TOPIC PAGE: Coronavirus, oil price direction – impact on chemicals
Growing optimism over a demand recovery in China after the country abandoned its zero-COVID policy was buoying up commodities markets ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Buying interest was strong among petrochemical traders as they build up stocks, anticipating strong post-holiday demand in the world’s second-biggest economy.
China will go on a week-long Lunar New Year holiday on 21-27 January.
Its GDP growth is expected to accelerate from last year’s average of 3.0% as the economy finally re-opens after three years.
In 2022, the economy posted its second-weakest growth in more than four decades because of intermittent and prolonged pandemic-related lockdowns.
Updated on 20 January 2023
On this topic page we analyse the impact of coronavirus and oil price dynamics on chemical markets and bring together the latest news reported by ICIS.
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LATEST HEADLINES (Last updated at 06:00 GMT on 20 January 2023)
VIDEO: China chemicals
market review and outlook
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.
ethylene buyers’ price ideas edge up ahead of
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.
plastics demand stays sluggish in light of
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.
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
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.
MDI markets see active restocking spurred on by
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.
falls by more than $1/bbl on surprise build in
US crude inventories
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.
BDO rebounds as buyers pin hopes on renewed
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.
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.
INSIGHT: Poor demand,
high costs stifle Europe industry despite
falling gas prices
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
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.
of Japan maintains low interest rates despite
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.
MEC underpinned by hopes of post-Lunar New Year
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 H2
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.
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 outlook
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.
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.
2022 GDP growth slows to 3%; re-opening to
drive 2023 recovery
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.
December exports fall 12.2% amid global
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.
prices in China, India at more than two-year
low; ample supply may linger
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 2022
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
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.
re-opening bodes well for SE Asia PE, but Lunar
New Year slowdowns ahead
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.
INSIGHT: A turbulent 2020s requires near-term
focus but clear, longer-term
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.
INSIGHT: Downward pressure on petchem and
plastics prices persists
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.
The ICIS Petrochemical Index tracked down further in December with the focus on the US Gulf basket of prices: the 12 commodities and polymers collated for the index.
China petrochemical players build stocks on
hopes of strong post-holiday
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.
East 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.
NE Asia ethylene falls on weak China demand,
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.
China 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.
Any recovery in demand is unlikely until after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday on 21-27 January.
OUTLOOK ’23: US PVC and vinyls chain face new
year of weakened demand
By Bill Bowen 05-Jan-23 04:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US polyvinyl chloride (PVC) enters 2023 with mixed outlook: nominations for price increases for January and an economic outlook that runs counter to those separately proposed increases.
OUTLOOK ’23: China ACN, downstream capacities
to expand; oversupply challenges
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. Downstream demand is also expected to rise with new downstream units coming online and some COVID-19 restrictions gradually easing since end-2022.
OUTLOOK ’23: Plant activity will tighten US
propylene balance even as economy undermines
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: Weak demand, import pressure to
persist in Europe MPG market
By Nicole Simpson 05-Jan-23 18:30 LONDON (ICIS)–Demand in the European mono propylene glycol (MPG) market is expected to remain lacklustre, especially in Q1, as macroeconomic headwinds and pressure from Asian imports persist.
OUTLOOK ’23: Jet kerosene demand to increase on
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.
OUTLOOK ‘23: New capacity, China’s COVID-19
surge weigh on Asia EVA
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.
China 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.
Recovery is expected to happen in February when factories come back on stream from the Lunar New Year holiday break.
OUTLOOK ’23: Mid East, South Asia PS
markets to hinge on SM trend, China’s
By Damini Dabholkar 29-Dec-22 10:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Q1 2023 outlook for polystyrene (PS) markets in the Middle East and South Asia remains uncertain and will largely be dependent on the availability and prices of upstream commodities. The market is not expected show any strong signs of recovery, however, at least until end January, which is when many countries in Asia celebrate the Lunar New Year. Post Lunar New Year, demand is likely to see an uptick, as has been observed historically.
OUTLOOK ’23: Automotive sector hits the
brakes for growth prospects
By Morgan Condon 28-Dec-22 22:30 LONDON (ICIS)–Conditions have been challenging for the automotive industry in recent years, and no immediate reprieve is expected in the near term against a backdrop of geopolitical volatility. Growth expectations for 2022 were not fulfilled and the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February stifled any post-pandemic macroeconomic recovery. This trend looks set to continue in the industry in 2023.
