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Singapore Sept manufacturing shrinks for first time since 2020 as outlook dims
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. The Singapore purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell to 49.9 in September from 50.0 in August, falling below the 50.0 threshold for the first time since June 2020, data from the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM) showed late on Monday. A reading above 50.0 indicates overall expansion while a reading below that threshold indicates overall contraction in activity. The decline in overall factory activity was weighed down by the contraction in the electronics sector PMI. The latter fell for the second straight month to 49.4 in September, after dipping into contraction in August for the first time since July 2020. Many of the sub-indices within the PMI report fell below 50.0 in September. The index of new orders came in at 49.9 from 50.1 in August, the first sub-50 print since August 2020, while the production index inched further below 50.0 with a print of 49.8. The new exports index eased to 50.0 from 50.2 in August. The other negatives came from the indices of inventory (49.8, from 49.6 in August), imports (49.6, from 49.8 in August) and notably, order backlog, which came in at 49.7 (from 50.1 in August), the first sub-50 print since June 2020, after more than two years of continuous expansion. UOB Senior Economist Alvin Liew said the latest dip in the September PMI and the back-to-back contraction in the electronics PMI "painted a consistent picture", based on the latest non-oil domestic exports (NODX) and manufacturing data. Singapore's latest NODX data rose by 11.4% year on year in August, with petrochemical shipments abroad expanding by 2.0%. Overall factory output expanded by 0.5% year on year in August, down from a 0.8% growth in July. "We see a weaker electronics performance and slowing demand from north Asian economies that could increasingly weigh on NODX momentum and manufacturing activity," Liew said. Singapore's overall economic growth would likely slow significantly next year, Liew added, as the US and European economies, which are key end-demand markets for the country, are projected to enter a recession in the next six to 12 months amid aggressive monetary policy tightening. Other external headwinds for Singapore include the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict as well as potential new variants of COVID-19, said Liew. "China’s potential rebound from its COVID-19 challenges in 2023 could be a positive factor offsetting some of the downside drivers next year," he added. Focus article by Nurluqman Suratman Thumbnail image: A shot of the Singapore skyline. Singapore's factory activity in September contracted for the first time in more than two years, with Singapore's purchasing managers' index (PMI) falling to 49.9 in September, from 50.0 in August. (Source: Then Chih Wey/Xinhua)
India extends import certification deadline for 14 chemicals, polymers
MUMBAI (ICIS)–India has decided to extend once again the deadline for import certification of various chemicals to March-April 2023, giving in to pressure from domestic end-user industries that rely on imported raw materials. The mandatory Bureau of India Standards (BIS) certification was expanded to cover more chemicals and petrochemical imports in 2019 as a non-tariff barrier against inferior imports. Enforcement of BIS certification for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), ethylene dichloride (EDC) and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) will be pushed back to 12 March 2023, the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers announced on 2 September. Certification requirements for paraxylene (PX), polycarbonate, polyurethanes, meanwhile, will take effect on 19 March next year, it said. For ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) copolymers, linear alkyl benzene (LAB), polyethylene (PE) material for moulding and extrusion, synthetic micro fibres and various types of polyesters, the BIS certification will come into force on 3 April 2023. For maleic anhydride (MA), styrene (vinyl benzene), acrylonitrile imports, accreditation will kick in on 24 April. PLASTICS PROCESSORS AGAINST THE MEASUREThe BIS certification deadlines had been previously postponed for a year amid strong lobbying from domestic players, noting that the mandatory certification could translate to higher cost and delays in deliveries of imports. In August 2022, India had extended the quality control standards accreditation for imported acetone to 13 March 2023, while BIS implementation for purified terephthalic acid (PTA) was extended from 22 June to 22 December 2022. The plastics processing industries have been strongly opposed to the mandatory BIS certification, which could have a heavy impact on the exports of finished goods. High raw material costs continue to plague operational costs for Indian exporters, Plastic Export Promotion Council (Plexconcil) chairman Arvind Goenka said. “The Indian governments mulling the idea of implementing BIS standards on raw material will probably be the final straw for our industry considering the import dependency on polymers and the high raw material prices as compared to China and other countries,” he added. “Such trade barriers will cut off the import flow of raw materials into the country,” Plexconcil executive director Sribash Dasmohapatra said. “India is not self-sufficient in the manufacture of these products and the BIS certification will make the domestic industry suffer,” he said. PLASTICS EXPORTS CONTRACT In April-August 2022, the first five months of India’s fiscal year, its plastics exports have declined by 3.5% year on year to $5.44bn. For the month of August alone, the country’s exported plastics slipped 1.7% year on year to $1.04bn, official data showed. The statutory imposition of BIS standards will increase cost of production of polymers for Indian processors and will make the domestic plastic processors uncompetitive at a global level, Dasmohapatra said, adding that it could also lead to retaliatory measures. “Indian companies are exporting their products to over 200 countries while adhering to International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) standards. If India mandates BIS standards for imports, other countries may also impose retaliatory measures which could hamper the export of processed plastics,” he added. Plexconcil has been petitioning the government to first impose BIS standards on finished goods imports and other value-added plastics. “We want the government to implement BIS standards on value-added plastics and increase import duties on these goods which will give the Indian producers a level playing field in the domestic market,” Dasmohapatra said. Value-added plastic imports amounted to $7bn in the fiscal year ending March 2022 compared with $8bn of exports. Such imports will further rise with the imposition of the mandatory standards, he added. Plexconcil is in talks with other industry bodies and will continue to petition the government to withdraw the BIS notifications, Mohapatra said. “Until the domestic plastic processing industry can produce enough quantity to supply to the Indian market without fear of crippling cheap imports, we don’t want the government to impose BIS standards on the raw materials,” he added. Caustic soda was the first chemical to be covered under this certification in April 2018. Focus article by Priya Jestin
Oil prices rise by more than $2/bbl as OPEC+ eyes huge output cut
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices jumped more than $2/bbl on Monday, fueled by expectations that oil cartel OPEC and its allies (OPEC+) would introduce a hefty production cut to bolster the market. At 02:20 GMT ($/bbl) Contract Low High Open Last Previous Change High Change Brent Dec 86.35 88.00 86.35 87.64 85.14 2.50 2.86 WTI Nov 80.87 82.16 81.02 81.89 79.49 2.40 2.67 Several news agencies, citing unnamed sources, reported over the weekend that OPEC and its allies including Russia, collectively known as OPEC+ will consider an oil output cut of more than a 1m bbl/day at their 5 October meeting. "If this comes to pass, it will be the biggest move yet since the COVID-19 pandemic," Singapore-based UOB Global Economics & Markets Research said in a note. OPEC+ in early September agreed to modestly cut production by 100,000 bbl/day. Russia had proposed last week a 1m bbl/day supply cut but there have been no suggestions from other members on the potential size of any output cuts, according to Dutch banking and financial services firm ING. "In August, OPEC+ production was estimated at around 3.37m bbl/day below target production levels. So in reality, any cut in supply will likely be smaller than whatever figure the group announces," it said. Oil prices have continued to fall sharply since June this year because of global economic growth concerns, a stronger US dollar and worries over continued lockdowns in China amid the country's zero-COVID policy. In the third quarter, Brent crude plunged by 23% while US WTI shed by 25% during the period. Brent crude touched a nine-month low of $83.65 a barrel on 26 September. Focus article by Nurluqman Suratman Thumbnail image: At a petrol station in Beijing, China, 29 October 2021. (By WU HONG/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock) Click here to view the ICIS Coronavirus, oil price crash – impact on chemicals topic page. Click here to read the Ukraine topic page, which examines the impact of the conflict on oil, gas, fertilizer and chemical markets.
