TOPIC PAGE: War in Ukraine, gas crisis
Updated at 09:00 GMT on 24 March. Please scroll down to see headlines.
The war in Ukraine has caused oil and especially gas price volatility, as restricted flows from Russia to Ukraine caused values to spike to record-breaking levels.
Since December 2022, unseasonably mild winter weather hit demand, reversing gas prices though they remain above long-term averages. Millions of tonnes of chemical and fertilizer production are offline across Europe thanks to the elevated gas prices and poor macro-economic conditions which have impacted demand.
India is facing a shortage of fertilizers and edible oil amid wide-ranging trade disruptions as the Ukraine war rages on, with financial sanctions tightening on Russia.
Europe’s energy challenge is immense and put into stark relief by the response to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Cutting the ties that bind EU and non-EU nations to Russian gas and oil will be extremely painful this year and in years to come.
This topic page examines the impact of the Ukraine conflict on oil, gas, fertilizer and chemical markets.Image credit Vadim Ghirda/AP/Shutterstock
Europe’s energy markets witnessed a year of record prices and extreme volatility in 2021. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to more difficult conditions for global markets since then.
- Gas storage remains robust in Europe, winter demand has fallen thanks to mild weather
- Record shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe so far in 2022/23
- LNG plus Norwegian, Algerian, Azerbaijani pipeline imports compensate for Russian supply shortfall
- Europe LNG processing operating at full capacity
- Nord Stream I and II pipelines damaged by explosions, zero flows to Europe
- EU implements voluntary 15% cut to consumption, industry may face much tougher reductions
- Russia supplies 20% of global seaborne ammonia market
- Disrupted supply has pushed up fertilizer and food prices
- 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
- From 5 December Russian crude oil cargoes will only be insured if subject to price cap
- 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
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
Europe has historically depended 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 further reduced in 2022. By the end of last year Russian pipeline supplies fell to less than 10% of Europe’s total gas imports compared to 40% in the previous year.
Russian volumes shipped through Ukraine to Europe are now at third of what they should be as part of a five-year transit agreement
Russia has banned exports of gas to several EU countries, and the Nord Stream I and II pipelines have been damaged. 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.
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.
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.
ICIS has also created an interactive timeline which shows the history of the gas impact since July 2021.
These products have been most badly affected by outages in Europe, with more than half of capacity offline or running at reduced rates in some cases.
Analysis by the ICIS Margin Analytics team shows the products which are most exposed to energy and gas prices in Europe as a feedstock or utility.
Europe is at a competitive disadvantage to other regions and some customers are seeking new sources of lower-priced supply, especially from Asia and the Middle East.
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
Europe prepared for a difficult winter although rising storage fullness levels, falling demand and more import capacity for liquefied natural gas (LNG) have helped it get by, assuming there will not be an extensive cold spell.
As of 6 March, storage facilities across Europe were 54% full compared with just 20% last March.
Some 30bn cubic meters of new capacity were added between September 2022 and March 2023. The capacity includes offshore terminals in the Netherlands, Germany and Estonia/Finland.
Demand has been decreasing by more than 20% in the industrial sector in north-west European countries and by 20-30% for households in Germany, according to official data.
Nevertheless, there is a possibility that Russia may completely stop its gas supplies to Europe via the last two remaining routes – Ukraine and Turkey, which could lop off some 70 cubic meters of Russian gas entering Europe daily.
In such a scenario, the most affected countries would be those in eastern and central Europe, which are landlocked and have been struggling to secure regasified LNG from importing countries.
For oil markets, in case of an attack but no international sanctions, the worst-case scenario would be for approximately 240,000 bbl/day of lost Russian exports via Ukraine.
There are other seaborne routes, including the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.
Gas rationing – impact on Europe petrochemicals, fertilizers
Embattled European fertilizer and petrochemical producers may be the first in line to cut gas consumption if the region experiences a cold snap in the weather.
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.
Policymakers recommend voluntary reductions but say these would become mandatory in case of a supply emergency jeopardising the bloc’s security.
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 had forced consumers to limit or stop production or seek import substitution globally. The mild winter has alleviated this situation.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
petrochemicals demand tepid on macroeconomy,
By Nurluqman Suratman 24-Mar-23 14:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical markets continue to face tepid demand as economic recovery in regional bellwether China remains slower than initially expected, with new production capacities adding to oversupply concerns.
Asia C2 producers mull higher output for May on
By Yeow Pei Lin 24-Mar-23 12:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene (C2) supply for May could be boosted by improved production margins following recent declines in feedstock naphtha costs.
proposed market reforms
By Gretchen Ransow 24-Mar-23 01:54 LONDON (ICIS)–Electricity sector federation Eurelectric has raised concerns about proposed EU electricity market reforms, calling some of the proposals premature and in need of more consideration.
subdued with underwhelming
By Mathew Jolin-Beech 24-Mar-23 01:26 LONDON (ICIS)–The European acrylates markets are all currently subdued with demand described as “soft.”
switching to gas likely to continue in
By Rian Flanagan 24-Mar-23 00:35 LONDON (ICIS)–Fuel switching optimisation from hard coal to natural gas prompted by falling wholesale power and gas prices is expected to continue into April despite French nuclear woes, sources have told ICIS.
likely to maintain power import position
By Anna Coulson 23-Mar-23 22:50 LONDON (ICIS)–Widening spreads between UK power and European counterpart front-month contracts show that the UK is likely to maintain a net import position from the continent through April.
Economic Summary: US regional banking crisis
lowers odds of soft landing
By Joseph Chang 23-Mar-23 22:21 NEW YORK (ICIS)–The failure of two sizeable banks (Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank) in the US and the crisis of confidence contagion spreading to other regional banks and now European financial institutions threatens to significantly tighten lending conditions at the very least, further slowing economic growth and potentially tipping US and European economies into recession.
Philippine central bank
hikes interest rates anew as inflation stays
By Pearl Bantillo 23-Mar-23 20:41 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Philippines’ central bank hiked its policy interest rates by 25 basis points on Thursday with inflation expected to remain elevated and projected to average higher than the target this year.
PODCAST: Less LNG, more
nuclear power for Japan this
By Yun Xie 23-Mar-23 20:02 SINGAPORE (ICIS) – Over 5.3m tonnes of Japanese long-term LNG contracts are up for expiry in 2023 at a time when last year’s largest buyer plans to reduce LNG procurement and boost nuclear and renewable power generation.
PMDI import markets bearish on poor downstream
By Shannen Ng 23-Mar-23 15:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian import markets for polymeric methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (PMDI) were dominated by largely bearish sentiment in the week ended 22 March.
PODCAST: Asia, Mideast PS
demand tepid on competitive imports, feedstock
By Damini Dabholkar 23-Mar-23 11:14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian and Middle Eastern polystyrene (PS) markets are seeing slow demand with regional supply remaining relatively unchanged.
INSIGHT: US Fed
undeterred from 2% inflation goal means more
tough times ahead for
By Joseph Chang 23-Mar-23 05:34 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Even amid a regional banking crisis, the US Federal Reserve remains undeterred in its goal of bringing inflation down to its 2% target. This was evidenced by another 0.25 percentage point rate hike and will mean weakening economic conditions, a lower chance of a soft landing and a more challenging demand environment for chemicals going forward.
Phenol energy surcharges
will start to disappear on lower TTF, but no
demand improvement seen
By Jane Gibson 23-Mar-23 00:57 LONDON (ICIS)–Falling upstream gas prices may offer chemical sellers and buyers some relief but the impact on demand levels has yet to be significant.
shipping rates point to normalising global
logistics, Europe under
By Will Beacham 22-Mar-23 22:58 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Steep falls in container shipping rates indicate that the pandemic-induced logistics crisis may be drawing to a close, but this now makes Europe more vulnerable to a flood of cheap imports from Asia.
R-PET buying sentiment weakens in wake of
By Arianne Perez 22-Mar-23 20:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian exporters of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) cargoes are expected to continue to see cautious buying from converters in the US following the banking crisis.
INSIGHT: New PE/PP
capacities risk derailing nascent Asia
By Izham Ahmad 22-Mar-23 17:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–A wave of new polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) supply in Asia is threatening to upend the tentative demand recovery the region has been experiencing since the end of the Lunar New Year holidays as new suppliers fight to establish market share in an increasingly crowded market.
polyamide 6,6 Q2 mood darkened by fiscal year
closing, demand outlook
By Josh Quah 22-Mar-23 13:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s nylon polyamide 6,6 (PA66) markets remain weak, ahead of turnarounds coming up for some producers in northeast Asia.
PP prices fall to nearly three-year low amid
increasing supply, lower-than-expected
By Lucy Shuai 22-Mar-23 12:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China polypropylene (PP) prices fell to a nearly three-year-low amid increasing supply and lower-than-expected demand, and the market may remain under pressure in Q2.
naphtha swings to multi-month lows on volatile
By Melanie Wee 21-Mar-23 13:42 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s naphtha markets can expect heightened volatility, largely tracking crude oil futures movement, as demand prospects are being weighed down by market jitters over the health of the global banking system.
PODCAST: Subdued spot
trading activity in Europe’s oxo-alcohols and
By Marion Boakye 21-Mar-23 03:35 LONDON (ICIS)–Throughout March – the oxo-alcohols and derivative markets in Europe have experienced weak spot demand, ample supply, and thin import opportunities.
Europe and US projects
may continue increasing Brazil ethanol exports
in the long term
By Daniel Lopes 21-Mar-23 03:06 HOUSTON (ICIS)–In times of extremely volatile international oil prices, particularly in oil exploration and distribution, Brazil’s ethanol has proven to be a great renewable energy source.
consumer budgets limit demand for major
chemicals consuming sectors
By Nigel Davis 21-Mar-23 00:49 LONDON (ICIS)–This is by no means an easy time for chemical producers as the industry’s major downstream markets continue to be influenced by the impact on demand of rising costs and higher interest rates.
Europe’s chemical sector
shrinks – battered by high costs, poor demand
and cheaper imports
By Will Beacham 20-Mar-23 23:10 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Collapsing Q4 profits and losses for European chemical majors, together with low expectations for 2023, show just how badly the sector is still suffering.
Europe markets firm after
emergency UBS Credit Suisse
By Tom Brown 20-Mar-23 20:15 LONDON (ICIS)–European markets firmed on Monday after Switzerland-based banking group UBS announced plans to acquire embattled rival Credit Suisse, raising market hopes that banking sector contagion may be limited.
Global weekly spot IPEX
down on price declines across
By Will Beacham 20-Mar-23 19:11 LONDON (ICIS)–The global weekly spot ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) fell by 2.0% week on week on the back of lower index values across regions.
PODCAST: Asian PP markets
grapple with increased supply,
lower-than-expected demand in
By Damini Dabholkar 20-Mar-23 19:06 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian polypropylene (PP) markets are being challenged by increasing capacity in 2023, especially in the China market, while demand continues to recover more slowly than expected.
dips to lowest since December 2021 on banking
By James Dennis 20-Mar-23 17:52 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Crude prices declined on Monday to their lowest levels since December 2021 before recovering on growing financial concerns following equity market losses and instability in the banking sector in Asian trading.
is promoting a new domestic gas price
By Yueyi Yang 20-Mar-23 15:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s National Development and Reform Commission ( NDRC ) is developing a gas upstream and downstream price linkage mechanism to secure gas supply and help suffering city gas companies.
petrochemical shares, oil prices weaken after
UBS rescue of Credit Suisse
By Nurluqman Suratman 20-Mar-23 12:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Shares of petrochemical companies in Asia were mostly weaker and crude futures fell on Monday on fears of a banking crisis contagion, as troubled Credit Suisse was rescued by its Swiss rival UBS in a government-backed deal.
