The potential default by China’s massive Evergrande property group shows a government shift to lower debt and redistribution of wealth, with important implications for chemicals markets there and around the world. Listen in as Will Beacham interviews Europe ABS, PS and EPS editor Stephanie Wix, John Richardson, ICIS senior consultant Asia, and Paul Hodges, chairman of New Normal Consulting, in this Think Tank podcast.
Asian petrochemicals sentiment may face downward pressure, led by possibly weakening consumption in China, where the twin effects of the Evergrande crisis and the dual-control approach on energy consumption play out.
China’s dual controls on total energy consumption and energy intensity targets, focused on lowering the country’s carbon output, are already having an impact on petrochemical plant operations.
Asia’s fatty alcohol ethoxylates (FAE) market is likely to face upward pressure in the near term due to tightened supply in China following the dual control policy. Chinese spot interest is also expected to gather momentum ahead of the Chinese National Day holidays from 1-7 October, as buyers need to replenish their dwindling inventories.
The German election for a new federal government and chancellor will take place on 26 September. A key topic of debate at the moment is energy policy. And the main policy proposals are promising to be more climate ambitious than the current outlook. Tune in to the latest podcast as ICIS explores the possible scenarios of election results for the German market.
The European n-butanol (NBA) market has seen improved availability in late Q3, with its derivatives glycol ethers, butyl acrylate (butac) and acrylate esters seeing a similar trend. Pockets of tightness have emerged for ethyl acrylate (ethyl-A) and glycol ethers but prices remain relatively steady. Listen in as the ICIS podcast explores more on the market.
Meanwhile, European methylene chloride (MEC) availability has been tight in September, with the outlook for the second half of 2021 remaining constrained due to highly priced feedstocks and global tightness.
Despite a brief easing of supply over the summer, US butanediol (BDO) has returned to critical shortage following Hurricane Ida, though demand into the automotive sector faces headwinds. BASF said it was restarting the Geismar site - where its BDO production is located - but the force majeure on BDO and derivatives remains in place.
Updated on 24 Sep
On this topic page we analyse the impact of coronavirus and oil price dynamics on chemical markets and bring together the latest news reported by ICIS.
Scroll down to see the latest interactive graphics, podcasts and videos.
Click here to register for regular updates to help you navigate these challenging times.
US BDO returns to
critical tightness after Ida
By Antoinette Smith 23-Sep-21 05:18 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Despite a brief easing of supply over the summer, US butanediol (BDO) has returned to critical shortage following Hurricane Ida, though demand into the automotive sector faces headwinds.
FAE market to face upward pressure on tightened
supply in China
By Helen Yan 24-Sep-21 14:22 Asia’s fatty alcohol ethoxylates (FAE) market is likely to face upward pressure in the near term due to tightened supply in China following its dual control policy on environmental protection.
market tight on global and domestic issues,
spot prices rise in
By Chris Barker 24-Sep-21 02:28 LONDON (ICIS)--European methylene chloride (MEC) availability has been tight in September, with the outlook for the second half of 2021 remaining constrained due to highly priced feedstocks and global tightness.
China's Evergrande crisis, dual-controls
By Felicia Loo 23-Sep-21 17:40 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asian petrochemicals sentiment may face downward pressure, led by possibly weakening consumption in China, where the twin effects of the Evergrande crisis and the dual-control approach on energy consumption play out.
carbon controls hit polyolefins
By Amy Yu 23-Sep-21 12:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s dual controls on total energy consumption and energy intensity targets, focused on lowering the country’s carbon output, are already having an impact on petrochemical plant operations.
oxo-alcohols chain remains calm while awaiting
news of BASF's ongoing NBA
By Eashani Chavda 23-Sep-21 23:53 LONDON (ICIS)--The European n-butanol (NBA) market has seen improved availability in late Q3, with its derivatives glycol ethers, butyl acrylate (butac) and acrylate esters seeing a similar trend. Pockets of tightness have emerged for ethyl acrylate (ethyl-A) and glycol ethers but prices remain relatively steady.
to be key factor in German election
By Laura Mendes 22-Sep-21 16:59 LONDON (ICIS)-- The German election for a new federal government and chancellor will take place on 26 September. A key topic of debate at the moment is energy policy. And the main policy proposals are promising to be more climate ambitious than the current outlook. ICIS Energy market reporter Laura Mendes talks with in-house analyst Roy Manuell to look at the possible scenarios of election results for the German market.