TOPIC PAGE: War in Ukraine, gas crisis
Updated at 6:00 GMT on 30 September. 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 more severe 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 70% 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 Russia resumed flows through Nord Stream I pipeline at low levels, but halted again for maintenance EU plan calls for 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 reduced flows through the Nord Stream I pipeline. 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. Click on the map to enlarge it 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? US and European officials have been planning for backup LNG supplies. Exports of LNG from Algeria, Qatar, the US and even Australia have been discussed as alternatives. Although Europe imported a record 11bn cubic metres (bcm) of LNG in January alone, half of which were sourced in the US, much of future supplies would depend on price as well as supply and processing capacity. Europe is proposing to replace 100bn cubic metres (m3) of Russian gas with alternative supplies by the end of the year. “In this scenario, there would be huge problems unless Europe gets it act together. I estimate that even with new liquified natural gas (LNG) supplies from the US, Norway, and Qatar plus energy efficiency measures and more use of renewables, Europe would still be short," said ICIS senior energy editor, Aura Sabadus. If the Asian premium were to increase, LNG cargoes would head in that direction, even as seasonal European winter gas demand is on average 30% higher than the rest of the year. Supply disruptions caused by escalating tensions may lead to a price rebound, incentivising more LNG to return to Europe. However, European import terminals are already operating at nameplate capacity. Even if more LNG were to reach European terminals, countries in central and eastern Europe which rely on Russian flows shipped via Ukraine, would struggle to secure imported LNG. 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 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. OUTLOOK: Europe soda ash market considers quarterly prices as yearly contracts see further correction By Anne-Sophie Briant-Vaghela 28-Jul-22 18:33 LONDON (ICIS)–Northwest Europe (NWE) and Black Sea contract prices rose 3% and 5.4% from Q2 contract prices this week, marking a third adjustment to annual agreements settled in Q4 last year, as the market reconsiders the pace at which to negotiate prices going forward in the face of heightened volatility in upstream markets. OUTLOOK: Asian OX demand to stay soft, export opportunity to the West By Samuel Wong 28-Jul-22 16:47 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Demand for Asian orthoxylene (OX) is expected to stay soft for the second half of the year, amid a pessimistic downstream demand outlook going forward. Shell Q2 chemicals loss of $158m as margins hit By Nigel Davis 28-Jul-22 17:54 LONDON (ICIS)–Higher feedstock and utility costs and higher turnaround activities hit Shell’s chemicals earnings in the second quarter, the energy giant said on Thursday. PODCAST: Asia C2, downstream recovery in H2 fraught with risks By Jasmine Khoo 28-Jul-22 15:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The first half of 2022 saw widespread cutbacks in Asia’s cracker and downstream operating rates as the market faced more headwinds from the war in Ukraine and COVID flare-ups in China. Belgium’s Solvay Q2 underlying profit jumps on higher prices, strong demand By Pearl Bantillo 28-Jul-22 14:42 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Solvay’s second-quarter underlying profit increased 70% year on year on the back of higher prices and a 6% increase in sales volumes amid strong demand across key markets, the Belgian specialty chemicals producer said on Thursday. S Korea's S-Oil Q2 net income more than doubles; Q3 PX spread to weaken By Nurluqman Suratman 28-Jul-22 13:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–S-Oil's second-quarter net income more than doubled year on year on strong refining margins and robust aromatics demand, but the South Korean producer’s paraxylene (PX) spread is expected to weaken in July-September 2022. Fitch downgrades PTTGC rating as high costs to hit earnings By Pearl Bantillo 25-Jul-22 17:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Fitch Ratings has downgraded PTT Global Chemical’ long-term national rating and senior unsecured rating to “AA” from “AA+” given weaker earnings prospect for the Thai producer. Singapore June core inflation at 4.4% – highest since Nov 2008 By Nurluqman Suratman 25-Jul-22 14:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore's core year-on-year inflation in June stood at 4.4%, up from 3.6% in May and the highest hit since November 2008, official data showed on Monday. India's RIL Q1 oil-to-chems earnings jump 63%; cracker rates fall to 87% By Nurluqman Suratman 25-Jul-22 12:36 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Reliance Industries Ltd's (RIL) oil-to-chemicals net profit increased by around 63% year on year in its fiscal first quarter ending June 2022 on the back of higher oil and product prices. BLOG: Europe’s gas crisis: the implications for global chemicalsBy John Richardson 25-Jul-22 11:41 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Click here to see the latest blog post on Asian Chemical Connections by John Richardson. The European chemicals is no doubt in the midst of intensive crisis management because of the risk that this winter will see power cuts and interruptions in the supply of natural gas supply needed for feedstocks and to run furnaces, etc. INSIGHT: Weakening Asian currencies stifle petrochemical demand By Felicia Loo 22-Jul-22 13:41 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The continued depreciation of Asian currencies against the strong US dollar is quashing hopes of a petrochemical demand recovery, as imports become more expensive, eroding the purchasing power of buyers in the region. INSIGHT: Europe chemicals must prepare now for deep gas cuts By Will Beacham 22-Jul-22 11:00 LONDON (ICIS)–Chemical companies across Europe need to prepare now for an almighty battle over gas rationing as winter approaches. The Nord Stream pipeline is back online at around 40% capacity, but it may continue to operate at very reduced rates and could easily be switched off again if the Kremlin decides to continue using it as a political weapon to hurt Europe’s economy. Gas rationing is still likely this winter, with or without this source of supply. INSIGHT: Ferts, petchems in firing line as EU gas stockpile pressure intensifies By Aura Sabadus 20-Jul-22 18:38 LONDON (ICIS)–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. Gas flows resume on Nord Stream pipeline but remain below capacity By Tom Brown 21-Jul-22 12:22 LONDON (ICIS)–Flows resumed on Thursday along the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline between Russia and Europe, but the volume of deliveries remains significantly below capacity. Running between Russia and Germany, the pipeline is a key part of the EU’s energy infrastructure, and there had been questions over whether gas deliveries would resume once work had been completed. Inflation to stay ‘undesirably’ high in mid-term – ECB’s Lagarde By Tom Brown 21-Jul-22 23:42 LONDON (ICIS)–Inflation levels in the eurozone are expected to remain high for some time, European Central Bank (ECB) president Christine Lagarde said on Thursday, as the bank moved to hike each of its key interest rates and prepare a new bond purchase scheme. OUTLOOK: Asia PX to take cue from downstream in H2; tight supply to ease By Samuel Wong 21-Jul-22 13:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s paraxylene (PX) is expected to take its cue from the downstream purified terephthalic acid (PTA) market in the second half of 2022, moving away from the previous strong support from gasoline blending markets. Developing Asia GDP growth cut to 4.6% on China slowdown – ADB By Nurluqman Suratman 21-Jul-22 12:05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday cut its GDP growth forecast for developing Asian countries to 4.6% from its previous projection of 5.2%, with China’s growth lowered by a full percentage point to 4.0%. INTERVIEW: Financing market a major headwind for chemical deals – banker By Joseph Chang 18-Jul-22 23:53 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Extremely challenged debt markets will be a major headwind for leveraged chemical deals going forward, an investment banker said. Global weekly spot IPEX down significantly on falls across regions By Yashas Mudumbai 18-Jul-22 17:40 LONDON (ICIS)–The spot chemicals index dropped by 5.2% as falls across regions continued, according to the latest figures from the weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX). Asia July petrochemicals on general downtrend; sentiment to stay bearish By Jimmy Zhang 18-Jul-22 17:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Downward price corrections have been seen for crude and Asia’s petrochemicals markets in July, following a general increase in June. ICIS expects the bearish sentiment to continue throughout the month as previous sharp increases in crude prices may not be seen again for the rest of 2022. OUTLOOK: Asia FAE demand to stay soft on sluggish Chinese economy By Helen Yan 15-Jul-22 17:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s fatty alcohol ethoxylates (FAE) demand is expected to remain soft in the near term due to prevailing weak market conditions and a sluggish Chinese economy. OUTLOOK: Asia VAM correction accelerates; H2 demand to stay weak By Helen Lee 15-Jul-22 15:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) market correction has accelerated (this week) since late May (late May refers to the start of the correction) on broad-based demand slowdown, with inflationary pressures dampening the outlook in the second half. Indonesia palm oil shipments surge 89% in June after lifting export banBy Nurluqman Suratman 15-Jul-22 15:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Indonesia's shipments of palm oil and its derivatives surged by 89.3% year on year in June following the lifting of an export ban a month earlier, official data showed on Friday. World petrochemical market sentiment weak as demand falters By Felicia Loo 15-Jul-22 14:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)-Global petrochemical markets are mired in a challenging situation writ large, with demand dull as recession risks gather pace. OUTLOOK: East, South Asia LAB at a crossroad amid elevated economic uncertainty By Clive Ong 15-Jul-22 11:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Linear alkylbenzene (LAB) markets in east and south Asia are at a crossroad with the path ahead mired in uncertainty. With outlook increasingly clouded, participants found decision-making an onerous task. Inflationary pressures could impact economic growth in Europe for coming years By Morgan Condon 14-Jul-22 22:55 LONDON (ICIS)–The European economy is set to hit record highs for inflation this year as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has driven energy and food prices higher, but volatile macroeconomic conditions obfuscate when sentiment will calm down. INSIGHT: Asia C2, downstream recovery in H2 fraught with risks (Part 2) By Yeow Pei Lin 14-Jul-22 13:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The outlook for Asia's ethylene derivatives remains largely weak in the second half of 2022. Capacity is growing across downstream sectors but demand is uncertain amid China's zero-COVID stance and global recession fears. INSIGHT: Asia C2, downstream recovery in H2 fraught with risks By Yeow Pei Lin 13-Jul-22 13:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The first half of 2022 saw widespread cutbacks in Asia’s cracker and downstream operating rates as the market, which was already sagging under the weight of huge capacity increases in South Korea and China, faced more headwinds from the war in Ukraine and COVID flare-ups in China. Singapore tightens monetary policy further to tame inflationBy Nurluqman Suratman 14-Jul-22 13:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore's central bank unexpectedly tightened its monetary policy on Thursday in a bid to quell mounting inflation pressures, which are expected to continue heating up this year. OUTLOOK: China base oils imports to continue decline in H2 By Whitney Shi 12-Jul-22 13:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s