Keep up with the latest blog post on Asian Chemical Connections by John Richardson.
If you thought global petrochemicals markets were already complicated enough, yesterday arrived with reports of the highest US inflation in 13 years.
But the base effect of collapsing prices in 2020 might have distorted the US number, as could be the case with the increase in China’s April factory gate prices to a three-year high.
Supply chain chaos is a big factor behind today's levels of complexity and uncertainty. It is not just the shortages of stuff we have to worry about, from container space to wooden pallets, but also people to occupy jobs. Truck drivers in Texas can earn $14,000 a week.
Will the Chinese slowdown, now confirmed by the data, continue? Will more dangerous strains of the pandemic spread from the largely unvaccinated developing world to rich countries?
Will container-freight difficulties, made worse by India’s terrible pandemic, perpetuate very high European PE and PP prices relative to other regions that make arbitrage almost theoretical?
Also, watch the analyst video on recent developments in China’s paraxylene (PX) market, as the cost pressure on producers intensifies due to rising Brent crude prices.
On earnings, Mitsui Chemicals’ net profit for the fiscal year ending March 2021 posted 70.3% growth despite lower sales, as profitability of its basic materials business benefited from better overseas markets.
Asahi Kasei’s net profit for the fiscal year ending March 2021 declined by 23.2%, weighed down by weakness in its materials business, and as the company booked a one-off loss for the period.
Meanwhile, the ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) extended gains slightly in April, rising 1.8% for the month, tracking price increases seen across most of the major petrochemical and plastics commodities, not least in Europe and the US.
The tables show the movement in the global and regional IPEX values as petrochemicals and plastics demand generally improved in Europe and America and markets tightened on the back of the lingering production disruptions caused by the severe storm in February in the US.
Northwest Europe prices posted the sharpest increase because of steep rises in commodities such as styrene, benzene and polystyrene.
In addition, the Norwegian government plans to double state funding for hydrogen, increasing spending to NOK 200 million (€20m), according to the revised national budget on 11 May.
Funding for the development of hydrogen infrastructure and markets is expected to rise from NOK 100 million (€10m) as designated in October’s original 2021 state budget, to NOK 185 million (€18.4m) in the revised version.
Italy’s €450/tonne tax on virgin plastics due to come into effect on 1 July 2021 has been postponed to January 2022, several sources in the country have said.
Sources in the polystyrene (PS) and recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) markets told ICIS new draft legislation that was being passed through the Ministry of Economy and Finance last week proposing the new implementation date had now been approved, and the tax will commence at the beginning of next year.
In US, vessel and barge traffic on the Mississippi river remains suspended because of a damaged bridge spanning the waterway, and a prolonged blockage could put additional pressure on already constrained supply chains.
Alex Lidback, vice president - Chemical Analytics at ICIS, said it might not be that big of an issue if the waterway is reopened within a couple of days, but a longer blockage could create problems.
Meanwhile, the cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline represents another way that such assaults can disrupt chemical operations, which rely on pipelines for fuel and feedstocks.
Direct attacks have already hit chemical companies. In October 2020, Brazilian polyolefins producer Braskem declared force majeure after a cyberattack. The force majeure affected some clients in Brazil and other parts of South America.
Earlier this year, a ransomware attack struck Ultrapar, a Brazilian conglomerate that owns the surfactants producer Oxiteno.
Under ransomware attacks, criminals lock up companies' files or data until they get paid. They may also threaten to publish stolen data.
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. To visit the ICIS energy markets topic page, click here.
Scroll down to see the latest interactive graphics, podcasts and videos.
Click here to register for regular updates to help you navigate these challenging times.
Petrochemicals markets complexity is only going
to grow and grow
By John Richardson 2021/05/14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--If you thought global petrochemicals markets were already complicated enough, yesterday arrived with reports of the highest US inflation in 13 years.
VIDEO: China PX
prices rise amid balanced-to-tight
By Anna Xiang 2021/05/13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Watch industry analyst Anna Xiang discuss recent developments in China’s paraxylene (PX) market.
Chemicals FY2020 profit surges on better
By Pearl Bantillo 2021/05/13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Mitsui Chemicals’ net profit for the fiscal year ending March 2021 posted 70.3% growth despite lower sales, as profitability of its basic materials business benefited from better overseas markets.
Japan’s Asahi Kasei
FY2020 net profit falls on weak materials
By Pearl Bantillo 2021/05/13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asahi Kasei’s net profit for the fiscal year ending March 2021 declined by 23.2%, weighed down by weakness in its materials business, and as the company booked a one-off loss for the period.
of Mississippi river in US could impact
By Adam Yanelli 2021/05/13 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Vessel and barge traffic on the Mississippi river remains suspended because of a damaged bridge spanning the waterway, and a prolonged blockage could put additional pressure on already constrained supply chains.
Cyberattacks on pipelines pose threat to
By Al Greenwood 2021/05/13 HOUSTON (ICIS)--The cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline represents another way that such assaults can disrupt chemical operations, which rely on pipelines for fuel and feedstocks.
tax: latest developments
By Matt Tudball 2021/05/13 LONDON (ICIS)--Italy’s €450/tonne tax on virgin plastics due to come into effect on 1 July 2021 has been postponed to January 2022, several sources in the country have said.
Norway plans to
double hydrogen funding in revised 2021
By Kaja Sillett 2021/05/12 LONDON (ICIS)-- The Norwegian government plans to double state funding for hydrogen, increasing spending to NOK 200 million (€20m), according to the revised national budget on 11 May.
By Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez 2021/05/11 LONDON (ICIS)--The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) extended gains slightly in April, rising 1.8% for the month, tracking price increases seen across most of the major petrochemical and plastics commodities, not least in Europe and the US.
Petrochemical buyers, after a very difficult
pandemic, can gain from China-driven
By John Richardson 2021/05/07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Petrochemical buyers have had a very difficult pandemic. Converters and brand owners expected demand to collapse but it did the exact opposite. It boomed.
shortage slowing down industrial
By Priya Jestin 2021/05/06 MUMBAI (ICIS)--As India diverts industrial oxygen for medical requirements to battle the second COVID-19 surge, industries including some petrochemical plants dependent on industrial oxygen are facing a slowdown, or are shutting down facilities in some cases.
economic recovery to remain moderate on slow
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/05/06 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Indonesia's economic recovery is expected to continue in the second quarter as low base effects kick in but the growth will likely only be moderate as the country struggles to achieve its COVID-19 vaccination targets.
feedstock post-consumer bottle supply snug to
By Felicia Loo 2021/05/06 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Global supply of post-consumer bottle (PCB) – the feedstock for the recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) market - was snug to extremely tight particularly in the West.
Russia PVC producers seek May hikes on record-high global pricesBy Sergey Karaichentsev 2021/05/06 MOSCOW (MRC)--Russian polyvinyl chloride (PVC) producers are seeking substantial price hikes for May shipments on the back of record-high global prices impacting the country’s domestic market.
chemicals industry faces €1.5bn carbon
By Florian Rothenberg 2021/05/06 KARLSRUHE, GERMANY (ICIS)--In 2021, EU chemicals producers under the EU’s cap and trade system could face a carbon bill of €1.5bn - more than double the €600m charged last year - due to a fall in the amount of free handouts and a rise in the price of emission allowances.
Chip shortage to
hit US auto production hard in Q2, with
improvement likely in H2
By Adam Yanelli 2021/05/06 HOUSTON (ICIS)--US automakers are expecting to feel the brunt of production cuts related to the global shortage of semiconductors in the second quarter, with one major producer saying it expects total production to fall by 50% in Q2.
raw material inflation, declining exports from
By Deniz Koray 2021/05/06 HOUSTON (ICIS)--During the company's Q1 earnings call, Venator President and CEO Simon Turner expressed optimism for the company's prospects in Q2 and for the second half of the year
Martinez refinery on track to produce renewable
fuels in H2 2022
By Adam Yanelli 2021/05/04 HOUSTON (ICIS)--US refiner Marathon Petroleum is on track to reach its Phase 1 target of producing 17,000 bbl/day of renewable diesel from its converted Martinez, California, refinery by the second half of 2022, executives said on Tuesday during an earnings conference call.