INSIGHT: European TiO2
operations at risk, but China may not be the
By Heidi Finch 17-Mar-23 17:53 LONDON (ICIS)–While energy costs in Europe are more relaxed compared with 2022 peaks, the TiO2 marketand the wider chemical industry in Europe are still facing residual economic and demand headwinds. European production is at risk, while China/Asia capacity is increasing.
glycerine demand weighed down by caution after
US bank collapse and turmoil
By Helen Yan 17-Mar-23 11:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s glycerine spot demand has been weighed down by prevailing caution following the collapse of two mid-sized banks in the US and plunging bank stocks in Europe.
Asia June C2 supply to tighten on limited US
arrivals, regional outages
By Yeow Pei Lin 17-Mar-23 11:23 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene (C2) supply for June delivery could tighten due to limited tonnage for US-Asia trade and a heavy slate of regional cracker overhauls.
contagion threatens to spread, hit chemicals
By Joseph Chang 17-Mar-23 05:47 NEW YORK (ICIS)–The failure of two sizeable banks (Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank) in the US and the crisis of confidence contagion spreading to other US regional banks and now European financial institutions threatens to significantly tighten lending conditions at the very least, further slowing economic growth and potentially tipping the US and European economies into recession.
VIEW: The potential of two-way CfDs in the
By Matthew Jones 17-Mar-23 02:23 LONDON (ICIS)–One of the key policies in the European commission electricity market design reform proposals is for two-way CfDs to be the exclusive form of government support for new renewables.
reveals strategy to raise earnings by 59% by
By Al Greenwood 17-Mar-23 00:05 HOUSTON (ICIS)–LyondellBasell’s CEO mapped out on Tuesday the strategy that the company will follow that it expects will increase earnings by 59% in 2027, one that will become more open to profit-boosting operational improvements and sustainable projects while remaining faithful to its legacy as a safe, reliable and producer that is conscious about cost.
China’s PO prices fall
after spikes, eyes on supply
By Floria Dai 16-Mar-23 15:41 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–After spiking to over Chinese yuan (CNY) 10,000/tonne at the end of February/early March amid supply tightness, China’s domestic propylene oxide (PO) prices fell recently as downstream producers had largely completed procurement and held a wait-and-see attitude.
naphtha tumbles on tepid demand; crude oil
By Melanie Wee 16-Mar-23 12:56 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia naphtha markets are under pressure on the back of fragile demand, while taking cues from global crude oil futures.
INSIGHT: Banking woes
rattle US chem shares
By Al Greenwood 16-Mar-23 05:03 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Shares of US-listed chemical companies fell on Wednesday amid concerns about the implications of a string of bank failures.
prices lift slowing bearish run in
By Rian Flanagan 16-Mar-23 02:51 LONDON (ICIS)- Rotterdam coal prices have lifted from 7 March to 14 March although European coal profitability continues trending down for the front-month contract.
INSIGHT: Small nuclear
gaining ground as power provider for industry
and the grid
By Nigel Davis 16-Mar-23 00:44 LONDON (ICIS)–Small-scale nuclear fusion reactors could provide much needed power for the chemical industry as the transition is made towards cleaner and greener production technologies.
to define H1, Q1 destocking still ‘palpable’ –
By Tom Brown 15-Mar-23 21:15 COLOGNE (ICIS)–2023 will be a difficult for the chemicals sector, with market conditions likely to remain bleak through the end of the second quarter, the CEO of LANXESS Matthias Zachert said on Wednesday.
Mideast-origin PE pipe
grade discussions weighed down by snug
By Zachary Tia 15-Mar-23 15:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Middle East-origin black polyethylene (PE) 100 pipe grade discussions in Asia and the Middle East were largely weighed down by generally snug supply.
aims to pivot to US cracker decarbonisation
after Canada net zero project –
By Joseph Chang 15-Mar-23 04:24 NEW YORK (ICIS)–US-based Dow plans to quickly move to decarbonise its US cracker sites after building its net zero carbon emissions cracker project in Canada, as the necessary hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS) infrastructure should be available by then, its CEO said on Tuesday.
exports are positive for the US chemical
industry – Dow CEO
By Joseph Chang 15-Mar-23 00:30 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Increasing exports of US liquefied natural gas (LNG) are positive for the US chemical industry as it will foster greater production of oil and gas, the CEO of US-based Dow said on Tuesday.
INSIGHT: China growth
ambitions deliver a reality check while
financial risk multiplies
By Nigel Davis 14-Mar-23 23:33 LONDON (ICIS)–Petrochemicals production turned up in January following months of decline, as demand started to improve and prospects for growth brightened. But the take-off, from a miserable few months at the end of 2022, was slower than some hoped for – as evidenced by capacity utilisation.
Wacker braces for tougher
H1 as energy, war, recessionary pressures
By Tom Brown 14-Mar-23 21:49 LONDON (ICIS)–Wacker Chemie is bracing for a more bearish 2023 as economic headwinds continue to bite, with a slowdown in demand noticeable since Q4 last year and despite a record financial performance in 2022, CEO Christian Hartel said on Tuesday.
arbitrage hopes hurt by high freight rates,
By Julia Tan 14-Mar-23 19:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–A recent gain in the US propylene market has rekindled hopes of increased arbitrage opportunities, with a growing number of traders keen to send Asia-origin cargoes to the US. They do, however, point out that high freight rates remain a major hurdle.
developing Asia, Middle East and Africa –
By Tom Brown 13-Mar-23 21:13 LONDON (ICIS)–Borouge is looking to developing markets in Asia, the Middle East and Africa to drive growth, the CEO of the Abu Dhabi-based producer said following its initial public offering (IPO) last year.
Aramco posts record ’22 profit on strong oil;
sets higher ’23 capex at
By Pearl Bantillo 13-Mar-23 15:04 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Energy giant Saudi Aramco has posted a record 2022 net profit of $161bn on strong oil prices, and plans to invest heavily in 2023, setting its capital expenditure at $45bn-55bn.
benzene optimism during peak turnaround season
By Angeline Soh 13-Mar-23 12:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia benzene optimism during the peak maintenance season starting March tumbled, as new plants started up amid procurement cutbacks due to margin losses in the derivative sectors.
probes domestic R-PET feedstock supply on
By Arianne Perez 10-Mar-23 12:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japan has launched an investigation into the domestic supply of post-consumer bottle bale feedstock used to produce recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) after prices breached record levels in the second half of 2022.
Asia C2 rangebound as weak China downstream
collides with supply
By Yeow Pei Lin 10-Mar-23 11:52 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene (C2) import prices were little changed this week as the slow recovery in China’s downstream demand and a relatively healthy inflow of US cargoes counterbalanced regional supply curtailments.
February petrochemical markets weaken; March
By Yvonne Shi 10-Mar-23 10:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical markets weakened in February as cautiousness persisted amid a slower-than-expected recovery in downstream demand and a subdued economic outlook.
Hydrogen excels as
storage for renewable power –
By Al Greenwood 10-Mar-23 05:26 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Mitsubishi is making a case for using green hydrogen as a combustion fuel for power plants because it is a practical way to store large amounts of renewable energy.
Nuclear extensions add
boost the UK’s security of
By Anna Coulson 10-Mar-23 02:10 LONDON (ICIS)–EDF have confirmed life extensions at the Heysham 1 and Hartlepool nuclear power stations, with a combined capacity of 2.4GW, until March 2026.
INSIGHT: US Congress may
make it easier to issue pipeline
By Al Greenwood 10-Mar-23 00:36 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US energy trade groups see an opening for reforming how the country issues permits for pipelines and other energy infrastructure because Congress is facing several pieces of legislation that it must pass this session.
Europe epoxy sourcing
from Asia still interesting; limited
By Heidi Finch 09-Mar-23 23:17 LONDON (ICIS)–While the Asia-Europe epoxy price gap has narrowed, it is still economically interesting for Europeans to source from Asia, especially from China.
INSIGHT: European demand
for toluene and MX could see periodic
By Zubair Adam 09-Mar-23 20:19 LONDON (ICIS)–Recent demand for toluene and mixed xylenes (MX) in Europe has been mainly spearheaded by interests as octane boosters, and there are some expectations that future bulk requirements will be supported from this application rather than from other downstream outlets.
Q4 GDP growth revised down to 0.4% on year,
0.1% on quarter
By Pearl Bantillo 09-Mar-23 20:34 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japan’s annualised fourth-quarter GDP growth was revised down to 0.4% from an initial estimate of 0.6%, and narrowly avoided a technical recession with a 0.1% quarter-on-quarter expansion, official data showed on Thursday.
MEG, DEG markets move in opposite directions,
wide gap to sustain
By Judith Wang 09-Mar-23 16:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) prices have been falling while diethylene glycol (DEG) spot prices have been rising, while the wide gap may continue in coming weeks.
front month profitability reaches new
By Rian Flanagan 09-Mar-23 02:40 LONDON (ICIS)–Rotterdam coal prices dropped significantly in the week to 8 March together with European coal profitability, which decreased due to falling gas and power prices and reaching a new low for the front month contract.
INSIGHT: EU needs to
provide greater clarity on regulation as
transition pathway for chemical industry
By Nigel Davis 08-Mar-23 23:05 LONDON (ICIS)–Chemical companies in Europe need greater clarity on at least the shape of the regulatory environment that will ultimately enable the wide-reaching goals of the EU’s Transition Pathway for the Chemical Industry.
market expects balanced-to-long March, activity
rebound in Turkey
By Chris Barker 08-Mar-23 23:04 LONDON (ICIS)–The European polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market is balanced-to-long in early March, as market participants expect demand will remain below par through the month.
PODCAST: EU market design
reform – what to expect
By Matthew Jones 08-Mar-23 22:17 LONDON (ICIS)– ICIS Director of Energy Analytics Matteo Mazzoni and Lead Analyst Matthew Jones discuss: what are the European Commission trying to achieve, current situation of PPAs, role of CfDs, main positions of the member states on key issues and what the outcome is likely to be.
demand, massive new capacities to weigh on
China PE market
By Sijia Li 08-Mar-23 15:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s domestic polyethylene (PE) market is expected to face headwinds from softer-than-expected demand recovery and intensive new plant start-ups in the first quarter of 2023.
MEC up on China and Middle East demand, EU
By Keven Zhang 08-Mar-23 12:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Methylene chloride (MEC) in the key China market was higher for four consecutive weeks, supported by higher demand in local and overseas markets.
sign yet of coatings market restocking,
stronger demand expected in H2 – Elementis
By Tom Brown 08-Mar-23 00:04 LONDON (ICIS)–There is little sign of coatings market restocking after a period of inventory reduction across buyer industries in the second half of 2022 the CEO of Elementis said on Tuesday, with demand for that and other core sectors expected to firm in the second half of this year.
PODCAST: China to add
record-breaking chemicals capacity in 2023,
global markets wary
By Will Beacham 07-Mar-23 21:27 BARCELONA (ICIS)–This year, China will complete an unprecedented amount of petrochemical and fertilizer capacity, creating oversupply in some global markets and switching the country from net importer to an exporter in certain commodities.
etac lacks drive on macroeconomic
By Melanie Wee 07-Mar-23 16:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s ethyl acetate (etac) and butyl acetate (butac) markets are cushioned by moderate buying, although not particularly robust amid mixed views on demand growth.
Softer PE prices in India
despite tight GCC-origin
By Nadim Salamoun 07-Mar-23 15:05 DUBAI (ICIS)–Polyethylene (PE) import prices for all grades decreased in the week ended 7 March, reflecting an overall bearish sentiment in the market.
Korea Q4 ’22 GDP contracts on quarter;
full-year ’23 growth to slow on weak
By Pearl Bantillo 07-Mar-23 13:50 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korea’s economic output shrank by 0.4% in the October-December 2022 from the previous quarter, unchanged from advance estimates, as manufacturing and exports contracted amid a global economic slowdown.
MMA to draw strength from tightened supply,
By Jasmine Khoo 07-Mar-23 13:14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian methyl methacrylate (MMA) sector has been affected by a slew of pessimistic market factors since late May 2022, but things are potentially looking up for this market in March.