base oils imports slumped year on year in January-June 2022 on strong import prices, which will likely persist into the second half although demand from downstream lubricant producers could improve in the third quarter. LNG shipping activity rises in both basins By Roman Kazmin 12-Jul-22 11:39 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korean shipowner H-Line has chartered a vessel for a single voyage on behalf of the incumbent KOGAS as charter activity steps up in the Atlantic and Pacific basins. Crude falls nearly $2/bbl on fresh China COVID-19 curbs By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Jul-22 11:08 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices fell by nearly $2/bbl on Tuesday morning on worries over fresh COVID-19 restrictions in China, the world's biggest crude importer. OUTLOOK: Asia naphtha braces for H2 with trepidation, frail demand By Melanie Wee 12-Jul-22 10:33 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia naphtha markets are headed for challenging times as cautious demand outweighs oil supply concerns. Europe petchems natgas worries rise as Nord Stream 1 enters maintenance By Morgan Condon 08-Jul-22 17:18 LONDON (ICIS)–The threat of short gas supply in Europe is causing concern in the region’s petrochemicals industry and could begin to weigh down on production. INSIGHT: UK chemicals battle 'Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse' By Will Beacham 08-Jul-22 18:23 LONDON (ICIS)–The UK’s chemical sector is battling against “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” as it is battered by the fallout from Brexit, COVID-19, the cost of living crisis and the war in Ukraine, according to the CEO of trade group The Chemical Industries Association (CIA). Malaysia May chemicals sales up 7.7%; high inflation threatens production By Nurluqman Suratman 08-Jul-22 16:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Malaysia's chemicals sector sales in May rose by 7.7% year on year, supporting the overall expansion in manufacturing revenue, but inflation headwinds are expected to continue to weigh on overall factory activity. NE Asia ethylene stays weak; August demand recovery likely tepid By Yeow Pei Lin 08-Jul-22 10:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene import prices fell for a 14th week as poor downstream demand continued to outweigh production cuts. Crude trades below $100/bbl on global recession fears By Nurluqman Suratman 07-Jul-22 12:02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices were extending losses on Thursday, with both key benchmarks trading below the psychological $100/bbl mark, amid growing concerns that the global economy will again plunge into a recession. Asia petchems mired in bearishness on elevated recession fears By Felicia Loo 07-Jul-22 11:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian petrochemical markets are in a jam, with price bearishness across the board as recession risks continue to mount. Elevated concerns on the economic front, from the fallout of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and sanctions on Russia, plus fears of upward spiralling inflation continue to weigh on sentiment. OUTLOOK: Tight supply concerns flip to reduced oil demand by Q4 By Barney Gray 07-Jul-22 00:49 LONDON (ICIS)–Oil prices were in a post-Covid recovery phase prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Since then, H1 crude prices have been driven by the fallout from the war, reaching record highs. But the oil market will be characterised by major volatility and rising uncertainty as we head into H2. Japan May trade deficit biggest in eight years; imports surge 48.9% By Pearl Bantillo 16-Jun-22 18:56 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japan posted its biggest trade deficit in eight years at yen (Y) 2.385tr ($18bn), with imports surging by 48.9%, largely due to high energy prices and sharp depreciation of the yen. US LNG deliveries to the UK in July set to be more profitable than Asian destinations By Kaja Sillett 16-Jun-22 18:36 LONDON (ICIS)–US LNG deliveries to the UK in July are set to be more profitable than to east Asian destinations, despite the British NBP July’22 contract remaining at a discount to the equivalent ICIS East Asia Index (EAX) price, according to ICIS calculations. India May exports grow 20.6%; trade deficit widens to $24.3bn By Priya Jestin 16-Jun-22 17:03 MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s merchandise exports in May rose by 20.6% year on year to $38.9bn, backed by higher shipments of petroleum products and chemicals, but the country’s trade deficit widened due to high cost of energy imports. China MEG prices rise on stronger crude market By Cindy Qiu 16-Jun-22 14:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) prices have been on an uptrend since June, mainly driven by the bullish crude market, as supply-demand fundamentals remain largely unchanged. This has somewhat dampened market players’ confidence in the market outlook. Asian petrochemicals to rebound in June amid bumpy recovery – ICIS analysts By Ann Sun 16-Jun-22 12:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian petrochemical market is expected to be generally firmer in June given higher crude prices and easing lockdowns in China, according to a latest Price Forecast by ICIS analysts. Asia BDO weakens on prevailing weak demand, ample supply By Clive Ong 16-Jun-22 11:32 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian butanediol (BDO) market remains on a downtrend with regional demand staying lacklustre while ample supply made buyers unhurried. Suppliers concede that buying interest showed limited signs of any revival with further market weakness a possibility. S Korea truckers' strike to hit Ulsan petrochemical output; halts port ops By Nurluqman Suratman 10-Jun-22 18:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The ongoing nationwide strike by unionised truckers in South Korea are forcing several producers in the petrochemical hub of Ulsan to consider production cuts amid logistics disruption. SE Asia biodiesel market optimism rises on post-lockdown China By Felicia Loo 10-Jun-22 17:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Market optimism in China to increase imports of southeast Asian palm methyl ester (PME) biodiesel helped bolster market sentiment to some degree amid higher weekly gains in feedstock crude palm oil (CPO) futures. Asia PET offers reaching level of last historic high on recent upstream price surges By Hazel Goh 10-Jun-22 12:15 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia polyethylene terephthalate (PET) offers increased in the week and were approaching the level of the last historic high four years ago amid recent Asia upstream price surges. NE Asia ethylene stays bearish on ample supply, weak demand By Yeow Pei Lin 10-Jun-22 11:59 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene prices stayed weak due to ample supply amid limited demand for end-June and first-half July arrival cargoes. India domestic LAB prices rise; China demand improves as lockdowns ease By Clive Ong 10-Jun-22 11:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–India’s domestic prices for linear alkylbenzene (LAB) have spiked on the back of rising costs, but some players expect some headwinds with the monsoon season kicking off. Oil prices drop more than $1/bbl on partial lockdowns in China By Nurluqman Suratman 10-Jun-22 11:34 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices fell more than $1/bbl on Friday on renewed demand fears after fresh COVID-19 lockdown measures were announced in China, but tight supply concerns capped losses. S Korea truck drivers go on strike amid rising fuel costs, inflation By Nurluqman Suratman 08-Jun-22 14:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korea's unionised cargo truck drivers are staging a nationwide, indefinite general strike at ports and container depots across the country in a move which could potentially impact petrochemical-related supply chains and logistics. East Asia and Pacific growth to slow to 4.4% in 2022 on China deceleration – World Bank By Nurluqman Suratman 08-Jun-22 11:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Growth in East Asia and the Pacific is projected to slow to 4.4% this year from the 7.2% expansion in 2021, reflecting the marked deceleration in China, the World Bank said late on Tuesday. Asian PTA prices up on firmer feedstock costs, sustainability uncertain By Samuel Wong 08-Jun-22 11:51 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian purified terephthalic acid (PTA) prices were supported by costs push because of higher feedstock paraxylene (PX) costs, but long-term sustainability is still a question amid a lack of strong demand growth in the downstream polyester sector. China May petrochemicals track crude gains; June demand to improve By Yvonne Shi 08-Jun-22 11:09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical markets largely tracked gains in crude prices in May, accompanied by some improvement in demand as pandemic-related restrictions have started to ease. Japan's Q1 GDP revised to smaller contraction of 0.5% By Nurluqman Suratman 08-Jun-22 11:01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japan's economy shrank less than initially reported in the first quarter, contracting by an annualised 0.5% instead of the initial 1.0% drop, on the back of improved private consumption, official data showed on Wednesday. Asia polyester prices gain momentum tracking higher crude, rising cost pressure By Judith Wang 07-Jun-22 16:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia polyester prices gained further momentum as bullish crude futures and rising feedstock prices bolstered spot discussions, while demand has showed some improvement on easing lockdowns in China. Asia Q3 biodiesel market sentiment to stay weak on poor European demand By Felicia Loo 07-Jun-22 12:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The third-quarter market sentiment for southeast Asian palm methyl ester (PME) biodiesel is expected to remain weak amid poor buying requirements from Europe, a key importing region for southeast Asian material. INSIGHT: India cuts raw material import duties to boost local production By Priya Jestin 07-Jun-22 12:07 MUMBAI (ICIS)–India has cut import duties on some raw materials in the hope of boosting overall domestic production amid surging inflation and rupee weakness. VIDEO: China PTA plants’ run rates stay low on high production costs By Winnie Huang 01-Jun-22 18:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch industry analyst Lifang Huang discuss China’s purified terephthalic acid (PTA) market amid high production cost. PODCAST: China LPG prices fluctuate on elevated costs, weak demand By Candy Nie 01-Jun-22 17:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analyst Jady Ma and Candy Nie discuss the recent developments and outlook of China's Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) market. Saudi Aramco’s June LPG contract prices continue downtrend By Candy Nie 01-Jun-22 15:10 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi Aramco’s term contract prices (CP) for June-loading liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) continued to edge down and hit a five-month low, the company announced on Tuesday afternoon. China MTBE cargoes face narrowing arbitrage opportunities into Europe By Jun Kai Heng 01-Jun-22 14:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The reopening of the Chinese economy in June is expected to pressure arbitrage opportunities into Europe for Chinese methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) cargoes. S Korea May petrochemical exports rise 14%, total exports up 21.3% By Nurluqman Suratman 01-Jun-22 12:32 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korea's petrochemical exports rose by 14% year on year to $5.18bn in May, supporting the overall rise in shipments abroad, official data showed on Wednesday. Japan's au Jibun Bank May manufacturing PMI dips to 53.3 on slower output growth By Nurluqman Suratman 01-Jun-22 11:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–au Jibun Bank’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for Japan slipped to 53.3 in May from 53.5 in April as new orders rose at a slower rate, the Japanese bank said on Wednesday. Topic Page by Aura Sabadus and Will Beacham. Additional reporting by Richard Ewing and Sophie Udubasceanu. Maps and graphs by Yashas Mudumbai.