13th state to enact ‘advanced recycling’
By Janet Miranda 2021/05/04 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Arkansas has become the 13th US state to enact legislation to enable greater adoption of chemical recycling, described in the legislation as advanced recycling, to help end plastic waste.
India’s economy to rebound to 11% in FY2021 -
Asian Development Bank
Author: Nurluqman Suratman 2021/04/28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday said that it expects India’s GDP growth to rebound to 11.0% in fiscal year (FY) 2021 ending on 31 March 2022 due to continued economic recovery boosted by increased public investment, vaccine rollout, and a surge in domestic demand.
India petrochemical demand crumbles amid second
By Felicia Loo 2021/04/28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Facing possibly its worst humanitarian disaster, coronavirus-ravaged India is racing against time to contain a second wave of deadly infections, with effects rippling through its petrochemical industry.
BLOG: Petrochemical market confusion set to
continue as China deflation
By John Richardson 2021/04/28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Click here to see the latest blog post on Asian Chemical Connections by John Richardson. Petrochemical markets have probably never been as opaque with no clarity over what happens next. And as the charts in today’s blog post underlines, market conditions are nothing short of freakish.
PODCAST: SIBUR, TAIF merger would create global
leader, rejuvenate Russia
By Will Beacham 2021/04/27 BARCELONA (ICIS)--The merger of Russia’s SIBUR and TAIF would create a top 10 global player in ethylene, rubber and plastics, and could help inject new life into the country’s petrochemical sector.
Unknown how many chemicals in global
circulation – Swedish
By Tom Brown 2021/04/27 LONDON (ICIS)--The problem of ensuring safe management of chemicals is made more complicated by lack of shared knowledge and proper enforcement as well as the growth of e-commerce turning many consumers into importers, according to the director of Swedish chemicals watchdog Kemi.
US Axalta expects most auto production
shortfalls to be made up in H2
By Adam Yanelli 2021/04/27 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Executives at US-based auto paint producer Axalta Coating Systems are anticipating strong demand from the auto industry in the second half of the year on expectations that most of the lost production due to the global microchip shortage will be made up by the end of the year.
Second Russian pipelayer starts building Nord
Stream 2 gas pipeline
By Diane Elijah 2021/04/27 LONDON (ICIS)--A second Russian pipelayer started laying Nord Stream 2 pipes on Tuesday, the project promoters said. The direct pipeline between Russia and Germany is 95% built with 121km left to lay in Danish and German waters.
The project was initially expected to be finished in late 2019, but US sanctions forced the Swiss and Italian pipelayers initially contracted to withdraw from the project.
Demand for surfactants into cleaners to shift
focus as pandemic eases -
By Antoinette Smith 2021/04/27 HOUSTON (ICIS)--US-based Stepan anticipates continued Covid-related demand for surfactants into cleaners and disinfectants, even as the pandemic is expected to recede in coming months.
Sherwin-Williams ups raw material inflation
guidance due to supply chain
By Janet Miranda 2021/04/27 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Sherwin-Williams expects raw material inflation for 2021 to be in a high-single digit to low double-digit range, up from its earlier guidance in January, CEO John Morikis said in the company’s Q1 2021 earnings call.
US GDP rose at 6.4% annual rate in Q1 amid
continued pandemic recovery
US real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 6.4% in Q1, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) said in a first “advance” estimate of Q1 GDP growth on Thursday.
Demand for surfactants into cleaners to shift
focus as pandemic eases -
US-based Stepan anticipates continued Covid-related demand for surfactants into cleaners and disinfectants, even as the pandemic is expected to recede in coming months.
acetic acid near-term outlook mixed as tight
global supply eases
By Helen Lee 2021/04/23 In Asian acetic market, Senior Editor Helen Lee discusses price volatility amid delicate supply-demand balance in China; easing tight global supply that lends bearish tone; and suppliers remaining cautious.
surge supported by stronger crude,
By Ran Cheng 2021/04/22 Watch industry analyst Ran Cheng discuss the recent bullishness in the East China benzene market.
Top US biofuel
advocates endorse Biden’s CO2 reduction
By Janet Miranda 2021/04/22 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Top US biofuel advocates reacted positively to President Joe Biden’s announcement on Thursday to reduce CO2 emissions in the US by 50-52% below their 2005 levels by 2030.
New US, Canada
emission goals may raise chem demand from EVs,
By Al Greenwood 2021/04/22 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Ambitious emission targets announced by the US and Canada could increase demand for plastics and chemicals used in renewable energy, efficient buildings and electric vehicles.
Zymergen aims to
accelerate biopolymers development and scale-up
By Joseph Chang 2021/04/22 NEW YORK (ICIS)--US-based bio-based technology start-up Zymergen plans to speed up new product development in biopolymers and other materials for the electronics, consumer care and other sectors with superior characteristics, its chief science officer and co-founder said on Thursday.
Malaysia’s PCG to
fully start up PIC petrochemical units by H2
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/04/22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--PETRONAS Chemicals Group (PCG) aims to start full operations at its petrochemical units at the Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC) in southern Johor, Malaysia by the second half of 2021, but they are not expected to achieve full production capacity this year, according to senior company executives.
flow of PET to see limited relief from
logistics chaos over coming
By Caroline Murray 2021/04/22 Tune in to the podcast on global flow of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that is expected to see limited relief from logistics chaos over coming weeks.
sulphuric acid buyers 'in a panic' as INEOS
By Andy Hemphill 2021/04/22 LONDON (ICIS)--The UK’s sulphuric acid market is in disarray in the wake of international chemicals major INEOS’ decision to permanently close its Runcorn sulphuric acid plant, according to market sources this week.
margins break records as logistics, supply
By Will Beacham 2021/04/21 This week's podcast centered on record-breaking chemical margins owing to logistical and supply crisis and strong downstream demand.
bunkering becomes international
By Clare Pennington 2021/04/21 LONDON (ICIS)--Tune in to the podcast on the latest shenanigans on the LNG bunkering market that is growing quickly on the back of new infrastructure and bunkering vessels in Europe and Asia.
exports surge 51% in March; NODX up
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/04/16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Singapore's petrochemical exports surged by 51.4% year on year to Singapore dollar ($) 1.59bn in March, supporting the increase in overall non-oil domestic exports (NODX), Enterprise Singapore said in a statement.
government focus changes to reigning in credit,
By ICIS Editorial 2021/04/16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Click here to see the latest blog post on Asian Chemical Connections by John Richardson. China appears to be refocusing on controlling debts as concerns over commodity-price inflation reach senior government levels.
79th biodiesel auction after lowering
obligatory blending mandate to
By Lucas Hall 2021/04/15 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Brazil started its 79th biodiesel auction on Wednesday after the Brazilian National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuel (ANP) temporarily suspended it on 6 April amid elevated biodiesel prices in the country.
petrochemical supply mixed; demand slows amid
By Felicia Loo 2021/04/15 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Petrochemical supply conditions are mixed in the Middle East, with trade limited for some products while cargo availability is tight when it comes to base oils, polyols and polystyrene in the first week of Ramadan.
China’s CSPC starts up SM/PO, polyols
units in Huizhou
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/04/14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--CNOOC and Shell Petrochemicals Company (CSPC) has started up new styrene monomer/propylene oxide (SMPO) and polyols units at its complex in Huizhou, China, the producer said on Wednesday.
India petrochemical trades slow down on
fresh restrictions, weak
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/04/14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Petrochemical trades in India are being weighed down by a fresh wave of restrictions on businesses to stem the spike in coronavirus cases in the south Asian nation, accompanied by a plunging rupee that makes imports more expensive.
Singapore’s Q1 economy grows 0.2% amid
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/04/14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Singapore's economy grew by 0.2% year on year in the first quarter, the country’s first economic growth since the fourth quarter of 2019 amid continued expansion in the manufacturing sector, official preliminary data showed on Wednesday.
US crackers will be fuelled by hydrogen
to reduce carbon footprint
By Joseph Chang 2021/04/14 NEW YORK (ICIS)--US crackers will eventually be fuelled by hydrogen rather than natural gas as the main energy source to significantly bring down their carbon footprint, the former CEO of Equate and MEGlobal said.
