TOPIC PAGE: Coronavirus, oil price direction – impact on chemicals

Will Beacham


With China’s 20th Party Congress coming up on 16 October, COVID-19 curbs are expected to be tightened in the country and thus, increasing risks of further disruptions to supply chains and businesses.

This takes into consideration that historically COVID-19 has been more infectious in the winter, the Chinese New Year holiday will come in January 2023, and the National People’s Congress (NPC) annual gathering is scheduled to be held in March 2023, when the race for the once-in-a-decade political reshuffle is in the final stretch.

Ongoing lockdown measures in some parts of China, due to rising COVID-19 cases, are leading to uncertainties for production, operations, and logistics. This may bring potential downward pressure to end-user demand.

In addition, with rising concerns about the economy, potential recession and high inflation, demand related to celebrations such as Christmas and the calendar New Year is expected to be slow in many Asian countries this year.

China, the world’s second-biggest economy, is projected to grow at a much slower pace of 2.8% this year compared with an earlier forecast of 5.0%, according to the World Bank, amid the country’s zero-COVID policy and ongoing property crisis.

Caixin’s China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 48.1 in September from 49.5 in August as efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus weighed on both output and new orders.

Updated on 30 September 2022

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. 

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LATEST HEADLINES (Last updated at 03:00 GMT on 30 September 2022)

INSIGHT: Trends converging to create Q4 glut in US plastics
By Al Greenwood 30-Sep-22 05:21 HOUSTON (ICIS)–North American polymer markets are facing a growing glut because of weakening demand, expanding capacity and rising inventories.

Europe economic sentiment dropping as Germany on brink of recession
By Morgan Condon 29-Sep-22 23:13 LONDON (ICIS)–European economic sentiment continued falling in September, for both the EU and the eurozone, and the German economy is heading towards a recession, as sentiment is shaped by sustained high energy prices.

Lockdowns, property crisis to slow China 2022 GDP growth to 2.8% – World Bank
By Nurluqman Suratman 29-Sep-22 13:3 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China, the world’s second-biggest economy, is projected to grow at a much slower pace of 2.8% this year compared with an earlier forecast of 5.0%, according to the World Bank, amid the country’s zero-COVID policy and ongoing property crisis.

INSIGHT: India PVC market weathers stormy first half, safeguard investigation begins
By Damini Dabholkar 29-Sep-22 11:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS) –India’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market stabilised slightly in September, after having weathered a storm over the previous 12 months.

China’s PE prices rebound, eyes on demand sustainability
By Sijia Li 28-Sep-22 12:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polyethylene (PE) prices have rebounded following continual declines in the past two months, finding support from improved end-user demand during the September-October traditional peak season.

INSIGHT: High cost threatens Asia petrochemical output as regional currencies tumble
By Pearl Bantillo 27-Sep-22 12:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical production is at risk of shrinking further as imported raw materials get more expensive each day that Asian currencies tumble to new lows.

INSIGHT: Russia-Ukraine war, surging inflation continue to dim growth expectations
By Tom Brown 27-Sep-22 00:17 LONDON (ICIS)–The outlook for global growth is continuing to darken as the economy loses momentum in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war, with fresh economic projections pointing to a substantial deterioration in prospects from 2023 even relative to a few months ago

US HB Fuller sees rebound in Asia, slowdown in Europe
By Al Greenwood 23-Sep-22 05:43 HOUSON (ICIS)–HB Fuller began to see a rebound in Asian demand during its fiscal third quarter because China is reopening from its COVID-19 lockdowns, the US-based adhesives producer said on Thursday, a trend that other chemical producers have yet to see.

INSIGHT: US plastics becomes sixth-largest industry
By Melissa Wheeler 22-Sep-22 23:21 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US plastics industry has moved two spots up to become the sixth-largest industry in the country, according to the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS).

Asia MEG market under pressure as downstream cuts operation to ease high inventories
By Judith Wang 22-Sep-22 18:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) market has been under pressure during the week as downstream polyester sector initiated another round of operation cuts in a bid to relieve inventory pressure.

INSIGHT: Widespread demand reduction makes a tough quarter tougher
By Nigel Davis 21-Sep-22 23:49 LONDON (ICIS)–It has been a tough third quarter for most upstream producers of chemicals and others as weaker demand and rising costs have combined to hit earnings and shift guidance.

US inland truck capacity increases as demand remains firm
By Adam Yanelli 21-Sep-22 05:15 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Spot and contract rates for inland truck deliveries have fallen from record-highs as capacity has increased and demand has remained strong, according to panelists on a webinar hosted by supply chain market intelligence provider Freightwaves.

INSIGHT: Asia petrochemical market to rebound in September
By Amy Yu 15-Sep-22 18:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)– Some Asia petrochemical prices rebounded in early September after the decrease in August.

China Aug petrochemical prices fall on poor consumption; Sept demand picks up
By Yvonne Shi 13-Sep-22 15:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical prices weakened in August amid poor consumption and declines in crude values.

