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

Will Beacham


Note: this page is no longer updated and is held on the ICIS archive.

Oil prices are expected to continue retreating during the rest of June as worries over the health of the global economy and bearish oil demand prospects depress market sentiment.

However, dwindling spare capacity and a tighter sour-crude market could rekindle price volatility in July.

In Asia, state-owned refiners continued to ramp up operations in view of low gasoil and gasoline inventories at refinery sties and extremely low gasoil inventories in some regions.

ICIS China expects crude throughputs to increase in June, especially ahead of The Dragon Boat Festival holiday period (22-24 June).

China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that oil refinery output increased by 15.4% in May compared with the same period last year. Although the comparison was enhanced by a weak May 2022 as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, the total of 62.0m tonnes was the second highest monthly total on record.

Updated on 16 June 2023

On this topic page we analyse the impact of coronavirus and oil price dynamics on chemical markets and bring together the latest news reported by ICIS. 

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LATEST HEADLINES (Last updated at 04:00 GMT on 16 June 2023)

INSIGHT: Shell joins list of companies reviewing chemicals as demand tanks, overcapacity grows
By Will Beacham 15-Jun-23 22:36 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Shell has joined the ranks of major chemical companies which are reviewing and rationalising their operations as demand and profitability continue to fall amid rampant overcapacity.

JUNE CRUDE OUTLOOK: Bearish demand narrative confronted by tightening global oil supplies
By Cecilia Barreiro 13-Jun-23 22:39 LONDON (ICIS)–Oil prices are expected to continue retreating during the rest of June as worries over the health of the global economy and bearish oil demand prospects depress market sentiment. However, dwindling spare capacity and a tighter sour-crude market could rekindle price volatility in July.

Saudi Arabia, China ink $10bn worth of investments, including EV deal
By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Jun-23 13:19 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi Arabia and China have inked $10bn worth of investment agreements, including a $5.6bn deal involving Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Human Horizons.

Saudi Arabia 2023 GDP growth slows to 2.1% on oil output cuts – IMF
By Nurluqman Suratman 08-Jun-23 15:31 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, is expected to post a slower GDP growth of 2.1% this year in view of production cuts announced in April, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Asia’s naphtha crack flips into discount; bearishness could linger
By Li Peng Seng 08-Jun-23 15:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s naphtha crack flipped into the negative zone for the first time in almost seven months, as the weak global economy has crimped demand.

ICIS China May petrochemical price index slumps 7%; June demand stays weak
By Yvonne Shi 08-Jun-23 11:33 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Sluggish demand sent the ICIS China Petrochemical Price Index in May tumbling by 7% from end-April despite some stability in the upstream crude market during the period.

INSIGHT: Asia polyester fibre market backed to grow in 2023, but at slow pace
By Jimmy Zhang 09-Jun-23 00:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Historically, polyester fibre demand in Asia has decreased only in 2008, 2020 and 2022 as recorded from 1978 in the ICIS Supply and Demand database. The reasons for the falls in demand were financial crises and the coronoavirus pandemic.

No major oil price boost from Saudi output cut amid demand headwinds
By Nurluqman Suratman 07-Jun-23 13:58 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Saudi Arabia’s planned oil output cut in July is not expected to boost oil prices by much amid strong global macroeconomic headwinds and weak demand from China, the world’s biggest importer of crude.

Oil jumps after Saudi output cut pledge; Asia petrochemical shares rise
By Nurluqman Suratman 05-Jun-23 12:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices rose by more than $2/bbl in early trade on Monday following a pledge by Saudi Arabia – the world’s largest crude exporter – to cut its production by another 1m bbl/day in July.

Dow cuts Q2 sales guidance on challenging macros
By Joseph Chang 02-Jun-23 04:48 NEW YORK (ICIS)–US-based Dow is taking down its Q2 sales forecast to a range of $11.0bn-11.5bn from its prior estimate of $11.75bn-12.25bn on challenging macroeconomic conditions and lower pricing levels, its CEO said at an investor conference.

NE Asia C2 outlook downbeat on rising regional supply, weak China data
By Yeow Pei Lin 01-Jun-23 11:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s ethylene (C2) players are cautious on expectations of rising regional supplies and weak downstream outlook for the third quarter as the recovery in the Chinese economy loses momentum.

Caixin China May manufacturing PMI rises to 50.9, first expansion in three months
By Nurluqman Suratman 01-Jun-23 11:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Caixin’s China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) picked up from 49.5 in April to 50.9 in May, marking the first expansion in three months, the Chinese media firm said on Thursday.

China manufacturing weakness weighs on crude; outlook dims further
By Nurluqman Suratman 31-May-23 13:36 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s manufacturing sector lost further momentum in May, heightening concerns that oil consumption in the world’s second-biggest economy could weaken further.

INSIGHT: Petrochemical prices and margins under relentless pressure
By Nigel Davis 31-May-23 00:38 LONDON (ICIS)–The persistent global weak demand environment continues to put pressure on producers and prices are falling as the balance with output remains elusive.

PODCAST: Demand flops in chemical markets around the world, gloomy outlook
By Will Beacham 30-May-23 20:25 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Chemical markets around the world are suffering from collapsed demand conditions and oversupply with no prospect of a turnaround in the coming months.

Depressed US manufacturing activity weighing on PP demand
By Zachary Moore 26-May-23 05:40 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Demand for polypropylene (PP) in the US is facing a bearish short-term outlook as the US manufacturing sector remains in contractionary territory.

INSIGHT: A tale of two economies, as resurgent services eclipses languishing industry
By Tom Brown 25-May-23 23:05 LONDON (ICIS)–After the dark warnings of late 2022, ministers at the European Commission could be forgiven for sounding a little smug.

PODCAST: Rampant China chemicals overcapacity could rebalance by 2024/5
By Will Beacham 25-May-23 21:00 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Excess capacity plaguing China’s petrochemical markets could return to more balanced conditions by 2024/5 as the current wave of additions ends and demand gradually improves.

APIC ’23: INSIGHT: Asia petrochemicals navigate poor demand amid China start-ups; carve ‘green’ path
By Pearl Bantillo 24-May-23 19:50 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Uncertainties will hound Asia’s petrochemical markets for the rest of the year and possibly into 2024 amid the global economic slowdown at a time of strong capacity additions in regional powerhouse China.

INSIGHT: Europe petrochemicals demand remains weak and prices under intense pressure
By Nigel Davis 23-May-23 23:10 LONDON (ICIS)–This striking chart from Germany’s chemicals and pharmaceuticals trade association, the VCI, does not even tell the full story for the country’s petrochemical and polymers sectors.

INSIGHT: Europe chemicals rebound slow going as distributors face tough Q2
By Tom Brown 16-May-23 22:27 LONDON (ICIS)–The much-heralded rebound in European chemicals demand is yet to register above a murmur, with demand tepid as destocking weighs further on consumption and manufacturing remains bearish, conditions are becoming increasingly chilly for distributors. Unencumbered by the scale of large capital assets operated by chemicals producers and without the burden of energy-intensive goods production, chemicals distribution was not as hard-hit as the wider industry by the energy crisis that bedevilled Europe through much of 2022. Germany-based major Brenntag reported a close to twofold increase in post-tax profits in 2022, while Netherlands-based IMCD reported a 37% increase in gross profit for the year.

Global chemicals recovery delayed to 2024 on interest rates, China slower recovery – Unigel CEO
By Jonathan Lopez 18-May-23 04:27 SAO PAULO (ICIS)–The upturn in global petrochemicals will not come in earnest until 2024 as China’s recovery is proving slower than expected and high interest rates continue depressing demand for durable goods, the CEO at Brazil’s chemicals producer Unigel said on Wednesday. Roberto Noronha added that the second quarter is being “as tough” as the first one; some green shoots should start appearing in the second half of this year, he added. He was speaking to reporters and financial analysts following the publication of Unigel’s Q1 sales and earnings figures, which posted sharp year-on-year falls.

APIC ’23: India to see wave of new capacities through to 2030 – CPMA chief
By Nurluqman Suratman 19-May-23 12:28 NEW DELHI (ICIS)–India will see a wave of new petrochemical production capacities through to 2030 as it seeks to meet growing domestic demand amid strong economic growth, the president of India’s Chemicals & Petrochemicals Manufacturers’ Association (CPMA) said on 19 May. In 2023, India added 1.25m tonnes/year of new polyethylene (PE) capacity and 0.5m tonnes/year of polypropylene (PP) capacity, Kamal Nanavaty told delegates of the Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC) in New Delhi, India. Another 1m tonnes/year of new PE and PP capacities will be added in 2024, he said.

INSIGHT: Weak demand dominates chemicals in Q2 as economies drag
By Nigel Davis 11-May-23 00:41 LONDON (ICIS)–The persistence and wide spread of the demand slump is the key issue for chemical producers in 2023, now mid-way through the second quarter.

Recent financial reporting from chemical companies of all types and in all locations has underlined the impact of weak demand on sales in the first quarter. The year-on-year comparisons have proved to be stark, and reduced production the driver of lower revenues at a time of still high costs of sales.

China the lynchpin for global polyolefins demand recovery – LyondellBasell exec
By Joseph Chang 10-May-23 23:27 NEW YORK (ICIS)–China will be the lynchpin for global demand recovery in polyolefins, a LyondellBasell executive said on Wednesday.

INSIGHT: Opportunities and challenges for China’s polyolefins post-COVID: 3, Entering a new phase of uncertain demand
By Lucy Shuai 08-May-23 17:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Social and economic activity in China is gradually recovering following removal of zero-COVID policies in late 2022 and the demand outlook is attracting worldwide attention.