Asia’s plasticizers’ cash margins in the red;
frail demand seen
By Li Peng Seng 07-Mar-23 12:56 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The cash margins of plasticizers in east Asia have been mired in the negative zone since mid-January on the back of stubborn weak demand, and the lack of buying interest could linger on for some time.
Government needs to support chems with energy
costs or forfeit investments
By Morgan Condon 07-Mar-23 01:05 LONDON (ICIS)–The UK’s Chemicals Industries Association (CIA) is urging the UK Government to increase financial aid for energy intensive industries in its Spring Budget or risk losing investment.
INSIGHT: Q2 a potential
inflection point for Europe PET as buyer
By Caroline Murray 06-Mar-23 22:40 LONDON (ICIS)–The European polyethylene terephthalate (PET) market may be a stone’s throw away from a brighter outlook, after what has been an atrocious period for the industry.
Global weekly spot IPEX
edge up on price increases in the US
By Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez 06-Mar-23 21:20 LONDON (ICIS)–The global weekly spot ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) was up by 0.3% week on week, on the back of higher index values in the US Gulf and despite a small decline in northeast Asia.
Firming GCC PP/PE offers
despite expected Ramadan
By Nadim Salamoun 06-Mar-23 20:47 DUBAI (ICIS)–Despite an expected slowdown in market activities and demand in the region during mid-March to mid-April due to shorter Ramadan working hours and the Eid Ul-Fitr holiday, March’s regional offers from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) suppliers surfaced at higher levels than those of February.
sets 2023 GDP growth target at 5%, gas demand
By Yun Xie 06-Mar-23 15:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS) – China aims to achieve “ around 5% ” GDP growth target in 2023, primer Li Keqiang outlined in the Government Work Report (GWR) delivered at the weekend during the 2023 National People’s Congress in Beijing, with fossil fuel energy demand a key factor in the economic outlook.
sets conservative 5.0% GDP growth target;
By Fanny Zhang 06-Mar-23 14:33 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China has set its 2023 economic growth goal at around 5%, a conservative number underscoring an overall cautious outlook that sent crude prices falling on Monday after recent strong gains, while Chinese petrochemical futures markets largely mixed.
China’s phenol-BPA spread
sinks to over three-year low; bearishness to
By Li Peng Seng 06-Mar-23 11:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s phenol to bisphenol A (BPA) spread has tanked to its lowest in more than three years on the back of persistent slow import demand for BPA, and the bearishness may last for a while more.
spot BD in flux on wild swings in buying
appetite; outlook unclear
By Ai Teng Lim 06-Mar-23 10:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian butadiene (BD) spot market was in flux recently, as opposing forces of supply constraints and lacklustre downstream demand wrestled to drive buying in multiple directions.
oleochemical players upbeat at key palm oil
conference in Malaysia
By Helen Yan 06-Mar-23 10:23 KUALA LUMPUR (ICIS)–Asia oleochemical producers expect demand to pick up amid a supply crunch just as China’s economy is rebounding as indicated by its upbeat February manufacturing data.
Asia manufacturing outlook remains subdued
despite Feb improvement
By Nurluqman Suratman 03-Mar-23 13:18 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Southeast Asia’s manufacturing sector improved in February amid expansions in output and new orders, but the outlook remains subdued amid a slowing global economy.
Asia Q2 C2 supply limited by turnarounds;
increased US arrivals help fill gap in
By Yeow Pei Lin 03-Mar-23 12:03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene (C2) supply in the second quarter will be curtailed by a heavy cracker turnaround schedule, with the regional capacity loss peaking in May.
Robust uptake of Asian
R-HDPE to continue as market sentiment
By Arianne Perez 03-Mar-23 11:24 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–A strong rebound in demand for Asian recycled high-density polyethylene (R-HDPE) as March opens is expected to continue in the coming weeks as downstream buyers refill depleted inventories.
Tsunami of chemical
assets set to hit M&A market in H2 2023 –
By Joseph Chang 03 Mar-23 06:30 NEW YORK (ICIS)–A slew of chemical assets are poised to hit the M&A market by H2 2023 as business conditions improve and the financing market stabilises, investment bankers said on Thursday.
INSIGHT: US chemicals
policy goals target Superfund taxes, tariffs,
By Al Greenwood 03-Mar-23 01:14 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The new Superfund taxes, the re-authorisation of a chemical-security programme, rail service and the revival of two tariff-relief programmes are among the biggest areas of US policies affecting the chemical industry this year, and they rank as the top priorities of the National Association of Chemical Distributors.
Evonik’s strategy factors
in uncertainty, volatility –
By Morgan Condon 03-Mar-23 00:43 DUSSELDORF (ICIS)–Back in 2020 the pandemic reshaped the landscape for the global chemicals industry, and even for the rest of 2023 it is likely to remain a moving part for producers.
Import demand to lift
Italian power Q2 ’23 premium to
By David Battista 03-Mar-23 00:06 LONDON (ICIS)–The Italian Q2 ‘23 power contract is expected to remain at a premium to the Hungarian peer ahead of expiry, amid a tight fundamentals picture in Italy driving cross-border import demand.
Global acetone supply
tightens as phenol market fails to
By Jane Gibson 02-Mar-23 22:07 LONDON (ICIS)–Global acetone supply is tightening. Phenol markets and many of their derivatives across the globe remain depressed. As a result, operating rates are low, curbing the supply of co-product acetone.
Covestro braced for weak
2023 as energy, pricing headwinds
By Tom Brown 02-Mar-23 21:51 LONDON (ICIS)–Covestro expects 2023 earnings to fall below last year’s following a sharp increase in energy and raw material prices since early 2022 and difficulties in passing on those costs to consumers.
Europe MIBK stable, but
threatened by shifting trade
By Nick Cleeve 02-Mar-23 19:06 LONDON (ICIS)–Rising prices in Asia caused by the sudden closure of the largest methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) plant in China are attracting volumes to Asia and risking tighter supply in Europe, which has become more import-dependent since Shell – its largest producer – stopped production in 2022.
fatty alcohols to see improved sentiment
following China Feb PMI data
By Helen Yan 02-Mar-23 14:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s fatty alcohols and other oleochemical markets are likely to see an improvement in sentiment and demand, following the latest February data showing factory activity rising significantly in China.
INSIGHT: Optimism on
China recovery as manufacturing PMI leaps into
By Joseph Chang 02-Mar-23 07:00 NEW YORK (ICIS)–The long-awaited China recovery may finally be at hand, as a key leading indicator of manufacturing activity surged higher.
Rotterdam coal curve
gains reduce German plant profitability in
By David Battista 02-Mar-23 01:05 Increases on the ICE Rotterdam coal price curve amid power price losses caused coal plant margins to plummet in Germany between 21 and 28 February.
INSIGHT: Encouraging EU
study underscores importance of chemical
recycling in waste
By Nigel Davis 01-Mar-23 21:15 LONDON (ICIS)–Plastics producers and recyclers in Europe will be encouraged by a new European Commission study that clearly supports plastics recycling over incineration and underscores the role that chemical recycling will play in waste management in future.
PODCAST: Asian, Mideast
and Europe TDI markets see tepid demand as weak
economic factors weigh on foam
By Damini Dabholkar 01-Mar-23 20:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Toluene diisocyanate (TDI) markets in Asia, the Middle East and Europe saw lacklustre demand and mixed supply conditions, with consumption in downstream markets being impacted by inflation and seasonal factors.
financial woes disrupt petrochemical
By Julia Tan 01-Mar-23 16:39 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Pakistan’s financial woes have led to disruptions in major end-markets such as the textiles and automotive sectors. Market editor Julia Tan speaks with Deputy News Editor Pearl Bantillo to discuss how the economic crisis has affected petrochemical imports, how the pending International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan will help support regional petrochemical demand, and what players in the wider Asian market can expect.
Arabia’s SABIC expects margins pressure to
continue in H1 2023 on slow
By Nurluqman Suratman 01-Mar-23 16:19 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi Arabia’s SABIC expects its margins to continue being under pressure in the first half of this year, after its net profit fell sharply in 2022 amid poorer demand and lower prices.
MEC supported by China domestic market, rising
By Keven Zhang 01-Mar-23 14:33 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia methylene chloride (MEC) stayed afloat against waning regional demand, supported by a rebounding China domestic market.
benzene supply expected to moderately lengthen
through end of Q1, as downstream demand remains
By Deniz Koray 01-Mar-23 07:30 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US benzene supply is expected to gradually lengthen in late Q1, as market participants expect material from Europe to continue arriving due to soft demand abroad, as well as favourable pricing in the US.
ethylene market seeks balance amid low demand,
By John Donnelly 01-Mar-23 05:09 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US ethylene market is seeking an improved supply/demand balance as both production and demand remain down and exports have picked up. More demand is on the horizon with the startup of new polyethylene units.
fiscal Q3 GDP growth slows to 4.4% amid high
By Pearl Bantillo 01-Mar-23 14:03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–India’s economy grew at a slower annualised pace of 4.4% in October-December 2022, weakening for the second consecutive quarter in the current fiscal year ending March 2023, official data showed.
Feb factory activity rises strongly, PMI at
nearly 11-year high
By Fanny Zhang 01-Mar-23 12:39 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China factory activity posted a strong uptrend in February, with a manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) reading of 52.6, the highest since April 2012, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
SUMMARY: Crude prices rally on Chinese economic
hopes despite US interest rate
LONDON (ICIS) – The April Brent contract expired on Tuesday and will roll into May on Wednesday. Crude prices rallied in typically thin trading for Brent expiry as continued worries over US interest rate rises failed to offset hopes of Chinese economic recovery.
chemical producers see demand weakness persist
but look to H2 2023
By Nigel Davis 28-Feb-23 23:51 LONDON (ICIS)–A slower than hoped for re-start in China but a turn up in key indicators in the US colour the macroeconomic outlook and the driving forces behind industrial production demand for chemicals.
PODCAST: Think Tank –
Concerns about energy supply to persist through
By Morgan Condon 28-Feb-23 21:59 LONDON (ICIS)–A tough energy market which began with the onset of the Russia-Ukraine war looks set to persist in H1 2023, although preparing for next winter will remain the key challenge for European producers.
PX faces uncertainties, weighed down by weak
By Samuel Wong 28-Feb-23 16:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Persistently uneconomical production margins for downstream Chinese purified terephthalic acid (PTA) makers will continue to exert downward pressure on Asian paraxylene (PX) prices, despite several upcoming plant maintenance shutdowns.
economic conditions in Pakistan, PP trade
activity still at a halt
By Nadim Salamoun 28-Feb-23 14:22 DUBAI (ICIS)–Despite the bearish market sentiment prevailing in Pakistan over the past few months, several traders and buyers hope that the recent government decision to implement the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s requirements to secure a $1.1bn loan would help alleviate the situation in the near future.
INSIGHT: US housing
market to hit demographic wall by
By Kevin Swift 28-Feb-23 06:06 CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (ICIS)–Demographics will weigh heavily on the long-term outlook for the US housing sector as a much smaller Gen Z population reaches prime home-buying age in the first half of the 2030s, according to an ICIS analysis.
German front month upside
potential on bullish weather
By Anna Coulson 28-Feb-23 03:51 LONDON (ICIS)–German power March ’23 baseload forward assessments are currently at a discount to the French power equivalent however, traders have told ICIS that they are cautious of colder weather which could result in tightening spreads.
German gas plant
ambitions signal need for domestic baseload
By Daniel Muir 28-Feb-23 01:49 LONDON (ICIS)–Ambitious plans to increase German gas fired power generation (CCGT) capacity will play a key role in providing baseload capacity, however lead times and renewables targets are unlikely to ease production deficits through to the end of the decade.
Asia C3 slips on weak downstream, SE Asia
stable on snug supply
By Julia Tan 27-Feb-23 22:41 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The average price of spot propylene (C3) imports in northeast Asia continued to fall in the week ended 24 February, although the weekly price range widened amid greater market volatility.