INSIGHT: China’s PP market bearish in Jul-Aug, eyes on demand performance
By Zhibo Xiao 12-Sep-22 17:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polypropylene (PP) prices were on a downtrend in July-August, due to subdued domestic and overseas demand. Moving forward, demand is likely to pick up on the traditional peak season in September and October and more export opportunities.

Asia BDO firmer as supply constrained on north China COVID-19 restrictions
By Clive Ong 15-Sep-22 14:51 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian 1,4-butanediol (BDO) firmed on the back of the rebound in the Chinese domestic market.

Weakening European consumer demand, lack of China recovery to hit Dow Q3 sales and earnings – CFO By Joseph Chang 15-Sep-22 05:13

NEW YORK (ICIS)–Deteriorating consumer demand in Europe, the lack of any meaningful recovery in China because of continuing COVID lockdowns and rising interest rates and inflation driving down housing activity in the US along with logistics constraints are all conspiring to bring down Dow’s sales and earnings in Q3.

Japan upgrades Q2 GDP growth to 3.5% on stronger consumer spending
By Nurluqman Suratman 08-Sep-22 12:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japan’s economy in the second quarter grew at an annualized rate of 3.5%, up from the initial estimate of 2.2% as domestic spending improved more than expected, official data showed on Thursday.

PODCAST: Sliding fundamentals could reshape global chemicals production
By Morgan Condon 07-Sep-22 02:00 LONDON (ICIS)–Although summer in the northern hemisphere draws to a close, the typical swing in seasonal demand has not returned for September, and the global chemicals industry faces a challenging close of 2022.

INSIGHT: Strong oil boosts Saudi Arabia coffers for future growth
By Pearl Bantillo 06-Sep-22 17:55 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi Arabia looks set to stand among the strongest-growing economies in the world in 2022, reaping strong benefits from elevated energy prices – an unwelcome offshoot of the Russia-Ukraine war.

INSIGHT: Lengthy supply, weak demand reflect extremely difficult September in Europe
By Nigel Davis 05-Sep-22 23:41 LONDON (ICIS)–Market players in Europe usually expect to return from summer breaks with something of a spring in their step. The quietest days of August give way to a busier September and often a relatively strong fourth quarter.

Oil rises $1/bbl on possible OPEC supply cuts; China lockdowns cap gains
By Nurluqman Suratman 05-Sep-22 11:19 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices rose by more than $1/bbl on Monday morning as investors fret over a possible production cut by OPEC and its allies later in the day to support the market.

Singapore industries face demand headwinds; Aug PMI slips to 50
By Nurluqman Suratman 05-Sep-22 13:14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore’s manufacturing sector is expected to face further demand headwinds following a marginal drop in its key purchasing managers’ index (PMI) in August as new export orders slow down.

INSIGHT: Global chemicals must ‘prepare for pain’ as central banks press ahead to quash inflation
By Joseph Chang 01-Sep-22 23:45 NEW YORK (ICIS)–‘Pain and sacrifice’ – those are the words coming from the head of the world’s largest central bank – the US Federal Reserve – and the European Central Bank (ECB) on what looms on the horizon. Stamping out inflation is job number one, and they will do whatever it takes, even if it means recession and higher unemployment.

NE Asia August factory activities weaken amid slowing global economy
By Nurluqman Suratman 01-Sep-22 13:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Factory activities across northeast Asia weakened in August on poor overseas demand amid slowing global economic growth.

Japan’s au Jibun Bank Aug manufacturing PMI slips to 51.5
By Nurluqman Suratman 01-Sep-22 10:19 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–au Jibun Bank’s final manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for Japan fell to 51.5 in August from 52.1 in July, marking a softer improvement in the health of the sector that was the joint-weakest since February 2021, the Japanese bank said on Thursday.

INSIGHT: Asia PET resin supply and demand fundamentals to remain tight in 2022
By Jimmy Zhan 31-Aug-22 18:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Since mid-2022, there has been concern of economic recession globally in the market. Combined with serious inflation, the outlook for consumption remains cautious.

China industries contract in August amid power cuts, COVID-19 curbs
By Nurluqman Suratman 31-Aug-22 14:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s manufacturing activity continued to contract as the country grapples with power outages caused by record heatwave and drought in August, with fresh COVID-19 curbs hampering overall industrial output and consumption.

INTERVIEW: LANXESS sharpens focus on North America for future investment – CEO
By Joseph Chang 30-Aug-22 04:11 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Germany-based LANXESS will focus predominantly on North America for future investments while maintaining its asset base in Europe and putting on hold any major projects in China, its CEO said.

China’s Sinopec H1 net profit up 10.5%; chemical earnings slump 94%
By Fanny Zhang 29-Aug-22 14:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Chinese petrochemical giant Sinopec reported a 10.5% year-on-year increase in first-half 2022 net profit on the back of strong crude, even as its chemical earnings shrunk 94% as demand collapsed amid COVID-19 curbs.