China to continue avoiding BPA spot imports; wide buy-sell gap to persist
By Li Peng Seng 08-May-23 11:40 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The strong buying momentum for bisphenol A (BPA) in the two weeks leading up to the Labour Day break in China has failed to extend into the post-holiday period.

INSIGHT: Opportunities and challenges for China polyolefins post-COVID: 1, Changing trade flows
By Lucy Shuai 04-May-23 14:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Surging capacities in China’s polyolefins market in recent years have increased China’s footprint in the global supply chain and changed global trade flows. Meanwhile, an intensive period of new plant start-ups in south China this year have also altered domestic trade.

INSIGHT: Opportunities and challenges for China polyolefins post-COVID: 2, Seeking new outlets
By Lucy Shuai 05-May-23 14:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polyolefins industry will need to seek new outlets in 2023 as capacities keep on rising while margins may remain curbed after slumping a year ago.

Caixin China Apr manufacturing PMI slips to 49.5 on weaker domestic demand
By Nurluqman Suratman 04-May-23 15:59 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Caixin’s China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for April slipped to 49.5 from the neutral 50.0 mark in March amid subdued domestic demand conditions, the Chinese media firm said on Thursday.

Lacklustre Europe butadiene eyes Asia for relief
By Nel Weddle 04-May-23 21:13 LONDON (ICIS)–Europe’s butadiene (BD) market fundamentals are just about satisfactory, market sources say, given the recent past and current macroeconomic challenges. Players are pinning hopes on Asia to steer the way to better times.

NSIGHT: Permit reform may help US chems maintain cost advantage
By Al Greenwood 05-May-23 03:41 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US lawmakers are continuing to file permit-reform proposals to make it easier to build pipelines and other infrastructure projects, which could help US chemical producers maintain their cost advantage by giving them more access to cheap fuel, feedstock and renewable power.

Asian, Mideast PET makers see lower selling pressure amid tight supply
By Zachary Tia 27-Apr-23 15:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Many Asian and Middle Eastern polyethylene terephthalate (PET) producers faced lower selling pressure in April given tight supply, amid higher production costs on the back of firming upstream feedstock prices in April.

Oil tankers line up in China’s Shandong on stockpiling, tighter checks
By Fanny Zhang 25-Apr-23 15:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Crude carriers have been spending longer times waiting for discharge in China’s Shandong ports, as high inventories reduced tank availability. Also, customs widened cargo checks to crack down on false declarations, according to industry sources.

INSIGHT: China aromatics markets volatile with gasoline demand
By Seymour Chenxia 26-Apr-23 19:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s domestic gasoline demand volatility on the back of the pandemic and crude market dynamics since the third quarter of 2022 has impacted on mixed aromatics, toluene and xylene. Price trends for the three products have varied slightly based on respective market fundamentals.

INSIGHT: Hope for 2023 European construction market recovery falters as spring demand uptick fails to materialise
By Nicole Simpson 19-Apr-23 20:52 LONDON (ICIS)–Since late 2022, chemicals players have been hopeful that better demand is just around the corner but optimism is faltering as economic conditions remain challenging and spring construction demand has failed to ignite.

INSIGHT: Plastics, petchems in Europe still waiting for construction season, Q2 may be reality check
By Vicky Ellis 20-Apr-23 21:45 LONDON (ICIS)–As warmer, sunnier days grow more frequent, Europe’s construction industry should be ramping up for a busy period. But the season is proving a disappointment, with weaker demand across a wide range of petrochemical and plastics

EU chems trade surplus for Jan-Feb 2023 rises on previous year
By Morgan Condon 20-Apr-23 21:54 LONDON (ICIS)–The EU chemicals sector trade balance increased in January and February compared to the previous year, according to the latest data from Eurostat on Thursday. Imports decreased during the period, but exports to countries outside the of the EU showed marginal gains.

North America EO operating rates to recover with new derivatives capacity – CDI
By Joseph Chang 17-Apr-23 19:33 MONTCLAIR, New Jersey (ICIS)–North America ethylene oxide (EO) operating rates are poised to recover with new derivatives capacity starting up in the coming years and a recovery in China, a Chemical Data (CDI) analyst said.

Global oil demand growth hopes pinned on faltering Chinese economy
By Barney Gray 12-Apr-23 18:42 LONDON (ICIS)–Chinese government data for March, published earlier this month, indicated that domestic consumer demand is weak and the manufacturing sector was under pressure at the end of Q1, which could hinder the anticipated China-led growth in global oil demand.

ExxonMobil’s Singapore resid upgrade project on track for 2025 start-up
By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Apr-23 14:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ExxonMobil is on track to start commercial production at its latest upgrade project for lubricant base stocks in Singapore in 2025 after facing construction delays due to the pandemic, according to a company official.

IMF keeps developing Asia 2023 growth forecast at 5.3%; trims India projections
By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Apr-23 13:23 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has kept its 2023 growth forecast for developing Asia at 5.3% but trimmed its forecast for next year amid rising risks in global financial conditions.

Japan’s Asahi Kasei cuts medium-term income targets as demand slows
By Nurluqman Suratman 11-Apr-23 18:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japanese chemicals major Asahi Kasei on Tuesday slashed its medium-term operating income target, citing heavy blows from prolonged semiconductor shortages, stagnant demand due to lockdowns in China, and high prices of feedstock and fuel.

INSIGHT: China LDPE supply likely to exceed demand all this year
By Joanne Wang 13-Apr-23 14:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The supply of low density polyethylene (LDPE) in China is likely to exceed demand for the remainder of this year putting severe pressure on prices. Domestic prices plunged to a 32-month low on 7 April caused mainly by increased domestic production and destocking by foreign suppliers at the end of 2022.

INSIGHT: US chemical earnings ‘rebound’ in H2 may disappoint
By Joseph Chang 11-Apr-23 06:16 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Approaching Q1 earnings season, players will be watching closely for signs of a sustainable recovery from the Q4 trough ravaged by inventory destocking. While results through 2023 should certainly bounce from a horrendous Q4, they may well disappoint, given deteriorating macroeconomic indicators.

UK car sales hit post-pandemic peak in March on better supply
By Morgan Condon 05-Apr-23 18:09 LONDON (ICIS)–UK car sales rose to their highest level since before the COVID-19 pandemic in March, according to the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) on Wednesday.

INSIGHT: Asia petrochemical demand and pricing could be challenged this year compared to 2022
By Jimmy Zhang 05-Apr-23 15:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical industry growth this year could be more subdued than earlier projections, according to participants in an ICIS webinar late last month.

INSIGHT: Crude oil jump not likely to kick start petrochemicals trend
By Nigel Davis 04-Apr-23 23:55 LONDON (ICIS)–The OPEC+ decision driven increase in crude oil prices on Monday puts upward pressure on oil products and petrochemicals prices in what remains an uncertain demand environment.

China’s demand recovery remains focal point for oil markets – analysts
By Nurluqman Suratman 04-Apr-23 15:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s consumption recovery will be the key focal point for oil markets for the rest of the year, as attention shifts towards demand growth following the shock move by OPEC and its allies earlier this week to further cut supply.

SE Asian NBR dented by slower buying, demand outlook murky
By Ai Teng Lim 30-Mar-23 15:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Spot discussions in southeast Asia for acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) are under pressure from waning buying interest, and trade liquidity may stay curbed in the near term if buyers and sellers remain divided in their pricing outlook.

AFPM ’23: US construction season may be late, slow – Huntsman
By Al Greenwood 29-Mar-23 04:11 SAN ANTONIO (ICIS)–Early signs in the US are pointing to a residential construction season that will be later and slower than typical, the CEO of Huntsman said on Tuesday.

Asia fatty acids market to remain flat in near term on uncertainties
By Helen Yan 28-Mar-23 15:59 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s fatty acid demand is expected to remain flat in the near term as buyers retreat from the market and adopt a cautious stance, given the uncertainties and weak macro-economic conditions.

INSIGHT: US recycled plastics industry continues to navigate changes in global trade according to latest statistics
By Emily Friedman 28-Mar-23 01:41 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Though competitive recycled resin imports continue to pressure the domestic US recycled plastics market as freight rates improve, Q4 and full-year 2022 US import and export data of plastic scrap show a setback in overall import volume despite the recent trend.

AFPM ’23: With supply chain constraints largely over, freight costs expected to trend lower
By Adam Yanelli 26-Mar-23 23:19 SAN ANTONIO (ICIS)–Participants in the US chemicals industry have been coping with high costs for transporting products over the past two years because of persistent supply chain constraints brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

AFPM ’23 – INSIGHT: US petchem exports poised to hit record on capacity, logistics and cost advantage
By Joseph Chang 25-Mar-23 03:33 NEW YORK (ICIS)–With the last wave of new capacity additions and easing of logistics constraints, the US petrochemical sector has a clear path to boosting exports to new records in 2023, heading into this year’s International Petrochemical Conference (IPC).

Southeast Asia PP market braces for a tough Q2
By Jackie Wong 18-Mar-23 00:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–With demand on a considerable slowdown since the end of the Lunar New Year holiday in early February, the polypropylene (PP) market in southeast Asia is now bracing itself for an even tougher Q2 as different elements come together, threatening to create a perfect storm.