Evergrande debt crisis signals major reset for
China, global chemical
By Will Beacham 21-Sep-21 21:45 BARCELONA (ICIS)--The potential default by China’s massive Evergrande property group shows a government shift to lower debt and redistribution of wealth, with important implications for chemicals markets there and around the world.
to face upward pressure on soaring freight,
By Helen Yan 17-Sep-21 12:18 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s glycerine market is likely to continue to face upward pressure from soaring container freight rates and strong demand amid concerns over supply security.
China PE to gain
further momentum from tighter supply in
By Joanne Wang 17-Sep-21 14:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The domestic polyethylene (PE) market in China will gain momentum in the fourth quarter as supply may be tightened by operational cutbacks at some domestic plants from September, as well as expected turnarounds in the Middle East.
PODCAST: China PO
market sees fresh round of price
By Chris Qi 16-Sep-21 22:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--ICIS analyst Jady Ma and senior information director Chris Qi discuss the current state of China's domestic propylene oxide (PO) market.
VIDEO: China PP
market strengthening amid lower
By Zhibo Xiao 2021/09/16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Watch industry analyst Shawn Xiao discuss the current uptrend in domestic PP prices.
China ECH supply
threatened by environmental policies; buyers
By Luffy Wu 16-Sep-21 16:05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s domestic epichlorohydrin (ECH) supply may tighten as a major facility in Jiangsu province may shut in the wake of the country’s newly minted environmental policies.
resins supply strain could extend into Q4 on
By Heidi Finch 15-Sep-21 21:55 LONDON (ICIS)--Ongoing robust demand across most segments, persistent feedstock constraints and import delays continue to strain Europe epoxy resins supply and the tightness could extend into Q4, as Asian import disruption intensifies.
supply healthy, with limited
By Zubair Adam 14-Sep-21 00:36 LONDON (ICIS)--Toluene availability continues to have some length in the bulk sector, with consumption limited. Market conditions are expected by some to remain stable throughout September.
Europe MEG import
gap to be plugged by Asian imports; contract
By Melissa Hurley 13-Sep-21 23:18 LONDON (ICIS)--European monoethylene glycol (MEG) spot supply remains limited for larger quantities, but imports are expected to improve in the next couple of months.
China spot C2 demand to remain strong
prior to early October
By Yeow Pei Lin 10-Sep-21 11:19 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Spot demand in northeast Asia’s ethylene (C2) import market is expected to stay healthy leading to China’s National Day holidays in early October.
must set mandatory recycled content in
packaging by 2030 -
By Jonathan Lopez 09-Sep-21 23:39 LONDON (ICIS)--The EU must set a mandatory target for recycled content in plastic packaging of 30% by 2030 to prop up circularity evenly among the 27 member states, plastics producers’ trade group PlasticsEurope said on Thursday.
and oil industries need to ramp up innovation
in face of climate challenge
By Nigel Davis 09-Sep-21 00:36 LONDON (ICIS)—Strategically, chemical companies should be positioned to respond to, and benefit from, the energy transition.
petrochemical markets mixed; some offers rise
amid US outages
By Felicia Loo 09-Sep-21 12:36 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Middle East’s petrochemical markets are mixed, with polyethylene terephthalate (PET) enjoying good sales to the Americas in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, and offers for polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) have increased amid supply shortages from Saudi Arabia.
PODCAST: US ACC's
outgoing chief economist reflects on 30 years
in chemicals, Storm Ida
By Will Beacham 08-Sep-21 21:34 BARCELONA (ICIS)--The outgoing chief economist at US trade group the American Chemistry Council (ACC), Kevin Swift, analyses the impact of Storm Ida and reflects on the key changes which have shaped the chemical industry over the last 30 years. In this special Think Tank podcast, Will Beacham interviews ACC's Swift; ICIS Insight Editor, Nigel Davis; and the chairman of New Normal Consulting, Paul Hodges.
Indian LAB market
slows, concerns over BIS certificate
By Damini Dabholkar 08-Sep-21 19:05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The market for linear alkylbenzene (LAB) slowed in India, as indicated by the offers for September material that were announced last week.
European caustic soda to
tighten as Hurricane Ida hits global
By Chris Barker 08-Sep-21 16:01 LONDON (ICIS)--Caustic soda has tightened globally following production issues in the US caused by Hurricane Ida, leading to tighter supply in northwest Europe and the Mediterranean.
ethers supply constraints expected for
By Eashani Chavda 06-Sep-21 21:55 LONDON (ICIS)--European glycol ether supply constraints to persist in September as BASF remains shut down at Ludwigshafen, Germany.