Power cuts in parts of China depress petrochemical demand further
By Fanny Zhang 24-Aug-22 12:50 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Power shortages in parts of China amid a prolonged heatwave have been disrupting operations at factories, further dampening demand for petrochemicals already hit by COVID-19 lockdowns.

China PE demand still down, with power rationing over high temperatures
By Joanne Wang 23-Aug-22 19:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polyethylene (PE) demand remains curbed this summer as downstream operations are curtailed by power rationing in east, north and south China amid high temperatures. This has weighed on the market further as demand has not yet picked up significantly since Shanghai reopened on 1 June after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

Philippine central bank hikes key interest rates anew to tame inflation
By Pearl Bantillo 18-Aug-22 18:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced on Thursday a 50 basis point (bps) hike in its key interest rates, with further monetary tightening possible as average inflation this year is expected to exceed its 2.0-4.0% target.

INSIGHT: Asia petrochemical margins shrink amid price slump, poor demand
By Nurluqman Suratman 18-Aug-22 13:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical margins are being eroded by sharp price declines, high feedstock costs and tepid downstream demand, with market sentiment weighed down by economic uncertainties in China and fears of a global recession.

China PP demand likely to weaken on power rationing amid high temperatures
By Lucy Shuai 18-Aug-22 11:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polypropylene (PP) demand is expected to weaken in the short term as downstream operations in east, north and southwest China are curbed by power rationing measures amid heatwaves.

Asia petrochemicals bottoming out; concerns on demand recovery, margins remain
By Joey Zhou 17-Aug-22 16:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian petrochemical market is expected to bottom out and start rebounding in August, while most products still see lower average prices than July.

INSIGHT: Brenntag cuts through H2 headwinds in earnings guidance
By Morgan Condon 17-Aug-22 01:30 LONDON (ICIS)–Chemicals distributor Brenntag expects to hit the upper end of its targets for 2022, despite the likelihood that the manifold challenges facing the logistics sector will endure across the rest of the year.

Malaysia’s Q2 GDP expands 8.9%, growth to moderate on global uncertainties
By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Aug-22 15:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Malaysia’s economy grew by 8.9% year on year in the second quarter of this year on improving domestic demand, but heightened global uncertainties are expected to weigh on its growth outlook, the central bank said on Friday.

High production costs erode Asian R-HDPE margins
By Arianne Perez 12-Aug-22 13:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–As production costs of recycled high-density polyethylene (R-HDPE) blow moulding pellets remain high in Asia while demand stays lacklustre, sellers’ margins will continue to narrow in the weeks ahead.

PODCAST: Asian olefins producers challenged to preserve margins in H2 – ICIS analysts
By Morgan Condon 12-Aug-22 05:00 LONDON (ICIS)–Asian olefins capacity is set to increase in the coming months, but against the prospect of a global recession and challenging demand it is unclear how this will develop for producers.

Trade data show US base oil export availability has not returned to pre-pandemic levels
By Amanda Hay 12-Aug-22 03:04 HOUSTON (ICIS)–ICIS trade data reveal that the US has not yet returned to pre-pandemic export levels of base oils as supply constraints, shifting trade flows and high prices have curbed export activity.

OPEC revises crude demand forecast down on slowing global economy
By Jonathan Lopez 11-Aug-22 22:40 MADRID (ICIS)–While crude oil demand continued its “strong recovery” to pre-pandemic levels, economic growth showed signs of a slowdown in July and, with it, crude demand also took a hit, producing cartel OPEC said on Thursday.

UK to face increased competition for LNG in fourth quarter
By Hector Falconer 11-Aug-22 19:20 LONDON (ICIS)–Britain is likely to face increased competition for LNG supply in the fourth quarter of 2022 amid uncertainty over Russian piped supply to mainland Europe, supporting NBP winter contracts especially in the case of cold weather.

Oil prices exposed to opposing fundamentals, extreme volatility
By Cecilia Barreiro 11-Aug-22 18:58 LONDON (ICIS)–The August outlook for oil prices is subject to increased uncertainty resulting from a number of bullish and bearish factors. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will continue to be a central driving force and keep oil markets volatile while rising global inflation is expected to keep a lid on demand.

Singapore trims 2022 GDP growth forecast to 3-4% on global headwinds
By Nurluqman Suratman 11-Aug-22 11:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore on Thursday trimmed its 2022 GDP growth forecast to 3-4%, from the previous estimate of 3-5%, due to the deteriorating global economic environment.

SE Asia palm biodiesel to see record export volumes, healthy demand
By Keven Zhang 11-Aug-22 11:15 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Southeast Asia’s palm methyl ester (PME) export volumes are likely to climb to record highs in July and August, as several bullish factors boost buying interest.

Thai PTTGC Q2 net profit falls sharply amid lower chem margins
By Nurluqman Suratman 10-Aug-22 15:30 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–PTT Global Chemical’s (PTTGC) net profit fell by 83.9% year on year in the second quarter, weighed partly by lower margins across all of its chemicals businesses, the Thailand-based producer said on Wednesday.