China downgrades COVID, stops
quarantine for inbound
By Fanny Zhang 27-Dec-22 11:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China will downgrade COVID-19 to a more common infectious disease, manage it at Category B instead of the top-level Category A and scrap quarantine for inbound travellers from 8 January, the National Health Commission (NHC) announced late on Monday. Currently, COVID-19 is classified as Category B but managed as Category A that applies to diseases like plague and cholera in China.
OUTLOOK ’23: Europe naphtha demand to improve,
Russian sanctions to tighten
By Cassandra Abolaji 23-Dec-22 00:30 LONDON (ICIS)–The Europe naphtha market ended 2022 on a volatile note and will remain volatile at the start of 2023. This after months of weakening feedstock demand partially caused by China’s absence from the market due to lingering COVID-19 restrictions and high oil prices.
OUTLOOK ’23: Europe MX to lag behind
pre-COVID-19 levels despite improved
By Zubair Adam 23-Dec-22 00:30 LONDON (ICIS)–2022 has been a rough year for mixed xylenes (MX) in Europe mainly due to issues with gasoline and global events impacting chemical demand with no significant recovery prior to pre-pandemic levels.
OUTLOOK 23’: China toluene market may face
oversupply and trade flow
China toluene market pivoted from net import to net export in 2022 amid Russia-Ukraine war, but in 2023 the domestic market might face increased supply whereas demand weakness may persist putting pressure on the export market.
OUTLOOK ’23: Asia PP’s potential oversupply may
outweigh China’s demand
Possible oversupply in Asia’s polypropylene (PP) market may outweigh the impact of demand recovery in China in 2023.
OUTLOOK ’23: Asia BDO to struggle with long
supply while awaiting demand
The Asian 1,4-butanediol (BDO) market continues to be mired in weakness, while the malaise could extend into the new year given the slow market conditions amid the yearend lull and the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays in the second half of January.
OUTLOOK ’23: Asia IPA to see poor demand, ample
supply in H1 2023
Asian isopropanol (IPA) spot markets will likely face headwinds in the first half of 2023 on poor demand and ample supply.
OUTLOOK ’23: Asian PET to face headwinds as
supply likely to outstrip
Asia’s polyethylene terephthalate (PET) supply will likely outstrip demand in 2023 on the back of new capacities scheduled to come online in the upcoming year.
OUTLOOK ’23: Asia adipic acid supply to
increase amid demand
Asia’s adipic acid market will see an increase in overall production capacity in 2023, however, the bigger question for the industry is whether its downstream derivatives are growing at a pace quick enough to support it.
OUTLOOK ‘23: China’s MX to face further
uncertainty from downstream
China’s mixed xylene (MX) prices surged to a decade-high level on soaring crude oil prices in the first half of 2022, before fluctuating downwards in the second half of 2022. In 2023, the market may see support from the launch of some downstream paraxylene (PX) units, but this could depend on the profitability of the PX industry.
OUTLOOK ’23: East, south Asia ethanolamines to
face supply headwind
The ethanolamines market in east and south Asia remains under downward pressure towards the end of the year. Tepid demand appears entrenched with limited signs of any significant rebound in the near term.
OUTLOOK ’23: East and South Asia LAB mired in
weakness although optimism
The linear alkylbenzene (LAB) markets in east and south Asia continue to be mired in weakness with demand in a low ebb. Buyers remain mostly unhurried with supply ample in most regions.
Asia petrochemicals sector to bottom out in
By Jimmy Zhang 16-Dec-22 12:15 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Although bullish sentiment has started to develop in Asian petrochemical markets from early December amid China’s easing of pandemic curbs, concerns are still in place amid the global economic headwinds and slowing of trading activity ahead of year-end holidays.
China petchems demand recovery unlikely before
Q2 2023 despite easing COVID
By Jenny Yi 14-Dec-22 23:34 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s zero-COVID strategy has been eased since early December. ICIS analysts expect, however, that demand for most commodity petrochemicals will not improve significantly in the short term, and that large-scale recovery may only begin in the second quarter of 2023.
Asia fatty acids near-term demand tepid; may
pick up after Lunar New Year
By Helen Yan 14-Dec-22 12:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s fatty acids demand will remain tepid in the near term amid the year-end holiday lull but will likely pick up after the Lunar New Year holidays next year.