INSIGHT: China imports of
Russia oil to rise further in 2023 on cheap
By Fanny Zhang 27-Feb-23 21:59 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China is expected to boost imports of Russia oil further in 2023 to take advantage of price discounts, with a significant increase likely in volumes flowing to independent refineries in Shandong.
Global weekly spot IPEX
slightly up on rise in NE
By Will Beacham 27-Feb-23 19:02 LONDON (ICIS)–The global weekly spot ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) was up by 0.3% week on week, on the back of higher index value in northeast Asia.
OX supply to stay tight on upcoming maintenance
By Samuel Wong 27-Feb-23 15:04 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Supply for orthoxylene (OX) in Asia is expected to stay tight, with several upcoming scheduled plant maintenance, and as existing facilities will continue to operate at low rates.
Thailand’s IVL expects
demand recovery after destocking weighed on Q4
By Nurluqman Suratman 27-Feb-23 13:04 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Indorama Ventures Ltd expects the unusually high level of customer destocking that weighed on its fourth quarter results to recover in the first half of this year, with China’s reopening to further spur demand, the Thailand-listed producer said on Monday.
grips Asia petrochemical markets a year into
By Nurluqman Suratman and Pearl Bantillo 24-Feb-23 15:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical makers will have to navigate through murky waters with production costs remaining high while exports shrink as the global economy grapples with high interest rates a year into the Russia-Ukraine war.
VIDEO: Supply change
impact on E China toluene, xylene price
By Veronica Zhang 24-Feb-23 14:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–In this video, Industry Analyst Veronica Zhang discusses the fundamental changes in the east China market that are behind the change in the toluene-xylene price gap.
reduction to add German near-curve
By Calum Andrews 24-Feb-23 02:15 LONDON (ICIS)–A capacity reduction on the 1.4GW NordLink cable between Germany and Norway could see slightly elevated prices on near-term German power contracts, sources have told ICIS.
Europe domestic Group I
base oils market braces for change in
By Eashani Chavda 24-Feb-23 00:20 LONDON (ICIS)–European domestic Group I base oils players expect the market downtrend to end in March, due to poor refinery margins and discontented suppliers.
INSIGHT: Europe races for
energy competitiveness as global ‘Green Wars’
intensify (Part 3)
By Aura Sabadus 23-Feb-23 19:16 LONDON (ICIS)–In the first two parts of this series of articles on the global race for energy competitiveness we looked at the short windon of opportunity Europe has to formulate a vision and redirect capital to scale up green investments.
naphtha buoyed by supply constraints; spot
By Melanie Wee 23-Feb-23 19:05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia naphtha markets are drawing support from reduced supply as spot demand revs up, lifting cargo premiums.
Malaysia’s PCG Q4 net
profit falls 76.7%, expects challenging
By Nurluqman Suratman 23-Feb-23 15:03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–PETRONAS Chemicals Group (PCG) expects slow demand and higher costs arising from inflation to continue to weigh on its earnings for the first half of this year after its net profit fell by 76.7% year on year in the fourth quarter, the Malaysian producer said on Thursday.
PODCAST: Global ACN
demand below average but shows signs of life as
market finds balance
By Lucas Hall 23-Feb-23 02:25 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Global acrylonitrile (ACN) demand remains below average, but the market shows signs of life as supply and demand find better balance following heavy destocking activities at the end of 2022 and as restocking activities slowly pick up.
Europe races for energy
competitiveness as global ‘Green Wars’
intensify (Part 2)
By Aura Sabadus 23-Feb-23 00:53 LONDON (ICIS)–In the first part of this series of articles on the global race for energy competitiveness we looked at the short windon of opportunity Europe has to formulate a vision and redirect capital to scale up green investments.
INSIGHT: Weak consumer
confidence weighs on China recovery
By Pearl Bantillo 22-Feb-23 23:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s prospects turned brighter after it abandoned its zero-COVID policy, but two of its major growth engines – exports and the property sector – may struggle to perform amid a general weakness in consumer confidence. The possibility of the world plunging into recession still cannot be ruled out.
spot bottle-grade PET market likely bullish
ahead of Ramadan
By Zachary Tia 22-Feb-23 14:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The spot bottle-grade polyethylene terephthalate (PET) market in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region could take on a more bullish outlook as demand strengthens ahead of Ramadan.
MEC producers brace for challenging regional
By Keven Zhang 22-Feb-23 12:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Support for Asia’s methylene chloride (MEC) market appears to be waning after recent recovery, with Chinese producers lowering plant operating rates in response to weak demand.
sees destocking nearing an end, amid uneven
demand recovery – CEO
By Joseph Chang 22-Feb-23 04:48 NEW YORK (ICIS)–US-based coatings producer PPG expects customer destocking in the do-it-yourself (DIY) residential paints sector to soon run its course while other sectors such as automotive refinish and aerospace should continue to provide a tailwind, its CEO said.
European caustic soda
outlook softens as standoff resolved, spot
By Chris Barker 22-Feb-23 00:01 LONDON (ICIS)–The European caustic soda outlook has softened as spot prices fell in mid-February, with new deals fixed in the Mediterranean and a multi-week standoff resolved, mostly in the buyers’ favour.
INSIGHT: Global potash
market searches for ‘new
By Andy Hemphill 21-Feb-23 23:06 LONDON (ICIS)–By mid-2023 the global muriate of potash (MOP) fertilizer market will have endured two years of upheaval unlike anything seen for a decade.
Malaysia Jan chem exports
fall 6.6%, external headwinds to continue
By Nurluqman Suratman 21-Feb-23 12:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Malaysia’s chemical exports will continue to face external demand headwinds this year after contracting in January, with overall shipments abroad posting the smallest gain since October 2020.
Global weekly spot IPEX
up slightly on increases in NE Asia, US
By Yashas Mudumbai 20-Feb-23 18:10 LONDON (ICIS)–The global weekly spot ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) was up by 0.5% week on week, on the back of higher index values in northeast Asia and the US Gulf.
glycerine weighed down by sluggish ECH market,
slowing global economy
By Helen Yan 17-Feb-23 15:42 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s glycerine market may be weighed down in the near term by the sluggish downstream industrial epichlorohydrin (ECH) sector amid lengthened supply and a slowing global economy.
costs limit spot gas flows from Germany to
By Jennifer Sanin 17-Feb-23 15:33 LONDON (ICIS)–Polish gas contract premiums to the German THE have soared since the beginning of 2023 to cover high transport costs, but spot flows from Germany to Poland should still remain scarce.
Pakistan fiscal H1
industries contract; seven-month imports slump
By Pearl Bantillo 17-Feb-23 14:14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Production at Pakistan’s large-scale manufacturing industries in the fiscal first half-year to December 2022 slipped by 3.7% from the previous corresponding period.
Thailand’s GDP to grow by
2.7-3.7% in 2023, exports headwinds to
By Nurluqman Suratman 17-Feb-23 12:59 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Thailand’s economy is expected to grow by 2.7-3.7% this year following the 2.6% expansion in 2022, led by a recovery in tourism receipts and domestic demand, but exports are projected to decline amid a global slowdown.
petrochemical exports fall by 27%; NODX slumps
By Nurluqman Suratman 17-Feb-23 12:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore’s petrochemical exports in January fell by 26.6% year on year to Singapore dollar (S$) 1.02bn, weighing on overall non-oil domestic exports (NODX), official data showed on Friday.
Asia C2 stays on recovery track; support from
turnarounds, limited deep-sea
By Yeow Pei Lin 17-Feb-23 12:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene (C2) import prices rose progressively this week to levels last seen in September 2022, as the limited supply for March outweighed China’s tepid recovery in downstream demand.
LAB shows signs of revival after prolonged
By Clive Ong 17-Feb-23 11:23 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The linear alkylbenzene (LAB) market in east and south Asia showed signs of a revival this month, following a prolonged weakness that began in the third quarter of last year.
AUSTRALIA WRAP: Woodside
2023 turnarounds, Po Valley, Santos
By Yun Xie 17-Feb-23 07:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Australia’s Woodside Energy revealed an extensive 2023 LNG facility maintenance plan, ASX-listed Po Valley sign a new supply deal with BP gas marketing in Italy, and Santos receive regulatory approval for its Dorado project in Australian LNG news this past week.
INSIGHT: China bounce a
By Joseph Chang 17-Feb-23 04:09 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Hopes for a quick rebound in China’s economy and demand for chemicals and plastics after the Lunar New Year and zero-COVID in the rearview mirror have been dashed thus far. While it is still early days and there are some signs of recovery, disappointment reigns for now.
reopening having a gradual, positive impact on
By Amy Yu 17-Feb-23 00:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Polyethylene (PE) markets in Asia are expected to recover more strongly in 2023 but the magnitude of growth may depend on the speed of demand recovery in China. Currently, demand in February is not stronger than expected.
French March ’23 power
baseload should deliver at discount to UK on
By Karishma Sadanandan 16-Feb-23 19:27 LONDON (ICIS)–French power spot prices in March are likely to continue delivering below the UK counterpart, with French power supply risks gradually declining.
January exports fall 6.6% on weak global
demand; imports down 3.5%
By Priya Jestin 16-Feb-23 12:31 MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s merchandise exports declined for the second month in a row in January, falling by 6.6% year on year to $32.9bn, due to continued weakness in demand from the US and Europe.
PE traders eye SE Asia markets as Mideast
By Izham Ahmad 16-Feb-23 11:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Polyethylene (PE) traders in China are taking advantage of an apparently tight supply of Middle East cargoes to re-export to buyers in southeast Asia, as China’s post-Lunar New Year demand recovery fails to live up to expectations.
Europe coal curve weakens
amid bearish energy complex
By David Battista 16-Feb-23 01:53 The ICE Rotterdam coal curve inched downwards between 7-14 February, as bearish signals from power and gas markets were countered by carbon price gains.
Europe domestic Group I
base oils prices stabilise after six-week
By Eashani Chavda 16-Feb-23 00:46 LONDON (ICIS)–European domestic Group I base oils spot prices stabilise for the first time since 20 December, following growing pressure on refinery margins. Downward pressure subsides for H2 (second half) of February.
petrochemical prices to rise but margins under
pressure in February – ICIS
By Ann Sun 15-Feb-23 20:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Higher prices in most value chains are expected in the Asia petrochemical market in February in view of balanced-to-tight fundamentals driven by subdued supply and restocking activities. However, companies are still struggling with negative margins.
naphtha cushioned by modest demand; weak
By Melanie Wee 15-Feb-23 15:39 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia naphtha markets are eking out gains from moderate buying, while slim arbitrage prospects from the west are keeping supply in check.
MEC stable to firm on restocking, feedstock
By Keven Zhang 15-Feb-23 11:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s methylene chloride (MEC) prices were stable to firm this week on restocking in China amid low inventories for March and cost support from feedstock chlorine.
Rebound in China, Europe
to lead TiO2 recovery in ’23
By Al Greenwood 15-Feb-23 03:36 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Rebounds in China and Europe should lead the recovery in demand for titanium dioxide (TiO2) in 2023, an executive with US-based Chemours said on Monday.
discount could maintain Q1 UK gas exports to
By Hector Falconer 15-Feb-23 01:23 LONDON (ICIS)–Britain is likely to continue exporting gas to Belgium via Fluxy’s Interconnector over the remainder of the first quarter amid a wide NBP Day-ahead and front-month discount to ZEE equivalents.
disappoints hopes of swift PP demand lift,
global markets eye exports
By Vicky Ellis 14-Feb-23 20:47 LONDON (ICIS)–A raft of offers of Chinese polypropylene (PP) into other regions, and signs that demand is not pinging back quickly, are denting hopes that a fast Chinese recovery will pull up global markets.
power imports through front-quarter weather
By Anna Coulson 14-Feb-23 16:47 LONDON (ICIS)–UK power Q2 ’23 contracts have maintained a premium to their European counterparts in February, however there is a mixed outlook on what could affect this spread going forward.
PTTGC expects demand recovery in 2023 on China
By Nurluqman Suratman 14-Feb-23 14:39 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Thai petrochemical major PTT Global Chemicals expects demand for its aromatics and polymers products to improve this year following China’s reopening.
