Summary of 2023 Americas Outlook stories

ICIS Editorial

17-Jan-2023

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Here are the ’23 Americas Outlook stories which ran on ICIS news throughout December and January.

Click on a headline to read the full story.

OUTLOOK ’23: More challenges in 2023 after big year for US chems
While the chemical industry may have experienced one of its best years in a decade, growth slowed in the latter part of 2022, casting a bit of industry doubt as the calendar turns to 2023.

OUTLOOK ’23: US nylon demand weak amid buyer’s market
US nylon 6 and nylon 6,6 demand is weak, heading into 2023. It is a buyer’s market, and the first half will be challenging for manufacturers and sellers.

OUTLOOK ’23: US ABS, PC demand to remain weak in H1
The first half of 2023 will be challenging for producers and sellers of US acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polycarbonate (PC), as demand has softened, and the risk of a recession is elevated.

OUTLOOK ’23: US BD, SBR supplies ample against demand headwinds
US butadiene (BD) and styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) markets should be sufficiently supplied in early 2023 despite BD outages and reduced cracker rates and downstream rates.

OUTLOOK ’23: US BDO expected to bend to macroeconomic trends
US 1,4 butanediol (BDO) starts 2023 with weakened demand for downstream derivatives and the market is expected to follow macroeconomic trends as weakened consumer confidence weighs on its many consumer-facing end-products.

OUTLOOK ’23: Rising renewable diesel capacity, lower-than-expected volume requirements to weigh on biodiesel demand
Rising renewable diesel capacity and lower-than-expected proposed volume requirements for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program are expected to weigh on US biodiesel demand in 2023.

OUTLOOK ‘23: US R-PET sustainability-driven demand to increase, key differences to note in supply
While 2022 has been a year of intense volatility for the US recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) market, growing pains may continue in 2023, as new recycling capacity is added and end-market demand continues to shift from the traditional fibre industry towards consumer brand companies as they source increasing volumes of recycled resin to meet their sustainable packaging goals.

OUTLOOK ’23: Lower styrene demand, recessionary concerns weigh on US benzene demand
Benzene derivative demand remained soft in late Q4 ’22, particularly for styrene – which has its lowest contract pricing since February 2021 – despite running at reduced levels. Although demand has been more resilient for some smaller downstream applications, market players remain wary of recessionary headwinds for the first half of 2023.

OUTLOOK ’23: US IPA, MEK market sentiment downbeat on recession fears
Demand sentiment in the US isopropanol (IPA) and methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) markets heading into 2023 remains largely downbeat.

OUTLOOK ’23: US melamine may soften moderately, ‘buyer’s market’ possible
Amid predominantly negative near-term economic indicators, US melamine demand is likely to soften early in 2023, but ample domestic supply could shift some pricing advantage back to buyers for the first time since mid-2020.

OUTLOOK ’23: US toluene, MX demand and premiums over RBOB to remain elevated
US toluene and mixed xylenes (MX) demand is expected to remain elevated to in 2023 due to the recovery in fuels demand.

OUTLOOK ’23: US PX consumption to remain low through first half of 2023
US paraxylene (PX) consumption is expected to remain low through the first half of 2023 as a result of low demand from downstream polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

OUTLOOK ’23: US PP demand outlook weak as new capacity starts up
The US polypropylene (PP) industry is heading into 2023 facing a weak demand outlook amid a recessionary environment even as new capacity came online late in 2022.

OUTLOOK ’23: LatAm PP prices to be pressured by new US and Asian capacities
Latin America polypropylene (PP) prices will continue to be pressured by new capacities in the US and Asia.

OUTLOOK ’23: US ACN demand concerns to persist in H1 2023
US acrylonitrile (ACN) markets will continue to face headwinds in Q1 2022 and likely H1 2023, as mounting concerns over an increasingly likely global recession weigh on the market against the backdrop of existing long supply and soft demand.

OUTLOOK ‘23: US A&A solvents sentiment guardedly optimistic
In moderate contrast to an upbeat view a year ago, the outlook for US aromatic and aliphatic (A&A) solvents for H1 2023 is guardedly optimistic.