INSIGHT: Chemicals output falls as industrial
activity contracts globally, 2023 expected
By Nigel Davis 14-Dec-22 00:23 LONDON (ICIS)–It is not so much a question of how low will it go but how slow will it be – and for how long? Capacity utilisation data show that the chemicals sector globally has geared down in the face of current headwinds. And there are many of those.
China petrochemical futures mixed;
near-term demand recovery in
By Fanny Zhang 08-Dec-22 13:03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical futures markets were mixed on Thursday morning as demand may remain soft despite a further relaxation in the country’s COVID-19 curbs. “We don’t see any strong demand recovery for commodities in the short term,” said Zhang Junfeng, an analyst at brokerage China Merchant Securities. “Consumer confidence still needs time to rebuild,” Zhang said. Late on 7 December, the Chinese government announced 10 measures to optimise its COVID-19 policy, including allowing people with mild or no symptoms to quarantine at home, and cancelling of testing requirements for domestic travelers.
GPCA ’22: Supply chain localisation
could help reduce logistics pressure – Saudi
By Tom Brown 07-Dec-22 23:15 RIYADH (ICIS)–Supply chain operators should shift further towards localised operations and away from globalisation to build resilience and adapt to the volatility that has strained logistics for several years, the chairman of the board for the Saudi Supply Chain and Procurement Society said. The current state of extreme stress on global trade links that has been seen since the COVID-19 pandemic decoupled movement along traditional supply routes is unlikely to be a temporary phase, and further localisation of supply chains could be a solution, according to Supply and Procurement Association board chair Saleh Ibrahim Al-Shabnan.
INSIGHT: Easing in supply chains could
signal further problems for Europe’s chems
By Morgan Condon 02-Dec-22 20:46 LONDON (ICIS)–Easing supply chain disruption has given petrochemical producers in Europe some respite in the wake of recent crashing demand. But the smoother flow of product could lead to further destabilising of market fundamentals, rather than providing balance to the market. As new orders in Europe have subsided, this has given room for producers to catch up with backlogs, smoothing out extended lead times, and allowing congested bottlenecks to dissipate. While this has been some help in the short-term, the likelihood is that diminished appetite for materials could eventually disrupt logistics, as deliveries slow down to match need.
US manufacturing contracts for first
time in 30 months
By Stefan Baumgarten 02-Dec-22 01:04 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell by 1.2 points from 50.2 in October to 49.0 in November – pushing the index into contraction territory, last seen in May 2020 during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, ICIS senior economist Kevin Swift said. He was commenting on the November PMI report by Institute for Supply Management (ISM), released earlier on Thursday, which showed the first contraction in manufacturing after 29 consecutive expansions.
Caixin’s Nov China manufacturing PMI
rises to 49.4
By Nurluqman Suratman 01-Dec-22 10:33 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Caixin’s China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 49.4 in November from 49.2 in October but remained in contractionary territory as ongoing COVID-19 containment measures continued to weigh on the sector, the Chinese media firm said on Thursday. A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing economy, while a lower number denotes contraction. Manufacturers in China registered a further fall in output, with the rate of contraction picking up slightly from October, amid a sustained reduction in sales, Caixin said in a statement. Companies frequently linked the decline to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on operations and customer demand,” Caixin said.
UK manufacturing woes continue as
output, new orders and employment
By Jonathan Lopez 01-Dec-22 20:45 MADRID (ICIS)–The UK’s manufacturing sectors remained in contraction territory in November because of lower output, shrinking orders, and reduced employment levels, analysts at S&P Global said on Thursday. The UK’s PMI index came in at 46.5 points in November, a slight improvement from October’s 46.2 points, but any reading below the 50.0 points mark shows contraction. “The intermediate goods sector fared especially poorly, while downturns also continued at consumer and investment goods producers,” said the analysts.
INSIGHT: Preparing for a difficult
winter in Europe and a tougher
By Nigel Davis 26-Nov-22 00:56 LONDON (ICIS)–A mild autumn has alleviated some of the tension in Europe’s energy markets and the pressure on natural gas availability. But colder weather beckons and gas usage will rise putting, as it does in normal years, upward pressure on gas prices. The filling of storage tanks across the continent has provided a buffer against the worst damage that the Russia-Ukraine war can do to Europe’s energy supply, while reduced demand by industry has made a significant contribution. What is not clear is how energy availability to industry, and the costs of that gas and power, change moving into 2023.