German gas-fired power
demand to remain low
By Eduardo Escajadillo 14-Feb-23 01:40 LONDON (ICIS)-Gas-fired power in Germany to remain subdued on unfavourable economics, gas demand destruction measures generation is expected to remain stifled in coming months as gas has been ‘out of the money’ for most of 2022 even after the sharp drop in gas prices which began in December last year.
Global weekly spot IPEX
down on declines across
By Yashas Mudumbai 13-Feb-23 23:16 LONDON (ICIS)–Spot chemical prices were down by 1.1% week on week on the back of declines across all regions, according to latest figures from the weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX).
must up state aid for chemicals, industry as
energy crisis to stay – trade
By Jonathan Lopez 13-Feb-23 17:00 MADRID (ICIS)–Spain’s chemicals are resisting the winter crisis better than expected but the government should increase its public support for energy-intensive sectors to match levels in peers within the eurozone, according to the country’s chemicals trade group.
Singapore Q4 economy
expands by 2.1%, full-year 2022 GDP growth at
By Nurluqman Suratman 13-Feb-23 11:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore’s economy grew by 2.1% year on year in the fourth quarter, moderating from the 4.0% expansion in the previous quarter, amid a slowdown in the manufacturing sector, official data showed on Monday.
MEG market falls on new supply,
By Judith Wang 10-Feb-23 15:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) prices have been falling during the week as the upcoming new supply in China and the slower-than-expected demand recovery exerted downward pressure on spot discussions.
Asia C2 up in supply-led recovery; China
downstream demand still slow
By Yeow Pei Lin 10-Feb-23 11:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene (C2) prices advanced as supply decreased on cracker turnarounds and reduced inflows from other regions.
Asia: February demand may be less than
expected; China will be key
By Jackie Wong 10-Feb-23 02:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Demand for polypropylene (PP) in southeast Asia has so far been less stellar than expected earlier and any improvement would likely hinge on how quickly China recovers.
margins expected in H1 but outlook remains
positive – Borealis CEO
By Morgan Condon 10-Feb-23 00:10 LONDON (ICIS)–Borealis is anticipating weaker polyolefins margin developments over the first half of 2023, compared to the same period a year prior, but executives at the petrochemicals arm of Austria’s energy major OMV remain confident in the company’s outlook.
INSIGHT: Glimmers of hope
in European acetone, phenol and derivatives
By Jane Gibson 09-Feb-23 22:47 LONDON (ICIS)–There are some small rays of sunshine emerging from the phenol and acetone chain. Lower energy costs are supporting downstream sectors such as methyl methacrylate (MMA) and polycarbonate (PC) and tightness in acetone is impacting market dynamics.
February carbon run
pressures long-term German coal
By Daniel Muir 09-Feb-23 14:47 LONDON (ICIS)–2023 carbon gains in tandem with far-curve losses on benchmark gas products are pressuring German power plant profitability, according to ICIS Analytics data.
INSIGHT: Easing logistics
constraints give a boost to US PE
By Zachary Moore 09-Feb-23 01:20 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Easing logistics constraints have resulted in increased exports of US polyethylene (PE) in recent months, with the outlook suggesting that US PE exports can continue in larger volumes over the next few months.
prices decline in February despite rising share
of power mix
By David Battista 09-Feb-23 00:55 Coal prices across the Rotterdam curve declined during the first week of February, though losses were heavier on the back end. With bearishness going across the commodity mix, German coal plant profitability also took a hit, despite making up an increasing proportion of the country’s power generation mix.
French power Q3 ’23
unlikely to flip above UK equivalent as nuke
By Karishma Sadanandan 08-Feb-23 20:42 LONDON (ICIS)–French power prices for delivery in the third quarter of 2023 seem unlikely to flip above the UK counterpart amid recovering nuclear supply in France.
India’s RBI hikes policy
rate again, raises GDP growth forecast to
By Priya Jestin 08-Feb-23 16:10 MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s central bank hiked its benchmark interest rate to 6.50% – sixth time it has done in the current fiscal year – and raised its GDP growth projection for the fiscal year ending March 2023 to 7% from 6.8%.
January petrochemical markets rebound;
near-term outlook mixed
By Yvonne Shi 08-Feb-23 13:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical markets posted strong gains in holiday-shortened January, largely in anticipation of strong demand post Lunar New Year as both production and consumption picked up after the country abandoned its zero-COVID policy.
Asia SBR, PBR import offers up on costs, demand
By Ai Teng Lim 08-Feb-23 13:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Southeast (SE) Asian import offers for styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) and polybutadiene rubber (PBR) spiked this week, as producers reeling under cost pressures held firmer targets to contain losses.
INSIGHT: Europe biofuels
competitiveness at risk on new EU, US climate
By Nazif Nazmul 07-Feb-23 22:41 LONDON (ICIS)–The biofuels sector is set for state-led market intervention on both sides of the Atlantic, as per the recently released legislative measures listed in the European Commission’s Green Deal Industrial Plan and the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
INSIGHT: Chemicals ‘the
alpha and omega’ of industry, driving need for
By Morgan Condon 07-Feb-23 18:33 LONDON (ICIS)–The chemicals sector was described as “the alpha and the omega” of industry by an EU Commissioner last week who outlined some near-term targets as part of the EU Chemical Industry Transition Pathway.
benzene sellers face post-holiday downtrend,
lukewarm downstream offtake
By Angeline Soh 07-Feb-23 17:33 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia benzene sellers lamented the unexpected price decline following the Lunar New Year celebrations, as downstream offtake rates were slower than initially anticipated.
Asia, China plasticizers prices at multi-month
highs; slow demand seen
By Li Peng Seng 07-Feb-23 11:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Plasticizers prices in east Asia and China hit multi-month highs recently due mainly to stronger feedstock costs.
Europe PE, PP buyers face
higher Feb offers after C2, C3 increase; demand
By Vicky Ellis 07-Feb-23 04:40 LONDON (ICIS)–European polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) players have received separate higher offers for February contract prices in reaction to the month’s monomer increases. However, underlying demand is still weak and so any settlements are expected to be led by supply and upstream factors.
beginning to expand again but margins
By Nigel Davis 07-Feb-23 00:25 LONDON (ICIS)–Signs of a tentative upturn for the major petrochemicals and polymers are welcome although it is clear that profitability is likely to remain under pressure in the first half. For the big polyolefins, polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), additional supply creates a headache that will persist for some time.
Global weekly spot IPEX
up on gains in NE Asia, NW
By Yashas Mudumbai 06-Feb-23 19:23 LONDON (ICIS)–Spot chemical prices were up by 2.1% week on week on the back of rises in northeast Asia and northwest Europe, according to latest figures from the weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX).
spot titanium dioxide could see slightly
bullish sentiment in
By Joson Ng 06-Feb-23 10:15 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–While there are still uncertainties in demand in China, Asia’s titanium dioxide (TIO2) spot market could now take on a more bullish outlook.
Italian gas PSV Q3 could
shed risk, power equivalent to stay
By David Battista 03-Feb-23 14:16 LONDON (ICIS)–Higher gas storage levels and milder temperatures are likely to weigh on the Italian PSV Q3 ’23 gas product’s risk premium ahead of delivery.
to dominate Asian BD talks as supply concerns
fuel domestic rally
By Ai Teng Lim 03-Feb-23 13:40 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Discussions for Asia’s butadiene (BD) imports are bullish this week as buying appetite in China spiked alongside a ferocious post-holiday rally in the domestic market.
remains under pressure from inflation, external
By Nurluqman Suratman 03-Feb-23 11:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore’s manufacturing sector will continue to face pressure from weak external demand and high inflation, with data in the first month of 2023 indicating a contraction.
Origin Energy: Stronger
revenue despite production slip for
By Yun Xie 03-Feb-23 10:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) project will continue to boost revenues on higher gas prices in FY2023, according to the latest quarterly report released by Origin Energy, Australia’s major power and gas supplier, on 31 January.
Energy markets to remain
dogged by uncertainty, volatility in 2023 –
By Tom Brown 02-Feb-23 23:36 LONDON (ICIS)–The volatility that has dogged energy markets is likely to persist through this year, with the current tightness of supply/demand balances meaning that small shifts on either side could have a dramatic effect on pricing, the CEO of Shell said on Thursday.
European naphtha price
spikes ahead of Russian
By Cassandra Abolaji 02-Feb-23 23:05 LONDON (ICIS)–European naphtha open spec prices spiked in January to levels last seen in July 2022, due to upcoming EU sanctions on Russian products and an uptick in demand.
INSIGHT: US Fed sees path
to further easing of inflation, sparking
By Joseph Chang 02-Feb-23 07:28 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Financial markets are breathing a sigh of relief, even as the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates by another 0.25 percentage points and signalled ongoing increases would be appropriate to bring inflation down to its target of 2%.
INSIGHT: EU lays out
plans to streamline net zero industry
incentives and support
By Nigel Davis 02-Feb-23 00:52 LONDON (ICIS)–The European Commission has responded quickly with proposals to streamline the support that might be available across the EU for net zero projects and industries in the face of a shifting international ‘green’ competition.
soda ash market firms on limited supply, robust
By Helen Lee 02-Feb-23 15:52 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s soda ash market has firmed on the back of limited export volumes from China, where domestic demand strengthened after the Lunar New Year holidays.
spot propylene prices fall as PDH unit returns,
demand stays poor
By John Donnelly 01-Feb-23 06:25 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US spot propylene prices have retreated from a sharp mid-January spike as supply concerns relaxed after a downed unit restarted. The first half of the year continues to look challenging as derivative demand is poor, undercut by economic fears.
to allot $4.3bn in fiscal 2023-24 budget to
boost clean energy sector
By Priya Jestin 01-Feb-23 19:04 MUMBAI (ICIS)–India plans to allocate rupees (Rs) 350bn ($4.3bn) in the fiscal year 2023-24 national budget for energy transition in the pursuit of the country’s net zero carbon emissions objective by 2070.
factory activity needs to grow faster to boost
By Yun Xie 01-Feb-23 14:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s two main manufacturing purchasing managers indices (PMIs) improved in January as the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions helped ease pressure on manufacturers.
Korea Jan petrochemical exports fall 25%;
overall shipments down 17%
By Nurluqman Suratman 01-Feb-23 12:51 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korea’s petrochemical exports in January fell by 25% year on year to $3.8bn, with overall shipments also contracting due to a combination of high-base effect and poor global demand.
INSIGHT: Europe demand
for ethanol, toluene, and MX into gasoline to
rise, remain stable for MTBE and
By Zubair Adam 31-Jan-23 22:29 LONDON (ICIS)–Demand in Europe for gasoline blending agents has been somewhat steady recently. Some improvement is expected in the first quarter for bioethanol, toluene and mixed xylenes (MX), while requirements for methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE) could remain stable.
Better than expected
January restocking buoys Europe PA
By Anne-Sophie Briant-Vaghela 31-Jan-23 21:46 LONDON (ICIS)–Demand for phthalic anhydride (PA) is above expectations for some players even though it is below a normal year, and some who say it is 30% below demand in January last year.
fiscal 2023-24 economic growth to fall below 7%
on weak global cues
By Priya Jestin 31-Jan-23 19:11 MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s economy is projected to post a weaker growth for the next fiscal year ending March 2024 from the 7% estimate for the current year as the global slowdown is expected to continue hurting exports.
OX supply balanced to slightly tight,
downstream poses headwind
By Samuel Wong 31-Jan-23 17:08 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian orthoxylene (OX) supply is likely to stay balanced to slightly tight, amid low plant operating rates.
Asia polyester post-holiday prices stable;
players await clearer
By Judith Wang 31-Jan-23 13:58 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Spot polyester prices in northeast Asia were stable after the Lunar New Year holiday as most market players have adopted a wait-and-see stance to wait for a clear market outlook to emerge.
