19 January Swiss energy firm Axpo via its subsidiary Axpo Polska, signed one of the largest solar PPAs ever concluded in the Polish energy market with local developer R Power for 300MW solar projects, set to come online in the middle of 2023. Axpo will buy the full output generated by the solar plants between 2022 and 2026 and will act as the balancing agent for the project portfolio, said the firm in a statement. Separately, the Norwegian state-owned company Statkraft signed a 10-year PPA for 36MW solar park in Poland with Danish producer Better Energy, said an official statement on 18 January. The new solar park will bring subsidy-free solar power to Poland from 2023, added Statkraft. PPAs are an alternative to tenders and subsidy schemes for funding the construction of new renewable capacity. In Poland, this type of agreement has mainly seen corporate involvement, reflecting a market largely driven by foreign investment. The size of the two recent deals means that future installed capacity covered by Polish PPAs in January 2022 has already exceeded the 2021 total. According to data on publicly announced deals collected by ICIS, during 2021 Polish PPAs were signed on a total of 223MW generation capacity. RENEWABLE TARGETS The Polish government’s energy policy until 2040 sets a renewable energy goal for 2030 of “not less than 32% in electricity consumption.” The government strategy points to increasing installed offshore wind capacity to 5.9GW and reaching between 5GW and 7GW of solar generation capacity by 2030. ICIS figures are less conservative with regards to both. Solar generation capacity would reach nearly 15GW in 2030, while offshore wind would reach 6.4GW, according to the Power Horizon 2030 model. This would lift the share of renewable generation within total electricity consumption to over 35%. Polish electricity generation is currently dominated by fossil fuels with more than 70% of electricity being generated from coal. Additional reporting by David Battista
US Axalta to miss guidance because of high inflation, supply constraints
HOUSTON (ICIS)–Axalta Coating Systems will miss its Q4 and 2021 full-year guidance, issued in October, mainly because of greater-than-expected adverse impacts from raw material price inflation and supply chain constraints, the US-based company said in an update on Tuesday. Full-year adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) are now expected $30m below the midpoint of the October guidance range of $645m-665m. Full-year sales are expected to have grown by 18.2%, compared with guidance of about 19% growth. Limitations in availability of certain raw materials resulted in substantial unfulfilled orders during Q4, it added. OUTLOOK However, given strong underlying demand conditions across Axalta's end-markets, the company believes 2022 should be a year of recovery in volume and profit terms, it said. The majority of the recovery would be in H2, it said. “The company also remains focused on addressing persistent inflationary pressures with price increases," it added. Axalta expects to offset 2021 inflation impacts during H1 2022. The company expects to see continued inflation during 2022 from most cost categories, which will require incremental price actions. However, the inflationary cost headwinds are expected to decrease sequentially during 2022 following Q1, when overall cost inflation is expected to remain fairly consistent with Q4 2021, it said. Axalta uses thousands of different raw materials, which fall into seven broad categories: liquid resins, powder resins, pigments, solvents, monomers, isocyanates and additives. On average, the company's total raw material spend represents between 40% and 50% of cost of sales, according to its 2020 annual report. Axalta expects to announce its Q4 and full-year 2021 results on 31 January. Thumbnail shows automobiles, which represent a significant end market for Axalta. Photo by Ng Han Guan/AP/REX/Shutterstock
VIDEO: Asia PX fundamentals healthy, uncertainty remains
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch ICIS editor Samuel Wong discuss latest developments in the Asian paraxylene (PX) market. Prices firmer on upstream rebound Demand recovery likely post-Lunar New Year Players cautious amid continued rise in COVID-19 infections Visit the ICIS Coronavirus topic page for analysis of the impact on chemical markets and links to latest news.
Crude up $1/bbl on rising Middle East tensions after attack on UAE
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Benchmark crude prices rose more than $1/bbl on Tuesday following an attack on a Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) fuel depot in the UAE, fuelling concerns of an escalation of tensions in the Middle East which could impact supply conditions. Product Latest Previous Change Brent March 87.20 86.48 0.72 WTI February 84.87 83.82 1.05 At 03:49 GMT on Tuesday, Brent crude was 72 cents higher at $87.20/bbl. Brent futures earlier reached a session high of $87.55/bbl, up $1.07/bbl, their highest since 29 October 2014. US WTI rose by $1.05/bbl to $84.87/bbl after earlier reaching a session high of $85.19/bbl, a $1.37/bbl increase from the previous settlement price of $83.82 on 14 January. Trade was subdued in the US due to the Martin Luther King holiday. UAE state-owned oil firm ADNOC in a Twitter post on Tuesday said that it has activated business continuity plans to ensure continued supply of products to its local and international customers following an incident on its Mussafah fuel depot. The company said in an earlier statement that the incident at the fuel depot occurred at around 10:00 hours (06:00 GMT) on 17 January. The incident resulted in the outbreak of a fire and three workers were killed as a result, it said. "We are working closely with the relevant authorities to determine the exact cause and a detailed investigation has commenced," ADNOC said. Yemen's Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack, which involved ballistic missiles and deployed armed drones, according to local media reports. The attack also resulted in a fire at Abu Dhabi’s main international airport, they said. "We condemn the Houthi militia's targeting of civilian areas and facilities on UAE soil today," the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement. The UAE reserves the right to respond to "terrorist attacks and criminal escalation", the ministry said. The Saudi Arabia-led coalition on Monday said it has launched air strikes aimed at Yemen's Houti-held capital Sanaa following the attack in Abu Dhabi. "In response to the threat and [out of] military necessity, air strikes have begun in Sanaa," the official Saudi Press Agency said in a post on Twitter late on Monday. News of the attack in Abu Dhabi comes at a time when there is already plenty of concern in the oil market over the potential impact of an escalation in tensions between Russia and Ukraine, said Dutch banking and financial services firm ING in a note. "These growing risks, combined with worries over OPEC spare capacity, have meant that sentiment in the oil market has remained bullish," it said. "Technically, the oil market is well in overbought territory, whilst fundamentally we also believe that the market is being too complacent about demand risks around China and its zero-Covid policy," ING added. Focus article by Nurluqman Suratman
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