NE Asia ethylene output to remain weak
up to at least H1 2023
By Yeow Pei Lin 25-Nov-22 11:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s ethylene production is expected to be constricted by heavy cracker turnarounds, poor margins and weak downstream demand up to at least the first half of 2023.
China’s weak phenol imports to prompt
deeper output cuts in Asia
By Helen Lee 25-Nov-22 16:06 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s phenol imports are being weighed down by a combination of ample domestic supply, rising COVID-19 caseloads, easing upstream markets, and the absence of restocking ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays in late January.
SE Asia PE market dazed by China
By Izham Ahmad 24-Nov-22 16:36 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Initial spot import offers for December shipments of polyethylene (PE) in southeast Asia were announced in the same range as the previous week’s assessment or softer this week, with market players baffled by the stop-start nature of China’s demand for PE.
German manufacturers increase warehouse
By Morgan Condon 23-Nov-22 20:40 LONDON (ICIS)–German industrial players have expanded warehouse capacity and focus more on supply chains in the wake of the pandemic, according to the latest data released by the Ifo Institute on Wednesday. Results of the study from the economic research group found that 68% of companies surveyed increased warehouse sizing, with 65% seeking additional suppliers since 2020, and 54% of firms now monitor their supply chains more closely. The outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 initially caused a slowdown in manufacturing, as regions applied lockdowns, and implemented restrictions at ports and borders to contain the spread of the virus.
IMF urges China to further recalibrate
By Nurluqman Suratman 23-Nov-22 18:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged China to further recalibrate its COVID-19 strategy and provide additional support to its beleaguered property sector to mitigate risks from a global economic slowdown. Following the recovery from the initial impact of the pandemic, the world’s second-biggest economy remains under pressure, with growth projected to slow to 3.2% in 2022, from an 8.1% pace last year, before improving to 4.4% in 2023 and 2024, the IMF stated on 22 November following a review of China’s economic conditions.
Sustainable development may create new growth
space for petrochemical
By Yvonne Shi 18-Nov-22 11:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analysts Jady Ma and Yvonne Shi discuss how sustainable development is working on the petrochemical industry and subsequent reactions.
Macroeconomics prove challenging for global
chems in 2023, although some bright spots
By Morgan Condon 16-Nov-22 22:50 LONDON (ICIS)–After several challenging years in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, volatile geopolitical conditions and a tough macroeconomic backdrop mean that things are unlikely to turn a corner for global chemicals producers heading into the new year. Senior economist for global chemicals Kevin Swift talks to senior reporter for Europe Morgan Condon about the outlook for the coming year, and the key features for the market in 2023.
Lacklustre demand from various outlets
impacting polyols, TDI and
By Zubair Adam 17-Nov-22 21:03 LONDON (ICIS)–Weaker activity from the automotive and flexible foam industries is impacting the consumption of polyols and toluene diisocyanate (TDI), with some additional impacts from the latter on feedstock toluene due to lower production. No short term demand recovery is envisaged for the whole value chain.
property rescue plan to boost some
By Fanny Zhang 16-Nov-22 20:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s latest measures to rescue the stressed property sector are expected to lift some petrochemicals, although they are unlikely to reverse bearish sentiment on the sluggish property market, according to economists and analysts.
outlook dims further on fresh COVID-19 surge,
real estate slump
By Nurluqman Suratman 16-Nov-22 13:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s economic outlook just turned dimmer amid downbeat October data, with surging domestic COVID-19 infections and slumping real estate market threatening to aggravate weak petrochemical demand.
Asia soap noodles
to remain sluggish in near term on year-end
By Helen Yan 16-Nov-22 10:52 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s soap noodles market is likely to remain sluggish in the near term as buyers remain cautious and are reluctant to lock in large forward spot volumes ahead of the year-end holiday lull. China’s zero COVID-19 policy has had an impact on regional trade.
outweighs refined COVID-19 policy, capping
China PP price rise
By Zhibo Xiao 15-Nov-22 16:02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polypropylene (PP) futures surged following the release of the refined COVID-19 policy on 11 November, but the market may still face pressure toward the year-end amid tepid demand recovery, intensive arrivals of competitively-priced imports and expected new plant start-ups.
players pin hopes in 2023
By Angeline Soh 15-Nov-22 16:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) players expressed hopes in a 2023 rally, after the easing of global COVID-19 infection rates, and China’s easing of some of its strictest restrictions based on its zero-Covid policy.
eases COVID-19 curbs, petrochemical futures
By Fanny Zhang 11-Nov-22 16:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China will relax its COVID-19 control measures in view of changing circumstances, shoring up equity markets accordingly. The National Health Commission (NHC) announced 20 measures on Friday in a push for more targeted and optimised control of the pandemic. Under the new policies, the quarantine time for close contacts of cases is shortened to five days in centralised locations from seven previously.