Intra-Asia chemical tanker demand hampered by aromatics plant turnarounds
By Hwee Hwee Tan 21-Mar-23 17:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Aromatics plant turnarounds in Asia and cargo diversions to the US gasoline blending sector are expected to continue to curtail intra-regional shipping demand into the second quarter.

China PP prices fall to nearly three-year low amid increasing supply, lower-than-expected demand
By Lucy Shuai 22-Mar-23 12:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China polypropylene (PP) prices fell to a nearly three-year-low amid increasing supply and lower-than-expected demand, and the market may remain under pressure in Q2.

Asia petrochemicals demand tepid on macroeconomy, oversupply concerns
By Nurluqman Suratman 24-Mar-23 14:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical markets continue to face tepid demand as economic recovery in regional bellwether China remains slower than initially expected, with new production capacities adding to oversupply concerns.

Recessionary conditions to define H1, Q1 destocking still ‘palpable’ – LANXESS CEO
By Tom Brown 15-Mar-23 21:15 COLOGNE (ICIS)–2023 will be a difficult for the chemicals sector, with market conditions likely to remain bleak through the end of the second quarter, the CEO of LANXESS Matthias Zachert said on Wednesday. Zachert also said the destocking trend that emerged in the closing months of 2022 continues to be felt. The impact of weaker demand in a high-cost, low-growth environment is likely to weigh on chemicals players globally through the first six months of 2023, with destocking continuing and customers hesitant about making substantial new commitments, according to Zachert.

INSIGHT: China growth ambitions deliver a reality check while financial risk multiplies
By Nigel Davis 14-Mar-23 23:33 LONDON (ICIS)–Petrochemicals production turned up in January following months of decline, as demand started to improve and prospects for growth brightened. But the take-off, from a miserable few months at the end of 2022, was slower than some hoped for – as evidenced by capacity utilisation. Subsequently, the brightness seen by some around the Lunar New Year holiday in China in February has dimmed and China’s government has delivered a dose of reality. ICIS data focus on basic chemicals and synthetic materials (that is, resins, elastomers and fibres), so the core petrochemical industry building blocks and the major polymers. In January, production of those materials rose 0.9% globally, to 280.9m tonnes. As ICIS chief economist, Kevin Swift, notes, this follows a 0.1% decline in December, a 1.9% decline in November “and generally declining activity since March”. The sector is by no means in a good place. Overall, production volumes were down 5.2% year on year in January with gains largely centred on North America, Central & South America, Europe and the Middle East. Production in northeast Asia was weak. Capacity utilisation improved in January by 0.4 percentage points to 66.2% which was encouraging but this rate compared with a much more robust 71.7% in January 2022.

INSIGHT: US petchem exports to hit record on capacity surge, easing of logistics constraints
By Joseph Chang 14-Mar-23 01:00 NEW YORK (ICIS)–With the last wave of new capacity additions and easing of logistics constraints, the US petrochemical sector has a clear path to boosting exports to new records in 2023. Even with a recessionary global economic outlook dampening demand overseas and capacity surging in China, the US cost advantage is simply too great to hold back the floodgates. US petrochemical exports will run into a big headwind from a surge of new projects starting up in China. China will be adding record-breaking chemical and fertilizer capacity in 2023 of 137m tonnes/year, dwarfing the previous record of around 93m tonnes/year in 2014 and driving global oversupply, according to an ICIS analysis.

S Korea Q4 ’22 GDP contracts on quarter; full-year ’23 growth to slow on weak exports
By Pearl Bantillo 07-Mar-23 13:50 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korea’s economic output shrank by 0.4% in the October-December 2022 from the previous quarter, unchanged from advance estimates, as manufacturing and exports contracted amid a global economic slowdown. For the whole of 2022, manufacturing growth decelerated to 1.4% from 6.9% in the previous year, while export of goods posted a much slower growth of 3.4% from 10.5% in 2021. For 2023, full-year growth is projected to slow down to 1.6% amid high inflation and interest rates. “Growth will fall even further below its pre-pandemic average this year on a tougher base effect, high energy prices and higher interest rates. However, eased Covid-19 restrictions will provide some support,” said Matthew Cunningham, economist at Spain-based FocusEconomics had stated in a recent note.

China sets conservative 5.0% GDP growth target; petrochemical markets cautious
By Fanny Zhang 06-Mar-23 14:33 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China has set its 2023 economic growth goal at around 5%, a conservative number underscoring an overall cautious outlook that sent crude prices falling on Monday after recent strong gains, while Chinese petrochemical futures markets largely mixed. At the start of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing on 5 March, Chinese Premiere Li Keqiang announced the GDP growth target, lower than the previous year’s target of around 5.5% although the figure represents an acceleration from the actual 3.0% growth recorded in 2022. China’s parliament will be in session for 10 days to outline the country’s broad goals and plans for 2023. Economists deemed the GDP target realistic as the economy recovers from severe COVID-19 impact over the past three years.

INSIGHT: LatAm petchems at mercy of global markets as China’s reopening key for prices
By Jonathan Lopez 04-Mar-23 00:26 SAO PAULO (ICIS)–Latin American petrochemicals companies are dependent on a recovery in global prices to post healthier spreads in 2023 as all eyes are now on China’s economy reopening. Although Latin American petrochemicals producers and distributors concentrate on domestic consumers, China and other foreign markets are important for the region because they influence margins and stimulate demand for commodity exports.

INSIGHT: Optimism on China recovery as manufacturing PMI leaps into expansion
By Joseph Chang 02-Mar-23 07:00 NEW YORK (ICIS)–The long-awaited China recovery may finally be at hand, as a key leading indicator of manufacturing activity surged higher.

Asia fatty alcohols to see improved sentiment following China Feb PMI data
By Helen Yan 02-Mar-23 14:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s fatty alcohols and other oleochemical markets are likely to see an improvement in sentiment and demand, following the latest February data showing factory activity rising significantly in China.

INSIGHT: European chemical producers see demand weakness persist but look to H2 2023
By Nigel Davis 28-Feb-23 23:51 LONDON (ICIS)–A slower than hoped for re-start in China but a turn up in key indicators in the US colour the macroeconomic outlook and the driving forces behind industrial production demand for chemicals.

INSIGHT: East China toluene xylene price gap fluctuates amid shifting market dynamics
By Veronica Zhang 28-Feb-23 19:39 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The East China toluene-xylene price gap has fluctuated widely in 2022 and early 2023 amid a shift in supply-demand fundamentals as export demand grew and domestic consumption remained more subdued.

China phenol, acetone industry out of the red; uncertainties loom in March
By Yoyo Liu 27-Feb-23 15:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s phenol and acetone industry has emerged from the red on increased prices after the Lunar New Year holiday on 21-27 January.

INSIGHT: China imports of Russia oil to rise further in 2023 on cheap prices
By Fanny Zhang 27-Feb-23 21:59 SINGPORE (ICIS)–China is expected to boost imports of Russia oil further in 2023 to take advantage of price discounts, with a significant increase likely in volumes flowing to independent refineries in Shandong.

INSIGHT: Northeast Asia plasticizers exports to drive intense competition globally
By Nicole Simpson 27-Feb-23 21:40 LONDON (ICIS)–Northeast Asian plasticizers exports are expected to continue to drive strong competition between sellers globally as China import interest remains low.

INSIGHT: Weak consumer confidence weighs on China recovery post-reopening
By Pearl Bantillo 22-Feb-23 23:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s prospects turned brighter after it abandoned its zero-COVID policy, but two of its major growth engines – exports and the property sector – may struggle to perform amid a general weakness in consumer confidence. The possibility of the world plunging into recession still cannot be ruled out.

Bank of Korea pauses interest rate hikes, lowers economic growth forecast
By Nurluqman Suratman 23-Feb-23 10:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korea’s central bank on Thursday kept interest rates unchanged at 3.50% and lowered its economic growth forecast for 2023 amid slowing domestic consumption and exports.

Asia Group II base oils supply to dip slightly on China demand pick-up
By Matthew Chong 23-Feb-23 12:31 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s Group II base oils spot supply is expected to be slightly reduced in the coming months, after being in relative abundance since late 2022.

INSIGHT: China bounce a bust
By Joseph Chang 17-Feb-23 04:09 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Hopes for a quick rebound in China’s economy and demand for chemicals and plastics after the Lunar New Year and zero-COVID in the rearview mirror have been dashed thus far. While it is still early days and there are some signs of recovery, disappointment reigns for now.

INSIGHT: China’s reopening having a gradual, positive impact on PE demand
By Amy Yu 17-Feb-23 00:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Polyethylene (PE) markets in Asia are expected to recover more strongly in 2023 but the magnitude of growth may depend on the speed of demand recovery in China. Currently, demand in February is not stronger than expected.

INSIGHT: Asia petrochemical prices to rise but margins under pressure in February – ICIS analysts
By Ann Sun 15-Feb-23 20:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Higher prices in most value chains are expected in the Asia petrochemical market in February in view of balanced-to-tight fundamentals driven by subdued supply and restocking activities. However, companies are still struggling with negative margins.

Global oil supply to exceed demand in H1 2023 – IEA
By Tom Brown 15-Feb-23 19:54 LONDON (ICIS)–Global oil supply is expected to exceed demand for the first half of 2023, but the balance could quickly snap the other way later in the year as demand recovers and some Russian output and is shut out of parts of the world, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said.

Thai domestic PET average prices rise on increased buying pressure
By Zachary Tia 14-Feb-23 22:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The average price for Thailand domestic spot bottle-grade polyethylene terephthalate (PET) cargoes firmed on the back of higher buying pressure in the week ended 10 February.