Uniper eyes hydrogen hub in Germany,
drops LNG terminal
By ICIS Editorial 2021/04/15 LONDON (ICIS)--German utility Uniper announced on Wednesday plans to establish a German national hub for hydrogen in Wilhelmshaven which will have an import terminal for green ammonia.
employers to offer coronavirus
By Stefan Baumgarten 2021/04/15 LONDON (ICIS)--Germany’s government has ordered employers to offer workers at least one coronavirus test a week, at employer’s expense, effective 19 April.
firms push for role in vaccination
By Tom Brown 2021/04/15 LONDON (ICIS)--Larger German chemicals firms are pushing for a more direct role in the deployment of vaccines in Germany, while the country's chemicals major BASF has received the green light for a pilot project to inoculate employees at Ludwigshafen flagship site.
German economic recovery slow and
steady as lockdowns cause short-term
By Morgan Condon 2021/04/15 LONDON (ICIS)--Germany's economic recovery is on the horizon but renewed shutdowns and slow vaccination rollouts may act as a roadblock, a cohort of economic researchers on Thursday.
PODCAST: Pandemic has broken link to
GDP for chemicals demand, new models
By Will Beacham 2021/04/13 Tune in to the podcast by Will Beacham who discussed with John Richardson, Nigel Davis and Paul Hodges on post-pandemic patterns of chemicals demand that will break the traditional link to GDP; this means new models are needed to measure and analyse market trends.
Swiss Sika starts
producing epoxy resins in
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/04/13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Sika expanded its production capacity for concrete admixtures and has started manufacturing epoxy resins in Doha, Qatar, the Swiss specialty chemicals producer said on Tuesday.
derivatives polyethylene, PVC, MEG take hard
hit from rising feedstock prices, winter
By Zachary Moore 2021/04/13 In a podcast interview, market experts Zachary Moore, Bill Bowen and Antoinette Smith discussed about ethylene derivatives - polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and mono ethylene glycol (MEG) - that took hard hit from rising feedstock prices and the February winter storm in Texas.
Industry must act
fast on plastics recycling as societal pressure
By Joseph Chang 2021/04/13 NEW YORK (ICIS)--The chemical industry must accelerate investment in plastics recycling to achieve scale as activist and government pressures mount, the former CEO of Equate and MEGlobal said on Tuesday.
US IPA domestic
supply lengthens following LyondellBasell
By Deniz Koray 2021/04/13 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Although isopropanol (IPA) imports for the most recently available month declined, domestic supply improved following news of more favourable sales allocation numbers for buyers.
Global uptake of
electric vehicles accelerates, growth to depend
on consumer constraints
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/04/09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The global uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) accelerated last year as sales rose more than 30%, with the pace of adoption to be determined by how quickly the main constraints that affect consumer demand will be eliminated.
The sales of passenger vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICEs), meanwhile, declined by around 21% in 2020, Fitch Ratings said in a research note on Friday.
Pakistan's Engro begins
technical studies of proposed PDH-PP
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/04/09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Engro Corp will spend $31.4m to conduct engineering, design and technical studies for its proposed polypropylene (PP) facility based on propane dehydrogenation (PDH), the Pakistan-based producer said on Friday.
A front-end engineering design (FEED) study will also be carried out on the PDH-PP project, it said in a filing on the Pakistan Stock Exchange.
Asia PE, benzene
supply tight on firm demand, economic
By Felicia Loo 2021/04/08 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s supply of polyethylene (PE) and benzene is tight amid plant shutdowns among suppliers in the face of rising demand as the region’s pace of economic recovery strengthens.
Lloyd’s Register software for plants in
By Jonathan Lopez 2021/04/07 LONDON (ICIS)--Taiwan’s petrochemicals producer Formosa Plastics is to use software by Lloyd’s Register at 94 of its plants, the UK-headquartered engineering services provider said on Wednesday.
recyclers, end-markets must align to make
circular economy a reality
By Adam Yanelli 2021/04/08 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Mechanical and chemical recyclers of plastics need to align with end markets to enable the circular economy to become a reality, panellists said during the 16th annual Plastics Recycling Conference and Trade Show, held virtually this year because of the pandemic.
GM to idle more
auto plants in N America due to chip
By Al Greenwood 2021/04/08 HOUSTON (ICIS)--General Motors (GM) is idling three automobile plants and extending shutdowns on two more because of a shortage of semiconductors, the US-based auto producer said on Thursday.
regulator cools down industry’s confidence on
By Jonathan Lopez 2021/04/08 LONDON (ICIS)--The European chemicals trade group Cefic published this week an optimistic analysis on how chemicals companies across the EU are managing to fulfil their obligations under the 27-country bloc’s regulatory regime Reach.
predictable, stable laws for successful energy
transition - think tank
By Aura Sabadus 2021/04/08 LONDON (ICIS)--Ukraine needs to create a stable and reliable legal environment if it wants to attract more investment, integrate with EU markets and switch successfully to a carbon-neutral economy, according to two high-profile members of Ukraine’s leading energy think tank.
Hydrogen, LNG to play key roles in
By Laura Mendes 2021/04/08 LONDON (ICIS)--In 2016, 27% of European road transport emissions came from HGVs. Two means of reducing carbon emissions from the trucking and bus industries are using LNG and hydrogen. In this episode of the alternative energy podcast from ICIS, market reporter Laura Mendes discusses both fuels as a means of decarbonising the transport sector with lead hydrogen reporter Jake Stones and senior market reporter Clare Pennington.
US RPM may spend
two quarters catching up with
By Al Greenwood 2021/04/07 HOUSTON (ICIS)--RPM International expects to spend the next two quarters implementing price increases to catch up with inflation, executives with the US-based sealants, adhesives and coatings producer said on Wednesday.
Shortage of BDO
amid strong demand leaves US players with tough
By Antoinette Smith 2021/04/07 HOUSTON (ICIS)--After US Q2 butanediol (BDO) contracts settled at a record-high increase, buyers are left speculating on when critically tight supply will ease.
BLOG: Iran's share of China HDPE, LDPE
imports to surge by 2025 on new
By ICIS Editorial 2021/04/07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Click here to see the latest blog post on Asian Chemical Connections by John Richardson, which discusses the recent Iran-China deal.
Elevated rates for shipping containers show
first signs of easing
By: Adam Yanelli 2021/04/02 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Elevated rates for shipping containers have begun to ease, according to market participants from various regions, but remain well above levels seen prior to the pandemic.
fully extinguishes fire at Balongan
By Pearl Bantillo 2021/04/01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Indonesian state-owned energy firm Pertamina has fully extinguished on Wednesday afternoon the fire at its 125,000 bbl/day Balongan refinery which went on for more than two days, market sources said on Thursday.
It is now preparing to restart the refinery and should be able to supply propylene to customers in seven to eight days, which would allow Polytama Propindo to resume operations at its polypropylene (PP) plant in Balongan, they said.
Korea March petrochemical exports jump 48.5% to
By Pearl Bantillo 2021/04/01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--South Korea’s petrochemical exports in March jumped by 48.5% year on year to a record high of $4.8bn on the back of a rebound in global oil prices, official data showed on Thursday.
TOPIC PAGE: Suez
By Will Beacham 2021/03/30 UPDATED 30 March with ICIS analyst views and data on Europe chemical market impact plus latest headlines.
The Suez Canal is now clear after being blocked by one of the world's largest container ships, the Ever Given, which was stuck sideways after it ran aground on 23 March.
As one of the world's busiest shipping lanes between the Middle East, Asia and Europe, the closure disrupted the already strained global shipping network.
By Kite Chong 2021/03/30 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Watch senior editor Kite Chong discuss the latest developments in the Chinese methanol market.
- Yuan-denominated market lower than Chinese import market
- Downstream demand to remain robust on healthy margins
- May be curbed by a near-term boost in Chinese supply
India’s TPL plans
LAB, caustic soda expansion
By Priya Jestin 2021/03/31 MUMBAI (ICIS)--India’s Tamilnadu Petroproducts Ltd (TPL) plans to increase the capacity of its linear alkyl benzene (LAB) and caustic soda plants and set up a new propylene recovery unit (PRU) at its complex at Manali in southern Tamil Nadu state as part its expansion plans, it said.
The expansion project is estimated to cost around Indian Rupees (Rs) 4.35bn ($59.2m), it said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange on 30 March.