PE, PP offers to
East Med markets spike on Saudi supply
By Veena Pathare 03-Sep-21 11:50 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Offers for September polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) cargoes in the East Mediterranean markets have increased on the back of a supply shortage from Saudi Arabia.
petrochemical demand may improve; shipping woes
By Felicia Loo 02-Sep-21 17:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Petrochemical demand in the Middle East may see some improvement, shored up by post-summer restocking, although concerns remain about high freight costs and difficulties in securing empty containers and vessel space. September is the archetypal month when peak demand kicks off for some products.
R-PET sentiment dims on COVID-19; Europe eyes
By Felicia Loo 01-Sep-21 21:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--A tale of two regions distinctly marks European and Asian recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) when it comes to demand and supply, as the onslaught of the pandemic is derailing the market in Asia.
PODCAST: Global ACN players keep a
close eye on US situation
By Jane Massingham 01-Sep-21 01:31 HOUSTON (ICIS)-- Last week, the US region positioned itself firming at the forefront of acrylonitrile (ACN) discussions as players absorbed the news of record highs from feedstock propylene. Since then, Hurricane Ida has resulted in a fresh force majeure declaration from Cornerstone in Louisiana.
Asian MMA demand
to stay soft near term
By Li Li Chng 31-Aug-21 23:04 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The Asian methyl methacrylate (MMA) market has been largely stable over August, and the trend could remain gradual in the short term on balanced supply and demand. Even though some suppliers have been experiencing tightness, demand in Asia is soft, especially in the southeast Asian markets that are battling resurgent COVID-19 cases.
PODCAST: highest operating rates for
chemicals in 30 years despite
By Will Beacham 31-Aug-21 22:44 BARCELONA (ICIS)--The global chemical industry is enjoying the highest operating rate in three decades despite disruption caused by the pandemic and logistics crisis.
Europe August PVC
outlook stays tight, contract prices
By Chris Barker 31-Aug-21 19:09 LONDON (ICIS)--European polyvinyl chloride (PVC) contract prices rose for August due to limited availability, with demand expected to remain high through the remainder of 2021 and global tightness continuing to weigh on the market.
petrochemical demand to stay weak despite 1
By Nurluqman Suratman 31-Aug-21 13:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Thailand's petrochemical market outlook remains weak in the near term as the country battles its worst COVID-19 outbreak to date, with its economic recovery expected to be slower compared with peers in southeast Asia.
imports’ demand to remain slow ahead of BIS
By Veena Pathare 27-Aug-21 09:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--India’s demand for September-lifting spot polyethylene (PE) cargoes has begun to weaken, and is likely to remain slow ahead of the mid-October deadline of ensuring implementation of quality certifications mandated by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
China’s PE pipe
grade demand outlook cautious for
By Hazel Goh 26-Aug-21 19:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s demand outlook for polyethylene (PE) pipe grade is cautious even as the typical peak demand season in September-October approaches, amid limited new downstream pipe projects.
petrochemicals in morass of bearish demand,
By Felicia Loo 26-Aug-21 15:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asian petrochemical markets are in a morass of downbeat demand as COVID-19 and container shortages continue to haunt the region.
Some PP grades
remain tight in Europe as players return
By Linda Naylor 26-Aug-21 17:39 LONDON (ICIS)--Polypropylene (PP) players are returning from holiday, slowly in the south of Europe, but September is far from clear. Some non-commodity grades remain tight.
INSIGHT: Coatings sector
navigates raw materials headwinds, strong
By Tom Brown 24-Aug-21 23:36 LONDON (ICIS)--The coatings sector is currently navigating surging demand as the industrial rebound adds to the home improvement boom seen throughout the pandemic, alongside raw materials costs surging to near-decade highs and supply chain headaches.
polyol markets could see lingering tightness on
propylene, PO supply issues
By Zachary Moore 24-Aug-21 23:08 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Recent fresh supply problems with polyether polyol feedstocks propylene and propylene oxide (PO) could exacerbate supply tightness in the coming weeks.
PODCAST: Logistics crisis
could last for years, create more regional
By Will Beacham 24-Aug-21 19:45 BARCELONA (ICIS)--The container logistics and supply chain crisis could continue for years, forcing chemical companies to pursue less global and more regional strategies.
European MEG market awaits delayed
August contract confirmation; outlook turns
By Melissa Hurley 24-Aug-21 00:59 LONDON (ICIS)--The European monoethylene glycol (MEG) market continues to wait for full confirmation of the August contract price. While attitudes over contract prices remain divided, sellers are adopting a more bullish attitude in the spot market as supply is expected to tighten next month.