China disappoints hopes of swift PP demand lift, global markets eye exports closely
By Vicky Ellis 14-Feb-23 20:47 LONDON (ICIS)–A raft of offers of Chinese polypropylene (PP) into other regions, and signs that demand is not pinging back quickly, are denting hopes that a fast Chinese recovery will pull up global markets.

Thai PTTGC expects demand recovery in 2023 on China reopening
By Nurluqman Suratman 14-Feb-23 14:39 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Thai petrochemical major PTT Global Chemicals expects demand for its aromatics and polymers products to improve this year following China’s reopening.

Singapore Q4 economy expands by 2.1%, full-year 2022 GDP growth at 3.6%
By Nurluqman Suratman 13-Feb-23 11:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore’s economy grew by 2.1% year on year in the fourth quarter, moderating from the 4.0% expansion in the previous quarter, amid a slowdown in the manufacturing sector, official data showed on Monday.

INSIGHT: Petrochemicals beginning to expand again but margins challenged
By Nigel Davis 07-Feb-23 00:25 LONDON (ICIS)–Signs of a tentative upturn for the major petrochemicals and polymers are welcome although it is clear that profitability is likely to remain under pressure in the first half. For the big polyolefins, polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), additional supply creates a headache that will persist for some time.

Thailand R-PET feedstock supply rises on recovering tourism
By Arianne Perez 07-Feb-23 12:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Spot availability of post-consumer bale feedstock in Thailand has been increasing for weeks now due to more tourists coming back to the country.

China January petrochemical markets rebound; near-term outlook mixed
By Yvonne Shi 08-Feb-23 13:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical markets posted strong gains in holiday-shortened January, largely in anticipation of strong demand post Lunar New Year as both production and consumption picked up after the country abandoned its zero-COVID policy.

NE Asia C2 up in supply-led recovery; China downstream demand still slow
By Yeow Pei Lin 10-Feb-23 11:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene (C2) prices advanced as supply decreased on cracker turnarounds and reduced inflows from other regions.

Asian EPDM stays soft, eyes on Q2 China recovery
By Ai Teng Lim 08-Feb-23 11:51 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Discussions are limited this week in Asia’s spot market for ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) imports, as sluggish buying persisted.

Lower demand drives down slack wax prices in the US
By Daniel Lopes 09-Feb-23 07:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US slack wax prices are falling based on lacklustre demand and ample supply in Q1. A market participant said sales in January were particularly low when compared to the same period last year, and this is due to continued high inflation and economic uncertainties, which have changed consumption habits.

Asia naphtha buoyed by crude oil; thin demand limits gains
By Melanie Wee 08-Feb-23 17:03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia naphtha markets are being propped up by gains in global crude oil futures although a lack of robust demand is keeping a lid on the upward pressure.

Asia BDO extends post-Lunar New Year gains amid snug availability
By Clive Ong 03-Feb-23 11:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s butanediol (BDO) market extended gains after the Lunar New Year holidays, while snug availability and renewed demand in the region fuelled talk of further potential strength in the market.

Asia soda ash market firms on limited supply, robust China demand
By Helen Lee 02-Feb-23 15:52 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s soda ash market has firmed on the back of limited export volumes from China, where domestic demand strengthened after the Lunar New Year holidays.

China post-holiday demand key indicator for oleochemical trade flows
By Lucas Hall 02-Feb-23 02:48 ORLANDO (ICIS)–Chinese demand following the end of Lunar New Year will be the key indicator in determining oleochemical trade flows in 1H 2023, according to sources on the sidelines of the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) annual meeting and industry convention.

US styrene market stabilises after plants return to production
By John Donnelly 31-Jan-23 22:55 HOUSTON (ICIS)–After several plant outages that boosted spot prices, the US styrene market has stabilised with units back in operation although running at reduced rates. Soft demand and rising feedstock costs promise to pressure margins through Q1.

China official Jan manufacturing PMI swings to expansion mode at 50.1
By Nurluqman Suratman 31-Jan-23 12:33 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) crossed to expansionary territory in January at 50.1, from a 34-month low of 47.0 in the previous month as the country relaxed its zero-COVID policy, official data showed on Tuesday.

China 2023 GDP growth forecast revised up to 5.2% as activity recovers – IMF
By Nurluqman Suratman 31-Jan-23 11:58 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s GDP growth is projected to rebound to 5.2% in 2023 from 3.0% last year as a sudden lifting of most its pandemic-related restrictions paved the way for a rapid rebound in economic activity, according to the World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released on Tuesday.

Developing Asia economic growth forecast raised to 5.3% – IMF
By Nurluqman Suratman 31-Jan-23 11:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Economic growth in emerging and developing Asian economies is expected to rise in 2023 and 2024 to 5.3% and 5.2%, respectively, after the deeper-than-expected slowdown in 2022, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday.

Dow expects Chinese stimulus, reopening to boost demand
By Al Greenwood 27-Jan-23 03:37 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Dow is seeing signs that China’s reopening from COVID-19 lockdowns is progressing, and that should increase demand for its products, along with government stimulus, the CEO said on Thursday. “We’re seeing China opening up. We’re not seeing issues with people coming to work,” said Jim Fitterling, CEO. He made his comments during an earnings conference call. Other CEOs have also remarked that employees are returning to work, according to Fitterling. Right now, Dow is not seeing any COVID-19 outbreaks that China cannot manage, he said.

Asia naphtha market sentiment mixed; eyes on China’s recovery
By Melanie Wee 26-Jan-23 12:18 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia naphtha markets are being kept afloat by hopes of recovering China petrochemical demand, although diminishing downstream margins are keeping demand cautious. Spot naphtha CFR (cost and freight) Japan indicative prices averaged at $715.50/tonne for first-half March delivery at midday session on Thursday, holding on to the previous day’s Asia close. Prices have climbed by some 10% compared with month-earlier levels, fluctuating with volatile crude oil futures, ICIS data shows.

CRUDE SUMMARY: Oil prices steady as market awaits OPEC+ panel meeting
By Eloise Radley 26-Jan-23 04:27 LONDON (ICIS) – Crude prices remained relatively steady on Wednesday, staying within $1/bbl of Tuesday’s settlement price. Hopes of increased demand in China balanced builds in US crude and gasoline stocks.Weekly data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed that US crude stocks saw a marginal build of 0.53m bbl last week. Despite this build, the rise was over six times smaller than the anticipated 3.4m bbl. This applied slight upwards pressure to prices in afternoon trading. However, gasoline stock increased by 1.76m bbl, over double the expected 0.62m bbl. US distillate stocks fell by 0.51m bbl, less than the predicted 1.90m bbl drop.

Asia petrochemicals pin hopes on China’s post-holiday demand
By Pearl Bantillo 25-Jan-23 14:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical players are largely betting on strong revival of China’s demand following lifting of most COVID-19 curbs, having built up stocks in the weeks leading to the Lunar New Year holiday. At midday, naphtha, as well as aromatics products benzene and toluene, were trading higher on the back of crude gains, which were being driven up by optimism over China’s economic prospects after the world’s second-biggest economy abandoned its zero-COVID policy. China is on holiday the whole week for the Lunar New Year festivities. Most other countries in northeast Asia and southeast Asia also observed the holiday at the start of the week.

VIDEO: China chemicals market review and outlook
By Chris Qi 20-Jan-23 11:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch ICIS China information director Chris Qi review China chemical industry in 2022 and an outlook for the industry in 2023.

China ethylene buyers’ price ideas edge up ahead of holiday
By Yeow Pei Lin 20-Jan-23 11:14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene prices rebounded slightly in recent days, aided by limited offers, improving prices for certain derivatives in China and strong feedstock naphtha costs.

European engineering plastics demand stays sluggish in light of persistent economic uncertainty
By Yashas Mudumbai 20-Jan-23 00:34 LONDON (ICIS)–The engineering plastics markets for polyacetal (POM) and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) in Europe are continuing to see lower than usual demand, as macroeconomic challenges cause market players to be circumspect.

INSIGHT: Chems face rough earnings season amid warnings, lower margins
By Al Greenwood 20-Jan-23 00:04 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Chemical companies have kicked off the earnings season by waring that they could miss analysts’ estimates and struggle to keep up with rising costs.

Malaysia central bank maintains 2.75% key interest rate amid economic headwinds
By Nurluqman Suratman 19-Jan-23 18:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Malaysia’s central bank on Thursday unexpectedly kept its key benchmark interest rate unchanged amid expectations that the country’s 2023 economic growth will moderate this year amid a global slowdown.

Pakistani buyers struggle to pay Asian R-PET, R-PE cargoes
By Arianne Perez 19-Jan-23 18:10 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–As Pakistan struggles with a financial crisis, importers of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) and recycled polyethylene (R-PE) have struggled to settle payments with suppliers.

China MDI markets see active restocking spurred on by planned turnarounds
By Shannen Ng 19-Jan-23 12:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–News of two major methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) producers in China planning turnarounds for February spurred restocking activity in the week ending 18 January, ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

Oil falls by more than $1/bbl on surprise build in US crude inventories
By Nurluqman Suratman 19-Jan-23 12:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices fell by more than $1/bbl on Thursday after industry data showed a surprise build in US crude inventories for the second straight week, raising concerns of faltering fuel demand.

Asia BDO rebounds as buyers pin hopes on renewed post-holiday demand
By Clive Ong 19-Jan-23 11:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s 1,4-butanediol (BDO) market surged this week as buying momentum for February cargoes picked up on expectations of firmer demand post-Lunar New Year.