Indian Oil to
commission Gujarat refinery expansion project
by Sept/Oct 2024
By Priya Jestin 2021/03/31 MUMBAI (ICIS)--State-run Indian Oil Corp (IOC) expects to complete expansion of its Gujarat refinery by end-September or early October 2024, a company source said on Wednesday.
The project, which will expand the refinery capacity in Vadodara by 31% to 18m tonnes/year, was initially slated for completion in 2022.
By Sophie Udubasceanu 2021/03/30 The biofuels markets are bringing new challenges and opportunities. This page gathers the latest news, analysis and resources to help you make sense of this key sector and support you in the energy transition.
Blast hits Pertamina's Balongan
refinery in Indonesia; C3 plants
By Nurluqman Suratman 29-Mar-21 11:58 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--An explosion followed by a fire hit the Balongan refinery of Indonesia's state-owned oil firm Pertamina early on Monday, injuring at least four people and forcing shutdown of operations at the site. The Balongan complex in west Java was shut to prevent the spread of the fire.
China’s Sinopec 2020 net profit falls
42% as pandemic hits demand
By Fanny Zhang 29-Mar-21 15:02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s biggest refiner Sinopec posted a 42.4% decline in net profit last year as the coronavirus pandemic hit demand and caused sharp falls in petrochemical prices. Oil production fell 1.4% to 280m barrels, while natural gas output rises 2.3% to 1,072bn cubic metres (cbm). Ethylene output falls 3.5% to 12m tonnes.
Giant ship blocking Suez Canal
partially re-floated -
By Nurluqman Suratman 29-Mar-21 13:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The massive container ship wedged in the Suez Canal was partially re-floated on Monday, a week since it ran aground and blocked cargo movement in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, according to global maritime services firms.
US drillers add oil rigs for third week in a
By Adam Yanelli 2021/03/26 HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US added six new oil drilling rigs this week, the third week in a row of gains as WTI prices ended the week above $60/bbl.
PET, R-PET face
further supply disruption ahead of peak
By: Matt Tudball 2021/03/26 LONDON (ICIS)--ICIS Senior Editors Caroline Murray and Matt Tudball discuss the current state of the European polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and recycled PET (R-PET) markets amid ongoing tightness and high demand, and look to the summer to gauge where buying interest for both products may head in the coming months.
petrochemical logistics woes to worsen on Suez
By Felicia Loo 2021/03/26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Logistical issues hounding petrochemical-rich Middle East may worsen amid the Suez Canal blockage, further limiting its ability to ship cargoes out of the region.
Pacific 2021 GDP growth to accelerate to 7.4% -
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Overall economic growth in developing East Asia and Pacific countries this year is projected to accelerate to 7.4%, led by the strong recovery in China and Vietnam, the World Bank said on Friday.
The region managed to post a 1.2% growth in 2020, largely thanks to China’s strong recovery in the second half of a pandemic-hit year.
For 2021, China - the world’s second-biggest economy - is projected to grow by 8.1%, coming from last year's 2.3% growth, the slowest pace in more than four decades.
TOPIC PAGE: Suez
By Will Beacham 2021/03/25 The Suez Canal is blocked by one of the world's largest container ships, the Ever Given, which is stuck sideways after it ran aground on 23 March.
As one of the world's busiest shipping lanes between the Middle East, Asia and Europe, the closure will further disrupt the already strained global shipping network. There are delays to oil, liquified natural gas (LNG) and chemical shipments as tankers and container ships queue up either side of the canal.
On this topic page we bring you links to the latest related news plus maps, graphs and other resources to help make sense of the impact on energy and chemical markets.
By Alex Froley 2021/03/25
LONDON (ICIS)--Containership Ever Given remains grounded and blocking the Suez Canal, according to Leth Agencies, a company specialising in canal transits.
Tugboats and dredgers continue to try to refloat the vessel, but to no avail as of Thursday afternoon London time.
Traffic remains suspended with no new or projected changes, said Jacob Guldager, Leth’s business development director.
adds fuel to fire for tight chems markets,
By Tom Brown 2021/03/25 LONDON (ICIS)--The ongoing blockage of the Suez Canal after a container ship ran aground looks set to further tighten already-stretched chemicals value chains, while likely delivery delays continue to spiral with each hour the vessel remains aground.
Efforts to dislodge the 400m long container ship the Ever Given have been largely unsuccessful so far, with marine services firm GAC saying on Wednesday that the vessel had been refloated, citing feedback from the Suez Canal Authority, but remaining wedged lengthwise across the shipping lane.
Suez Canal still
blocked; some Asia petrochemical shipments face
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The Suez Canal remained closed on Thursday following grounding of a massive container vessel, with some petrochemical shipments between Asia and Europe facing some delays as the blockage is now on its third day.
By Priya Jestin 2021/03/25 MUMBAI (ICIS)--State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) plans to build two second generation (2G) bio-refineries in the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as part of the government’s aim to increase ethanol production in the country, a company source said on Thursday.
Each of the 2G biorefineries will be set up at a cost of Indian rupiah (Rs) 6bn ($83m) and will be able to produce 500,000 litres/day of ethanol from spoilt and surplus food grain from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) as well as agricultural waste such as wheat and paddy straw, the company source said.
INSIGHT: Progress of
vaccinations could buoy chems demand despite
By Tom Brown 2021/03/24 LONDON (ICIS)--The gathering pace of coronavirus vaccination programmes is likely to swell chemicals demand through the year, according to industry research, despite a bumpy start in many countries and the spectre of protectionism looming ever larger.
Crude rises over
3% after container ship blocks Suez
By James Dennis 2021/03/24 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Crude prices rose by more than 3% on Wednesday amid news that the grounding of a huge container vessel has effectively blocked the southern end of the Suez Canal - a key global trade route - since Tuesday.
The blockage caused by the vessel Ever Given - one of the largest container ships in the world - has resulted in a build-up of vessels waiting to transit through the waterway.
The rise in crude prices follows significant downside pressure the previous day when crude retreated amid demand worries amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections and stricter lockdown measures in Europe.
World Water Day
addresses sustainability in agriculture,
By Annalise Porter 2021/03/22 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Global organisations addressed sustainability - including within the agricultural sector and fertilizer industry - during World Water Day on 22 March.
Agriculture consumes around 70% of global freshwater withdrawals annually. Meanwhile, climate change is causing drier soil conditions, larger precipitation variability and higher evaporation rates.
As well as consuming large quantities of water, agriculture and fertilizers have a long-running history of causing water quality issues. These include contamination from fertilizers and pesticides in water runoff, as well as sedimentation issues in ground water supplies.
LNG VIDEO: Two
Qatari trains offline as Damietta produces
By Clare Pennington 2021/03/22 LONDON (ICIS)--This short outlook video on the LNG market looks at: Demand from India, Pakistan and Colombia, including tender details; the latest on exports from Egypt's Damietta and the US; and damper demand in northeast Asia and the latest on nuclear plants in Japan.
US existing home sales fell 6.6% in
February, after two months of
By Janet Miranda 2021/03/22 HOUSTON (ICIS)--US sales of existing homes were at an annual rate of 6.22m in February, down 6.6% from January after a two month gain, however, sales in total climbed to 9.1% year on year from February 2020, according to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) on Monday.
India’s HPL plans
oil-to-chemical project at site of defunct NOCL
By Priya Jestin 2021/03/22 MUMBAI (ICIS)--India’s Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) has received approval from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to take over and revive the defunct oil refinery project of Nagarjuna Oil Corp Ltd (NOCL).
Japan’s AGC to
integrate SE Asia chlor-alkali ops via PTTGC
By Pearl Bantillo 2021/03/19 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Japanese producer AGC, formerly known as Asahi Glass Co, is integrating its chlor-alkali operations in southeast Asia, while strengthening its partnership with Thailand’s PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC).
LNG volumes to
France set to increase at start of
By Andrea Battaglia 2021/03/19 LONDON (ICIS)--French LNG terminals are likely to see an increasingly high number of LNG deliveries amid higher US feedgas and tightening spreads between French PEG and Asian LNG prices.