TOPIC PAGE: Coronavirus, oil price direction – impact on chemicals
With China’s 20th Party Congress coming up on 16 October, COVID-19 curbs are expected to be tightened in the country and thus, increasing risks of further disruptions to supply chains and businesses. This takes into consideration that historically COVID-19 has been more infectious in the winter, the Chinese New Year holiday will come in January 2023, and the National People’s Congress (NPC) annual gathering is scheduled to be held in March 2023, when the race for the once-in-a-decade political reshuffle is in the final stretch. Ongoing lockdown measures in some parts of China, due to rising COVID-19 cases, are leading to uncertainties for production, operations, and logistics. This may bring potential downward pressure to end-user demand. In addition, with rising concerns about the economy, potential recession and high inflation, demand related to celebrations such as Christmas and the calendar New Year is expected to be slow in many Asian countries this year. 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. Caixin’s China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 48.1 in September from 49.5 in August as efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus weighed on both output and new orders. Updated on 30 September 2022 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 (Last updated at 03:00 GMT on 30 September 2022) 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. 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. Lockdowns, property crisis to slow China 2022 GDP growth to 2.8% – World Bank By Nurluqman Suratman 29-Sep-22 13:3 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. INSIGHT: India PVC market weathers stormy first half, safeguard investigation begins By Damini Dabholkar 29-Sep-22 11:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS) –India’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market stabilised slightly in September, after having weathered a storm over the previous 12 months. China’s PE prices rebound, eyes on demand sustainability By Sijia Li 28-Sep-22 12:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polyethylene (PE) prices have rebounded following continual declines in the past two months, finding support from improved end-user demand during the September-October traditional peak season. 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 US HB Fuller sees rebound in Asia, slowdown in Europe By Al Greenwood 23-Sep-22 05:43 HOUSON (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. INSIGHT: US plastics becomes sixth-largest industry By Melissa Wheeler 22-Sep-22 23:21 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US plastics industry has moved two spots up to become the sixth-largest industry in the country, according to the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS). 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. 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. US inland truck capacity increases as demand remains firm By Adam Yanelli 21-Sep-22 05:15 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Spot and contract rates for inland truck deliveries have fallen from record-highs as capacity has increased and demand has remained strong, according to panelists on a webinar hosted by supply chain market intelligence provider Freightwaves. INSIGHT: Asia petrochemical market to rebound in September By Amy Yu 15-Sep-22 18:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)– Some Asia petrochemical prices rebounded in early September after the decrease in August. China Aug petrochemical prices fall on poor consumption; Sept demand picks up By Yvonne Shi 13-Sep-22 15:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical prices weakened in August amid poor consumption and declines in crude values. INSIGHT: China’s PP market bearish in Jul-Aug, eyes on demand performance By Zhibo Xiao 12-Sep-22 17:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polypropylene (PP) prices were on a downtrend in July-August, due to subdued domestic and overseas demand. Moving forward, demand is likely to pick up on the traditional peak season in September and October and more export opportunities. Asia BDO firmer as supply constrained on north China COVID-19 restrictions By Clive Ong 15-Sep-22 14:51 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian 1,4-butanediol (BDO) firmed on the back of the rebound in the Chinese domestic market. Weakening European consumer demand, lack of China recovery to hit Dow Q3 sales and earnings – CFO By Joseph Chang 15-Sep-22 05:13 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Deteriorating consumer demand in Europe, the lack of any meaningful recovery in China because of continuing COVID lockdowns and rising interest rates and inflation driving down housing activity in the US along with logistics constraints are all conspiring to bring down Dow’s sales and earnings in Q3. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Japan's au Jibun Bank Aug manufacturing PMI slips to 51.5 By Nurluqman Suratman 01-Sep-22 10:19 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–au Jibun Bank’s final manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for Japan fell to 51.5 in August from 52.1 in July, marking a softer improvement in the health of the sector that was the joint-weakest since February 2021, the Japanese bank said on Thursday. INSIGHT: Asia PET resin supply and demand fundamentals to remain tight in 2022 By Jimmy Zhan 31-Aug-22 18:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Since mid-2022, there has been concern of economic recession globally in the market. Combined with serious inflation, the outlook for consumption remains cautious. 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. INTERVIEW: LANXESS sharpens focus on North America for future investment – CEO By Joseph Chang 30-Aug-22 04:11 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Germany-based LANXESS will focus predominantly on North America for future investments while maintaining its asset base in Europe and putting on hold any major projects in China, its CEO said. 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. Power cuts in parts of China depress petrochemical demand further By Fanny Zhang 24-Aug-22 12:50 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Power shortages in parts of China amid a prolonged heatwave have been disrupting operations at factories, further dampening demand for petrochemicals already hit by COVID-19 lockdowns. China PE demand still down, with power rationing over high temperatures By Joanne Wang 23-Aug-22 19:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polyethylene (PE) demand remains curbed this summer as downstream operations are curtailed by power rationing in east, north and south China amid high temperatures. This has weighed on the market further as demand has not yet picked up significantly since Shanghai reopened on 1 June after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. 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. China PP demand likely to weaken on power rationing amid high temperatures By Lucy Shuai 18-Aug-22 11:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polypropylene (PP) demand is expected to weaken in the short term as downstream operations in east, north and southwest China are curbed by power rationing measures amid heatwaves. 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. INSIGHT: Brenntag cuts through H2 headwinds in earnings guidance By Morgan Condon 17-Aug-22 01:30 LONDON (ICIS)–Chemicals distributor Brenntag expects to hit the upper end of its targets for 2022, despite the likelihood that the manifold challenges facing the logistics sector will endure across the rest of the year. 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. 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. 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. 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. INSIGHT: Business, chemicals indicators point to global downturn By Will Beacham 04-Aug-22 19:09 BARCELONA (ICIS)–New economic data combined with deteriorating chemical industry performance, suggests that the second half of the year could be bleak. Latest figures for July from Oxford Economics’ Global Business Sentiment Index show declining confidence about growth, and fears about downside risks while a recent profit warning from Covestro and slumping chemical prices suggest demand may be waning along supply chains. OUTLOOK: China’s PE market to feel pressure from imports, slowing demand growth By Joanne Wang 02-Aug-22 14:24 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polyethylene (PE) market may feel stronger pressure from increasing imports in the second half of 2022 amid weak overseas demand, while domestic producers may kick off another round of output reduction on squeezed margins and subdued demand. China’s domestic PE prices were largely on a downtrend in the first half of the year. Prices increased around the world in the first quarter as the Russia-Ukraine conflict pushed up crude prices sharply. 