US economy poised to enter mild recession as inflation has peaked – ICIS economist
By Joseph Chang 19-Jan-23 05:30 NEW YORK (ICIS)–The US economy is likely to enter a relatively mild recession in 2023, the ICIS chief economist said on Wednesday.

INSIGHT: Poor demand, high costs stifle Europe industry despite falling gas prices
By Aura Sabadus 18-Jan-23 22:56 LONDON (ICIS)–Falling gas prices could reignite some interest in European industrial output but a combination of high operating costs and sluggish demand, reminiscent of the 2008 financial crisis, is likely to slow recovery this year, according to ICIS research.

European phenol struggles with costs while acetone tightens, but demand remains slow
By Jane Gibson 18-Jan-23 22:07 LONDON (ICIS)–The recent fall in gas prices is good news for the phenol and acetone chain. But this alone is unlikely to prompt producers to increase operating rates quite yet.

Japan’s Toyota targets record ’23 car output of 10.6m units, with caveat
By Pearl Bantillo 18-Jan-23 13:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Global automotive giant Toyota is targeting to produce 10.6m units in 2023, subject to a possible downward adjustment of 10% if problems with supply of semiconductors persist.

Bank of Japan maintains low interest rates despite rising inflation
By Nurluqman Suratman 18-Jan-23 12:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Bank of Japan (BOJ) on Wednesday maintained its ultra-low interest rate policy despite rising inflation levels and warned that risks to the country’s economic outlook remain extremely high.

Asia MEC underpinned by hopes of post-Lunar New Year recovery
By Keven Zhang 18-Jan-23 11:32 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia methylene chloride (MEC) was buoyed by spot demand in the last week before the Lunar New Year.

Europe ECH demand muted in Q1, could improve in Q2
By Heidi Finch 18-Jan-23 00:21 LONDON (ICIS)–Europe epichlorohydrin (ECH) demand is likely to face a tough first quarter, as macroeconomic headwinds and Asian competition continue to weigh.

OUTLOOK ’23: Chemical M&A stymied by rates, uncertainty but may rebound in H2
By Joseph Chang 18-Jan-23 00:00 NEW YORK (ICIS)–High interest rates, lack of available financing and economic and earnings uncertainty are holding back chemical industry mergers and acquisitions (M&A). However, activity may be poised to rebound in H2 2023 as the backlog of undone deals builds up, a clearer earnings picture emerges and especially if the financing market improves.

INSIGHT: Asia petrochemicals to rebound in January amid demand recovery – ICIS analysts
By Jenny Yi 17-Jan-23 21:45 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asia petrochemical market is expected to rebound from January in view of demand recovery in the coming months with China’s abandonment of its strict zero-COVID policy. The appreciation of Asia currencies against the US dollar should also support the outlook.

PODCAST: Europe PE, PP analytical 2023 outlook
By Ben Lake 17-Jan-23 19:35 LONDON (ICIS)–European polymer editors Vicky Ellis and Ben Lake are joined by analysts Emiliano Basualto and Lorenzo Meazza to discuss the year ahead in what could be a transitional 12 months for the polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) markets.

NE Asia polyester prices stable to firm; post-holiday outlook optimistic
By Judith Wang 17-Jan-23 16:30 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Spot polyester prices in northeast Asia were stable to firm during the week, on the back of stronger feedstock prices, while overall buying has slowed ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

China 2022 GDP growth slows to 3%; re-opening to drive 2023 recovery
By Nurluqman Suratman 17-Jan-23 16:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s economy grew by 3% in 2022, marking its slowest pace of expansion in decades, highlighting the impact of the country’s long-standing zero-COVID strategy.

India December exports fall 12.2% amid global economic slowdown
By Priya Jestin 17-Jan-23 14:21 MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s merchandise exports in December declined by 12.2% year on year to $34.5bn, with further weakness likely in 2023 amid the global economic slowdown, with its major markets – the US and Europe – possibly facing a recession.

BPA prices in China, India at more than two-year low; ample supply may linger
By Li Peng Seng 17-Jan-23 11:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Import prices of bisphenol A (BPA) in China and India have slumped to their lowest levels in more than two years, weighed down by ample supply.

INSIGHT: Weak, sometimes negative product margins challenged petchem players in 2022
By Nigel Davis 16-Jan-23 23:54 LONDON (ICIS)–As in the depths of the COVID-19 downturn, chemical producers, particularly those based largely in northwest Europe, remain focused on cash.

Global weekly spot IPEX up on rising chemical prices across all regions
By Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez 16-Jan-23 18:57 LONDON (ICIS)–Spot chemical prices were up 2.2% on the back of firmer values across all regions, according to latest figures from the weekly ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX).

Qatar’s $6bn Ras Laffan project to boost Mideast PE exports, shift trade flows
By Nurluqman Suratman 16-Jan-23 13:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Qatar’s $6bn joint venture Ras Laffan petrochemicals complex is expected to boost the Middle East’s polyethylene (PE) exports and could result in a major shift to global trade flows once it comes on stream, according to ICIS analysts.

China re-opening bodes well for SE Asia PE, but Lunar New Year slowdowns ahead
By Izham Ahmad 16-Jan-23 11:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s surprise announcement of the re-opening of its borders and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions has injected renewed vigour into the southeast Asian PE market, but the impact could be short-lived as market activity slows down for the typical Lunar New Year holiday lull.

INSIGHT: A turbulent 2020s requires near-term focus but clear, longer-term strategies
By Nigel Davis 12-Jan-23 00:49 LONDON (ICIS)–The World Economic Forum (WEF) talks of a global risks landscape this year that “feels both wholly new and eerily familiar” in its Global Risks Report 2023.

INSIGHT: Downward pressure on petchem and plastics prices persists globally
By Nigel Davis 11-Jan-23 01:19 LONDON (ICIS)–Falling base chemical and polymer prices globally reflect the weaker and uncertain demand environment while shifted supply and demand balances have coloured spot activity at the end of 2022 and the start of 2023 for a handful of chemical commodities.

The ICIS Petrochemical Index tracked down further in December with the focus on the US Gulf basket of prices: the 12 commodities and polymers collated for the index.

China petrochemical players build stocks on hopes of strong post-holiday demand
By Fanny Zhang 12-Jan-23 11:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Players in China’s petrochemical markets are actively building up stocks on expectation of a strong recovery in post-Lunar New Year demand.

East Asia, Pacific 2023 growth seen at 4.3% on China rebound – World Bank
By Nurluqman Suratman 11-Jan-23 15:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Economies in the east Asia and Pacific region in 2023 are expected to log an average growth of 4.3%, accelerating from the estimated 3.2% pace in 2022 but lower than the previous forecast of above 5% for the current year, the World Bank said.

NE Asia ethylene falls on weak China demand, ample supply
By Yeow Pei Lin 06-Jan-23 10:56 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene market started 2023 on a soft note due to China’s raging COVID-19 outbreak, which has exacerbated the seasonal downstream demand lull ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

China Dec petrochemical markets weak; better post-Lunar New Year demand eyed
By Yvonne Shi 05-Jan-23 14:14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical markets stayed depressed in December despite substantial relaxation of pandemic-related lockdowns, as a consequent spike in COVID-19 infections continued to restrict logistics operations.

Any recovery in demand is unlikely until after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday on 21-27 January.

OUTLOOK ’23: US PVC and vinyls chain face new year of weakened demand
By Bill Bowen 05-Jan-23 04:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US polyvinyl chloride (PVC) enters 2023 with mixed outlook: nominations for price increases for January and an economic outlook that runs counter to those separately proposed increases.

OUTLOOK ’23: China ACN, downstream capacities to expand; oversupply challenges prevail
By Candy Nie 06-Jan-23 12:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s acrylonitrile (ACN) market will continue to see a slew of capacity expansions, particularly in the first half of 2023. Downstream demand is also expected to rise with new downstream units coming online and some COVID-19 restrictions gradually easing since end-2022.

OUTLOOK ’23: Plant activity will tighten US propylene balance even as economy undermines demand
By John Donnelly 05-Jan-23 03:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Derivative demand for US propylene will remain weak until at least Q3, but plant maintenance and a new propylene oxide/tertiary butyl alcohol (POTBA) plant will help support the market in the first half of the year.

OUTLOOK ’23: Weak demand, import pressure to persist in Europe MPG market
By Nicole Simpson 05-Jan-23 18:30 LONDON (ICIS)–Demand in the European mono propylene glycol (MPG) market is expected to remain lacklustre, especially in Q1, as macroeconomic headwinds and pressure from Asian imports persist.

OUTLOOK ’23: Jet kerosene demand to increase on relaxed COVID-19 restrictions
By Cassandra Abolaji 04-Jan-23 20:00 LONDON (ICIS)–The outlook for the European jet kerosene market is optimistic for 2023, as the world reaches almost full recovery from COVID-19 travel restrictions.

OUTLOOK ‘23: New capacity, China’s COVID-19 surge weigh on Asia EVA market
By Helen Lee 04-Jan-23 15:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s supply of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) is expected to lengthen as new capacities start-up, while surging COVID-19 cases in China following easing of pandemic-related restrictions could cap demand recovery in the first quarter of 2023.

China Dec PMI at 34-month low; recovery expected to come in Feb
By Fanny Zhang 03-Jan-23 15:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) slumped to a 34-month low of 47.0 in December amid fast-spreading COVID-19 outbreaks.

