Summary of mid-year Asia OUTLOOK stories

ICIS Editorial


SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the mid-year Asia OUTLOOK stories which ran on ICIS news throughout July.

Click on a headline to read the full story.

OUTLOOK: Asia naphtha poised for rosy demand support in H2
Asia’s naphtha demand will be buoyed in the second half by greater downstream capacity, with new crackers starting up in South Korea, while sustained curbs in refinery output will keep supply in check.

OUTLOOK: Asia spot TIO2 may slow down in H2 2021 but uncertainties remain
After witnessing spot prices climb unabated since late August 2020, some buyers are hoping that the second half of 2021 could finally provide some respite.

OUTLOOK: Asia oxo-alcohols, plasticizers demand to stay lacklustre in H2
Asia’s oxo-alcohols and plasticizers markets are expected to see muted demand in the second half of 2021 even as the tight supply situation eases.

OUTLOOK: China soda ash to draw support from robust construction demand
Robust demand in downstream flat and solar glass sector underpinned by China’s urbanization strategy supports a buoyant long-term outlook for the soda ash market.

OUTLOOK: Asia BG supply to recover in H2; weak China demand to persist
Asia’s butyl glycol (BG) supply is expected to see further recovery, with more plants returning to normal operation in the second half, while downstream demand in China will likely remain sluggish due to cost pressure.

OUTLOOK: Asia H2 MEK market still in delicate supply-demand balance
Asia’s methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) market is likely to remain in a delicately balanced supply-demand situation in the second half of the year.

OUTLOOK: Asia phenol sentiment in H2 ‘21 looks positive on derivative start-ups
Asia phenol sentiment in H2 2021 is cautiously optimistic on the back of derivative expansion lined up across the region.

OUTLOOK: Asia’s fatty acids slowdown in Q3 to be offset by EU and US reopening
Asia’s fatty acids market may see demand slowing down in the third quarter amid renewed lockdown restrictions, but the reopening of the EU and US economies may help offset the economic fallout from the coronavirus resurgence.

OUTLOOK: Asia ethanolamines market watchful amid resurgence of coronavirus
A cautious mood is likely to stay in Asia’s ethanolamines market in the near term, as market players seek clarity from downstream sectors on consumption levels on the back of the resurgence of the coronavirus in many parts of the region.

OUTLOOK: Asia’s petchem markets hit by ample supply, rise in Delta variant cases
The outlook for many Asian chemical markets is geared towards ample supply amid rising cases of the COVID-19 delta variant, which has prompted emergency responses in the region.

OUTLOOK: Asia MX to see uncertain demand in H2 ’21, supply snug
Tight supply of mixed xylenes (MX) in Asia is likely to extend into third quarter, but demand faces more uncertainties as downstream market faces restructure.

OUTLOOK: Asia’s glycerine market to slow on upstream volatility and virus resurgence
Asia’s glycerine market is likely to slow in the near term due to upstream crude palm oil and soybean oil volatility and economic fallout from the coronavirus resurgence.

OUTLOOK: Asia EVA braces for ample supply, dwindling demand in H2
New capacity in China and downbeat demand projection in the key downstream photovoltaic (PV) sector may continue to weigh on Asia’s ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) market in the second half of 2021.

OUTLOOK: Veil of uncertainty hangs in Asia’s IPA market; near term likely weak
Projections for Asia’s isopropanol (IPA) market are expected to be weak in the near term on abundant supply at importers and slow downstream consumption.

OUTLOOK: Asia PBT reverses losing streak on feedstock rebound, demand uptick
The Asian polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) market reversed its losing streak in July after several months of decline, with some participants projecting higher numbers in the quarter.

OUTLOOK: Asia BDO recovers from slump; renewed demand to continue into H2
Asia’s butanediol (BDO) market began an upward shift in July as buying momentum gathered pace, effectively halting its price downtrend in June.

OUTLOOK: Pandemic dampens Asia toluene demand; eyes on downstream
Asia’s import toluene markets saw supply and demand fundamentals varying across the regions, amid a mix of factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic in certain regions, downstream margins as well as freight rates.

OUTLOOK: Weak demand to dictate Asia MTBE market in H2 ’21
In the first half of 2021, Asia’s methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) market showed a general uptrend, tracking firmer international crude oil futures and gasoline prices in the region.

OUTLOOK: Lacklustre Asia synthetic rubbers demand may temper upstream support
Asian import trades for various synthetic rubber materials, including styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), polybutadiene rubber (PBR), and acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR), have gained ground, as sellers hike offers to recoup costs and margins.

OUTLOOK: Asia benzene maintains high ground on snug supply, decent demand
Asia’s benzene prices remained elevated with spread against feedstock naphtha staying wide, with snug prompt supply and decent demand in the region look set to continue in the near term.

OUTLOOK: Asia ethyl acetate braces for Q3 demand slowdown
Asia ethyl acetate (etac) markets are bracing for headwinds as demand slumps on the back of resurging coronavirus infections including the Delta variant.