2023 GDP growth forecast revised up to 5.2% as
activity recovers – IMF
By Nurluqman Suratman 31-Jan-23 11:58 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s GDP growth is projected to rebound to 5.2% in 2023 from 3.0% last year as a sudden lifting of most its pandemic-related restrictions paved the way for a rapid rebound in economic activity, according to the World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released on Tuesday.
Developing Asia economic
growth forecast raised to 5.3% –
By Nurluqman Suratman 31-Jan-23 11:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Economic growth in emerging and developing Asian economies is expected to rise in 2023 and 2024 to 5.3% and 5.2%, respectively, after the deeper-than-expected slowdown in 2022, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday.
German government to
By Daniel Muir 31-Jan-23 02:46 LONDON (ICIS)–Germany’s ambitious renewable power production goals of 80% of total power consumption by 2030 were boosted on Monday with the federal government’s adoption of a draft formulation aid for the implementation of the EU Emergency Regulation.
Europe base oils export
supply uncertain for Q1 amid severe drop in
By Samantha Wright 31-Jan-23 01:22 LONDON (ICIS)–A sharp drop in European base oils export margins has raised some concerns for export availability for the rest of the first quarter.
INSIGHT: Speed of change
underscored in EU chemical industry transition
By Nigel Davis 31-Jan-23 00:31 LONDON (ICIS)–The European Commission’s long-awaited Transition Pathway for the Chemical Industry has been broadly welcomed by the sector in that it reflects the scale of current and future challenges for companies and institutions.
Spanish chemical industry
in good health, EU funds helped to alleviate
crisis – trade union
By Jonathan Lopez 30-Jan-23 20:04 MADRID (ICIS)–The Spanish chemical industry has resisted the onslaught caused by the energy crisis in Europe, with producers benefiting from the ‘Iberian exception’ which has lowered their input costs, according to an industry executive at the country’s main trade union CCOO.
Global weekly spot IPEX
up on chemical price rises across all
By Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez 30-Jan-23 18:41 LONDON (ICIS)–Spot chemical prices were up by 1.2% week on week on the back of rises across all regions, according to latest figures from the weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX).
petrochemical futures, spot markets mixed
post-Lunar New Year
By Yvonne Shi 30-Jan-23 14:18 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Post-holiday price trends in China’s petrochemical futures and spot markets diverge as sentiment remained cautious despite recent optimism over recovering demand in the world’s second-biggest economy with the lifting of its zero-COVID policy.
PP market rises post-holiday amid bullish
By Lucy Shuai 30-Jan-23 11:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polypropylene (PP) prices rose after the Lunar New Year holidays on bullish sentiment after China abandoned its zero-COVID policy.
INSIGHT: Pakistan rupee
plunges to record low amid economic crisis, US
By Pearl Bantillo 27-Jan-23 15:04 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Pakistan’s currency – the rupee – plunged to a fresh record low on Friday as its economic problems pile up amid a severe lack of US dollars to pay for imports, underscoring an immediate need for bailout funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Eastman plans 3% cut in global workforce,
closure of Europe acetate yarn
By Pearl Bantillo 27-Jan-23 12:10 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–US specialty chemicals producer Eastman is looking at trimming its global workforce of more than 14,000 personnel “by about 3%” as part of its $200m cost-cutting programme, a company spokesperson told ICIS.
GDP grew at 2.9% annual rate in Q4, led by
By Stefan Baumgarten 26-Jan-23 23:30 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US GDP grew at a 2.9% annual rate in the fourth quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) said in a first estimate of Q4 GDP growth on Thursday.
TiO2 contract negotiations continue as demand
for key end-use markets
By Deniz Koray 27-Jan-23 05:31 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US titanium dioxide (TiO2) contract discussions are ongoing in Q1. TiO2 prices have seen less volatility than many petrochemicals in the past half-year or so. However, demand has slowed from 2021 and early 2022 levels.
Polish PGE Baltica eyes
1.1GW offshore wind project
By Simona Uhrinova 27-Jan-23 02:06 LONDON (ICIS)– PGE Baltica could get closer to its 6.5GW offshore wind target in the Baltic Sea by 2040 after its subsidiary Elektrownia Wiatrowa Baltica 1 was awarded on 25 January most points in the offshore wind farms location permit procedure announced by the Polish ministry of infrastructures.
Europe Melamine January
contracts decrease; gas prices lower but
operating rates remain
By Melissa Hurley 27-Jan-23 01:09 LONDON (ICIS)–The European January melamine contract prices have decreased on a delta basis compared with December, depending on the starting point and the account.
PODCAST: Bulgarian energy
developments in doubt as country gears for new
By Aura Sabadus 27-Jan-23 00:50 LONDON (ICIS)— In 2022, when Gazprom stopped supplies to Bulgaria, the country switched at short notice from nearly full dependence on Russian gas to complete diversification. It commissioned a new interconnector with Greece, tapped LNG imports and ramped up off-takes of Caspian gas. More recently it signed a deal for access to Turkey’s infrastructure, which could open up a new supply route to southeast Europe.
INSIGHT: Upcoming US chem
earnings to reflect lower
By Al Greenwood 26-Jan-23 22:53 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US-based chemical companies have flagged several reasons why their Q4 earnings have been depressed – from weak end markets to inventory normalisation to a decline in margins.
INSIGHT: Dow’s targeted
cuts in Europe highlight region’s loss of
By Will Beacham 26-Jan-23 21:20 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Dow’s decision to target Europe for plant closures as it targets $1bn in cost savings this year highlights the structural cost disadvantage the region’s petrochemical sector suffers.
Korea Q4 GDP growth slows to 1.4% on year,
contracts 0.4% on quarter
By Pearl Bantillo 26-Jan-23 14:09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korea’s economy posted a slower annualized fourth-quarter 2022 growth of 1.4%, bringing its full-year pace of expansion to 2.6%, based on the government’s advance estimates released on Thursday.
Philippines Q4 GDP
expands 7.2%; full-year ’22 growth at
By Pearl Bantillo 26-Jan-23 13:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Philippine economy expanded at an annualized rate of 7.2% in the fourth quarter of last year, allowing it to log one of the fastest 2022 GDP growths in Asia, beating expectations.
naphtha market sentiment mixed; eyes on China’s
By Melanie Wee 26-Jan-23 12:18 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia naphtha markets are being kept afloat by hopes of recovering China petrochemical demand, although diminishing downstream margins are keeping demand cautious.
MTBE balance might shift China potential
By Keven Zhang 26-Jan-23 11:47 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) market is expected to stay amply supplied with a potential opening of China export arbitrage.
France likely to remain
at a discount to the UK in
By Karishma Sadanandan 26-Jan-23 01:32 LONDON (ICIS)–France is likely to remain at a discount to the UK during February delivery as nuclear availability is expected to improve while temperatures are forecast to be bearish.
strikes unlikely to hamper French power
By Andrea Battaglia 26-Jan-23 00:47 LONDON (ICIS)–French power supply could be put to the test again on 31 January as another 24-hour national strike action has been confirmed in opposition to the French government’s pension reform project.
plummets amid good fundamentals
By David Battista 26-Jan-23 00:37 Wider supply margins in Europe, fuelled by mild temperatures and rising wind power outputs, continue to support Asian market premiums.
Bullish outlook prompts
trade for West African
By Cecilia Barreiro 25-Jan-23 22:59 LONDON (ICIS)–Nigerian and Angolan crude prices are expected to garner support in March amid robust refining margins and a favourable arbitrage window.
Uncertainty, weak demand
persist in Europe’s oxo-alcohols
By Nicole Simpson 25-Jan-23 20:45 LONDON (ICIS)–The European oxo-alcohols and derivatives markets continue to be defined by weak demand and uncertainty among buyers.
petrochemicals pin hopes on China’s
By Pearl Bantillo 25-Jan-23 14:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical players are largely betting on strong revival of China’s demand following lifting of most COVID-19 curbs, having built up stocks in the weeks leading to the Lunar New Year holiday.
Argentina launches first
LNG winter tender for 30
By Ruth Liao 25-Jan-23 12:48 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Argentina’s gas distributor IEASA, also known as Gas Energia, launched its winter buying tender for LNG cargoes, seeking 30 cargoes between March and August 2023 for its Escobar terminal.
INSIGHT: Elevated Europe
energy prices challenge business cases for some
By Tom Brown 24-Jan-23 23:31 LONDON (ICIS)–Higher energy prices in Europe are providing a challenge to the business cases of some green and decarbonisation projects compared to the competitiveness of similar investments elsewhere in the world.
PODCAST: Europe MMA stirs
as low gas prices reawaken
By Will Beacham 24-Jan-23 21:27 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Europe methyl methacrylate (MMA) production is on the cusp of restarting as lower gas prices breathe life back into region’s petrochemical sector.
Upcoming shutdowns in GCC
to affect PP/PE price stability in Middle
By Nadim Salamoun 24-Jan-23 18:57 DUBAI (ICIS)–A series of shutdowns from GCC producers, some of which are already taking place in January, with others expected to take place between February and March, will likely curtail polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) supply to the region in the near future.
shortages damage buying ability of Africa PE/PP
By Ben Lake 23-Jan-23 23:01 LONDON (ICIS)–African polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) prices have shown some sign of life in recent weeks, as some exporters begin to increase their prices.
Global weekly spot IPEX
up on stronger northeast Asia and US
By Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez 23-Jan-23 21:03 LONDON (ICIS)–Global spot chemical prices rose by 2.7% in the week to January 20 on the back of firmer prices in northeast Asia and US Gulf, according to latest figures from the weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX).
INSIGHT: China polyester
industry rebound expected after
By Jimmy Zhang 23-Jan-23 20:55 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Since China has lifted COVID-19 restriction policies, most market participants expect a demand recovery after the Lunar New Year holiday.
VIDEO: China chemicals market review and
By Chris Qi 20-Jan-23 11:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch ICIS China information director Chris Qi review China chemical industry in 2022 and an outlook for the industry in 2023.
China ethylene buyers’ price ideas edge
up ahead of holiday
By Yeow Pei Lin 20-Jan-23 11:14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene prices rebounded slightly in recent days, aided by limited offers, improving prices for certain derivatives in China and strong feedstock naphtha costs.
European engineering plastics demand
stays sluggish in light of persistent economic
By Yashas Mudumbai 20-Jan-23 00:34 LONDON (ICIS)–The engineering plastics markets for polyacetal (POM) and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) in Europe are continuing to see lower than usual demand, as macroeconomic challenges cause market players to be circumspect.
INSIGHT: Chems face rough earnings
season amid warnings, lower
By Al Greenwood 20-Jan-23 00:04 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Chemical companies have kicked off the earnings season by waring that they could miss analysts’ estimates and struggle to keep up with rising costs.
OUTLOOK FOR 2023: Nordic power crucial
to Baltic supply security
By Calum Andrews 19-Jan-23 19:43 LONDON (ICIS)–Power imports from the Nordics are likely to continue playing a key role in ensuring security of supply across the Baltics through 2023, following halts to Russian power supplies in May 2022.
Malaysia central bank maintains 2.75%
key interest rate amid economic
By Nurluqman Suratman 19-Jan-23 18:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Malaysia’s central bank on Thursday unexpectedly kept its key benchmark interest rate unchanged amid expectations that the country’s 2023 economic growth will moderate this year amid a global slowdown.
Pakistani buyers struggle to pay Asian
R-PET, R-PE cargoes
By Arianne Perez 19-Jan-23 18:10 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–As Pakistan struggles with a financial crisis, importers of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) and recycled polyethylene (R-PE) have struggled to settle payments with suppliers.
China MDI markets see active restocking
spurred on by planned
By Shannen Ng 19-Jan-23 12:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–News of two major methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) producers in China planning turnarounds for February spurred restocking activity in the week ending 18 January, ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Oil falls by more than $1/bbl on
surprise build in US crude
By Nurluqman Suratman 19-Jan-23 12:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices fell by more than $1/bbl on Thursday after industry data showed a surprise build in US crude inventories for the second straight week, raising concerns of faltering fuel demand.