Recovery is expected to happen in February when factories come back on stream from the Lunar New Year holiday break.

OUTLOOK ’23: Mid East, South Asia PS markets to hinge on SM trend, China’s recovery
By Damini Dabholkar 29-Dec-22 10:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Q1 2023 outlook for polystyrene (PS) markets in the Middle East and South Asia remains uncertain and will largely be dependent on the availability and prices of upstream commodities. The market is not expected show any strong signs of recovery, however, at least until end January, which is when many countries in Asia celebrate the Lunar New Year. Post Lunar New Year, demand is likely to see an uptick, as has been observed historically.

OUTLOOK ’23: Automotive sector hits the brakes for growth prospects
By Morgan Condon 28-Dec-22 22:30 LONDON (ICIS)–Conditions have been challenging for the automotive industry in recent years, and no immediate reprieve is expected in the near term against a backdrop of geopolitical volatility. Growth expectations for 2022 were not fulfilled and the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February stifled any post-pandemic macroeconomic recovery. This trend looks set to continue in the industry in 2023.

China downgrades COVID, stops quarantine for inbound travellers
By Fanny Zhang 27-Dec-22 11:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China will downgrade COVID-19 to a more common infectious disease, manage it at Category B instead of the top-level Category A and scrap quarantine for inbound travellers from 8 January, the National Health Commission (NHC) announced late on Monday. Currently, COVID-19 is classified as Category B but managed as Category A that applies to diseases like plague and cholera in China.

OUTLOOK ’23: Europe naphtha demand to improve, Russian sanctions to tighten supply
By Cassandra Abolaji 23-Dec-22 00:30 LONDON (ICIS)–The Europe naphtha market ended 2022 on a volatile note and will remain volatile at the start of 2023. This after months of weakening feedstock demand partially caused by China’s absence from the market due to lingering COVID-19 restrictions and high oil prices.

OUTLOOK ’23: Europe MX to lag behind pre-COVID-19 levels despite improved consumption
By Zubair Adam 23-Dec-22 00:30 LONDON (ICIS)–2022 has been a rough year for mixed xylenes (MX) in Europe mainly due to issues with gasoline and global events impacting chemical demand with no significant recovery prior to pre-pandemic levels.

OUTLOOK 23’: China toluene market may face oversupply and trade flow change
China toluene market pivoted from net import to net export in 2022 amid Russia-Ukraine war, but in 2023 the domestic market might face increased supply whereas demand weakness may persist putting pressure on the export market.

OUTLOOK ’23: Asia PP’s potential oversupply may outweigh China’s demand recovery
Possible oversupply in Asia’s polypropylene (PP) market may outweigh the impact of demand recovery in China in 2023.

OUTLOOK ’23: Asia BDO to struggle with long supply while awaiting demand rebound
The Asian 1,4-butanediol (BDO) market continues to be mired in weakness, while the malaise could extend into the new year given the slow market conditions amid the yearend lull and the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays in the second half of January.

OUTLOOK ’23: Asia IPA to see poor demand, ample supply in H1 2023
Asian isopropanol (IPA) spot markets will likely face headwinds in the first half of 2023 on poor demand and ample supply.

OUTLOOK ’23: Asian PET to face headwinds as supply likely to outstrip demand
Asia’s polyethylene terephthalate (PET) supply will likely outstrip demand in 2023 on the back of new capacities scheduled to come online in the upcoming year.

OUTLOOK ’23: Asia adipic acid supply to increase amid demand concerns
Asia’s adipic acid market will see an increase in overall production capacity in 2023, however, the bigger question for the industry is whether its downstream derivatives are growing at a pace quick enough to support it.

OUTLOOK ‘23: China’s MX to face further uncertainty from downstream PX
China’s mixed xylene (MX) prices surged to a decade-high level on soaring crude oil prices in the first half of 2022, before fluctuating downwards in the second half of 2022. In 2023, the market may see support from the launch of some downstream paraxylene (PX) units, but this could depend on the profitability of the PX industry.

OUTLOOK ’23: East, south Asia ethanolamines to face supply headwind
The ethanolamines market in east and south Asia remains under downward pressure towards the end of the year. Tepid demand appears entrenched with limited signs of any significant rebound in the near term.

OUTLOOK ’23: East and South Asia LAB mired in weakness although optimism remains
The linear alkylbenzene (LAB) markets in east and south Asia continue to be mired in weakness with demand in a low ebb. Buyers remain mostly unhurried with supply ample in most regions.

Asia petrochemicals sector to bottom out in December
By Jimmy Zhang 16-Dec-22 12:15 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Although bullish sentiment has started to develop in Asian petrochemical markets from early December amid China’s easing of pandemic curbs, concerns are still in place amid the global economic headwinds and slowing of trading activity ahead of year-end holidays.

China petchems demand recovery unlikely before Q2 2023 despite easing COVID restrictions
By Jenny Yi 14-Dec-22 23:34 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s zero-COVID strategy has been eased since early December. ICIS analysts expect, however, that demand for most commodity petrochemicals will not improve significantly in the short term, and that large-scale recovery may only begin in the second quarter of 2023.

Asia fatty acids near-term demand tepid; may pick up after Lunar New Year
By Helen Yan 14-Dec-22 12:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s fatty acids demand will remain tepid in the near term amid the year-end holiday lull but will likely pick up after the Lunar New Year holidays next year.

INSIGHT: Chemicals output falls as industrial activity contracts globally, 2023 expected weak
By Nigel Davis 14-Dec-22 00:23 LONDON (ICIS)–It is not so much a question of how low will it go but how slow will it be – and for how long? Capacity utilisation data show that the chemicals sector globally has geared down in the face of current headwinds. And there are many of those.

China petrochemical futures mixed; near-term demand recovery in doubt
By Fanny Zhang 08-Dec-22 13:03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical futures markets were mixed on Thursday morning as demand may remain soft despite a further relaxation in the country’s COVID-19 curbs. “We don’t see any strong demand recovery for commodities in the short term,” said Zhang Junfeng, an analyst at brokerage China Merchant Securities. “Consumer confidence still needs time to rebuild,” Zhang said. Late on 7 December, the Chinese government announced 10 measures to optimise its COVID-19 policy, including allowing people with mild or no symptoms to quarantine at home, and cancelling of testing requirements for domestic travelers.

GPCA ’22: Supply chain localisation could help reduce logistics pressure – Saudi society
By Tom Brown 07-Dec-22 23:15 RIYADH (ICIS)–Supply chain operators should shift further towards localised operations and away from globalisation to build resilience and adapt to the volatility that has strained logistics for several years, the chairman of the board for the Saudi Supply Chain and Procurement Society said. The current state of extreme stress on global trade links that has been seen since the COVID-19 pandemic decoupled movement along traditional supply routes is unlikely to be a temporary phase, and further localisation of supply chains could be a solution, according to Supply and Procurement Association board chair Saleh Ibrahim Al-Shabnan.

INSIGHT: Easing in supply chains could signal further problems for Europe’s chems sector ahead
By Morgan Condon 02-Dec-22 20:46 LONDON (ICIS)–Easing supply chain disruption has given petrochemical producers in Europe some respite in the wake of recent crashing demand. But the smoother flow of product could lead to further destabilising of market fundamentals, rather than providing balance to the market. As new orders in Europe have subsided, this has given room for producers to catch up with backlogs, smoothing out extended lead times, and allowing congested bottlenecks to dissipate. While this has been some help in the short-term, the likelihood is that diminished appetite for materials could eventually disrupt logistics, as deliveries slow down to match need.

US manufacturing contracts for first time in 30 months
By Stefan Baumgarten 02-Dec-22 01:04 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell by 1.2 points from 50.2 in October to 49.0 in November – pushing the index into contraction territory, last seen in May 2020 during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, ICIS senior economist Kevin Swift said. He was commenting on the November PMI report by Institute for Supply Management (ISM), released earlier on Thursday, which showed the first contraction in manufacturing after 29 consecutive expansions.

Caixin’s Nov China manufacturing PMI rises to 49.4
By Nurluqman Suratman 01-Dec-22 10:33 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Caixin’s China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 49.4 in November from 49.2 in October but remained in contractionary territory as ongoing COVID-19 containment measures continued to weigh on the sector, the Chinese media firm said on Thursday. A PMI reading above 50 indicates  expansion in the manufacturing economy, while a lower number denotes contraction. Manufacturers in China registered a further fall in output, with the rate of contraction picking up slightly from October, amid a sustained reduction in sales, Caixin said in a statement. Companies frequently linked the decline to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on operations and customer demand,” Caixin said.

UK manufacturing woes continue as output, new orders and employment fall
By Jonathan Lopez 01-Dec-22 20:45 MADRID (ICIS)–The UK’s manufacturing sectors remained in contraction territory in November because of lower output, shrinking orders, and reduced employment levels, analysts at S&P Global said on Thursday. The UK’s PMI index came in at 46.5 points in November, a slight improvement from October’s 46.2 points, but any reading below the 50.0 points mark shows contraction. “The intermediate goods sector fared especially poorly, while downturns also continued at consumer and investment goods producers,” said the analysts.

INSIGHT: Preparing for a difficult winter in Europe and a tougher 2023/24
By Nigel Davis 26-Nov-22 00:56 LONDON (ICIS)–A mild autumn has alleviated some of the tension in Europe’s energy markets and the pressure on natural gas availability. But colder weather beckons and gas usage will rise putting, as it does in normal years, upward pressure on gas prices. The filling of storage tanks across the continent has provided a buffer against the worst damage that the Russia-Ukraine war can do to Europe’s energy supply, while reduced demand by industry has made a significant contribution. What is not clear is how energy availability to industry, and the costs of that gas and power, change moving into 2023.