The PEG April ‘21 contract traced up again in recent sessions after dropping below the ICIS East Asia Index (EAX) in the first days of week 11.
petrochemical shares tumble as oil futures
plunge 7% overnight
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/19 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia petrochemical shares were trading lower on Friday after crude oil suffered its worst one-day plunge overnight on concerns that stalling vaccine roll-outs globally will dampen demand.
At 02:30 GMT, Mitsui Chemicals was down 0.94% in Tokyo, LG Chem shed 3.14% in Seoul and PetroChina plunged by 5.30% in Hong Kong.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index was down by 0.85%, South Korea's KOSPI Composite Index slipped by 0.88% while the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index fell by 1.29%.
bank keeps benchmark interest rate at
Author: Pearl Bantillo 2021/03/18 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Indonesia’s central bank on Thursday kept its benchmark interest rate at 3.5%, in support of the rupiah (Rp).
“This decision is in line with the need to maintain the stability of the Rupiah exchange rate against increasing uncertainty on global financial markets, amidst the forecast for inflation that remains low,” Bank Indonesia said.
markets align amid carbon
By Christopher Rene 2021/03/18 LONDON (ICIS)--Heightened carbon market volatility has increased the influence of EUAs on the wider energy complex in March with the price correlation between spot Asia LNG and European gas markets also turning stronger. After a disconnection in January and February, the ICIS East Asia Index (EAX) and Dutch TTF have reconnected.
US LNG to favour
Europe over Asia amid low shipping
By Christopher Rene 2021/03/18 LONDON (ICIS)--European gas and Asian LNG May ’21 contracts have vied for the position of cheapest prices since the start of March amid volatility in the wider energy complex and an uncertain supply outlook.
policy drives approaching biofuels tipping
By Tom Brown 2021/03/17 LONDON (ICIS)--As governments continue to count the cost of the pandemic, both in terms of the price of keeping economies afloat and the wreck lockdowns and have made of certain industries, many lawmakers have settled on sustainability as the key to the reconstruction.
Toyota partially halts North American auto
production on plastics
By Adam Yanelli 18-Mar-21 14:09 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Toyota is the latest automaker to see North American production disrupted because of supply-chain issues related to the recent winter storm and lingering effects from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
polyolefins supported by global recovery, tight
By Joey Zhou 2021/03/18 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--ICIS senior reporter Nurluqman Suratman speaks with senior analyst Joey Zhou to discuss the factors supporting China's polyolefins market.
implementation of ethanol gasoline on tight
By Yu Yunfeng 2021/03/18 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China has been easing its nationwide implementation of vehicle-use ethanol gasoline since 2020 due to tightening supply of feedstock stale grains.
Ethanol gasoline in the country is currently a combination of 90% gasoline and 10% ethanol, also known as E10.
India eyes $87bn
worth of new major petrochemical projects -
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The Indian petrochemical industry could see around $87bn worth of new projects as the country moves to bridge the gap between the shortage of domestic supply and increasing consumer demand, a government official said on Tuesday.
The projects currently under consideration include Nayara Energy's $20bn complex at Vadinar in Gujarat which could house a cracker and downstream units for polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), benzene, cumene and monoethylene glycol (MEG), said Yogendra Tripathi, Secretary, Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
February IPEX up
8%, mainly on rising prices in US and
By Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez 2021/03/17LONDON (ICIS)--The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) extended gains in February, rising 7.9% for the month, tracking price increases seen across most of the major petrochemical and plastics commodities.
The tables show the movement in the global and regional IPEX values as petrochemicals and plastics demand generally improved and markets tightened on the back of the winter storm in the US.
Fitch raises global GDP outlook on US
By Al Greenwood 17-Mar-21 16:50 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Fitch Ratings raised its forecast for global GDP growth for 2021 to 6.1% from 5.3%, the credit-rating agency said on Wednesday.
Japan's Feb chemical
exports rise by 5.2%; overall shipments down
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Japan's chemical exports rose by 5.2% year on year to yen (Y) 762.7bn in February but overall shipments abroad slipped, official data showed on Wednesday.
The country's exports of organic chemicals fell by 5.4% year on year to Y135.9bn in February while shipments of plastic materials were up by 11.6% at Y217bn, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said in a statement.
petrochemical exports rise 19% in Feb; NODX up
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Singapore's petrochemical shipments abroad rose by 19.3% year on year to Singapore dollar (S$) 1.2bn in in February, supporting the overall growth in non-oil domestic exports (NODX), official data showed on Wednesday.
The country's NODX rose by 4.2% year on year to S$14.1bn in February following the 12.7% expansion a month earlier, Enterprise Singapore said in a statement.
complete national ban on single-use plastics by
By Priya Jestin 2021/03/15 MUMBAI (ICIS)--India is working on a national policy aimed at completely phasing out single-use plastics by the second half of 2022, taking into account varied paces of compliance across states over the past five years.
In a draft notification issued on 13 March 2021, the country’s Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change is looking at a three-phased ban on the manufacture, use, sale, import and handing of single-use plastic items.
VIDEO: China SM demand
weighed by high prices following
By Tina Zhang 2021/03/17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Watch industry analyst Tina Zhang discuss China's domestic styrene market which have been weighed by the surge in international prices following several production outages in Europe and the US.
could hold the key to low carbon
By Will Beacham 2021/03/16 BARCELONA (ICIS)--Hydrogen could play a key role in lowering the chemical industry’s carbon footprint thanks to use of renewable energy and carbon storage.
Chemical, Zhejiang Satellite to build C2
acrylic acid plant in China
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/15 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--South Korean SK Global Chemical (SKGC) has signed a deal with Chinese producer Zhejiang Satellite to build a 40,000 tonne/year ethylene (C2) acrylic acid (EAA) plant at Lianyungang in eastern China.
Under a memorandum of understanding agreement (MoU) signed on 11 March, the two firms will establish a new joint venture company for the won (W) 200bn ($176m) project for the production and sales of EAA, the South Korean producer said on 14 March.
Braskem to open polymers logistics hub in
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/15 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Braskem is partnering with logistics firm A.P. Moller - Maersk and port operator PSA Corp to open a new logistics hub in Singapore as it seeks to better manage its polymers supply for the region, the Brazilian firm said on Monday.
The new partnership comes off the back of the company's existing partnership with PSA, which allows Braskem to use PSA Singapore as a regional distribution focal point, the company said in a statement.
Japan's Asahi Kasei to
boost Li-ion battery separator capacity at
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/15 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asahi Kasei is increasing the Li-ion battery (LIB) separator production capacity at its plant in Mizayaki amid increasing demand for electric vehicles, the Japanese producer said on Monday.
The yen (Y) 30bn expansion project is scheduled to start up in the first half of fiscal year 2023, the company said in a statement.
petchems supported by growing global economic
recovery, tight supply
By Felicia Loo 2021/03/15 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--ICIS Senior Reporter Nurluqman Suratman speaks with Felicia Loo on the current macroeconomic and tight supply conditions supporting the overall Asian petrochemical market.
keeps eyes on the price amid Texas storm
impact, Saudi attack
By Tom Brown 2021/03/12 LONDON (ICIS)--Little wavering from OPEC and its partner nations on supply curbs is expected in the near future after the cartel and its partners agreed last week to largely hold curbs in place for another month.
chemicals trade hit hard in January as Brexit
deal kicks in
By: Jonathan Lopez 2021/03/12 LONDON (ICIS)--Prior stockpiling and new Brexit trade regulations caused a fall of 40.7% in UK exports to the EU in January, month on month, as the country ended its membership of the 27-nation bloc’s single market, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Friday.
The petrochemicals-intensive automotive sector was hit hard, said the ONS, along with other chemicals-based sectors.
UK GDP during January fell 2.9%, less than analysts had expected, after the UK implemented on 5 January lockdown measures to stop the spread of a new coronavirus variant, shutting most retail venues and keeping most residents confined to their homes.
Sipchem 2020 net profit falls on lower prices,
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Sipchem's net profit fell by 41.3% year on year to Saudi riyal (SR) 175.9m last year, partly weighed by lower selling prices for most of its products, the Saudi Arabia-based producer said in a stock exchange filing.
Logistics crisis to persist into Q3 as
availability trumps pricing - Brenntag
By Will Beacham 2021/03/11 BARCELONA (ICIS)--The global logistics crisis is expected to last at least until the third quarter of 2021, and is making availability of product more important than price, according to the CEO of Brenntag, the world’s largest distributor.