Asia BDO rebounds as buyers pin hopes on
renewed post-holiday demand
By Clive Ong 19-Jan-23 11:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s 1,4-butanediol (BDO) market surged this week as buying momentum for February cargoes picked up on expectations of firmer demand post-Lunar New Year.
US economy poised to enter mild
recession as inflation has peaked – ICIS
By Joseph Chang 19-Jan-23 05:30 NEW YORK (ICIS)–The US economy is likely to enter a relatively mild recession in 2023, the ICIS chief economist said on Wednesday.
Germany-France power Q4 ‘23 spread to
tighten on rising nuclear
By Daniel Muir 19-Jan-23 01:26 LONDON (ICIS)–The German baseload Q4 ‘23 product discount against the equivalent French product should tighten through 2023 on improving fundamentals, market participants have told ICIS.
Asian coal premium to Europe shows
signs of tightening
By David Battista 19-Jan-23 01:26 Rotterdam coal prices moved sideways between 10 and 17 January, resisting the downwards pressure that weighed down most commodity prices, and tightening the Asia premium over Europe.
INSIGHT: Poor demand, high costs stifle
Europe industry despite falling gas
By Aura Sabadus 18-Jan-23 22:56 LONDON (ICIS)–Falling gas prices could reignite some interest in European industrial output but a combination of high operating costs and sluggish demand, reminiscent of the 2008 financial crisis, is likely to slow recovery this year, according to ICIS research.
European phenol struggles with costs
while acetone tightens, but demand remains
By Jane Gibson 18-Jan-23 22:07 LONDON (ICIS)–The recent fall in gas prices is good news for the phenol and acetone chain. But this alone is unlikely to prompt producers to increase operating rates quite yet.
Japan’s Toyota targets record ’23 car
output of 10.6m units, with
By Pearl Bantillo 18-Jan-23 13:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Global automotive giant Toyota is targeting to produce 10.6m units in 2023, subject to a possible downward adjustment of 10% if problems with supply of semiconductors persist.
Bank of Japan maintains low interest
rates despite rising
By Nurluqman Suratman 18-Jan-23 12:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Bank of Japan (BOJ) on Wednesday maintained its ultra-low interest rate policy despite rising inflation levels and warned that risks to the country’s economic outlook remain extremely high.
Asia MEC underpinned by hopes of
post-Lunar New Year recovery
By Keven Zhang 18-Jan-23 11:32 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia methylene chloride (MEC) was buoyed by spot demand in the last week before the Lunar New Year.
Europe ECH demand muted in Q1, could
improve in Q2
By Heidi Finch 18-Jan-23 00:21 LONDON (ICIS)–Europe epichlorohydrin (ECH) demand is likely to face a tough first quarter, as macroeconomic headwinds and Asian competition continue to weigh.
OUTLOOK ’23: Chemical M&A stymied
by rates, uncertainty but may rebound in
By Joseph Chang 18-Jan-23 00:00 NEW YORK (ICIS)–High interest rates, lack of available financing and economic and earnings uncertainty are holding back chemical industry mergers and acquisitions (M&A). However, activity may be poised to rebound in H2 2023 as the backlog of undone deals builds up, a clearer earnings picture emerges and especially if the financing market improves.
INSIGHT: Asia petrochemicals to rebound
in January amid demand recovery – ICIS
By Jenny Yi 17-Jan-23 21:45 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asia petrochemical market is expected to rebound from January in view of demand recovery in the coming months with China’s abandonment of its strict zero-COVID policy. The appreciation of Asia currencies against the US dollar should also support the outlook.
PODCAST: Europe PE, PP analytical 2023
By Ben Lake 17-Jan-23 19:35 LONDON (ICIS)–European polymer editors Vicky Ellis and Ben Lake are joined by analysts Emiliano Basualto and Lorenzo Meazza to discuss the year ahead in what could be a transitional 12 months for the polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) markets.
NE Asia polyester prices stable to firm;
By Judith Wang 17-Jan-23 16:30 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Spot polyester prices in northeast Asia were stable to firm during the week, on the back of stronger feedstock prices, while overall buying has slowed ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
China 2022 GDP growth slows to 3%;
re-opening to drive 2023
By Nurluqman Suratman 17-Jan-23 16:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s economy grew by 3% in 2022, marking its slowest pace of expansion in decades, highlighting the impact of the country’s long-standing zero-COVID strategy.
India December exports fall 12.2% amid
global economic slowdown
By Priya Jestin 17-Jan-23 14:21 MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s merchandise exports in December declined by 12.2% year on year to $34.5bn, with further weakness likely in 2023 amid the global economic slowdown, with its major markets – the US and Europe – possibly facing a recession.
BPA prices in China, India at more than
two-year low; ample supply may
By Li Peng Seng 17-Jan-23 11:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Import prices of bisphenol A (BPA) in China and India have slumped to their lowest levels in more than two years, weighed down by ample supply.
INSIGHT: Weak, sometimes negative
product margins challenged petchem players in
By Nigel Davis 16-Jan-23 23:54 LONDON (ICIS)–As in the depths of the COVID-19 downturn, chemical producers, particularly those based largely in northwest Europe, remain focused on cash.
Global weekly spot IPEX up on rising
chemical prices across all
By Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez 16-Jan-23 18:57 LONDON (ICIS)–Spot chemical prices were up 2.2% on the back of firmer values across all regions, according to latest figures from the weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX).
Qatar’s $6bn Ras Laffan project to boost
Mideast PE exports, shift trade
By Nurluqman Suratman 16-Jan-23 13:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Qatar’s $6bn joint venture Ras Laffan petrochemicals complex is expected to boost the Middle East’s polyethylene (PE) exports and could result in a major shift to global trade flows once it comes on stream, according to ICIS analysts.
China re-opening bodes well for SE Asia PE, but
Lunar New Year slowdowns
By Izham Ahmad 16-Jan-23 11:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s surprise announcement of the re-opening of its borders and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions has injected renewed vigour into the southeast Asian PE market, but the impact could be short-lived as market activity slows down for the typical Lunar New Year holiday lull.
Asia C2 at multi-year lows on surge in Mideast,
By Yeow Pei Lin 13-Jan-23 13:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene (C2) prices fell for a second consecutive week due to a supply glut following unexpectedly large exports from the Middle East and Malaysia.
Korea central bank hikes key interest rate; ’23
GDP growth likely below 1.7%
By Nurluqman Suratman 13-Jan-23 13:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korea’s central bank on Friday raised its policy interest rate by 25 basis points to 3.50% to tame high inflation, with economic growth this year now forecast to be lower than 1.7%.
unit extended to September
By Anna Coulson 13-Jan-23 01:40 LONDON (ICIS)–Uniper UK confirmed that the fourth 500MW coal unit at the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power plant, originally due to close 31 March 2023, will be extended until the end of September 2024 as requested by the UK Government.
INSIGHT: As plastics
supply balloons, demand growth is increasingly
By Nigel Davis 13-Jan-23 00:58 LONDON (ICIS)–Polyolefins supply is ballooning just as expectations of recession mount and longer-term prospects for demand growth look increasingly uncertain. Global operating rates are under intense pressure.
Africa PE/PP volumes
reduced after buyers fall into
By Ben Lake 12-Jan-23 21:48 LONDON (ICIS)–Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) traders and producers are restricting offers into Africa because many customers owe them payment for previous months’ volumes.
PODCAST: China’s MTBE
export market to remain active in 2023 amid
By Aviva Zhang 12-Jan-23 16:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–In this podcast, ICIS analysts Candy Nie and Aviva Zhang review developments in the methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) market in 2022 and discuss its outlook for 2023.
OUTLOOK FOR 2023: Less
nuke risk could curb French power
By Karishma Sadanandan 12-Jan-23 13:56 LONDON (ICIS)–In the case that French nuclear availability improves from what was witnessed in 2022, an year of historically low nuclear power capacity and generation, France could see power prices fall in comparison to last year.
petrochemical players build stocks on hopes of
strong post-holiday demand
By Fanny Zhang 12-Jan-23 11:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Players in China’s petrochemical markets are actively building up stocks on expectation of a strong recovery in post-Lunar New Year demand.
Nuclear push unlikely to
prevent Swedish power
By Calum Andrews 12-Jan-23 01:46 LONDON (ICIS)–Government plans for new nuclear expansion will be “unlikely to prevent a Swedish power deficit” according to ICIS Analyst Nikhil Anand, adding that “nuclear is a very time-consuming technology to bring to market”.
industrial cap risks lifting energy
By Daniel Muir 12-Jan-23 01:03 LONDON (ICIS)–Italy’s Gestore dei Mercati Energetici (GME), the operator of the Italian energy exchange, announced on Wednesday the assignment of 16TWh/year to industrial power users at a price of €210/MWh.
Europe epoxy prices dip
on cheap imports, gas relief; demand outlook
By Heidi Finch 12-Jan-23 00:51 LONDON (ICIS)–Europe epoxy resins are under continued pressure into January, amid strong Asian competition and some relief in energy costs.
INSIGHT: A turbulent
2020s requires near-term focus but clear,
By Nigel Davis 12-Jan-23 00:49 LONDON (ICIS)–The World Economic Forum (WEF) talks of a global risks landscape this year that “feels both wholly new and eerily familiar” in its Global Risks Report 2023.
Asia, Pacific 2023 growth seen at 4.3% on China
rebound – World Bank
By Nurluqman Suratman 11-Jan-23 15:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Economies in the east Asia and Pacific region in 2023 are expected to log an average growth of 4.3%, accelerating from the estimated 3.2% pace in 2022 but lower than the previous forecast of above 5% for the current year, the World Bank said.
Global 2023 economic
growth cut to 1.7% from 3.0% – World
By Nurluqman Suratman 11-Jan-23 13:39 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The World Bank cut its 2023 global GDP growth forecast to 1.7% from a previous projection of 3%, marking a sharp slowdown from the estimated 2.9% growth for 2022.
MIBK soars on plant closure; rising COVID-19
cases in China cap gains
By Angeline Soh 11-Jan-23 13:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) prices have soared following a surprise end-December shutdown of LCY Chem’s plant in Zhenjiang, China.
pressure on petchem and plastics prices
By Nigel Davis 11-Jan-23 01:19 LONDON (ICIS)–Falling base chemical and polymer prices globally reflect the weaker and uncertain demand environment while shifted supply and demand balances have coloured spot activity at the end of 2022 and the start of 2023 for a handful of chemical commodities.
front-quarter spread to curb
By Daniel Muir 11-Jan-23 00:49 LONDON (ICIS)–Tightening front-quarter spreads between German and French baseload power products are likely to result in greater oscillation of power flows between the two countries moving through 2023.
Global weekly spot IPEX
up on firmer prices in northeast Asia,
By Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez 11-Jan-23 00:44 LONDON (ICIS)–Spot chemical prices were up by 1.2% in the week ended 6 January, driven by increases in northeast Asia and northwest Europe values, according to latest figures from the weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX).
interest rates, earnings uncertainty holding
back chemicals M&A –
By Joseph Chang 11-Jan-23 00:27 NEW YORK (ICIS)–High interest rates, lack of available financing and economic uncertainty are holding back chemical industry mergers and acquisitions (M&A). However, activity is poised to rebound after this challenging period as the backlog of deals builds up, an investment banker said.
PODCAST: Lower gas prices
not yet stimulating Europe chemicals,
By Will Beacham 10-Jan-23 21:54 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Falling gas prices have not yet revived Europe’s ailing fertilizer and petrochemical sectors as producers fret over recession and future gas market dynamics.
C3 may see more spot talks on lower 2023 term
By Julia Tan 10-Jan-23 15:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–2023 may see increased liquidity in the Asia propylene spot market as some market participants mull lower term volumes on the back of new capacities in Asia.
phenol oversupply to ease on likely output
cuts, more exports to India
By Helen Lee 10-Jan-23 14:23 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s phenol oversupply may ease as producers were expected to cut output due to mounting margin pressure, and amid possibility of more exports given an open arbitrage window to India.