NE Asia ethylene output to remain weak up to at least H1 2023
By Yeow Pei Lin 25-Nov-22 11:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s ethylene production is expected to be constricted by heavy cracker turnarounds, poor margins and weak downstream demand up to at least the first half of 2023.

China’s weak phenol imports to prompt deeper output cuts in Asia
By Helen Lee 25-Nov-22 16:06 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s phenol imports are being weighed down by a combination of ample domestic supply, rising COVID-19 caseloads, easing upstream markets, and the absence of restocking ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays in late January.

SE Asia PE market dazed by China stop-start demand
By Izham Ahmad 24-Nov-22 16:36 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Initial spot import offers for December shipments of polyethylene (PE) in southeast Asia were announced in the same range as the previous week’s assessment or softer this week, with market players baffled by the stop-start nature of China’s demand for PE.

German manufacturers increase warehouse capacity post-pandemic
By Morgan Condon 23-Nov-22 20:40 LONDON (ICIS)–German industrial players have expanded warehouse capacity and focus more on supply chains in the wake of the pandemic, according to the latest data released by the Ifo Institute on Wednesday. Results of the study from the economic research group found that 68% of companies surveyed increased warehouse sizing, with 65% seeking additional suppliers since 2020, and 54% of firms now monitor their supply chains more closely. The outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 initially caused a slowdown in manufacturing, as regions applied lockdowns, and implemented restrictions at ports and borders to contain the spread of the virus.

IMF urges China to further recalibrate COVID-19 strategy
By Nurluqman Suratman 23-Nov-22 18:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged China to further recalibrate its COVID-19 strategy and provide additional support to its beleaguered property sector to mitigate risks from a global economic slowdown. Following the recovery from the initial impact of the pandemic, the world’s second-biggest economy remains under pressure, with growth projected to slow to 3.2% in 2022, from an 8.1% pace last year, before improving to 4.4% in 2023 and 2024, the IMF stated on 22 November following a review of China’s economic conditions.

PODCAST: Sustainable development may create new growth space for petrochemical industry
By Yvonne Shi 18-Nov-22 11:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analysts Jady Ma and Yvonne Shi discuss how sustainable development is working on the petrochemical industry and subsequent reactions.

PODCAST: Macroeconomics prove challenging for global chems in 2023, although some bright spots remain
By Morgan Condon 16-Nov-22 22:50 LONDON (ICIS)–After several challenging years in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, volatile geopolitical conditions and a tough macroeconomic backdrop mean that things are unlikely to turn a corner for global chemicals producers heading into the new year. Senior economist for global chemicals Kevin Swift talks to senior reporter for Europe Morgan Condon about the outlook for the coming year, and the key features for the market in 2023.

INSIGHT: Lacklustre demand from various outlets impacting polyols, TDI and toluene
By Zubair Adam 17-Nov-22 21:03 LONDON (ICIS)–Weaker activity from the automotive and flexible foam industries is impacting the consumption of polyols and toluene diisocyanate (TDI), with some additional impacts from the latter on feedstock toluene due to lower production. No short term demand recovery is envisaged for the whole value chain.

INSIGHT: China’s property rescue plan to boost some petrochemicals
By Fanny Zhang 16-Nov-22 20:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s latest measures to rescue the stressed property sector are expected to lift some petrochemicals, although they are unlikely to reverse bearish sentiment on the sluggish property market, according to economists and analysts.

China outlook dims further on fresh COVID-19 surge, real estate slump
By Nurluqman Suratman 16-Nov-22 13:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s economic outlook just turned dimmer amid downbeat October data, with surging domestic COVID-19 infections and slumping real estate market threatening to aggravate weak petrochemical demand.

Asia soap noodles to remain sluggish in near term on year-end holiday lull
By Helen Yan 16-Nov-22 10:52 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s soap noodles market is likely to remain sluggish in the near term as buyers remain cautious and are reluctant to lock in large forward spot volumes ahead of the year-end holiday lull. China’s zero COVID-19 policy has had an impact on regional trade.

Weak demand outweighs refined COVID-19 policy, capping China PP price rise
By Zhibo Xiao 15-Nov-22 16:02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polypropylene (PP) futures surged following the release of the refined COVID-19 policy on 11 November, but the market may still face pressure toward the year-end amid tepid demand recovery, intensive arrivals of competitively-priced imports and expected new plant start-ups.

Asia’s MIBK players pin hopes in 2023 rally
By Angeline Soh 15-Nov-22 16:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) players expressed hopes in a 2023 rally, after the easing of global COVID-19 infection rates, and China’s easing of some of its strictest restrictions based on its zero-Covid policy.

China eases COVID-19 curbs, petrochemical futures boosted
By Fanny Zhang 11-Nov-22 16:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China will relax its COVID-19 control measures in view of changing circumstances, shoring up equity markets accordingly. The National Health Commission (NHC) announced 20 measures on Friday in a push for more targeted and optimised control of the pandemic. Under the new policies, the quarantine time for close contacts of cases is shortened to five days in centralised locations from seven previously.

Asia ethylene little changed as players await direction from ’23 term talks
By Yeow Pei Lin 11-Nov-22 11:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s ethylene spot import prices for December-arrival cargoes were broadly stable this week, as the weak downstream margins and strong US arrivals continued to be counterbalanced by limited regional supply.

Bearish sentiment dominates Asia November petrochemical markets
By Amy Yu 11-Nov-22 10:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Bearish sentiment in Asian petrochemical markets has risen due to weak demand from late October, and we expect prices of most products in the region to remain on a downward trend in November.

US chem shares surge as broader market rises on positive inflation data
By Adam Yanelli 11-Nov-22 06:23 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US-listed shares of chemical companies surged on Thursday, largely outperforming the broader market which rose significantly on favourable economic data on inflation.The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 3.7%, while the Dow Jones US Chemicals Index rose by 4.95% and the S&P 500 Chemicals Industry Index rose by 5%.

Europe PET buyers lured by imports, but demand questionable
By Caroline Murray 11-Nov-22 01:58LONDON (ICIS)–The window of opportunity for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) importers appears wide due to Europe’s unique cost situation, but demand is so low that PET buyers are unsure how to proceed.

British industrial demand to remain below previous years
By ICIS Editorial 10-Nov-22 01:05 LONDON (ICIS)–Despite recent pressure to NBP Day-ahead and front month gas prices, a return to high levels of industrial offtake in Britain is unlikely, ICIS analysis shows. Normal industrial demand over the past five years has averaged 10mcm daily. However, since the rise of gas prices in Britain, industrial gas offtake has dropped to around 5.6mcm from January to November 2022.

EU, eurozone September chems prices decline modestly in split market
By Morgan Condon 10-Nov-22 01:30 LONDON (ICIS)–Chemical pricing in September was mixed for European producers, with some key manufacturing nations bucking the modest declines recorded in the eurozone and wider EU, according to the EU’s statistical agency, Eurostat.

The latest data from Eurostat indicates that Italy and Poland recorded single-figure gains compared with the previous month, supported by smaller gains in France and Germany.

Asia BDO retreats on poor demand, weak domestic China market
By Clive Ong 10-Nov-22 11:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian 1,4-butanediol (BDO) market trended lower as demand in the region dissipated amid a poor economic outlook. Some participants believe that demand in the region, in particular China, could remain weak until after the Lunar New Year in late January.

Asia petrochemical markets mixed amid high inflation
By Felicia Loo 09-Nov-22 14:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical markets were mixed amid economic headwinds and dampening consumption in China amid a slowing economy, with no let-up on its harsh zero COVID-19 policy, dampening consumption.

China, India ethanolamines markets under downward pressure as demand wanes
By Clive Ong 10-Nov-22 14:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The ethanolamines markets in China and India remain under downward pressure amid prevailing weak demand and ample supply. Participants continue to expect weak markets in the near term as the global economic outlook remains uncertain.

China’s MEC demand disrupted by zero-COVID strategy
By Keven Zhang 09-Nov-22 11:41 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s methylene chloride (MEC) prices saw steep falls in the past two weeks due to disruption to its domestic demand by the new round of lockdowns implemented to contain the COVID-19 spread in the country, although production cutbacks may provide some support in the near term.

INSIGHT: More pain for chemicals as US Federal Reserve has ‘a ways to go’ on rate hikes
By Joseph Chang 03-Nov-22 06:25 NEW YORK (ICIS)–US and global chemical producers will likely see more pain ahead as the US Federal Reserve still has a “ways to go” in its tightening cycle to bring inflation down to its 2% target. It’s not pausing or pivoting, and not budging from its target. The US equity market as measured by the S&P 500 fell 2.5% on 2 November on disappointment that the Fed gave no indication it will stop interest raising rates, other than acknowledging it has already tightened monetary policy significantly. The Fed hiked its benchmark rate by 0.75 percentage points – its third consecutive hike of that magnitude – to a range of 3.75-4.00%. “Our message is clear – we think we have a ways to go. We have some ground to cover with interest rates before we get to that level… we think is sufficiently restrictive,” said Fed chair Jerome Powell at the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) press conference.