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. For China, both the official and non-official manufacturing purchasing managers' indices (PMI) for July indicated continued weakness in the world’s second-biggest economy Supply problems continued to disrupt German manufacturers in July – Ifo By Morgan Condon 01-Aug-22 17:27 LONDON (ICIS)–Bottlenecks continued to disrupt German manufacturing in July, with the majority of the chemicals industry hit by material shortages, according to the latest data from the Ifo Institute. Supply problems impacted 73.3% of German manufacturing companies surveyed by Ifo in July, down from 74.1% in June. Chemicals were less impacted than other downstream sectors. OUTLOOK: China’s oxo-alcohols weighed by slow demand recovery, increasing supply By Claire Gao 29-Jul-22 16:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s oxo-alcohols markets will face downward pressure from slow recovery of demand and increasing supply, although the outlook of export is promising. OUTLOOK: US EDC likely to re-enter global markets in 2H as macroeconomic headwinds change flows By Bill Bowen 29-Jul-22 05:56 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US ethylene dichloride (EDC) is likely to see weakened demand and greater availability in the second half of 2022 as demand for its downstream derivative polymer weakens on less construction activity amid macroeconomic headwinds. INSIGHT: Europe industry facing difficult August as gas supply concerns mount By Nigel Davis 29-Jul-22 00:14 LONDON (ICIS)–It is almost like stepping back in time, with industrial sectors in Europe vying for the attention of governments and lawmakers to try to secure operations should the region’s gas crisis escalate. S Korea's S-Oil Q2 net income more than doubles; Q3 PX spread to weaken By Nurluqman Suratman 28-Jul-22 13:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–S-Oil's second-quarter net income more than doubled year on year on strong refining margins and robust aromatics demand, but the South Korean producer’s paraxylene (PX) spread is expected to weaken in July-September 2022. SE Asia August PE offers stable to soft but Vietnam market under intense pressure By Izham Ahmad 28-Jul-22 11:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Initial spot import offers for August shipments of polyethylene (PE) in southeast Asia were announced either stable or softer this week as buying sentiment continued to be depressed by the slump in demand from China. VIDEO: China’s new EVA capacities to weigh on Q3 sentiment By Joanne Wang 22-Jul-22 12:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch ICIS senior industry analyst Joanne Wang discuss the ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) capacity increases in China and the recently launched EVA China RMB index. Chinese ethanolamines slump weighs on sentiment in Asia and India By Clive Ong 22-Jul-22 10:45 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The ongoing slump in the ethanolamines market in domestic China continues to weigh on sentiment of players in Asia and India. OUTLOOK: European MMA demand uncertain amid wider economic challenges By Mathew Jolin-Beech 21-Jul-22 23:24 LONDON (ICIS)–The European methyl methacrylate (MMA) market is facing uncertain H2 demand amid wider geopolitical and economic challenges. Asia BDO remains weighed down by ongoing Chinese market slump By Clive Ong 21-Jul-22 16:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian butanediol (BDO) market continues to be impacted by the ongoing slump in the Chinese domestic sector. Sentiment has turned increasingly bearish with participants anticipating further weakness in the near term. OUTLOOK: US MEG market expected to get longer through Q3 By Melissa Wheeler 21-Jul-22 05:10 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The monoethylene glycol (MEG) market is expected to remain long through Q3 as suppliers continue to offer more product. PODCAST: China’s base oils demand to be better in autumn, imports to decline YOY in H2 By Whitney Shi 20-Jul-22 15:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analyst Jady Ma and Whitney Shi discuss the outlook of China's base oil market in this episode. Prolonged heatwave could hinder operations at Europe petrochemicals plants By Jonathan Lopez 19-Jul-22 18:09 MADRID (ICIS)–High temperatures across Europe could reduce operating rates at some petrochemicals plants, as cooling operations become more difficult, trade groups have warned. OUTLOOK: Middle East base oils market to face stable-to-soft demand in H2 By Izham Ahmad 19-Jul-22 10:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Middle East base oils spot market is expected to still face uncertainties in the final half of 2022 as supply of most grades is expected to be mixed, with demand expected to remain stable to soft due to sluggish economic growth and global automotive sales. World petrochemical sentiment weak as demand falters By Felicia Loo 15-Jul-22 14:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)-Global petrochemical markets are mired in a challenging situation writ large, with demand dull as recession risks gather pace. VIDEO: Asia adipic acid demand struggles to reach pre-lockdown levels By Josh Quah 15-Jul-22 14:01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch ICIS editor Josh Quah discuss developments in Asia's adipic acid market. PODCAST: Chems sector resilient in Q2 but conditions forecast bleak for H2 By Tom Brown 14-Jul-22 18:44 LONDON (ICIS)–Projected second-quarter financial data for BASF hints that conditions for chemicals players may have been stronger than expected in the second quarter of 2022, but rising COVID-19 infection numbers in China only add to the slew of bearish news for the second half of the year. PODCAST: China's LDPE facing continued supply pressure By Joanne Wang 14-Jul-22 10:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–In this episode, ICIS analyst Jady Ma and Joanne Wang discuss the recent developments and outlook of China's low density polyethylene (LDPE) market. Europe PET high prices detrimental to sales in bearish climate By Caroline Murray 13-Jul-22 23:15 LONDON (ICIS)–The peak season for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottlers in Europe is the summer but the combination of extraordinarily high prices and the unstable economy is affecting sales. China PP hits lowest levels this year on slumping crude, weak demand By Lucy Shuai 13-Jul-22 16:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polypropylene (PP) prices fell to their lowest levels this year from slumping crude oil and weak downstream demand, on concerns of a global economic recession. Crude falls nearly $2/bbl on fresh China COVID-19 curbs By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Jul-22 11:08 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices fell by nearly $2/bbl on Tuesday morning on worries over fresh COVID-19 restrictions in China, the world's biggest crude importer. INSIGHT: Demand uncertainty pressuring prices as downturn gathers momentum By Nigel Davis 11-Jul-22 23:43 LONDON (ICIS)–Movement in the ICIS weekly and monthly petrochemical indexes illustrate the strain being put on producers to hold prices in the face of increasing demand uncertainty and the volatile feedstock and energy cost environment. European melamine spot prices stable-to-soft; Q3 contract talks ongoing as supplier and consumer pricing ideas clash By Melissa Hurley 08-Jul-22 00:44 LONDON (ICIS)–European melamine third quarter contract discussions continued this week. More progress is expected towards the end of the week, heading in to next week. Talks between suppliers and consumers are divisive as pricing expectations remain unmatched. PODCAST: Europe's oxo-alcohols chain faces demand erosion amid economic uncertainty By Mathew Jolin-Beech 07-Jul-22 22:03 LONDON (ICIS)–The European oxo-alcohols chain faces a slowdown in demand from end use sectors as the wider geopolitical and economic uncertainties begin to bite. This ICIS podcast explores the latest developments for oxo-alcohols and its derivative markets. PODCAST: Global shortage of MEK eases, though US prices remain high By Nick Cleeve 07-Jul-22 17:58 LONDON (ICIS)–Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) prices are softening globally as supply constraints ease, although prices in the US, a net importer, remain at extremely high levels, drawing exports from Asia and Europe. Asia petchems mired in bearishness on elevated recession fears By Felicia Loo 07-Jul-22 11:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian petrochemical markets are in a jam, with price bearishness across the board as recession risks continue to mount. OUTLOOK: Tight supply concerns flip to reduced oil demand by Q4 By Barney Gray 07-Jul-22 00:49LONDON (ICIS)–Oil prices were in a post-Covid recovery phase prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Since then, H1 crude prices have been driven by the fallout from the war, reaching record highs. But the oil market will be characterised by major volatility and rising uncertainty as we head into H2. PODCAST: UK chemicals fighting Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – CIA CEO By Will Beacham 05-Jul-22 22:48 LONDON (ICIS)–The UK chemicals industry is battling the quadruple challenges of Brexit, COVID-19, the cost of living crisis and the war in Ukraine, according to Stephen Elliott, CEO of UK trade group the Chemical Industries Association. OUTLOOK: Demand for low-end R-PET to continue to shrink By Arianne Perez 04-Jul-22 15:03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Low-end applications of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) will become less popular as the more competitive virgin PET continues to eat into its market share. China’s propylene faces headwinds from ample supply, weak demand in June By Yi Liang 04-Jul-22 10:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s domestic propylene market continues to face headwinds from ample supply and sluggish end-user demand in June, with market sentiment turning bearish. Mideast petchem market sentiment bearish on weak demand By Felicia Loo 01-Jul-22 11:30 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Sentiment in the Middle East petrochemical markets is bearish, as demand is tepid against a backdrop of ample supply. The soaring inflation rates have led to a reduced purchasing power, weakening buyers’ appetites. Asia AA and acrylates largely lower; sentiment softer on China downtrend By Li Li Chng 29-Jun-22 21:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)— Asia’s acrylic acid (AA) and acrylate esters spot discussions were under pressure, with market sentiment bearish amid a downtrend in China. PODCAST: China PP to face uncertainties in H2 ’22 amid high costs By Lucy Shuai 29-Jun-22 17:47 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analysts Jady Ma and Lucy Shuai discuss the recent developments and outlook of China's polypropylene (PP) market. PODCAST: Europe and Middle East isocyanates demand slows By ICIS Editorial 29-Jun-22 17:09 LONDON (ICIS)–Isocyanates Europe editor Zubair Adam discusses current demand and supply market trends for Europe with isocyanates Middle East editor Damini Dabholkar. US ethylene begins Q3 with ample supply, eroding margins By John Donnelly 29-Jun-22 