By Yvonne Shi 2021/03/11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s petrochemical markets surged again in February on continuous tight supply and recovering post-holiday demand, further fuelled by US outages as a result of a cold wave.
companies to start lifting LNG from Equatorial
By Daniel Stemler 2021/03/11 Updated: This story has been updated to include details of Chevron lifting its first cargo: MADRID (ICIS)--The start of feedgas flows from Equatorial Guinea’s offshore Alen gas project into the country’s LNG plant will likely see new companies start to lift cargoes from the West African country.
Advanced receives approval for new
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/10 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Advanced Petrochemical Co has received approval for a new petrochemical complex at Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia, the producer said on Wednesday.
The new complex is expected to produce 1.15m tonnes/year of ethylene, 850,000 tonnes/year of propylene and 400,000 tonnes/year of aromatics and fuels, and their derivatives, the company said in a filing to the Saudi bourse, Tadawul. The new complex is expected to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2025.
VIDEO: Asia liquid
caustic soda sees open arbitrage to the
By Jonathan Chou 2021/03/10 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Watch ICIS markets reporter Jonathan Chou discuss the impact of the recent production outages in the US on the liquid caustic soda market in Asia.
markets distorted by logistics and panic
buying, but underlying optimism seen for
By Will Beacham 2021/03/09 BARCELONA (ICIS)--The international chemical markets have been distorted by logistics bottlenecks and panic buying - but there is optimism for 2021 and beyond.
VIDEO: Asia PVC
supply remains tight on US/EU production
By Zhi Xuan Ho 2021/03/09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) producers seek to fill in the shortfall in global supply amid polar storm-related production disruptions in the US.
Jonathan Chou, editor in charge of Asia-Pacific markets, and Zhi Xuan Ho, editor in charge of the Middle East and South Asia markets, discuss the global PVC supply-demand conditions.
revises down Q4 annualised GDP growth to
By Pearl Bantillo 2021/03/09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Japan has revised down its annualised fourth-quarter GDP growth to 11.7% from 12.7% previously, official data showed on Tuesday.
VIDEO: Asia PVC supply
remains tight on US/EU production
By Zhi Xuan Ho 2021/03/09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) producers seek to fill in the shortfall in global supply amid polar storm-related production disruptions in the US.
ambition to accelerate hydrogen
By Yu Yunfeng 2021/03/09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s ambition to achieve peak emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060 will accelerate the development of hydrogen as a fuel for power generation and vehicles.
Attacks on Saudi Arabia facilities send
Brent crude surging above
By Pearl Bantillo 08-Mar-21 10:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities on Sunday sent crude surging by more than 2% on Monday, with Brent crude now trading at above $71/bbl.
China’s Jan-Feb crude imports rise 4.1%
year on year
By Fanny Zhang 08-Mar-21 14:08 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s crude imports reached 89.57m tonnes in January-February 2021, up by 4.1% year on year, official customs data showed over the weekend.
China sets 2021 economic growth target at over
By: Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Friday announced that the country has set a GDP growth target of more than 6% for 2021.
ExxonMobil to cut 300 jobs in Singapore
by end-2021 amid pandemic
By: Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--ExxonMobil is cutting about 300 jobs in Singapore - or about 7% of its workforce in the southeast Asian country - by the end of the year, citing "unprecedented market conditions" brought about by the pandemic.
Singapore manufacturing to continue
recovery on improving external
By: Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Singapore's manufacturing sector is poised to see further recovery this year as overall exports continue to grow amid an improvement in demand from its key external markets.
firms eye better '21 amid oil-led price
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Thailand’s petrochemical firms are expected to generate better earnings in 2021 on the back of rising product prices, but oversupply in China and slow growth in some end-user markets in Asia could temper profitability.
reverts to growth mode in fiscal Q3, full-year
GDP to shrink 8%
By Pearl Bantillo 2021/03/01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--India’s economy returned to growth mode in October-December 2020, after two quarters of pandemic-induced deep recession, raising hopes of a strong recovery in the coming fiscal year.
Asia petchem markets bullishness set to
continue amid tightening supply, high oil
By: Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Across the board bullishness seen in Asia's petrochemical markets is likely to continue in the near term on tight supply in key China market ahead of its peak turnaround season, along with robust downstream demand and crude oil prices.
au Jibun Bank's Japan manufacturing PMI rises
to 51.4 in Feb
By: Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--au Jibun Bank’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for Japan rose to 51.4 in February from 49.8 in January, indicating the strongest improvement in the health of the sector since December 2018, the Japanese bank said on Monday.
China's BG market propelled by strong upstream,
By Bonnie Yin 2021/02/26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)-- Watch markets editor Bonnie Yin discuss the recent developments in the China's glycol ether (BG) market which has surged after the Lunar New Year holiday, driven by cost pressure from upstream feedstock markets and limited offers.
VIDEO: Asia ABS
propped by US Gulf Storms, strong post-Lunar
New Year sentiment
By Julia Tan 2021/02/26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Markets reporter Julia Tan discusses the impact of recent polar storm-related production outages in the US on the Asian acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) spot market and related upstream markets. The production losses in the US has indirectly supported market sentiment for Asian spot markets amid stronger post-Lunar New Year purchasing attitudes.
petrochemicals extend gains on tight supply, US
By Yvonne Shi 2021/02/26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s petrochemicals market have strengthened after the Lunar New Year holiday. In this episode of the ICIS Asia podcast, Jady Ma speaks with Yvonne Shi on recent developments and outlook for the market.
PODCAST: MEG global
markets deal with fallout
from US Gulf production
disruption after ice
By Melissa Hurley 2021/02/25 LONDON (ICIS)--Global monoethylene glycol (MEG) markets deal with fallout from US storms in February, causing all glycol suppliers to declare force majeure.
indexation amid Asian
By Hendrian Sukardi 2021/02/25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--A range of northeast Asian LNG buyers are reconsidering price benchmark options after a huge jump in volatility on Asian spot LNG prices in recent weeks.
Thailand's IVL swings to
Q4 net profit; eyes better demand in
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Thailand-listed Indorama Ventures Ltd (Ltd) expects demand recovery for its products to continue this year after it swung to a net profit of Thai baht (Bt) 1.61bn ($54m) in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Fourth-quarter earnings were driven by stronger production volumes and contributions from its polyethylene terephthalate (PET) business.
supply tight amid US outages, strong China
By Felicia Loo 2021/02/25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Supply tightness prevails in the Middle East chemicals markets and it remains a challenge to scour the region for cargoes amid winter storm-related outages in the US and strong demand coming from China.
The ramifications are felt keenly in the polymer markets.
For both polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), selling sentiment is strong on expectations that demand from the US and Latin American buyers will surge, which would affect the Middle East’s allocations to other regions.
BLOG: China 2021 PX imports could fall by 64%, with styrene imports down 59% By ICIS Editorial 2021/02/24 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Click here to see the latest blog post on Asian Chemical Connections by John Richardson. There is a lot of focus on US production losses resulting from the severe winter weather and how the losses have tightened markets in the US, Latin America and Europe. Even Asia has also been affected to a lesser extent, as cargoes from the Middle East and Asia that would have stayed within these regions have been diverted.
US ethanol, biomass-based diesel RIN prices
near all-time highs - EIA
By Adam Yanelli 2020/02/24 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Prices for US renewable identification number (RIN) credits have been rising steadily and are near all-time highs, largely because of reduced fuel production due to softer demand amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.
Asia petrochemicals at multi-year highs on
strong crude, bullish China
By: Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/24 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Key petrochemical markets in Asia have hit multi-year highs, driven up by strong crude gains following winter storm-related US output disruptions, and robust post-holiday activity in China.
Japan's Mitsui Chemicals restarts Chiba cracker
after quake-related shutdown
By: Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/24 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Mitsui Chemicals restarted the cracker at its Ichihara Works site in Chiba prefecture on 23 February and is in the process of restarting other downstream units, the Japanese producer said on Wednesday.
PODCAST: US Gulf Coast storm outages
risk global chemical supply
By: Will Beacham 2021/02/22 BARCELONA (ICIS)—The US Gulf Coast storm impact could be worse than Hurricane Harvey, and cause a global supply crunch for major product groups.