Asia ethylene little changed as players
await direction from ’23 term
By Yeow Pei Lin 11-Nov-22 11:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s ethylene spot import prices for December-arrival cargoes were broadly stable this week, as the weak downstream margins and strong US arrivals continued to be counterbalanced by limited regional supply.
Bearish sentiment dominates Asia
By Amy Yu 11-Nov-22 10:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Bearish sentiment in Asian petrochemical markets has risen due to weak demand from late October, and we expect prices of most products in the region to remain on a downward trend in November.
US chem shares surge as broader market
rises on positive inflation
By Adam Yanelli 11-Nov-22 06:23 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US-listed shares of chemical companies surged on Thursday, largely outperforming the broader market which rose significantly on favourable economic data on inflation.The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 3.7%, while the Dow Jones US Chemicals Index rose by 4.95% and the S&P 500 Chemicals Industry Index rose by 5%.
Europe PET buyers
lured by imports, but demand
By Caroline Murray 11-Nov-22 01:58LONDON (ICIS)–The window of opportunity for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) importers appears wide due to Europe’s unique cost situation, but demand is so low that PET buyers are unsure how to proceed.
industrial demand to remain below previous
By ICIS Editorial 10-Nov-22 01:05 LONDON (ICIS)–Despite recent pressure to NBP Day-ahead and front month gas prices, a return to high levels of industrial offtake in Britain is unlikely, ICIS analysis shows. Normal industrial demand over the past five years has averaged 10mcm daily. However, since the rise of gas prices in Britain, industrial gas offtake has dropped to around 5.6mcm from January to November 2022.
September chems prices decline modestly in
By Morgan Condon 10-Nov-22 01:30 LONDON (ICIS)–Chemical pricing in September was mixed for European producers, with some key manufacturing nations bucking the modest declines recorded in the eurozone and wider EU, according to the EU’s statistical agency, Eurostat.
The latest data from Eurostat indicates that Italy and Poland recorded single-figure gains compared with the previous month, supported by smaller gains in France and Germany.
BDO retreats on poor demand, weak domestic
By Clive Ong 10-Nov-22 11:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian 1,4-butanediol (BDO) market trended lower as demand in the region dissipated amid a poor economic outlook. Some participants believe that demand in the region, in particular China, could remain weak until after the Lunar New Year in late January.
petrochemical markets mixed amid high
By Felicia Loo 09-Nov-22 14:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical markets were mixed amid economic headwinds and dampening consumption in China amid a slowing economy, with no let-up on its harsh zero COVID-19 policy, dampening consumption.
ethanolamines markets under downward pressure
as demand wanes
By Clive Ong 10-Nov-22 14:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The ethanolamines markets in China and India remain under downward pressure amid prevailing weak demand and ample supply. Participants continue to expect weak markets in the near term as the global economic outlook remains uncertain.
China’s MEC demand disrupted by
By Keven Zhang 09-Nov-22 11:41 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s methylene chloride (MEC) prices saw steep falls in the past two weeks due to disruption to its domestic demand by the new round of lockdowns implemented to contain the COVID-19 spread in the country, although production cutbacks may provide some support in the near term.
pain for chemicals as US Federal Reserve has ‘a
ways to go’ on rate hikes
By Joseph Chang 03-Nov-22 06:25 NEW YORK (ICIS)–US and global chemical producers will likely see more pain ahead as the US Federal Reserve still has a “ways to go” in its tightening cycle to bring inflation down to its 2% target. It’s not pausing or pivoting, and not budging from its target. The US equity market as measured by the S&P 500 fell 2.5% on 2 November on disappointment that the Fed gave no indication it will stop interest raising rates, other than acknowledging it has already tightened monetary policy significantly. The Fed hiked its benchmark rate by 0.75 percentage points – its third consecutive hike of that magnitude – to a range of 3.75-4.00%. “Our message is clear – we think we have a ways to go. We have some ground to cover with interest rates before we get to that level… we think is sufficiently restrictive,” said Fed chair Jerome Powell at the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) press conference.