Saudi SABIC Q2 net profit up 3.8%; H2 margins to stay under pressure
By Nurluqman Suratman 10-Aug-22 12:42 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi petrochemicals major SABIC posted a 3.8% year-on-year increase in second-quarter net profit, while it expects margins to remain under pressure in the second half of 2022.

INSIGHT: Indonesia economy surprises in Q2; prospects dim in H2
By Pearl Bantillo 10-Aug-22 21:03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Indonesia’s growth momentum is expected to weaken for the rest of the year and into 2023, as high inflation hits overall domestic consumption. External demand is being threatened by a possible global recession.

China July petrochemical markets slump; outlook stays bearish
By Yvonne Shi 09-Aug-22 08:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical markets fell across the board in July on weak demand, which persists into August while supply is projected to grow for the rest of the year.

INSIGHT: Business, chemicals indicators point to global downturn
By Will Beacham 04-Aug-22 19:09 BARCELONA (ICIS)–New economic data combined with deteriorating chemical industry performance, suggests that the second half of the year could be bleak. Latest figures for July from Oxford Economics’ Global Business Sentiment Index show declining confidence about growth, and fears about downside risks while a recent profit warning from Covestro and slumping chemical prices suggest demand may be waning along supply chains.

OUTLOOK: China’s PE market to feel pressure from imports, slowing demand growth
By Joanne Wang 02-Aug-22 14:24 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polyethylene (PE) market may feel stronger pressure from increasing imports in the second half of 2022 amid weak overseas demand, while domestic producers may kick off another round of output reduction on squeezed margins and subdued demand. China’s domestic PE prices were largely on a downtrend in the first half of the year. Prices increased around the world in the first quarter as the Russia-Ukraine conflict pushed up crude prices sharply.

Asia July industries – a mixed bag as battle with inflation continues
By Nurluqman Suratman 02-Aug-22 13:59 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s manufacturing sector in July presented a mixed performance, with major economies in the northeast showing a marked slowdown in activity, as the region continues to contend with high input costs and weak demand. For China, both the official and non-official manufacturing purchasing managers’ indices (PMI) for July indicated continued weakness in the world’s second-biggest economy

Supply problems continued to disrupt German manufacturers in July – Ifo
By Morgan Condon 01-Aug-22 17:27 LONDON (ICIS)–Bottlenecks continued to disrupt German manufacturing in July, with the majority of the chemicals industry hit by material shortages, according to the latest data from the Ifo Institute. Supply problems impacted 73.3% of German manufacturing companies surveyed by Ifo in July, down from 74.1% in June. Chemicals were less impacted than other downstream sectors.

OUTLOOK: China’s oxo-alcohols weighed by slow demand recovery, increasing supply
By Claire Gao 29-Jul-22 16:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s oxo-alcohols markets will face downward pressure from slow recovery of demand and increasing supply, although the outlook of export is promising.

OUTLOOK: US EDC likely to re-enter global markets in 2H as macroeconomic headwinds change flows
By Bill Bowen 29-Jul-22 05:56 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US ethylene dichloride (EDC) is likely to see weakened demand and greater availability in the second half of 2022 as demand for its downstream derivative polymer weakens on less construction activity amid macroeconomic headwinds.

INSIGHT: Europe industry facing difficult August as gas supply concerns mount
By Nigel Davis 29-Jul-22 00:14 LONDON (ICIS)–It is almost like stepping back in time, with industrial sectors in Europe vying for the attention of governments and lawmakers to try to secure operations should the region’s gas crisis escalate.

S Korea’s S-Oil Q2 net income more than doubles; Q3 PX spread to weaken
By Nurluqman Suratman 28-Jul-22 13:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–S-Oil’s second-quarter net income more than doubled year on year on strong refining margins and robust aromatics demand, but the South Korean producer’s paraxylene (PX) spread is expected to weaken in July-September 2022.

SE Asia August PE offers stable to soft but Vietnam market under intense pressure
By Izham Ahmad 28-Jul-22 11:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Initial spot import offers for August shipments of polyethylene (PE) in southeast Asia were announced either stable or softer this week as buying sentiment continued to be depressed by the slump in demand from China.

VIDEO: China’s new EVA capacities to weigh on Q3 sentiment
By Joanne Wang 22-Jul-22 12:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch ICIS senior industry analyst Joanne Wang discuss the ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) capacity increases in China and the recently launched EVA China RMB index.

Chinese ethanolamines slump weighs on sentiment in Asia and India
By Clive Ong 22-Jul-22 10:45 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The ongoing slump in the ethanolamines market in domestic China continues to weigh on sentiment of players in Asia and India.

OUTLOOK: European MMA demand uncertain amid wider economic challenges
By Mathew Jolin-Beech 21-Jul-22 23:24 LONDON (ICIS)–The European methyl methacrylate (MMA) market is facing uncertain H2 demand amid wider geopolitical and economic challenges.