05:45 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US ethylene market is seeing ample supply, lower margins but decent derivative demand heading into Q3. INSIGHT: Energy demand rebound at a time of crisis, bp stats show By Nigel Davis 28-Jun-22 23:39 LONDON (ICIS)–Here is the energy crisis writ large. The chart, from bp as it released its latest Statistical Review of World Energy on Tuesday, shows the sharp rebound in energy consumption as COVID-19 restrictions eased and global economic activity recovered. PODCAST: Isocyanates face high costs, squeezed margins in H2 – ICIS analysts By Morgan Condon 28-Jun-22 21:02 LONDON (ICIS)–The isocyanates market is faced with steep production costs and weakening demand across downstream sectors, presenting the industry with a darkening outlook. European PVC shows signs of lengthening on demand, global trends By Chris Barker 28-Jun-22 17:29 LONDON (ICIS)–European polyvinyl chloride (PVC) contract prices for June have settled with rollovers to decreases compared to May, with indications that the outlook for availability has lengthened compared to earlier in the year. Asia ADA trade flows punch above weight in May By Josh Quah 24-Jun-22 13:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia adipic acid (ADA) markets logged a large trade surplus in May, according to import-export data captured by ICIS Supply and Demand Database. Europe capro, nylon 6 markets face slow summer demand By Marta Fern 24-Jun-22 00:35 LONDON (ICIS)–European caprolactam (capro) and nylon 6 markets are facing persistent soft demand, which could weaken further in the coming months while the costs of production are on the rise. VIDEO: Asia MEG may face more challenges in H2 2022 By Judith Wang 23-Jun-22 17:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch ICIS Senior Editor Judith Wang discuss current developments in Asia's monoethylene glycol (MEG) market and its outlook. China’s NBR import offers plummet with domestic losses, soft demand By Ai Teng Lim 23-Jun-22 15:56 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China's import offers for acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) are at year-low levels, as sellers tried to chase deals with wider discounts. Tight tonnage and robust demand push Asian chemical tanker market, sentiment bullish By Luffy Wu 23-Jun-22 14:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian chemical tanker shipping market saw overall upward pressure amid high global bunker levels and regional tonnage tightness, drained by robust long-haul activities and clean petroleum product (CPP) markets. PODCAST: How may China respond to looming global energy crisis? By Bee Lin Chow 23-Jun-22 13:32 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analysts discuss how China may respond to what seems like a looming global energy crisis. US SBR demand healthy from tyre sector, but tyre imports growing By Amanda Hay 23-Jun-22 05:34 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) demand healthy for tyres, but North American tyre manufacturers face growing tyre imports. INSIGHT: Don’t stifle chemicals now in the face of energy uncertainty and climate reform – UK industry By Nigel Davis 22-Jun-22 22:20 LONDON (ICIS)-The UK chemical industry is now 6% larger than at the onset of the pandemic, chief executive of the country’s sector trade group, the Chemical Industries Association (CIA), said last week. PODCAST: China benzene prices hit 8-year high; cost and supply support to persist By Yoyo Liu 17-Jun-22 10:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analyst Jady Ma and Yoyo Liu discuss the recent developments and outlook of China's benzene market. Asian BD buying slows as domestic China tumbles By Ai Teng Lim 17-Jun-22 09:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Sentiment was duller in this week’s spot talks for Asian butadiene (BD) imports, as buyers retreated after the domestic China market suffered heavy losses early-week. PODCAST: Europe PET speculation rife in face of diverging upstream dynamics By Caroline Murray 17-Jun-22 00:07 LONDON (ICIS)–Mixed xylene prices are skyrocketing higher than PX prices and concerns over negative margins mount. PX June contract talks are ongoing. By contrast, MEG supply remains lengthy and demand has been low, pressuring down spot prices. The June MEG contract price also remains unconfirmed. INSIGHT: PET, politicians and TikTok – the industry’s battle for our attention By Matt Tudball 16-Jun-22 22:17 BRUSSELS (ICIS)–The battle for our attention is a fierce one. In the post-COVID-19 world, as employees we feel a sense of email overload and Zoom fatigue while as a consumer we face a constant bombardment of media telling us what we should be doing, thinking, eating, drinking and watching. Asian petrochemicals to rebound in June amid bumpy recovery – ICIS analysts By Ann Sun 16-Jun-22 12:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian petrochemical market is expected to be generally firmer in June given higher crude prices and easing lockdowns in China, according to a latest Price Forecast by ICIS analysts. PODCAST: Global base oils supply and refinery margins to stay under pressure in H2 By Eashani Chavda 15-Jun-22 22:35 LONDON (ICIS)–ICIS editors Eashani Chavda, Samantha Wright and Amanda Hay are joined by ICIS analyst Mike Connolly to discuss the latest developments in Europe and US base oils markets. Key topics include: supply shortages, shifting trade flows, refinery margins and additive shortages. PODCAST: Chemical distributors see inflation hurting demand, downturn in prospect By Will Beacham 14-Jun-22 22:03 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Rising inflation is now hurting demand for chemicals, raising the prospect of a broad economic downturn later this year or in 2023, according to chemical distributors. China PE finds support from stimulus policies; eyes on demand performance By Sijia Li 14-Jun-22 14:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s domestic polyethylene (PE) market entering June has found support from stimulus policies and costs. Looking ahead, players are focusing on demand recovery, with the easing of lockdowns in multiple regions amid decreasing COVID-19 infections. India domestic LAB prices rise; China demand improves as lockdowns ease By Clive Ong 10-Jun-22 11:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–India’s domestic prices for linear alkylbenzene (LAB) have spiked on the back of rising costs, but some players expect some headwinds with the monsoon season kicking off. Monsoon season to hamper India demand China demand sees uptick as COVID-19 restrictions ease China’s competitively priced cargoes still available in Asia (including India), Mideast Oil prices drop more than $1/bbl on partial lockdowns in China By Nurluqman Suratman 10-Jun-22 11:34 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices fell more than $1/bbl on Friday on renewed demand fears after fresh COVID-19 lockdown measures were announced in China, but tight supply concerns capped losses. INSIGHT: Sustainability to remain the key driver for Asia recycled polymers By Arianne Perez 10-Jun-22 11:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Capacity expansions of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) and recycled polyethylene (R-PE) faced delays amid the onslaught of COVID-19, particularly last year, but overall growth of Asia polymers recycling is set to continue with sustainability as the main driver. PODCAST: European ACN market keeps a close eye on ammonia and propylene By ICIS Editorial 09-Jun-22 18:35 LONDON (ICIS)–The European acrylonitrile (ACN) market has good supply and some softening demand, but costs remain high. In this latest podcast, ICIS deputy managing editor Jane Massingham (Europe) talks to managing editor fertilizers, Julia Meehan and senior editor on olefins, Nel Weddle about the ammonia and propylene markets and what to expect in the months ahead. PODCAST: Asia benzene, styrene short-term outlook to hinge on demand-supply balance By Jasmine Khoo 09-Jun-22 11:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s benzene prices have hit an all-time high on strong performance from the US amid the turnaround season, while styrene price gains have been lagging behind due to weak performance in the styrenics sector. In this podcast, Jasmine Khoo speaks with editors Angeline Soh and Trixie Yap on benzene and its key downstream styrene monomer (SM) and styrenics sectors. China PP exports may fall on narrow price gap with SE Asia By Lucy Shuai 08-Jun-22 17:09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–With the lifting of COVID-19 lockdowns in China, as well as stimulus policies to boost the economy, China’s polypropylene (PP) prices have rebounded since late May. However, as PP prices have fallen in the southeast Asian market, China's PP exports may fall in June due to a narrow price gap. VIDEO: China PP demand set to improve in June as restrictions ease By Lucy Shuai 08-Jun-22 16:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch industry analyst Lucy Shuai share her insights on the rebound seen in China's polypropylene (PP) market following the easing of strict COVID-19 curbs in the country. Asia Q3 biodiesel market sentiment to stay weak on poor European demand By Felicia Loo 07-Jun-22 12:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The third-quarter market sentiment for southeast Asian palm methyl ester (PME) biodiesel is expected to remain weak amid poor buying requirements from Europe, a key importing region for southeast Asian material. Germany's chemicals hit hard by China lockdowns, automotive sentiment improves – Ifo By Jonathan Lopez 03-Jun-22 16:49 MADRID (ICIS)–Lockdowns in China to contain the coronavirus pandemic have had a major impact on export-intensive industrial sectors in Germany such as chemicals, research institute Ifo said on Thursday. Asia MEG rebounds on higher crude, demand recovery expectations By Judith Wang 03-Jun-22 10:50 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) weekly prices rebounded during the week amid stronger crude values and expectations of demand improvement due to easing lockdowns in Shanghai. Global chem production fell 2.9% year