- Polar storm impact could be worse than Hurricane Harvey
- 100% of US capacity knocked out for major commodities
- Polar storm comes on top of pandemic-related shipping container, semi-conductor disruption
- Supply was already tight in some value chains
au Jibun Bank
flash manufacturing PMI rises to 50.6 in
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/19 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--au Jibun Bank’s flash manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for Japan rose to 50.6 in February from the final reading of 49.8 in January on improved export orders, the Japanese bank said on Friday.
A PMI reading above 50 indicates an expansion in the manufacturing economy.
Chinese LNG demand: Why a monthly update is
superior to a static yearly estimate, in an
increasingly volatile market
By Alex Siow 2021/02/19 ICIS forecasts China to import between 4.7 million to 5.3 million tonnes of LNG per month during February to April 2021. This is on average a 12% year-on-year (yoy) increase compared to the same months last year. On an annual basis, we are forecasting China to import 76m tonnes this year, an 11% yoy increase.
But this is only a valid prediction for now, within these few weeks. By early next month, our forecast number could have been updated and changed, depending on events that might have happened between now and early next month. Or it could be maintained, also depending on events.
US Gulf Coast
storm outages rise, send ripples round global
By Will Beacham 2021/02/18 BARCELONA (ICIS)—The US polar storm has now shut down 84% of US polypropylene (PP) capacity, 65% of ethylene and devastated other important products, sending ripples around global chemical markets prices soaring.
More chemical plants and refineries across the Gulf Coast region have been hit by prolonged power and feedstock outages caused by freezing weather, snow and ice which have also halted logistics networks. More bad weather, forecast for later in the week, may prolong the disruption.
partners to electrify, decarbonize Porsgrunn
By: Pearl Bantillo 2021/02/18 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Fertilizer firm Yara International has signed a deal with two industrial firms to electrify and decarbonize its ammonia facility in Porsgrunn, Norway.
The Porsgrunn plant produces 500,000 tonnes/year of ammonia, according to ICIS data.
The company has signed a letter of intent with fellow Norwegians Statkraft and Aker Horizons on the project, also with the aim of enabling the hydrogen economy and accelerating the green energy transition, Yara said in a statement on Thursday.
petrochemicals special focus with GPCA
secretary general Dr. Abdulwahab
By Will Beacham 2021/02/16 BARCELONA (ICIS)--Arabian Gulf petrochemical companies are committed to pursuing a low carbon future while battling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and increasing self-sufficiency in China, according to the Gulf Petrochemical Association (GPCA).
- Transition to a low carbon future presents opportunities for Gulf Cooperation (GCC) chemicals
- Region is committed to boost recycling plus new, greener technologies
- GCC chemicals managed to grow volumes in 2020, despite the pandemic
petrochemicals lead Asia gains on strong crude,
US supply disruptions
By Pearl Bantillo 2021/02/18 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s petrochemical trades were brisk upon re-opening on Thursday after a week-long hiatus, leading gains in key Asian markets amid surging crude prices and US supply disruptions.
Prices in the Chinese commodities futures markets surged on the first trading day after the Lunar New Year holiday, with styrene monomer (SM) logging an 11% spike as of midday, largely on concerns over tight post-holiday supply.
Oil prices extend
strong gains on US Gulf Coast cold
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/18 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Oil prices rose by more than $1/bbl on Thursday, with Brent on its fifth day of gains, as severe cold conditions in Texas and surrounding regions in the US led to refinery shutdowns and production cuts.
At 03:30 GMT, Brent crude was trading at $65.18/bbl, off the intra-day high of $65.52/bbl, while WTI crude was at $61.80/bbl.
Japan's Showa Denko
swings to 2020 loss as petrochemical profit
By Pearl Bantillo 2021/02/17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Japan's Showa Denko has incurred a full-year 2020 net loss of yen (Y) 76.3bn ($720m), reversing the profit in 2019, while earnings from its petrochemical segment slumped amid the coronavirus pandemic.
chemical exports rise 23.6%; overall shipments
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Japan's total chemical exports in January rose by 23.6% year on year to yen (Y) 788.7bn ($7.4bn), while overall shipments abroad were up by 6.4%, official data showed on Wednesday.
Exports of organic chemicals fell by 7.2% year on year to Y139.4bn in January while shipments of plastic materials abroad increased by 30.4% to Y224.8bn, Ministry of Finance data showed.
Singapore’s Jan petrochemical exports rise by
10.1%; NODX up 12.8%
By: Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Singapore's petrochemical exports rose by 10.1% year on year to Singapore dollar (S$) 1.14bn in January, supporting the growth in overall non-oil domestic exports (NODX), official data showed on Wednesday.
The country’s NODX rose by 12.8% year on year to S$15.1bn in January, accelerating from the 6.8% expansion in December 2020, Enterprise Singapore data showed.
Japan January chemical exports rise 23.6%;
overall shipments up 6.4%
By: Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Japan's total chemical exports in January rose by 23.6% year on year to yen (Y) 788.7bn ($7.4bn), while overall shipments abroad were up by 6.4%, official data showed on Wednesday.
Thailand's PTTGC Q4 net
profit surges on strong margins as prices
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--PTT Global Chemical's (PTTGC) fourth-quarter net profit surged to Thai baht (Bt) 6.41bn from the same period last year on the back of higher product prices, with sales up 3% year on year.
Its full-year 2020 results, however, reflected a general weakness in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with a 20% decline in sales nearly wiping out its profit.
Singapore to see strong
GDP rebound after 2020
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Singapore's economy is expected to see a strong rebound this year after contracting by 5.4% in 2020, supported by a robust manufacturing sector as its outward-oriented sectors continue to benefit from rising external demand.
VIDEO: Europe R-PET colourless flake,
post-consumer bottles prices jump in
By Matt Tudball 2021/02/12 LONDON (ICIS)--Senior Editor for Recycling, Matt Tudball, looks at the outcome of the European recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) monthly price discussions for February.
- Large jumps in colourless flake and post-consumer bottle (PCB) prices
- Virgin PET prices still a key driver for R-PET demand
- Flake buyers expecting bullish March, April
Shell commits to
growing chemicals as part of low-carbon
By: Will Beacham 2021/02/11 BARCELONA (ICIS)--Shell on Thursday committed to growing its chemicals business, setting targets for the division as it transitions the company towards net carbon neutrality.
In a strategy update, the company’s CEO Ben van Beurden laid out targets to increase cash generation from chemicals by $1-2bn/year and reduce exposure to commodity chemicals by around 70% by 2030. He also reiterated a target to process 1m tonnes/year of plastic waste for recycling by 2025.
Van Beurden said the company’s aim – announced in the third quarter of 2020 – of reducing its portfolio of 14 oil refining sites globally to six energy and chemical parks by 2030 is well underway through the divestment and closure of some assets.
Signs of healthy
recovery unable to prop up crude demand as
transport drags - OPEC
By: Jonathan Lopez 2021/02/11 LONDON (ICIS)--There are early “signs of a healthy recovery” in 2021 but the recovery in crude demand will lag as transportation is not set to fully recover any time soon, the producing cartel OPEC said on Thursday.
Petrochemicals activity, however, will remain healthy and continue to support demand from crude oil, which has found in the industrial sectors an ally to keep a determining role in the global energy mix as transport electrifies in coming decades.
Before transport electrifies, however, the gasoline and derivatives used to fuel mobility will still remain somewhat redundant in 2021 as demand from those sectors is not set to recover pre-pandemic levels this year.
plans new 80,000 tonne/year PA
By Priya Jestin 2021/02/11 MUMBAI (ICIS)--India’s IG Petrochemicals Ltd (IGPL) plans to set up a greenfield 80,000 tonnes/year phthalic anhydride (PA) plant in western Gujarat state, it said in a statement.
The company’s board of directors approved the setting up of the Indian rupees (Rs) 6bn ($82m) chemical complex at Gujarat which will contain the PA line and other derivative plants, it said in the filing on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on 9 February.
The new plant will commence operations in three years, the company said, adding that it planned to raise funds for the new project through internal accruals and loans.