Asia BDO remains weighed down by ongoing Chinese market slump
By Clive Ong 21-Jul-22 16:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian butanediol (BDO) market continues to be impacted by the ongoing slump in the Chinese domestic sector. Sentiment has turned increasingly bearish with participants anticipating further weakness in the near term.

OUTLOOK: US MEG market expected to get longer through Q3
By Melissa Wheeler 21-Jul-22 05:10 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The monoethylene glycol (MEG) market is expected to remain long through Q3 as suppliers continue to offer more product.

PODCAST: China’s base oils demand to be better in autumn, imports to decline YOY in H2
By Whitney Shi 20-Jul-22 15:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analyst Jady Ma and Whitney Shi discuss the outlook of China’s base oil market in this episode.

Prolonged heatwave could hinder operations at Europe petrochemicals plants
By Jonathan Lopez 19-Jul-22 18:09 MADRID (ICIS)–High temperatures across Europe could reduce operating rates at some petrochemicals plants, as cooling operations become more difficult, trade groups have warned.

OUTLOOK: Middle East base oils market to face stable-to-soft demand in H2
By Izham Ahmad 19-Jul-22 10:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Middle East base oils spot market is expected to still face uncertainties in the final half of 2022 as supply of most grades is expected to be mixed, with demand expected to remain stable to soft due to sluggish economic growth and global automotive sales.

World petrochemical sentiment weak as demand falters
By Felicia Loo 15-Jul-22 14:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)-Global petrochemical markets are mired in a challenging situation writ large, with demand dull as recession risks gather pace.

VIDEO: Asia adipic acid demand struggles to reach pre-lockdown levels
By Josh Quah 15-Jul-22 14:01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch ICIS editor Josh Quah discuss developments in Asia’s adipic acid market.

PODCAST: Chems sector resilient in Q2 but conditions forecast bleak for H2
By Tom Brown 14-Jul-22 18:44 LONDON (ICIS)–Projected second-quarter financial data for BASF hints that conditions for chemicals players may have been stronger than expected in the second quarter of 2022, but rising COVID-19 infection numbers in China only add to the slew of bearish news for the second half of the year.

PODCAST: China’s LDPE facing continued supply pressure
By Joanne Wang 14-Jul-22 10:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–In this episode, ICIS analyst Jady Ma and Joanne Wang discuss the recent developments and outlook of China’s low density polyethylene (LDPE) market.

Europe PET high prices detrimental to sales in bearish climate
By Caroline Murray 13-Jul-22 23:15 LONDON (ICIS)–The peak season for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottlers in Europe is the summer but the combination of extraordinarily high prices and the unstable economy is affecting sales.

China PP hits lowest levels this year on slumping crude, weak demand
By Lucy Shuai 13-Jul-22 16:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polypropylene (PP) prices fell to their lowest levels this year from slumping crude oil and weak downstream demand, on concerns of a global economic recession.

Crude falls nearly $2/bbl on fresh China COVID-19 curbs
By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Jul-22 11:08 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices fell by nearly $2/bbl on Tuesday morning on worries over fresh COVID-19 restrictions in China, the world’s biggest crude importer.

INSIGHT: Demand uncertainty pressuring prices as downturn gathers momentum
By Nigel Davis 11-Jul-22 23:43 LONDON (ICIS)–Movement in the ICIS weekly and monthly petrochemical indexes illustrate the strain being put on producers to hold prices in the face of increasing demand uncertainty and the volatile feedstock and energy cost environment.

European melamine spot prices stable-to-soft; Q3 contract talks ongoing as supplier and consumer pricing ideas clash
By Melissa Hurley 08-Jul-22 00:44 LONDON (ICIS)–European melamine third quarter contract discussions continued this week. More progress is expected towards the end of the week, heading in to next week. Talks between suppliers and consumers are divisive as pricing expectations remain unmatched.

PODCAST: Europe’s oxo-alcohols chain faces demand erosion amid economic uncertainty
By Mathew Jolin-Beech 07-Jul-22 22:03 LONDON (ICIS)–The European oxo-alcohols chain faces a slowdown in demand from end use sectors as the wider geopolitical and economic uncertainties begin to bite. This ICIS podcast explores the latest developments for oxo-alcohols and its derivative markets.

PODCAST: Global shortage of MEK eases, though US prices remain high
By Nick Cleeve 07-Jul-22 17:58 LONDON (ICIS)–Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) prices are softening globally as supply constraints ease, although prices in the US, a net importer, remain at extremely high levels, drawing exports from Asia and Europe.

Asia petchems mired in bearishness on elevated recession fears
By Felicia Loo 07-Jul-22 11:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian petrochemical markets are in a jam, with price bearishness across the board as recession risks continue to mount.

OUTLOOK: Tight supply concerns flip to reduced oil demand by Q4
By Barney Gray 07-Jul-22 00:49LONDON (ICIS)–Oil prices were in a post-Covid recovery phase prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Since then, H1 crude prices have been driven by the fallout from the war, reaching record highs. But the oil market will be characterised by major volatility and rising uncertainty as we head into H2.