on year in April By Stefan Baumgarten 03-Jun-22 01:57 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Global chemical production volumes in April fell 4.1% month on month and 2.9% year on year, and they were off 0.4% year on year for the first four months of 2022, ICIS senior economist Kevin Swift said in a report on Thursday. China methanol to face ample supply, mixed demand performance By Doris He 01-Jun-22 21:05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s methanol market is expected to face overall ample supply from domestic and overseas producers in the near term, while demand may be mixed from different downstream sectors. INSIGHT: China, India to be main drivers of PVC supply, demand in Asia By Jonathan Chou 01-Jun-22 11:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we live our lives, upending also supply and demand dynamics for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and its related markets. Over two years on since the pandemic hit, much of Asia has attempted “living with COVID-19” in 2022, with some starting to treat it as an endemic disease. China SM margins likely to be squeezed by higher costs, weak demand By Tina Zhang 31-May-22 11:55 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Margins in China's styrene monomer (SM) market are expected to continue to be squeezed in the near term, in view of rising feedstock benzene values and weak demand. China petrochemical market sentiment upbeat on Shanghai recovery plan By Fanny Zhang 30-May-22 13:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s domestic petrochemical market sentiment is upbeat at the start of the week, with demand expected to recover when the two-month lockdown in Shanghai is lifted in June. Asian epoxy market stable, Chinese domestic market outlook ambiguous By Luffy Wu 27-May-22 11:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asia epoxy resins market saw overall stable market sentiment while buyers exhibited improved price acceptability compared with in April. Asia nylon market cautious as Shanghai inches towards June reopening By Josh Quah 26-May-22 16:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The lockdowns have been damaging for Asia's nylon market, with prolonged demand loss particularly felt in the CFR (cost & freight) China market. There have been recent signs, however, that the worst may have passed in the lead up to the reopening of key cities in China. PODCAST: Weak demand from lubricants, China’s Group II base oil import margins to be negative By Whitney Shi 25-May-22 14:09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analyst Jady Ma and Whitney Shi discuss the recent developments and outlook of China's base oil market. INSIGHT: China crude consumption softens amid COVID-19 lockdowns By Pearl Bantillo 25-May-22 12:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s consumption of crude has softened as industrial production is hit by pandemic-related restrictions in place since February, with no sign of the government giving up on its zero-COVID policy. INTERVIEW: China emergence from lockdowns, stimulus to recharge auto and construction – Covestro CFO By Joseph Chang 25-May-22 05:17 NEW YORK (ICIS)–China’s easing of and potential emergence from COVID-19 lockdowns along with government stimulus should spark a major recovery in its automotive and construction markets, the chief financial officer (CFO) of Germany-based Covestro said on Tuesday. Asian MMA peaks in May; outlook pending clarity amid easing restrictions in China By Li Li Chng 24-May-22 13:47 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian methyl methacrylate (MMA) peaked in May, after increasing around 17% since H2 February. Market players are awaiting clearer picture on China’s lifting of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions. PODCAST: Europe PE and PP update and outlook By Ben Lake 23-May-22 23:42 LONDON (ICIS)–Senior editor, Vicky Ellis, and market editor, Ben Lake, join forces to discuss a distinct change in the polymers market. The frenzied activity in March and April has given way to a far more relaxed sentiment in May – on the buy-side, at least. Vicky and Ben give their outlook for June and take a look at events that could shake up the markets again. INSIGHT: China PE demand to rebound from June, but slow road ahead By Amy Yu 23-May-22 18:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)—China polyethylene (PE) demand is expected to firm as COVID-19 containment measures ease, but the pace of recovery remains hindered by remaining lockdown measures. ANALYSIS AND RESOURCES
Caixin's Sept China manufacturing PMI falls to 48.1 on COVID-19 curbs
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Caixin’s China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 48.1 in September from 49.5 in August as efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus weighed on both output and new orders, the Chinese media firm said on Friday. A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing economy, while a lower number denotes contraction. A key factor driving the headline index lower was a faster fall in new orders during September, with new business falling for the the second month in a row and at the quickest rate since April, it said in a statement. Disruptions to operations due to COVID-19 restrictions, including temporary closures, alongside softer customer demand led to the first fall in output for four months in September. Subdued demand conditions and lower production requirements led firms to cut back on their purchasing activity in September, with the rate of decline the quickest in four months. "Measures to contain the COVID-19 virus also weighed on supplier performance in September. Though only modest, the rate at which lead times lengthened was the most pronounced for three months," Caixin said. "Cost pressures continued to ease in September, with a number of firms commenting that market prices for some materials had fallen due to weaker demand," it said. Concerns over potential repeated outbreaks of COVID-19 and the prolonged use of containment measures weighed on optimism towards future output, the firm added.
Think tank urges Mexico to ditch its ‘energy paradox’
HOUSTON (ICIS)–Mexico City based think tank Mexico Evalua said Mexico should abandon what it calls an energy paradox before it is too late for it to take advantage of a historic opportunity for nearshoring and economic growth. The think tank said in research reports published in August and September that Mexico is at a critical juncture to be able to abandon its current ideologically-motivated approach to energy policy. The country has been plagued by slow economic growth for many years for a variety of reasons, despite out-performing most of its Latin America peers. Mexico Evalua says that Mexico has the opportunity to break the current inertia in attracting foreign direct investment to catapult investment and employment to levels rarely seen in the country before. It cites Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) data indicating that Mexico could benefit from nearshoring so much that it could translate into additional GDP growth of 2.60%. Nearshoring describes activity that brings supply chains into closer geographic proximity, and it is an idea that has become more popular as investors have struggled with certain aspects of doing business in China. Mexico Evalua said Mexico can take advantage of sentiment in the business sector that has been documented in recent decreases in confidence among investors working in China. Lower confidence stems from what one survey from the European business chamber in Beijing called over-regulation and the country’s ‘zero covid’ policies. ENERGY OBSTACLES Mexico has distinguished itself as a manufacturing hub and has become twelfth in the world for goods exports, fifth in automotive exports, seventh in vehicle production and the main auto parts provider to the US. Mexico Evalua highlights the role that Mexico’s competitive industrial parks have played in the development of these sectors but warns that competitively-priced, clean, reliable energy supply is one of the most important concerns investors in Mexico have. It says the only way to improve competitiveness in this area is to increase power generation capacity and invest in transmission and distribution infrastructure for medium and high tensions. The think tank said achieving these goals is facilitated by processing permits efficiently and authorising public and private projects in renewables. Many of these basic processes have been politicised in Mexico since the start of the current federal administration. Mexico Evalua cites Mexico government data that indicates that investment in the electricity sector has plunged by 88% between 2018 and 2021. It says that if foreign direct investment enjoyed better conditions in Mexico, the electricity sector could benefit and provide a boost to the entire economy by improving its productive capacity. This systematic type of thinking could help the country understand that increasing investment through public and private investment is urgent. Mexico Evalua recognises the difficulty of achieving this level of understanding given the current administration’s consistent commitment to nationalist energy rhetoric but highlights several recommendations including: Uphold the rule of law, which includes the 2013-2014 energy reform Compensate affected parties if it changes existing energy policies Gather information to quantify the results of the 2013 energy reform, North American economic integration Decrease CFE residential power subsidies by allowing efficient markets Allow the national electric system to be governed by efficiency mechanisms Focus on efficiency at state-run companies, which would reflect well on the government Integrate regulatory requirements in the USMCA including those related to energy, rule of law The think tank also acknowledges there is some risk the current administration will not take seriously the risks posed by the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) consultations called in late July. But it highlights that the repercussions of a failure to comply would be extremely costly for the country as a whole.