OUTLOOK: China VAM turnarounds limited in H2; demand in seasonal lull
Ethylene (C2)-based vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) plant turnarounds in China are fewer in the second half while demand is in a seasonal lull in July to August.

OUTLOOK: Asia VAM faces ample supply, downbeat demand outlook in H2
Asia’s vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) market will continue to face ample supply, lower upstream acetic acid values, depressed derivatives pricing and a downbeat demand outlook in the second half.

OUTLOOK: Asia fatty alcohols supply to fall on tightened COVID-19 curbs
Asia’s fatty alcohols market is likely to see decreasing supply in the near term following tightened lockdown restrictions to contain the resurgent virus infections in the region.

OUTLOOK: Mideast isocyanates supply tightens in H2 as oil, feedstock gain
Supply of toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and polymeric methylene diisocyanate (PMDI) to the Middle East is showing some signs of tightening in the second half as upstream oil and feedstock prices strengthen.

OUTLOOK: China PP faces strong capacity growth, better demand in H2
China’s polypropylene (PP) supply is expected to grow in the second half as new capacities are due to come on stream, with some demand projected to improve.

OUTLOOK: Asia LAB market braces for possible rebalancing; tug-of-war ongoing
Asia’s linear alkylbenzene (LAB) market is bracing itself for a possible rebalancing as signs of waning demand become more apparent in a “still snug” market.

OUTLOOK: Asian MDI, TDI markets exit Q2 slump; near-term outlook unclear
Asia isocyanates markets are poised to see improved sentiment in the near term after snapping out of a persistent downtrend in the second quarter, though lacklustre demand in the southeast Asian market could dampen market confidence.

OUTLOOK: Asian PX market continues to face uncertainty in H2 2021
An uncertain paraxylene (PX) market in Asia is likely to continue heading into the second half of the year, with balance largely dependent on the run rates at major PX producers in China, amid an unclear upstream outlook.

OUTLOOK: China USD PO volatility to persist on supply gains amid new start-ups in H2
China’s US dollar-denominated propylene oxide (PO) sector is poised to observe an increase in local cargo availability going forward into the second half of the year on planned start-ups, barring unforeseen circumstances.

OUTLOOK: SE Asia ethanol H2 demand varies with grades; limited supply to persist
Southeast Asia’s import demand for fuel ethanol may remain weak while its consumption of hydrous B-grade material is expected to be steady, amid limited supply in the second half of the year.

OUTLOOK: Balanced-to-long fundamentals to weigh on China’s PTA margins
Balanced-to-long market fundamentals are expected to further squeeze China’s purified terephthalic acid (PTA) margins in the second half of 2021, when exports may get stalled.

OUTLOOK: Asia Group I/II base oils H2 supply to recover faster than Group III, demand to be curbed
Asia’s overall Group I supply shortage is expected to gradually ease in the second half of the year, although supply of brightstock grade may remain relatively tight in Q3.

OUTLOOK: Asia PET to track upstream pricing, supply and demand uneven
The Asia polyethylene terephthalate (PET) market is likely to track upstream price movements amid uneven distribution of supply and demand and shipping challenges.

OUTLOOK: Asia’s acetic acid market mixed as weak derivatives offset H2 supply concerns
Asia’s acetic acid market outlook in the second half of 2021 was mixed as suppliers’ cautiously firm sentiment on supply concerns was offset by downbeat derivatives performance.

OUTLOOK : Asian butadiene supply to stay snug on arbitrage pull unless startups materialise
Asian butadiene import prices are at a multi-year high , as regional supplies were drained by heavy exports in H1 2021 to north America.

OUTLOOK: Cautious demand, Chinese supply expectations to outline Asia PS H2 2021
Cautious demand expectations among market participants will likely be the key driver and outline of Asia’s polystyrene (PS) outlooks for the rest of 2021, as supply fundamentals are set to rise in domestic China.

OUTLOOK: Asia PC to see support from upstream amid weak demand
Asian polycarbonate (PC) markets are likely to find support from upstream bisphenol A (BPA) markets in the second half of 2021, while weak demand is likely to persist.

OUTLOOK: Asia BPA to be buttressed by snug supply despite weak
Asian bisphenol A (BPA) spot markets are likely to be supported in the second half of the year by upcoming turnarounds despite weak performances in downstream sectors.

OUTLOOK: Asia ABS demand to improve from mid-August
Asia’s acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) demand is likely to stay weak until mid-August, when feedstock procurement for the major downstream household appliance sector typically kicks off in earnest.

OUTLOOK: Continued supply constraints to keep Asian EPDM trades Continued supply constraints have propelled Asian ethylene propylene diene-monomer (EPDM) spot trades to eight-year highs in H1 2021, and will continue to exert upside pressures for the rest of year, even if resurging pandemic conditions weigh on demand.