October PMIs point to broadening export
By Nurluqman Suratman 02-Nov-22 17:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Amid falling new orders and inventory build-up, Asia’s export downturn is broadening with the latest data pointing to further weakness in factory activity across the region. The slowdown in manufacturing activity has now widened from northeast Asia to also include southeast Asia amid waning export demand. Asia’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMIs) fell in October to an average of 49.6, down from 50.7 in September, due largely to a fall in new orders and lower production as export orders weakened further.
petchem market falls on oversupply, poor
By Yvonne Shi 02-Nov-22 12:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical market fell significantly in October. As of October 31, the ICIS China Petrochemical Price Index (which tracks 17 commodities) dropped 5.4% from September 30 to close at 1220.11 points. The quick fall after a sharp rise after the National Day holiday reflects sluggish demand and lack of market confidence. China’s petrochemical market started the downtrend from the middle of the month till the end. An official source before the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China disclosed that China’s epidemic prevention and control will continue to adhere to the zero-COVID policy, which hit market confidence severely.
sector output contracts further as new orders
By Tom Brown 01-Nov-22 20:00 LONDON (ICIS)–UK manufacturing sector output slipped further into contraction in October, and hit a 29-month low as new order volumes shrank at the fastest rate since May 2020, according to data from S&P Global on Tuesday. The sector purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell further in the month, dropping to 46.2 from 48.4 in September, although they were stronger than initial readings for the month of 45.8. A PMI score below 50.0 signifies contraction. It was the third consecutive month of contraction for the sector, as the economic outlook continued to deteriorate. New orders and new export business both declined in the month. Players in the UK cited softer demand from China, the war in Ukraine and ongoing obstacles to exporting posed by Brexit. Business optimism slipped to the lowest level since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
China posts 3.9% Q3 GDP growth; President Xi
secures third term
By Pearl Bantillo 24-Oct-22 13:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China posted an annualised GDP growth of 3.9% in the third quarter, up from 0.4% in the previous quarter, but a combination of a zero-COVID policy and a property downturn will continue to weigh on the world’s second-biggest economy.
US economy continues to slow, recession likely
– NABE survey
By Stefan Baumgarten 24-Oct-22 22:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US economy continues to slow and is likely already in recession or may soon be in recession, according to findings in the latest business conditions survey by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) on Monday.
INSIGHT: Asia C3 to face headwinds in fourth
By Julia Tan 25-Oct-22 10:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian propylene market is facing headwinds as it steps into the fourth quarter as demand looks likely to remain weak until the end of the year on poor derivative margins.
China PP lacks post-holiday support as weak
demand overshadows high
By Zhibo Xiao 27-Oct-22 12:34 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Domestic polypropylene (PP) prices in China rose and then fell after the country’s National Day holiday on 1-7 October as bearish demand outweighed the brief surge in crude values.
INSIGHT: A new world for Asia olefins as
capacity surges, demand remains
By Amy Yu 28-Oct-22 12:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asia olefins industry is witnessing a new world of significantly squeezed margins for all producers, with incremental capacity addtions set against the backdrop of weak demand.
CDI Economic Summary: Recession odds rise as
slowdown takes hold amid Fed
By Kevin Swift 27-Oct-22 23:07 CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (ICIS)–Monetary tightening across the world led by the US Federal Reserve, protracted inflation and geopolitical events have raised the odds of recession in many major economies.
Asia petrochemicals stay bearish as China keeps
By Nurluqman Suratman 21-Oct-22 11:40 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Bearish sentiment prevails across Asia’s petrochemical markets with no immediate end in sight on China’s zero-COVID strategy, which has been weighing on overall industrial activities of the world’s second-biggest economy.
South and East Asia LAB quiet while rising
feedstock costs squeeze
By Clive Ong 20-Oct-22 17:02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The linear alkyl benzene (LAB) market in East and South Asia remains quiet while suppliers talked of squeezed margins from rising feedstock costs. The desire for higher values, however, were countered by the persistently weak demand in the region.
India, SE Asia ethanolamines remain under
pressure from competitive
By Clive Ong 20-Oct-22 15:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)—The ethanolamines markets in southeast Asia and India remain under downward pressure from competitive offers and tepid demand. Participants anticipate further weakness in the near term as the Chinese market looks set to remain weak.