Lockdowns, property crisis to slow China 2022 GDP growth to 2.8% – World Bank
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. Heavy economic toll from COVID-19 lockdowns Real estate market in severe downturn Chinese yuan hit lowest since 2008 It represents a sharp slowdown from the 2021 growth rate of 8.1% – the fastest recorded in a decade. The World Bank’s projected slowdown for the Asian economic powerhouse was gloomier than the 3.3% forecast by other multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). “China’s success in containing Covid-19 infections comes at a significant economic cost,” the World Bank said in its East Asia and the Pacific Economic Update report released on 27 September. In the second quarter, China’s GDP growth slowed to 0.4% from 4.8% in the previous three months, as private consumption shrunk due to COVID-19 curbs across multiple major cities, including its financial hub Shanghai. "The economic impact of COVID-19 is still significant in China because of the stringent local public health measures prompted by its efforts to suppress the disease," the World Bank said. The targeted mobility restrictions from the curbs not only depress demand, but also limit production by shutting down factories and disrupting the domestic supply chain, it said. April industrial production shrank by 2.9% year on year, the first contraction since March 2020, while merchandise exports growth for the month in US dollar terms grew only 3.9% year on year – the slowest pace since June 2020. In May to August, industrial production returned to growth, while overall exports increased by more than 10% on a year-on-year basis, except in August. "China’s output is expected to grow more slowly than the output of the rest of the region in 2022, for the first time since 1990," the World Bank said. Furthermore, China's real estate market is now experiencing a severe downturn, with housing activity shrinking following a temporary rebound between mid-2020 and mid-2021, it said. "The surge in new home sales in the first half of 2021, fueled by a liquidation of holdings by developers to improve liquidity positions, was followed by a sharp contraction in new home sales," the World Bank said. "Housing prices have fallen, especially for second-hand housing for which average prices dropped by almost 7% between September 2021 and July 2022," it said. More than 30 petrochemicals and specialty chemicals are key ingredients in materials used for modern construction such as adhesives, admixtures, sealants, coatings, paints, flooring, insulation, water proofing, among others. While improvements were seen across China's data in August including industrial output, fixed asset investment and retail sales, the pace of recovery in production, consumption and investment remains in question for the coming months, Singapore-based UOB Global Economics & Markets Research said in a note earlier this month. On a year-on-year basis in August, China's industrial production growth picked up to 4.2% from July's 3.8% expansion while retail sales strengthened by a stronger-than-expected pace of 5.4%, up from 2.7% in July. However, real estate information provider China Real Estate Information Corp CRIC) said the top 100 developers in the country reported a combined 32.9% year-on-year decline in home sales in August. "China continues to face challenges from its dynamic zero-COVID policy, prolonged property market weakness and expected slowdown in external demand amidst high inflation and tightening monetary policy," UOB said. Amid a flagging economy, China’s central bank has been cutting its key interest rates in sharp contrast with the monetary tightening of other major economies led by the US, thus, exerting strong depreciating pressure on the yuan (CNY). The Chinese currency weakened on 28 September to CNY7.2458 to $1, the weakest level recorded since the global financial crisis in 2008. 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.
Corrected: Hurricane Ian damage could top $1.6tr as more than 7.2m homes could flood – CoreLogic
Correction: In the ICIS story headlined “Hurricane Ian damage could top $1.6tr as more than 7.2m homes could flood – CoreLogic” dated 29 September 2022, Braskem's terminal in Charleston, South Carolina, inaccurately described as a production plant. A corrected story follows. HOUSTON (ICIS)–More than 7.2m single- and multi-family residences with a combined reconstruction value of $1.6tr are at moderate to high risk of flash flooding from Hurricane Ian, which made landfall in Florida on Wednesday afternoon. Source: National Hurricane Center The storm had maximum sustained winds of 155 miles/hour, and brought heavy rains, but most damage is expected from storm surge that could be between 12-18 feet in some places, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Storm precautions continued to have a small impact on oil production along the western areas of the Gulf of Mexico. Based on data from offshore operator reports Wednesday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said that personnel have been evacuated from a total of 11 production platforms, which represents 2.11% of the 521 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Personnel have been evacuated from five rigs, equivalent to 35.71% of the 14 rigs of this type currently operating in the Gulf. A total of three rigs have moved off location out of the storm’s path as a precaution. This number represents 15.79% of the 19 rigs currently operating in the Gulf. The rigs are not moored to the seafloor, so they can move out of harm’s way in a relatively short time frame. Personnel remain on board and can return to the original location once the storm has passed. From operator reports, BSEE estimated that approximately 9.12% of the current oil production and 5.95% of the natural gas production in the Gulf has been shut in. Shut-in production information included in these reports is based on the amount of oil and gas the operator expected to produce that day. The US fertilizer industry has been watching the tropical threats closely as Tampa is a key centre with both trading, shipping and production operations in the area. Major domestic producers, including both Yara and Mosaic, have facilities in the surrounding region. Mosaic said its North America Incident Command Team started coordinating with operating sites last week in advance of Hurricane Ian. "All of our Florida locations have been secured, with some fully evacuated while minimal staff remain at other sites," Mosaic said in a statement Wednesday morning. Ascend Performance Materials has a plant in Pensacola, Florida, that produces nylon 6,6 as well as feedstocks hexamethylene diamine (HMD) and adipic acid, according to the ICIS Supply and Demand Database. Pensacola is located on the far western edge of the state and is not within the projected path of the storm. Huntsman International produces maleic anhydride in Pensacola, and Reichhold Chemicals has production sites in Pensacola and in Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville is on the Atlantic coast side of Florida and is within the projected path. Storm impacts are also expected into southern Georgia and parts of South Carolina. Hexion produces epoxy resins and phenolic resins in Lakeland, Florida, according to the database. Lakeland is about 35 miles east of Tampa. Ian is expected to cross Florida and make another landfall by Friday, threatening the ports of Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, according to the NHC. The Port of Savannah was still open as of mid-afternoon on Wednesday, according to a spokesperson for the port. US operator Kinder Morgan said on Wednesday that the 2.5mtpa Elba LNG in Georgia was expected to remain online as Hurricane Ian passes through the US southeast region. A Kinder Morgan spokesperson said the company planned to continue normal operations for both the Southern Natural Gas and Elba Express pipelines into the export plant. The 173,000cbm Murex was the last vessel to load from Elba on 25 September. No other vessels were expected to load from the US plant in the near term. Charleston, South Carolina is home to Braskem’s US polypropylene (PP) terminal. The terminal provides packaging, warehousing and export shipping services. CHEMICALS USED IN CONSTRUCTION The damage and efforts to rebuild can translate to increased demand for many chemicals and polymers that are used in the construction sector. The white pigment titanium dioxide (TiO2) is used in paints. Solvents used in paints and coatings include butyl acetate (butac), butyl acrylate (butyl-A), ethyl acetate (etac), glycol ethers, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) and isopropanol (IPA). Blends of aliphatic and aromatic solvents are also used to make paints and coatings. For polymers, expandable polystyrene (EPS) and polyurethane (PUR) foam are used in insulation. Polyurethanes are made of methylene diphenyl diisocycanate (MDI), toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and polyols. High density polyethylene (HDPE) is used in pipe. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used to make cladding, window frames, wires and cables, flooring and roofing membranes. Unsaturated polyester resins (UPR) are used to make coatings and composites. Vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) is used to make paints and adhesives. Additional reporting by JT Strasner, Zachary Moore, Sylvia Tranganida, Al Greenwood and Fauzeya Rahman Thumbnail image from the National Hurricane Center shows projected path of the storm.
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