INSIGHT: Asia October PMIs point to broadening export downturn
By Nurluqman Suratman 02-Nov-22 17:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Amid falling new orders and inventory build-up, Asia’s export downturn is broadening with the latest data pointing to further weakness in factory activity across the region. The slowdown in manufacturing activity has now widened from northeast Asia to also include southeast Asia amid waning export demand. Asia’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMIs) fell in October to an average of 49.6, down from 50.7 in September, due largely to a fall in new orders and lower production as export orders weakened further.

China’s Oct petchem market falls on oversupply, poor confidence
By Yvonne Shi 02-Nov-22 12:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical market fell significantly in October. As of October 31, the ICIS China Petrochemical Price Index (which tracks 17 commodities) dropped 5.4% from September 30 to close at 1220.11 points. The quick fall after a sharp rise after the National Day holiday reflects sluggish demand and lack of market confidence. China’s petrochemical market started the downtrend from the middle of the month till the end. An official source before the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China disclosed that China’s epidemic prevention and control will continue to adhere to the zero-COVID policy, which hit market confidence severely.

UK manufacturing sector output contracts further as new orders dry up
By Tom Brown 01-Nov-22 20:00 LONDON (ICIS)–UK manufacturing sector output slipped further into contraction in October, and hit a 29-month low as new order volumes shrank at the fastest rate since May 2020, according to data from S&P Global on Tuesday. The sector purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell further in the month, dropping to 46.2 from 48.4 in September, although they were stronger than initial readings for the month of 45.8. A PMI score below 50.0 signifies contraction. It was the third consecutive month of contraction for the sector, as the economic outlook continued to deteriorate. New orders and new export business both declined in the month. Players in the UK cited softer demand from China, the war in Ukraine and ongoing obstacles to exporting posed by Brexit. Business optimism slipped to the lowest level since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

China posts 3.9% Q3 GDP growth; President Xi secures third term
By Pearl Bantillo 24-Oct-22 13:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China posted an annualised GDP growth of 3.9% in the third quarter, up from 0.4% in the previous quarter, but a combination of a zero-COVID policy and a property downturn will continue to weigh on the world’s second-biggest economy.

US economy continues to slow, recession likely – NABE survey
By Stefan Baumgarten 24-Oct-22 22:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US economy continues to slow and is likely already in recession or may soon be in recession, according to findings in the latest business conditions survey by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) on Monday.

INSIGHT: Asia C3 to face headwinds in fourth quarter
By Julia Tan 25-Oct-22 10:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian propylene market is facing headwinds as it steps into the fourth quarter as demand looks likely to remain weak until the end of the year on poor derivative margins.

China PP lacks post-holiday support as weak demand overshadows high costs
By Zhibo Xiao 27-Oct-22 12:34  SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Domestic polypropylene (PP) prices in China rose and then fell after the country’s National Day holiday on 1-7 October as bearish demand outweighed the brief surge in crude values.

INSIGHT: A new world for Asia olefins as capacity surges, demand remains uncertain
By Amy Yu 28-Oct-22 12:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asia olefins industry is witnessing a new world of significantly squeezed margins for all producers, with incremental capacity addtions set against the backdrop of weak demand.

CDI Economic Summary: Recession odds rise as slowdown takes hold amid Fed tightening
By Kevin Swift 27-Oct-22 23:07 CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (ICIS)–Monetary tightening across the world led by the US Federal Reserve, protracted inflation and geopolitical events have raised the odds of recession in many major economies.

Asia petrochemicals stay bearish as China keeps zero-COVID policy
By Nurluqman Suratman 21-Oct-22 11:40 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Bearish sentiment prevails across Asia’s petrochemical markets with no immediate end in sight on China’s zero-COVID strategy, which has been weighing on overall industrial activities of the world’s second-biggest economy.

South and East Asia LAB quiet while rising feedstock costs squeeze margins
By Clive Ong 20-Oct-22 17:02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The linear alkyl benzene (LAB) market in East and South Asia remains quiet while suppliers talked of squeezed margins from rising feedstock costs. The desire for higher values, however, were countered by the persistently weak demand in the region.

India, SE Asia ethanolamines remain under pressure from competitive offers
By Clive Ong 20-Oct-22 15:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)—The ethanolamines markets in southeast Asia and India remain under downward pressure from competitive offers and tepid demand. Participants anticipate further weakness in the near term as the Chinese market looks set to remain weak.

INSIGHT: Japan economy to find succor in automotive output recovery
By Pearl Bantillo 20-Oct-22 12:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japan may be able to count on a recovery in car production, which should provide much-needed boosts to related industries, including petrochemicals, to cushion its economic downturn.

INSIGHT: European home improvement sector slumps on economic slowdown, post-COVID effects
By Nicole Simpson 19-Oct-22 21:33 LONDON (ICIS)–As the threat of recession looms over Europe and consumers look to cut back on unnecessary spending, demand for home improvement and do-it-yourself (DIY) goods has plummeted.

Asia oleochemicals market likely flat in Q4 on zero-COVID policy in China
By Helen Yan 19-Oct-22 12:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s oleochemicals market is expected to remain flat in the fourth quarter due to the prevailing sluggish demand from China amid its zero-COVID policy, which is expected to remain in place for the rest of this year.

INSIGHT: Global demand slump eclipses Asia export benefits from currency falls
By Pearl Bantillo 18-Oct-22 13:14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s tumbling currencies will not spell strong exports for the region as a combination of surging inflation and high interest rates slows the pace of global economic activities.

EPCA ’22: Chemicals supply chains lengthening, security of supply increasingly important – Vopak CEO

By Nigel Davis 07-Oct-22 17:40 BERLIN (ICIS)–Chemicals supply chains are becoming necessarily longer as consumers and producers see markets balancing between imports and local production, the CEO at tank storage operator Vopak said this week.

China September petrochemical markets up; demand outlook still bleak
By Yvonne Shi 11-Oct-22 14:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical markets were mostly higher in September on supply tightness in some products and aided by pre-holiday restocking, but overall demand is not expected to improve by much in the coming months.

IMF trims developing Asia growth outlook on China weakness
By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Oct-22 12:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has trimmed its economic growth forecast for emerging and developing Asian economies on account of China’s slowdown.

Asia BDO market faces lengthening supply, uncertain demand
By Clive Ong 13-Oct-22 13:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The nascent recovery in Asian’s 1,4-butanediol (BDO) market in September now faces the challenge of lengthening supply with demand staying uncertain.

Singapore Q4 GDP growth slows to 4.4%, monetary policy tightened
By Nurluqman Suratman 14-Oct-22 11:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore’s central bank on Friday tightened its monetary policy to dampen persistent price pressures which has slowed its economy to a year-on-year growth of 4.4% in the fourth quarter.

EPCA ’22: Chemical industry may slow but must manage through cycle, Equate CEO
By Nigel Davis 06-Oct-22 17:11 BERLIN (ICIS)–The chemical industry may slow over the next 12 months but it is a question of managing through the cycle, Equate’s CEO Naser Aldousari said on the sidelines of EPCA 2022 on Wednesday. Aldousari remains optimistic for the sector and emphasises its resilience.

Asia Q4 petrochemical demand faces headwinds as global economy slows
By Felicia Loo 06-Oct-22 14:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Petrochemical demand in Asia will be largely undermined because regional factories face continued weakness in export demand in the fourth quarter.

EPCA ’22: COVID-19 pandemic set gender parity back a generation – Dow exec
By Tom Brown 05-Oct-22 23:21 BERLIN (ICIS)–The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic set the progress of gender parity back 30 years, Dow’s head of inclusion and diversity said on Wednesday, because of the disproportionate impact it had on women’s participation in the labour market.

EPCA ’22: Europe ADA, nylon 6,6 demand may weaken further in October
By Marta Fern 05-Oct-22 16:00 LONDON (ICIS)–European adipic acid (ADA) and downstream nylon 6,6 markets face affordability concerns, high costs of production and competition with lower priced imports from Asia.

EPCA ’22: European auto output will only recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2025 – analyst
By Jonathan Lopez 04-Oct-22 18:21 BERLIN (ICIS)–Production from the European petrochemicals-intensive automotive sector is unlikely to recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2025 at the earliest, a chemicals analyst at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) said on Tuesday.
Andreas Gocke, global lead for chemicals at BCG, said the war in Ukraine and supply-chain issues have only seen a further deterioration in the outlook for the automotive sector, which was already negative in 2021.

EPCA ’22: Weak demand, wider uncertainty shapes Europe acrylate esters outlook
By Mathew Jolin-Beech 04-Oct-22 22:00 LONDON (ICIS)–Europe’s acrylate esters markets are set to be gripped by ongoing weak demand and wider macroeconomic uncertainty in Q4 and early 2023.

EPCA ’22: PODCAST: Europe petrochemicals face ‘winter of discontent

By Will Beacham 04-Oct-22 15:19 BERLIN (ICIS)–Europe’s petrochemical sector faces a ‘winter of discontent’, battered by high energy costs, collapsing downstream demand and increased imports from Asia. In this Think Tank podcast, Will Beacham interviews ICIS Insight editor Nigel Davis, ICIS senior analyst Lorenzo Meazza, and Paul Hodges, chairman of New Normal Consulting. The European Petrochemicals Association (EPCA) annual meeting runs on 4-6 October in Berlin.

EPCA ‘22: Demand concerns loom over Europe PC market in Q4
By Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez 03-Oct-22 19:14 LONDON (ICIS)–Pessimism reigns in the European polycarbonate (PC) market moving into the end of 2022 as demand from the key customer sectors is likely to remain tepid due to Europe’s dim macroeconomic outlook.

INSIGHT: Trends converging to create Q4 glut in 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.



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