INSIGHT: Japan economy to find succor in
automotive output recovery
By Pearl Bantillo 20-Oct-22 12:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japan may be able to count on a recovery in car production, which should provide much-needed boosts to related industries, including petrochemicals, to cushion its economic downturn.
INSIGHT: European home improvement sector
slumps on economic slowdown, post-COVID
By Nicole Simpson 19-Oct-22 21:33 LONDON (ICIS)–As the threat of recession looms over Europe and consumers look to cut back on unnecessary spending, demand for home improvement and do-it-yourself (DIY) goods has plummeted.
Asia oleochemicals market likely flat in Q4 on
zero-COVID policy in China
By Helen Yan 19-Oct-22 12:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s oleochemicals market is expected to remain flat in the fourth quarter due to the prevailing sluggish demand from China amid its zero-COVID policy, which is expected to remain in place for the rest of this year.
INSIGHT: Global demand slump eclipses Asia
export benefits from currency
By Pearl Bantillo 18-Oct-22 13:14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s tumbling currencies will not spell strong exports for the region as a combination of surging inflation and high interest rates slows the pace of global economic activities.
EPCA ’22: Chemicals supply chains lengthening, security of supply increasingly important – Vopak CEO
By Nigel Davis 07-Oct-22 17:40 BERLIN (ICIS)–Chemicals supply chains are becoming necessarily longer as consumers and producers see markets balancing between imports and local production, the CEO at tank storage operator Vopak said this week.
China September petrochemical markets up;
demand outlook still bleak
By Yvonne Shi 11-Oct-22 14:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical markets were mostly higher in September on supply tightness in some products and aided by pre-holiday restocking, but overall demand is not expected to improve by much in the coming months.
IMF trims developing Asia growth outlook on
By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Oct-22 12:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has trimmed its economic growth forecast for emerging and developing Asian economies on account of China’s slowdown.
Asia BDO market faces lengthening
supply, uncertain demand
By Clive Ong 13-Oct-22 13:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The nascent recovery in Asian’s 1,4-butanediol (BDO) market in September now faces the challenge of lengthening supply with demand staying uncertain.
Singapore Q4 GDP growth slows to 4.4%, monetary
By Nurluqman Suratman 14-Oct-22 11:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore’s central bank on Friday tightened its monetary policy to dampen persistent price pressures which has slowed its economy to a year-on-year growth of 4.4% in the fourth quarter.
EPCA ’22: Chemical industry may slow
but must manage through cycle, Equate
By Nigel Davis 06-Oct-22 17:11 BERLIN (ICIS)–The chemical industry may slow over the next 12 months but it is a question of managing through the cycle, Equate’s CEO Naser Aldousari said on the sidelines of EPCA 2022 on Wednesday. Aldousari remains optimistic for the sector and emphasises its resilience.
petrochemical demand faces headwinds as global
By Felicia Loo 06-Oct-22 14:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Petrochemical demand in Asia will be largely undermined because regional factories face continued weakness in export demand in the fourth quarter.
’22: COVID-19 pandemic set gender parity back a
generation – Dow exec
By Tom Brown 05-Oct-22 23:21 BERLIN (ICIS)–The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic set the progress of gender parity back 30 years, Dow’s head of inclusion and diversity said on Wednesday, because of the disproportionate impact it had on women’s participation in the labour market.
’22: Europe ADA, nylon 6,6 demand may weaken
further in October
By Marta Fern 05-Oct-22 16:00 LONDON (ICIS)–European adipic acid (ADA) and downstream nylon 6,6 markets face affordability concerns, high costs of production and competition with lower priced imports from Asia.
’22: European auto output will only recover to
pre-pandemic levels in
2025 – analyst
By Jonathan Lopez 04-Oct-22 18:21 BERLIN (ICIS)–Production from the European petrochemicals-intensive automotive sector is unlikely to recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2025 at the earliest, a chemicals analyst at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) said on Tuesday.
Andreas Gocke, global lead for chemicals at BCG, said the war in Ukraine and supply-chain issues have only seen a further deterioration in the outlook for the automotive sector, which was already negative in 2021.
EPCA ’22: Weak demand, wider
uncertainty shapes Europe acrylate esters
By Mathew Jolin-Beech 04-Oct-22 22:00 LONDON (ICIS)–Europe’s acrylate esters markets are set to be gripped by ongoing weak demand and wider macroeconomic uncertainty in Q4 and early 2023.