PODCAST: China C3
start-ups to boost H2 supply; Asia deep-sea
exports to grow
By Yue Jiao 20-Aug-21 15:56 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--In this episode of the ICIS Asia podcast, analyst Jady Ma speaks with analyst Arron Jiao about China’s domestic propylene market.
fatty alcohols producers divert to EU and US to
counter Asia slump
By Helen Yan 20-Aug-21 13:19 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Major fatty alcohols producers in southeast Asia are shipping more of their cargoes in bulk to other regions to counter the demand slump in Asia and soaring container freight rates. Supply disruptions and security have been major concerns for market players in the global trade.
China heavy port
congestion to remain amid restrictions
By Nurluqman Suratman 19-Aug-21 16:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The heavy congestion at Chinese ports is set to remain in the near term amid uncertainty over the length of recent COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the government to stem further outbreaks.
PBT buying momentum eases, weak demand to
By Clive Ong 19-Aug-21 14:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) price upswing came to an end this week as the buying momentum slowed, with some players expecting the weak demand to persist into the fourth quarter.
PODCAST: Asia PX
faces slowdown in Chinese downstream PTA
By Jasmine Khoo 19-Aug-21 12:01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The supply balance for paraxylene (PX) in Asia is relatively balanced currently but its near term outlook is clouded by the recent weakness seen in the downstream purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and polyester markets in China. Aside from PTA and polyester demand weakness in China, persistently high container freight markets are also acting as a headwind to the market. In this podcast, Jasmine Khoo speaks with editor Samuel Wong on the recent developments in the PX and PTA markets.
Strong demand and
rough logistics keeping US MMA
By Tarun Raizada 19-Aug-21 06:05 HOUSTON (ICIS)--US methyl methacrylate (MMA) is seeing upward momentum this month as strong demand and logistical issues lend some degree of firmness to the markets, despite an improved supply picture.
shifting amid prolonged limited US acetic acid
By Anna Matherne 18-Aug-21 06:01 HOUSTON (ICIS)--The extreme tight supply situation for US acetic acid has no signs of easing in the short term, which could lead to further shifting in trade flows globally.
PODCAST: US base
oils, refined product inventories lean as
hurricane season hits stride
By Amanda Hay 18-Aug-21 03:13 HOUSTON (ICIS)--US base oil and refined product inventories are lower than is typical as both markets are facing the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season.
Europe BPA supply to stay
tense on disrupted and dwindling import
By Heidi Finch 16-Aug-21 20:33 LONDON (ICIS)--Import delays are straining Europe bisphenol A (BPA) spot supply and a lack of fresh spot exports from Asia could keep supply tense in the coming months, if demand remains healthy.
China port issues
compound worries over Asian chemical
By Nurluqman Suratman 13-Aug-21 13:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The congestion at ports in China due to restrictions following an outbreak of COVID-19 cases has injected fresh uncertainty over shipment logistics in several chemical markets in Asia. Major ports in China are facing severe operational disruptions following an outbreak of COVID-19 in Jiangsu province , with the Chinese government tightening policies such as mass nucleic acid testing to stem rising infection numbers.
PE prices steady for most Latin America
markets, demand stable to
By Renato Frimm 13-Aug-21 00:32 HOUSTON(ICIS)--Latin American polyethylene (PE) prices are steady in August for Brazil and Argentina. Demand in Q3 is historically the strongest quarter of the year, while expectations for November and December are typically weak.
acetic acid and etac face constraints amid
strong demand, production
By Alex Snodgrass 12-Aug-21 22:11 HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US acetic acid and ethyl acetate (etac) markets faced strong demand and tight supply during the pandemic, but fresh production issues threaten to constrain both markets further.
shipments to China face further delays on
Ningbo port disruption
By Helen Yan 12-Aug-21 14:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Glycerine shipments to China may face further delays following a disruption of operations at Ningbo, a major container port in the country.
petrochemical output in Jubail disrupted by
By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Aug-21 14:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Several producers in Saudi Arabia are facing production issues due to disruptions at upstream feedstock suppliers in Al Jubail due to a power outage in early August.
driving season props up blending agents but
toluene, MX in the slow lane
By Zubair Adam 11-Aug-21 20:14 LONDON (ICIS)--Demand for many gasoline blending agents has started to rebound after governments started to ease social restrictions began to be eased across Europe just in time for peak driving season.
market sentiment takes a battering from Delta
By Felicia Loo 11-Aug-21 13:02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia's chemical markets are battening down the hatches as sentiment is being eroded from the dreadful Delta variant across the region, with logistical and port restrictions affecting supply chains.
methanol market bullish on
By Eashani Chavda 09-Aug-21 19:19 LONDON (ICIS)--Supply constraints in Europe remain a concern as the methanol market braces itself for a bullish rest of the third quarter.