PODCAST: UK chemicals fighting Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – CIA CEO
By Will Beacham 05-Jul-22 22:48 LONDON (ICIS)–The UK chemicals industry is battling the quadruple challenges of Brexit, COVID-19, the cost of living crisis and the war in Ukraine, according to Stephen Elliott, CEO of UK trade group the Chemical Industries Association.

OUTLOOK: Demand for low-end R-PET to continue to shrink
By Arianne Perez 04-Jul-22 15:03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Low-end applications of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) will become less popular as the more competitive virgin PET continues to eat into its market share.

China’s propylene faces headwinds from ample supply, weak demand in June
By Yi Liang 04-Jul-22 10:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s domestic propylene market continues to face headwinds from ample supply and sluggish end-user demand in June, with market sentiment turning bearish.

Mideast petchem market sentiment bearish on weak demand
By Felicia Loo 01-Jul-22 11:30 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Sentiment in the Middle East petrochemical markets is bearish, as demand is tepid against a backdrop of ample supply. The soaring inflation rates have led to a reduced purchasing power, weakening buyers’ appetites.

Asia AA and acrylates largely lower; sentiment softer on China downtrend
By Li Li Chng 29-Jun-22 21:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)— Asia’s acrylic acid (AA) and acrylate esters spot discussions were under pressure, with market sentiment bearish amid a downtrend in China.

PODCAST: China PP to face uncertainties in H2 ’22 amid high costs
By Lucy Shuai 29-Jun-22 17:47 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analysts Jady Ma and Lucy Shuai discuss the recent developments and outlook of China’s polypropylene (PP) market.

PODCAST: Europe and Middle East isocyanates demand slows
By ICIS Editorial 29-Jun-22 17:09 LONDON (ICIS)–Isocyanates Europe editor Zubair Adam discusses current demand and supply market trends for Europe with isocyanates Middle East editor Damini Dabholkar.

US ethylene begins Q3 with ample supply, eroding margins
By John Donnelly 29-Jun-22 05:45 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US ethylene market is seeing ample supply, lower margins but decent derivative demand heading into Q3.

INSIGHT: Energy demand rebound at a time of crisis, bp stats show
By Nigel Davis 28-Jun-22 23:39 LONDON (ICIS)–Here is the energy crisis writ large. The chart, from bp as it released its latest Statistical Review of World Energy on Tuesday, shows the sharp rebound in energy consumption as COVID-19 restrictions eased and global economic activity recovered.

PODCAST: Isocyanates face high costs, squeezed margins in H2 – ICIS analysts
By Morgan Condon 28-Jun-22 21:02 LONDON (ICIS)–The isocyanates market is faced with steep production costs and weakening demand across downstream sectors, presenting the industry with a darkening outlook.

European PVC shows signs of lengthening on demand, global trends
By Chris Barker 28-Jun-22 17:29 LONDON (ICIS)–European polyvinyl chloride (PVC) contract prices for June have settled with rollovers to decreases compared to May, with indications that the outlook for availability has lengthened compared to earlier in the year.

Asia ADA trade flows punch above weight in May
By Josh Quah 24-Jun-22 13:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia adipic acid (ADA) markets logged a large trade surplus in May, according to import-export data captured by ICIS Supply and Demand Database.

Europe capro, nylon 6 markets face slow summer demand
By Marta Fern 24-Jun-22 00:35 LONDON (ICIS)–European caprolactam (capro) and nylon 6 markets are facing persistent soft demand, which could weaken further in the coming months while the costs of production are on the rise.

VIDEO: Asia MEG may face more challenges in H2 2022
By Judith Wang 23-Jun-22 17:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch ICIS Senior Editor Judith Wang discuss current developments in Asia’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) market and its outlook.

China’s NBR import offers plummet with domestic losses, soft demand
By Ai Teng Lim 23-Jun-22 15:56 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s import offers for acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) are at year-low levels, as sellers tried to chase deals with wider discounts.

Tight tonnage and robust demand push Asian chemical tanker market, sentiment bullish
By Luffy Wu 23-Jun-22 14:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian chemical tanker shipping market saw overall upward pressure amid high global bunker levels and regional tonnage tightness, drained by robust long-haul activities and clean petroleum product (CPP) markets.

PODCAST: How may China respond to looming global energy crisis?
By Bee Lin Chow 23-Jun-22 13:32 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analysts discuss how China may respond to what seems like a looming global energy crisis.

US SBR demand healthy from tyre sector, but tyre imports growing
By Amanda Hay 23-Jun-22 05:34 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) demand healthy for tyres, but North American tyre manufacturers face growing tyre imports.

INSIGHT: Don’t stifle chemicals now in the face of energy uncertainty and climate reform – UK industry
By Nigel Davis 22-Jun-22 22:20 LONDON (ICIS)-The UK chemical industry is now 6% larger than at the onset of the pandemic, chief executive of the country’s sector trade group, the Chemical Industries Association (CIA), said last week.