OUTLOOK: Recent record Indian methanol prices hint at falling COVID-19 influence
Indian methanol spot prices ended the week of 23 July on a multi-year high of $399/tonne CFR (cost & freight) WC (west coast) India, narrowly eclipsing the previous 2021 high of $395/tonne CFR WC India on 5 March. Prior to this, similar price levels were last seen in November 2018.

OUTLOOK: Asian PTA faces mounting challenges, high freights, weak fundamentals
The Asian purified terephthalic acid (PTA) market is expected to continue to struggle with challenges, amid high container freight costs, growing supply within China, and the coronavirus pandemic.

OUTLOOK: China BPA tightness to sustain in H2 ’21 despite expansions
Despite capacity expansions in the second half of 2021, China’s bisphenol A (BPA) market is still expected to see supply tightness on occasions, due to anticipated increases in downstream capacities, as well as plant turnarounds both domestically and globally.

OUTLOOK: China acetic acid tight supply eases; H2 market seen balanced
China’s acetic acid supply-demand fundamentals will be more balanced in the second half, due to a combination of capacity additions, delayed turnarounds and some improvement in demand.

OUTLOOK: China acetone H2 supply stays ample, demand growth uncertain
China’s acetone supply may remain ample in the second half of 2021 amid limited planned turnarounds and fewer exports.

OUTLOOK: China acrylic acid supply to remain tight in short term
China’s domestic acrylic acid supply has tightened so far in 2021 amid delayed plant restarts as well as planned and unplanned plant shutdowns, and this may persist in the near term.

OUTLOOK: Asia caustic soda demand may be supported in H2 2021 despite headwinds
Consumption for liquid caustic soda in Asia could be supported in the second half of 2021, despite recently slashed regional economic forecasts by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) due to the recent wave of Delta coronavirus infections.

OUTLOOK: SE Asia PVC demand clouded by recent coronavirus surge; producers look to other markets
Asia’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) spot market may see mixed recovery in the near term, as southeast Asian demand could be capped amid the recent wave of coronavirus infections, while demand from India is expected to pick up.

OUTLOOK: Middle East base oils supply to increase gradually amid stable demand
Middle East base oils supply is expected to gradually improve through the second half of the year but with little change in current demand fundamentals expected.

OUTLOOK: China NBA/2-EH to remain short on unit turnarounds, firm demand
China’s domestic n-butanol (NBA)/2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) market was tightly supplied in the first half of 2021, and this may persist for a long term due to plant turnarounds and firm downstream demand amid strong exports.

OUTLOOK: Asian acrylic acid and acrylates to remain supported in H2 2021
Asian acrylic acid (AA) and acrylate esters prices have fluctuated at firm levels after the surge in March due to global supply disruption and may remain supported in H2 2021 on feedstocks and global supply constraints.

OUTLOOK: Asia PP market hit by pandemic, lengthening supply another concern
Asia’s polypropylene (PP) market will be reeling from the effects of a near-term COVID-19 resurgence in southeast Asia, while increasing production capacities may increase bearish sentiment in H2.

OUTLOOK: Asia acetone H2 outlook shadowed by price plunge; supply ample
Asia’s acetone market in the second half of the year is likely to see uncertainty due to the recent price plunge starting in May, though supply will remain ample, unlike the first half when several plants underwent turnarounds.

OUTLOOK: Impact of rising Chinese SM supply mitigated by turnarounds; demand wildcard
The impact of rising Chinese styrene monomer (SM) supply will likely to be mitigated by turnarounds in other Asian regions until the last quarter of 2021, but demand could be the wildcard in this equation.

OUTLOOK: GCC’s PE, PP players eye demand recovery; pandemic weighs on sentiment
Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have had a mixed run in H1 2021 but players gear up for a more promising rest of the year with hopes of a recovery in demand to pre-pandemic levels.

OUTLOOK: Asia OX supply balanced to tight, spot demand curbed
Asian orthoxylene (OX) supply is expected to stay balanced to slightly snug in the second half of the year, amid planned maintenance shutdowns and weak production margins.

OUTLOOK: Asia ACN H2 supply to increase on new China capacity
Asia’s acrylonitrile (ACN) supply in the second half is expected to increase amid new capacity coming on stream in China.

OUTLOOK: Asia ADA sentiment cautious amid pandemic
The Asian adipic acid (ADA) markets have faced firm prices of feedstock benzene and declining demand amid slower-than-usual performance in the downstream sectors.

OUTLOOK: Asia nylon and capro recovery uncertain on atypical conditions
The Asian nylon and caprolactam (capro) markets have been stable for a large part of Q2, with limited market movements amid lacklustre downstream demand.

OUTLOOK: China toluene market in H2 may see ample supply, uncertain demand
China toluene market might face, in the second half of the year, a slight weakening in demand while supply is expected to be robust on the back of new capacities and in the absence of any planned turnarounds.

OUTLOOK: China MEG supply to grow on new capacity; demand to improve
China’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) supply is expected to grow alongside demand, with downstream polyester consumption traditionally peaking in the third quarter.


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