Fast-spreading Delta variant may roil Asia
chemical markets, demand
By Felicia Loo 06-Aug-21 10:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Open. Close. Open. Close. In a strategy to battle the crippling, defiant COVID-19 virus, it is a binary du jour for countries to adopt snap lockdowns or partial ones as the occasion rises, and re-open when the threat diminishes. With the Delta strain in every nook and cranny of Asia, economies could be brought to their knees amid fast-rising cases. To some degree, the highly transmissible Delta variant could even upend demand in petrochemical and oleochemical markets.
INSIGHT: New US
refrigerant rules should increase HFO demand
By Al Greenwood 05-Aug-21 21:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Refrigerant regulations that should soon go into effect in the US should encourage buildings to switch over to hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) and other less powerful greenhouse gases, as automobile producers have mostly changed over.
demand up amid high freight costs, tight
By Felicia Loo 04-Aug-21 12:56 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Petrochemical demand in the Middle East is on an uptrend during summer while market players continue to tackle high freight costs and severe container shortages.
PODCAST: Fear of
shortages may fuel inventory building; expect
By Will Beacham 03-Aug-21 20:32 BARCELONA (ICIS)--Chemical markets may be artificially buoyed by inventory building along stretched supply chains, but poor downstream demand could lead to rapid destocking in the second half of 2021.
Bullish US PM market
drives European arbitrage for
By Eashani Chavda 03-Aug-21 00:38 LONDON (ICIS)--Bullish US glycol ether spot prices have opened an arbitrage for European propylene glycol methyl ether (PM) exports in Q3.
chemical production rebounded in June but
By Nigel Davis 03-Aug-21 00:15 LONDON (ICIS)--A widespread increase in demand drove chemicals production up in the second quarter, with the global chemical operating rate climbing higher in June.
ABS supply shortage until at least Q4, ongoing
pressures across H2
By Stephanie Wix 02-Aug-21 16:00 LONDON (ICIS)--The supply shortage in the European acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) market is expected to continue across H2 2021, as ongoing pressures are likely to prevent any relief to the difficult market situation, including production issues in the supply chain, low imports, and strong demand.
Asian ABS demand
weakens as buyers postpone
By Julia Tan 02-Aug-21 15:05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Port congestion is likely to continue to affect Asian demand for acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) as buyers across the supply chain opt to postpone purchases amid delayed cargo arrivals.
PE, PP players eye demand recovery; pandemic
weighs on sentiment
By Veena Pathare 30-Jul-21 10:41 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--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.
clock is ticking for chemicals as border taxes
By Joseph Chang 30-Jul-21 05:12 NEW YORK (ICIS)--The chemicals and plastics industry is officially on notice. With the EU’s proposal to implement a border tax for certain carbon-intensive imports, and carbon prices expected to rise, the clock is ticking for producers to decarbonise en masse.
container supply, demand diverges from chemical
By Adam Yanelli 29-Jul-21 22:37 HOUSTON (ICIS)--As the coronavirus pandemic shifts consumer buying patterns and ship demand surges, containers and tankers have seen a large divergence in demand.
private teapot refiners face crude feedstock
By Nurluqman Suratman 29-Jul-21 18:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--In this episode of the ICIS Asia podcast, senior reporter Nurluqman Suratman discusses with ICIS principal analyst Patricia Tao on current feedstock issues being faced by some of China's private teapot refineries following recent government crackdown on crude import quotas trading.
POM demand to remain beefy against tight
By Zubair Adam 28-Jul-21 23:36 LONDON (ICIS)--Supply of polyacetal (POM) in Europe is expected to remain tight while demand stays firm in the second half of 2021.
PTA faces mounting challenges, high freights,
By Samuel Wong 28-Jul-21 11:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--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.
carbon costs will push Europe chemicals to
By Will Beacham 27-Jul-21 22:35 BARCELONA (ICIS)--Forecasts of sharp increases in the cost of carbon for Europe's chemicals industry highlight the need to plan now for a transition to more efficient production.
OUTLOOK: Asia ABS
demand to improve from
By Julia Tan 27-Jul-21 13:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--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.
ANALYSIS AND RESOURCES