PODCAST: China benzene prices hit 8-year high; cost and supply support to persist
By Yoyo Liu 17-Jun-22 10:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analyst Jady Ma and Yoyo Liu discuss the recent developments and outlook of China’s benzene market.

Asian BD buying slows as domestic China tumbles
By Ai Teng Lim 17-Jun-22 09:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Sentiment was duller in this week’s spot talks for Asian butadiene (BD) imports, as buyers retreated after the domestic China market suffered heavy losses early-week.

PODCAST: Europe PET speculation rife in face of diverging upstream dynamics
By Caroline Murray 17-Jun-22 00:07 LONDON (ICIS)–Mixed xylene prices are skyrocketing higher than PX prices and concerns over negative margins mount. PX June contract talks are ongoing. By contrast, MEG supply remains lengthy and demand has been low, pressuring down spot prices. The June MEG contract price also remains unconfirmed.

INSIGHT: PET, politicians and TikTok – the industry’s battle for our attention
By Matt Tudball 16-Jun-22 22:17 BRUSSELS (ICIS)–The battle for our attention is a fierce one. In the post-COVID-19 world, as employees we feel a sense of email overload and Zoom fatigue while as a consumer we face a constant bombardment of media telling us what we should be doing, thinking, eating, drinking and watching.

Asian petrochemicals to rebound in June amid bumpy recovery – ICIS analysts
By Ann Sun 16-Jun-22 12:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian petrochemical market is expected to be generally firmer in June given higher crude prices and easing lockdowns in China, according to a latest Price Forecast by ICIS analysts.

PODCAST: Global base oils supply and refinery margins to stay under pressure in H2
By Eashani Chavda 15-Jun-22 22:35 LONDON (ICIS)–ICIS editors Eashani Chavda, Samantha Wright and Amanda Hay are joined by ICIS analyst Mike Connolly to discuss the latest developments in Europe and US base oils markets. Key topics include: supply shortages, shifting trade flows, refinery margins and additive shortages.

PODCAST: Chemical distributors see inflation hurting demand, downturn in prospect
By Will Beacham 14-Jun-22 22:03 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Rising inflation is now hurting demand for chemicals, raising the prospect of a broad economic downturn later this year or in 2023, according to chemical distributors.

China PE finds support from stimulus policies; eyes on demand performance
By Sijia Li 14-Jun-22 14:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s domestic polyethylene (PE) market entering June has found support from stimulus policies and costs. Looking ahead, players are focusing on demand recovery, with the easing of lockdowns in multiple regions amid decreasing COVID-19 infections.

India domestic LAB prices rise; China demand improves as lockdowns ease
By Clive Ong 10-Jun-22 11:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–India’s domestic prices for linear alkylbenzene (LAB) have spiked on the back of rising costs, but some players expect some headwinds with the monsoon season kicking off.

  • Monsoon season to hamper India demand
  • China demand sees uptick as COVID-19 restrictions ease
  • China’s competitively priced cargoes still available in Asia (including India), Mideast

Oil prices drop more than $1/bbl on partial lockdowns in China
By Nurluqman Suratman 10-Jun-22 11:34 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices fell more than $1/bbl on Friday on renewed demand fears after fresh COVID-19 lockdown measures were announced in China, but tight supply concerns capped losses.

INSIGHT: Sustainability to remain the key driver for Asia recycled polymers
By Arianne Perez 10-Jun-22 11:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Capacity expansions of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) and recycled polyethylene (R-PE) faced delays amid the onslaught of COVID-19, particularly last year, but overall growth of Asia polymers recycling is set to continue with sustainability as the main driver.

PODCAST: European ACN market keeps a close eye on ammonia and propylene
By ICIS Editorial 09-Jun-22 18:35 LONDON (ICIS)–The European acrylonitrile (ACN) market has good supply and some softening demand, but costs remain high. In this latest podcast, ICIS deputy managing editor Jane Massingham (Europe) talks to managing editor fertilizers, Julia Meehan and senior editor on olefins, Nel Weddle about the ammonia and propylene markets and what to expect in the months ahead.

PODCAST: Asia benzene, styrene short-term outlook to hinge on demand-supply balance
By Jasmine Khoo 09-Jun-22 11:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s benzene prices have hit an all-time high on strong performance from the US amid the turnaround season, while styrene price gains have been lagging behind due to weak performance in the styrenics sector. In this podcast, Jasmine Khoo speaks with editors Angeline Soh and Trixie Yap on benzene and its key downstream styrene monomer (SM) and styrenics sectors.

China PP exports may fall on narrow price gap with SE Asia
By Lucy Shuai 08-Jun-22 17:09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–With the lifting of COVID-19 lockdowns in China, as well as stimulus policies to boost the economy, China’s polypropylene (PP) prices have rebounded since late May. However, as PP prices have fallen in the southeast Asian market, China’s PP exports may fall in June due to a narrow price gap.