LNG markets start with a twist in
By Yun Xie 06-Jan-23 15:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The ICIS northwest Europe (NEX) spot LNG levels moved back to a discount to East Asian (EAX) spot LNG this week for the first time since mid-December.
OUTLOOK ’23: China’s
methanol short term demand to remain tepid,
long-term outlook better
By Sam Liang 06-Jan-23 13:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s methanol traditional demand in the first quarter of 2023 appears to be weak – a trend continuing from the second half of 2022 – though later in the year some recovery is expected as domestic economy is expected to improve.
OUTLOOK ’23: China ACN,
downstream capacities to expand; oversupply
By Candy Nie 06-Jan-23 12:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s acrylonitrile (ACN) market will continue to see a slew of capacity expansions, particularly in the first half of 2023.
Asia ethylene falls on weak China demand, ample
By Yeow Pei Lin 06-Jan-23 10:56 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene market started 2023 on a soft note due to China’s raging COVID-19 outbreak, which has exacerbated the seasonal downstream demand lull ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
OUTLOOK ’23: China MEG
supply increase may outpace demand
By Cindy Qiu 06-Jan-23 09:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) market may continue running into headwinds in 2023 after a downturn in 2022, as increasing supply given multiple new plants’ start-up plans may outweigh demand growth.
paint shares fall after RPM warns of lower
By Al Greenwood 06-Jan-23 04:41 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Shares of RPM International fell by more than 13% midday on Thursday, dragging down the stock prices of other companies that make paints, coatings and adhesives, after the company warned that earnings for its upcoming quarter may decline year on year.
OUTLOOK ’23: US ethylene
exports expected to surge as region maintains
By John Donnelly 06-Jan-23 00:24 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Despite economic headwinds limiting domestic derivative demand, US ethylene producers are set to take advantage of expanded export capacity and competitive economics through the year.
INSIGHT – OUTLOOK ’23:
Slowdowns loom for Brazil,
By Al Greenwood 06-Jan-23 00:10 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Economists in Brazil and Mexico expect GDP growth will slow down sharply in 2023, with Brazil losing the benefits of a commodity rally and Mexico suffering from slower growth in the US.
OUTLOOK ’23: US chemical
equities look to rebound from 2022
By JT Strasner 06-Jan-23 00:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Chemical equities over the past year reversed gains experienced in 2021, and will end 2022 sharply lower year on year.
INSIGHT: ‘Tsunami’ of
legislation will harm European
By Morgan Condon 05-Jan-23 22:30 LONDON (ICIS)–European chemical producers are entering the new year facing a “tsunami” of new regulations, according to the head of the European Association of Chemicals Distributors (FECC) Dorothee Arns.
OUTLOOK ’23: Europe MA
market could still grow in 2023 after hard
By Anne-Sophie Briant-Vaghela 05-Jan-23 19:00 LONDON (ICIS)–European maleic anhydride (MA) players are grinding their teeth and hoping for at best a gradual recovery from the weakest activity in three years.
Dec petrochemical markets weak; better
post-Lunar New Year demand
By Yvonne Shi 05-Jan-23 14:14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical markets stayed depressed in December despite substantial relaxation of pandemic-related lockdowns, as a consequent spike in COVID-19 infections continued to restrict logistics operations.
OUTLOOK ’23: China’s
acetic acid supply-demand fundamentals see
expansions in industry chain
By Jady Ma 05-Jan-23 12:56 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s acetic acid and downstream industries will continue to see new capacity coming on line in 2023, but the mismatch between their start-up dates and turnaround schedules of existing plants may lead to a temporary imbalance in the market.
OUTLOOK ‘23: Asia ethanol
faces uncertain future on unclear economics,
By Izham Ahmad 05-Jan-23 11:31 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The spot import market for fuel ethanol and b-grade ethanol in Asia faces an uncertain outlook for the new year, based on the cloudy economic outlook and expectations of tighter supply from some of the main suppliers in Brazil.
OUTLOOK: Higher PVC
prices expected in Latin America in H1
By Daniel Lopes 05-Jan-23 05:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) prices in Latin America are placed to follow Asia market trends in Q1 2023, as Formosa Taiwan raised its prices to all destinations last week and sold out on the same day.
OUTLOOK ’23: Plant
activity will tighten US propylene balance even
as economy undermines demand
By John Donnelly 05-Jan-23 03:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Derivative demand for US propylene will remain weak until at least Q3, but plant maintenance and a new propylene oxide/tertiary butyl alcohol (POTBA) plant will help support the market in the first half of the year.
OUTLOOK ’23: US PA, OX
demand expected to remain weak on economic
By Melissa Wheeler 05-Jan-23 02:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Demand for phthalic anhydride (PA) is expected to remain weak through the beginning of 2023 as the market continues to destock inventories.
France pushes for support
from energy suppliers
By Karishma Sadanandan 05-Jan-23 01:26 LONDON (ICIS)– The French government announced on 4 January that energy suppliers will commit to supporting businesses and communities minimising the impact of high energy costs through various measures.
German Year 2024 clean
dark spreads hit 15-week low
By Anna Coulson 05-Jan-23 01:09 LONDON (ICIS)–Rolling front year profit margins for German coal-fired power plants were assessed at €79.44/MWh on 3 January, their lowest value since 19 September, despite rising week-on-week fuel costs.
TTF February ‘23 gas contract keeps sliding
amid bearish fundamentals
By Marta Del Buono 05-Jan-23 00:28 LONDON (ICIS)–A combination of ongoing bearish fundamentals is likely to keep the ICIS TTF February ‘23 contract below March ‘23 ahead of expiry.
OUTLOOK ’23: US MTBE
export demand to remain healthy as gasoline
By Reilly Radke 05-Jan-23 00:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) exports are expected remain healthy in 2023 as the tightness in octane boosters supply continues and global gasoline demand recovers.
OUTLOOK ’23: Economic
woes to weigh on Turkish PE/PP
By Samantha Wright 04-Jan-23 21:30 LONDON (ICIS)–Economic issues will continue to plague the Turkish polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) markets and determine the outlook for these products in the first quarter of 2023.
OUTLOOK ’23: Jet kerosene
demand to increase on relaxed COVID-19
By Cassandra Abolaji 04-Jan-23 20:00 LONDON (ICIS)–The outlook for the European jet kerosene market is optimistic for 2023, as the world reaches almost full recovery from COVID-19 travel restrictions.
weakness to persist on poor external
By Nurluqman Suratman 04-Jan-23 16:18 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore’s manufacturing sector faces further downside in the near term due to faltering outlook for electronics and weaker external demand.
OUTLOOK ‘23: New
capacity, China’s COVID-19 surge weigh on Asia
By Helen Lee 04-Jan-23 15:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s supply of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) is expected to lengthen as new capacities start-up, while surging COVID-19 cases in China following easing of pandemic-related restrictions could cap demand recovery in the first quarter of 2023.
OUTLOOK ’23: Asia
methanol ready for new demand centres; capacity
By Keven Zhang 04-Jan-23 12:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–High price volatility dominated the Asian methanol market in the first-half of 2022, but weak macroeconomic performance in China and India led to a drying up of liquidity and stagnant prices in the second-half.
OUTLOOK ’23: China
plasticizers demand recovery seen
By Li Peng Seng 04-Jan-23 11:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian plasticizers plants’ average utilization rates for most of first-half 2023 could stay low as poor demand in key market China is expected to linger.
bolster domestic nuclear fuel production,
aiding nuclear power
By Karishma Sadanandan 04-Jan-23 02:17 LONDON (ICIS)–The UK Energy and Climate Minister Graham Stuart announced on 2 January a new £75m fund for the development and commercialisation of domestic nuclear fuel production.
OUTLOOK ‘23: US R-PE to
see diverging trends on sustainability vs
cost-sensitive resin demand
By Emily Friedman 04-Jan-23 01:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US recycled polyethylene (R-PE) market will continue to show diverging market trends in 2023, depending on the recycled resin grade. Sustainability-driven demand for material such as post-consumer, natural coloured recycled high-density polyethylene (R-HDPE) or recycled low-density polyethylene (R-LDPE) will continue to be robust as companies make progress against regulatory and voluntary post-consumer recycled (PCR) content targets.
European caustic soda
prices fall in December, Q1 outlook
By Chris Barker 03-Jan-23 23:19 LONDON (ICIS)–European caustic soda prices have trended down strongly in December, driven by weak demand which has outweighed lower production and capacity utilisation.
OUTLOOK ’23: Europe
capro, nylon demand could stay low as consumer
By Marta Fern 03-Jan-23 23:00 LONDON (ICIS)–European demand for caprolactam (capro) and nylon 6 could stay low in 2023, with automotive offtake expected to fluctuate across the year but remain subdued overall.
Global weekly spot IPEX
up on stronger prices in northeast Asia, US
By Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez 03-Jan-23 22:31 LONDON (ICIS)–Spot chemical prices were up by 0.7% in the week ended 23 December, driven by increases in northeast Asia and the US Gulf values, according to latest figures from the weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX).
OUTLOOK ’23: China’s MTBE
export market to remain active as oversupply
By Aviva Zhang 03-Jan-23 22:24 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–In 2023, with persistent high supply of MTBE in China, the export market is expected to remain active.
OUTLOOK ’23: European EO
market worries over energy costs
By Melissa Hurley 03-Jan-23 18:30 LONDON (ICIS)–Production cost uncertainty remains key for European ethylene oxide (EO) market players in 2023.
OUTLOOK ’23: Europe epoxy
demand stifled by macro woes, Asian
By Heidi Finch 03-Jan-23 18:30 LONDON (ICIS)–The Europe epoxy resins demand outlook is cautious and muted for 2023, weighed down by ongoing macroeconomic headwinds and Asian competition
Dec PMI at 34-month low; recovery expected to
come in Feb
By Fanny Zhang 03-Jan-23 15:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) slumped to a 34-month low of 47.0 in December amid fast-spreading COVID-19 outbreaks.
Caixin’s Dec China
manufacturing PMI falls to 49.0 on rising
By Nurluqman Suratman 03-Jan-23 13:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Caixin’s China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 49.0 in December from 49.4 in November as a rise in domestic COVID-19 cases continue to weigh on domestic output, the Chinese media firm said on Tuesday.
OUTLOOK ’23: Asian PTA
supply ample, amid continual expansion
By Samuel Wong 03-Jan-23 11:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Continual expansion of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) facilities in Asia in 2023 will keep supply more than sufficient, with demand growth expected to lag.
OUTLOOK ’23: Asia PX pins
hopes on gasoline amid bearish PTA
By Samuel Wong 03-Jan-23 10:58 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian paraxylene (PX) markets will ride on the hopes of a strong gasoline market, with arbitrage opportunities to the West to continue, and on the back of capacity expansions in both the PX and downstream purified terephthalic acid (PTA) markets in 2023.
OUTLOOK ’23: US base oil
markets start sluggish but could
By Amanda Hay 02-Jan-23 23:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US base oil supply is long against weak demand heading into 2023, but two major turnarounds in H1 should rebalance the markets.
demand affecting US paraffin wax business in H1
By Daniel Lopes 03-Jan-23 03:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Paraffin wax business is fiercely competing in many niche markets, including the tire, construction, packaging, candles, and food industries, as product technology, design, and price become even more important in retaining a loyal customer base related to slack and fully refined waxes.
OUTLOOK ’23: US fuel,
industrial ethanol facing competing factors in
By Taylor Merrell 02-Jan-23 18:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US fuel ethanol could face pressure in the new year if there are competing forces such as a recession versus if corn prices and natural gas continue to remain slightly elevated; whereas there could be some upward pressure for industrial ethanol if production and material costs remain elevated.
Topic Page by Aura Sabadus and Will Beacham. Additional reporting by Richard Ewing and Sophie Udubasceanu. Maps and graphs by Yashas Mudumbai.
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