The new PA capacity will help IG Petrochemicals meet increasing demand in downstream products like paints, plasticizers¸ polyvinyl chloride (PVC), unsaturated polyester resins etc, IGPL said in its statement.
global supply tightness
By Melissa Hurley 2021/02/08 LONDON (ICIS)--Global monoethylene glycol (MEG) supply tightness remains a key issue across Europe, US and Asia.
Asia MEG prices rise to 16-month peak
Heavy turnaround schedule in the Middle East
East China MEG inventories rise 4.4% to 681,000 tonnes
Quicker Lunar New Year demand recovery due to less travel
European short-term supply eases; spot-stable-to-soft
US diethylene glycol (DEG) spot supply remains sold out
MEG outages could extend tight US MEG supply into spring
S Korea’s LG Chem
starts push for renewable energy across
By Pearl Bantillo 2021/02/09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--South Korean producer LG Chem will fully run its Yeosu nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) plant, along with its Osan Tech Centre, on renewable energy this year.
The company is procuring an annual 120 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of renewable energy through the Korean RE100 (Renewable Energy 100) system called “Green Premium” Program.
phenol, acetone supported by tight supply,
By Jasmine Khoo 2021/02/09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s phenol and acetone prices have been supported by snug supply, arising from plant turnarounds and reduced production across Asia, Europe and the US.
In this episode of the ICIS Asia podcast, Senior Editor Jasmine Khoo speaks with Angeline Soh, editor in charge of the Asia-Pacific acetone and phenol analysis on the recent development.
US January Port Houston chem tanker arrivals
rise by 5.6% year on year
By Adam Yanelli 2021/02/09 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Chemical tanker arrivals at Port Houston started the year off on a positive note, rising by 5.6% compared with the same month a year ago, while overall arrivals are down by 12% as global economies continue to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
IMF raises LatAm GDP forecast to 4.1% for
By Janet Miranda 2021/02/08 HOUSTON (ICIS)--The Latin American and Caribbean 2021 growth forecast has been revised to 4.1% from 3.6%, based on stronger than expected performance in 2020, due to expanding vaccination efforts and a better growth outlook for the US, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Monday.
PODCAST: drive to lower carbon means no
new steam crackers after
By Will Beacham 2021/02/08 BARCELONA (ICIS)—The climate change agenda means that no new steam crackers will be built beyond 2030 as the chemical industry harnesses new technologies and investors steer clear of high carbon projects.
- Coronavirus makes oil refinery rationalisation more urgent
- No new steam crackers will be built from 2030
- Decarbonisation, sustainability will drive future investment decisions
- Chemical companies will harness new technologies like green hydrogen, electric furnaces
Borealis to focus
on chemicals, polyolefins as OMV consolidates
By: Tom Brown 2021/02/08 LONDON (ICIS)--Borealis is tightening its focus on base chemicals and polymers as it prepares to divest the bulk of its fertilizers business after shareholder OMV doubled down on its position in the Austria-headquartered petrochemicals producer.
DIVESTMENT AND REALIGNMENT
After several years of peaks and troughs for its fertilizers operations, Borealis announced last week that it is preparing to put the business in play.
With no set timeline to divest, the sale of the nitrogen and melamine operations will represent a total break from the fertilizer sector for the company, with the exception of a Benelux player with two production plants it continues to hold a stake in.
Thailand’s PTTGC pursues feedstock
flexibility with new project
By Pearl Bantillo 2021/02/08 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Thailand's petrochemical major PTT Global Chemical is looking at increasing the share of propane in its feedstock mix under a new project coming on stream two years from now.
Canada’s January light
vehicle sales fall 17.4% amid pandemic
By Stefan Baumgarten 2021/02/05 TORONTO (ICIS)--Canadian sales of new light vehicles are estimated to have fallen by 17.4% year on year in January, to 90,890 units, according to the latest data by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants (DAC) on Friday.
US industrial energy consumption to return to
’19 levels faster than other sectors -
By Adam Yanelli 2021/02/03 HOUSTON (ICIS)--US consumption of petroleum and other liquids from the industrial sector, primarily for use as feedstocks in the production of plastics, could return to pre-pandemic levels by 2023 in a best-case scenario, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.
US will return to '19 energy consumption levels
by '29 - EIA
By Al Greenwood 2021/02/03 HOUSTON (ICIS)--US energy consumption should return to 2019 levels by 2029, the nation's Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.
BLOG: The new oil
shocks: semiconductor supply shortages threaten
the global economy
By ICIS Editorial 2021/02/03 LONDON (ICIS)--Click here to see the latest blog post on Asian Chemical Connections. The oil supply shocks of the 1970s are at risk of being replaced by the semiconductor supply shocks of the 2020s. There are just three global suppliers of high-value semiconductors that might soon become two, down from 25 in 2000. Eighty percent of all types of semiconductor production is located in northeast Asia.
outlook balanced to tight in early 2021 as
prices trend upward
By: Chris Barker 2021/02/02 LONDON (ICIS)--The outlook for European polyvinyl chloride (PVC) remains balanced to tight in early 2021, with contract prices rising for January as global availability is still limited and prices high.
For January, increases were proposed in a wide range of €35-100/tonne at the beginning of the month. Final settlements were also in a relatively wide range, with some negotiations concluded with increases of €40-50/tonne in northwest Europe and the Mediterranean, according to buyers and producers.
Downstream demand is also respectable with the European construction market expected to rebound and return to growth in 2021 after suffering damage from the pandemic in 2020.
sector must step up circular investments from
tens to hundreds of millions
By Will Beacham 01-Feb-21 15:32 BARCELONA (ICIS)--Chemical companies need to take the circular economy more seriously and invest hundreds rather than tens of millions in recycling.
- Investors now seek companies active in circular economy
- Risk that brand owners may seize initiative from chemical companies
- Chemical companies need to step up circular investments
- 2021 could be the year of circular economy ahead of COP26 meeting in November
- China chemicals threatened by persistent shortage of containers, soaring rates
- Electricity shortage, resurgent pandemic,
microchip shortage also pose risks
China will move towards self-sufficiency in paraxylene (PX), styrene (SM) and polypropylene (PP)
Click on the headline to hear the podcast.
Groups I, II base oils find footing amid tight
By Matthew Chong 2021/02/02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Senior Editors Matthew Chong and Izham Ahmad discuss recent developments in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East base oils markets.
By Felicia Loo 2021/02/02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Unlike previous years, post-Lunar New Year chemical markets in 2021 will be uniquely different in China - the world's number-two economy - as well as in other parts of Asia where the holiday is celebrated.
At issue, the extent of plastics demand recovery in Asia remains to be seen on prospects of businesses resuming earlier than past years, when factories shut for two to four weeks during the holiday in China.
US WR Grace
reaches standstill agreement with 40
By Janet Miranda 2021/02/01 HOUSTON (ICIS)--WR Grace entered into a letter agreement with 40 North on Monday, after it announced its decision to discuss a sale to 40 North’s upped bid of $65 per share, the US-catalyst producer said.
By Nuuqman Suratman 2021/02/01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Caixin's China general manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell to 51.5 in January from 53.0 in December as business conditions improved at the slowest rate for seven months, the Chinese media firm said on Monday.
au Jibun Bank
manufacturing PMI slips to 49.8 in
By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--au Jibun Bank’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for Japan fell to 49.8 in January from 50.0 in December 2020 on a drop in output as rising coronavirus cases had a renewed impact on the economy, the Japanese bank said on Monday.
Special Report - Base oils
By Jasmine Khoo 2021/02/01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--2020 could be summed up as a topsy-turvy year for the base oils industry. The slump in Asian base oils prices in Q2 last year due to lockdowns followed by the rapid recovery in prices to even higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2019 has astounded market players.
VIDEO: Asia butyl
acetate prices rise on tight
By Melanie Wee 2021/02/01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Watch ICIS senior editor Melanie Wee discuss the latest developments in the Asia butyl acetate (butac) market and its key drivers.
LyondellBasell plans to
run Houston refinery at 80% in
By Al Greenwood 2021/01/29 HOUSTON (ICIS)--LyondellBasell expects to run its refinery in Houston at 80% of its throughput capacity during the first quarter, the same rate as the fourth quarter, the CEO said on Friday.
ANALYSIS AND RESOURCES