By Will Beacham 04-Oct-22 15:19 BERLIN (ICIS)–Europe’s petrochemical sector faces a ‘winter of discontent’, battered by high energy costs, collapsing downstream demand and increased imports from Asia. In this Think Tank podcast, Will Beacham interviews ICIS Insight editor Nigel Davis, ICIS senior analyst Lorenzo Meazza, and Paul Hodges, chairman of New Normal Consulting. The European Petrochemicals Association (EPCA) annual meeting runs on 4-6 October in Berlin.
EPCA ‘22: Demand concerns loom over
Europe PC market in Q4
By Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez 03-Oct-22 19:14 LONDON (ICIS)–Pessimism reigns in the European polycarbonate (PC) market moving into the end of 2022 as demand from the key customer sectors is likely to remain tepid due to Europe’s dim macroeconomic outlook.
INSIGHT: Trends converging to create Q4 glut in
By Al Greenwood 30-Sep-22 05:21 HOUSTON (ICIS)–North American polymer markets are facing a growing glut because of weakening demand, expanding capacity and rising inventories.
Europe economic sentiment dropping as Germany
on brink of recession
By Morgan Condon 29-Sep-22 23:13 LONDON (ICIS)–European economic sentiment continued falling in September, for both the EU and the eurozone, and the German economy is heading towards a recession, as sentiment is shaped by sustained high energy prices.
Lockdowns, property crisis to slow China 2022
GDP growth to 2.8% – World
By Nurluqman Suratman 29-Sep-22 13:3 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China, the world’s second-biggest economy, is projected to grow at a much slower pace of 2.8% this year compared with an earlier forecast of 5.0%, according to the World Bank, amid the country’s zero-COVID policy and ongoing property crisis.
INSIGHT: India PVC market weathers stormy first
half, safeguard investigation
By Damini Dabholkar 29-Sep-22 11:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS) –India’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market stabilised slightly in September, after having weathered a storm over the previous 12 months.
China’s PE prices rebound, eyes on demand
By Sijia Li 28-Sep-22 12:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polyethylene (PE) prices have rebounded following continual declines in the past two months, finding support from improved end-user demand during the September-October traditional peak season.
INSIGHT: High cost threatens Asia petrochemical
output as regional currencies
By Pearl Bantillo 27-Sep-22 12:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical production is at risk of shrinking further as imported raw materials get more expensive each day that Asian currencies tumble to new lows.
INSIGHT: Russia-Ukraine war, surging inflation
continue to dim growth
By Tom Brown 27-Sep-22 00:17 LONDON (ICIS)–The outlook for global growth is continuing to darken as the economy loses momentum in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war, with fresh economic projections pointing to a substantial deterioration in prospects from 2023 even relative to a few months ago
US HB Fuller sees rebound in Asia, slowdown in
By Al Greenwood 23-Sep-22 05:43 HOUSON (ICIS)–HB Fuller began to see a rebound in Asian demand during its fiscal third quarter because China is reopening from its COVID-19 lockdowns, the US-based adhesives producer said on Thursday, a trend that other chemical producers have yet to see.
INSIGHT: US plastics becomes sixth-largest
By Melissa Wheeler 22-Sep-22 23:21 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US plastics industry has moved two spots up to become the sixth-largest industry in the country, according to the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS).
Asia MEG market under pressure as downstream
cuts operation to ease high
By Judith Wang 22-Sep-22 18:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) market has been under pressure during the week as downstream polyester sector initiated another round of operation cuts in a bid to relieve inventory pressure.
INSIGHT: Widespread demand reduction makes a
tough quarter tougher
By Nigel Davis 21-Sep-22 23:49 LONDON (ICIS)–It has been a tough third quarter for most upstream producers of chemicals and others as weaker demand and rising costs have combined to hit earnings and shift guidance.
US inland truck capacity increases as demand
By Adam Yanelli 21-Sep-22 05:15 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Spot and contract rates for inland truck deliveries have fallen from record-highs as capacity has increased and demand has remained strong, according to panelists on a webinar hosted by supply chain market intelligence provider Freightwaves.
INSIGHT: Asia petrochemical market to rebound
By Amy Yu 15-Sep-22 18:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)– Some Asia petrochemical prices rebounded in early September after the decrease in August.
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