VIDEO: China PP demand set to improve in June as restrictions ease
By Lucy Shuai 08-Jun-22 16:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch industry analyst Lucy Shuai share her insights on the rebound seen in China’s polypropylene (PP) market following the easing of strict COVID-19 curbs in the country.

Asia Q3 biodiesel market sentiment to stay weak on poor European demand
By Felicia Loo 07-Jun-22 12:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The third-quarter market sentiment for southeast Asian palm methyl ester (PME) biodiesel is expected to remain weak amid poor buying requirements from Europe, a key importing region for southeast Asian material.

Germany’s chemicals hit hard by China lockdowns, automotive sentiment improves – Ifo By Jonathan Lopez 03-Jun-22 16:49 MADRID (ICIS)–Lockdowns in China to contain the coronavirus pandemic have had a major impact on export-intensive industrial sectors in Germany such as chemicals, research institute Ifo said on Thursday.

Asia MEG rebounds on higher crude, demand recovery expectations
By Judith Wang 03-Jun-22 10:50 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) weekly prices rebounded during the week amid stronger crude values and expectations of demand improvement due to easing lockdowns in Shanghai.

Global chem production fell 2.9% year on year in April
By Stefan Baumgarten 03-Jun-22 01:57 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Global chemical production volumes in April fell 4.1% month on month and 2.9% year on year, and they were off 0.4% year on year for the first four months of 2022, ICIS senior economist Kevin Swift said in a report on Thursday.

China methanol to face ample supply, mixed demand performance
By Doris He 01-Jun-22 21:05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s methanol market is expected to face overall ample supply from domestic and overseas producers in the near term, while demand may be mixed from different downstream sectors.

INSIGHT: China, India to be main drivers of PVC supply, demand in Asia
By Jonathan Chou 01-Jun-22 11:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we live our lives, upending also supply and demand dynamics for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and its related markets.

Over two years on since the pandemic hit, much of Asia has attempted “living with COVID-19” in 2022, with some starting to treat it as an endemic disease.

China SM margins likely to be squeezed by higher costs, weak demand
By Tina Zhang 31-May-22 11:55 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Margins in China’s styrene monomer (SM) market are expected to continue to be squeezed in the near term, in view of rising feedstock benzene values and weak demand.

China petrochemical market sentiment upbeat on Shanghai recovery plan
By Fanny Zhang 30-May-22 13:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s domestic petrochemical market sentiment is upbeat at the start of the week, with demand expected to recover when the two-month lockdown in Shanghai is lifted in June.

Asian epoxy market stable, Chinese domestic market outlook ambiguous
By Luffy Wu 27-May-22 11:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asia epoxy resins market saw overall stable market sentiment while buyers exhibited improved price acceptability compared with in April.

Asia nylon market cautious as Shanghai inches towards June reopening
By Josh Quah 26-May-22 16:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The lockdowns have been damaging for Asia’s nylon market, with prolonged demand loss particularly felt in the CFR (cost & freight) China market. There have been recent signs, however, that the worst may have passed in the lead up to the reopening of key cities in China.

PODCAST: Weak demand from lubricants, China’s Group II base oil import margins to be negative
By Whitney Shi 25-May-22 14:09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analyst Jady Ma and Whitney Shi discuss the recent developments and outlook of China’s base oil market.

INSIGHT: China crude consumption softens amid COVID-19 lockdowns
By Pearl Bantillo 25-May-22 12:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s consumption of crude has softened as industrial production is hit by pandemic-related restrictions in place since February, with no sign of the government giving up on its zero-COVID policy.

INTERVIEW: China emergence from lockdowns, stimulus to recharge auto and construction – Covestro CFO
By Joseph Chang 25-May-22 05:17 NEW YORK (ICIS)–China’s easing of and potential emergence from COVID-19 lockdowns along with government stimulus should spark a major recovery in its automotive and construction markets, the chief financial officer (CFO) of Germany-based Covestro said on Tuesday.

Asian MMA peaks in May; outlook pending clarity amid easing restrictions in China
By Li Li Chng 24-May-22 13:47 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian methyl methacrylate (MMA) peaked in May, after increasing around 17% since H2 February. Market players are awaiting clearer picture on China’s lifting of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.

PODCAST: Europe PE and PP update and outlook
By Ben Lake 23-May-22 23:42 LONDON (ICIS)–Senior editor, Vicky Ellis, and market editor, Ben Lake, join forces to discuss a distinct change in the polymers market. The frenzied activity in March and April has given way to a far more relaxed sentiment in May – on the buy-side, at least. Vicky and Ben give their outlook for June and take a look at events that could shake up the markets again.

INSIGHT: China PE demand to rebound from June, but slow road ahead
By Amy Yu 23-May-22 18:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)—China polyethylene (PE) demand is expected to firm as COVID-19 containment measures ease, but the pace of recovery remains hindered by remaining lockdown measures.



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