OUTLOOK ’23: US glycol ethers, butac demand to remain weak into H1
After considerable tightness in 2021 and in early 2022, upstream availability of butyl acetate (butac) has improved in the latter half of 2022. However, demand in paints and coatings applications have weakened. In addition to butac, both E-series and P-series glycol ethers have seen softer demand in Q4.

OUTLOOK ’23: US epoxy resins cautious amid demand headwinds
US epoxy resins players are cautious going into 2023 as they weigh multiple demand scenarios in view of the fragile economic climate.

OUTLOOK ’23: US MMA to face supply length, demand headwinds
US methyl methacrylate (MMA) is cautious going into 2023 as the global market is facing challenging conditions.

OUTLOOK ’23: Acrylate demand to continue facing headwinds from housing and construction
Demand for glacial acrylic acid (GAA) and acrylates has softened in Q4 ’22. This is due to both seasonality – including lower demand from end-users in housing and destocking by players seeking to limit tax burdens – and ongoing, structural demand declines among buyers.

OUTLOOK ’23: US EPS market sees continued weakness ahead
The US expandable polystyrene (EPS) market is likely to see continued weakness as it enters 2023 due to languishing demand but has its sights on a possible recovery beginning in Q2.

OUTLOOK ’23: LatAm PS market will continue to face headwinds in 2023
The Latin American polystyrene market will continue to face headwinds in 2023, as projected regional economic weakness will combine with sufficient supply.

OUTLOOK ’23: US PE margins to face pressure on slower demand, expanding supply
US polyethylene (PE) margins are anticipated to remain pressured into the first half of 2023 as demand is slowing on weaker economic growth even as capacity is expanding both within the region and across the world.

OUTLOOK ’23: LatAm PE prices to remain pressured on increased US capacity
Latin American polyethylene (PE) prices will remain pressured because of rising PE capacity in the US, which is the main supplier of imports to the region.

OUTLOOK ’23: US caustic soda to see greater supply, slackening demand
US liquid caustic soda is expected to move in parallel with most commodities entering a new year with expectations of flat to negative GDP growth and global headwinds against economic expansion.

OUTLOOK ’23: North American TiO2 demand slowdown expected in H1 ’23
Although titanium dioxide (TiO2) contract discussions for Q1 2023 are underway, talks up to this point have not moved at the same pace as in previous quarters.

OUTLOOK ’23: Sluggish demand outlook for US PS
The demand outlook for North American polystyrene (PS) is weak heading into the early months of 2023 following two years of solid demand in 2021 and 2022.

OUTLOOK ’23: US ethylene exports expected to surge as region maintains competitive edge
Despite economic headwinds limiting domestic derivative demand, US ethylene producers are set to take advantage of expanded export capacity and competitive economics through the year.

INSIGHT – OUTLOOK ’23: Slowdowns loom for Brazil, Mexico
Economists in Brazil and Mexico expect GDP growth will slow down sharply in 2023, with Brazil losing the benefits of a commodity rally and Mexico suffering from slower growth in the US.

OUTLOOK ’23: US soda ash set for sharp contract increases; surging demand for exports
US soda ash enters 2023 in relatively strong demand and tight, but recovering, supply – and the sharpest increases to annual contracts in memory.

OUTLOOK ’23: US styrene market poised for stability after volatile year
The US styrene sector enters 2023 with sufficient supply and soft demand and, with a light turnaround schedule ahead, should see much steadier market conditions than in 2022.

OUTLOOK ’23: US fatty acids, alcohols demand expected slow in Q1 2023
US fatty acids and alcohols markets will face continued headwinds in Q1 and likely in H1 2023, as long supply and slowing demand for several carbon fractions against the backdrop of soaring inflation and growing concerns over a global recession weigh on the market.

OUTLOOK ’23: US acetic acid demand largely dependent upon global economy
Compared with many other chemicals sectors, the acetic acid market in the US usually appears quite placid because it does not generally enjoy rapid growth in consumption, marked peaks or troughs in purchasing activity due to seasonal variations, notable supply problems, or, consequently, steep price movements.

OUTLOOK ’23: US polyurethane market expected to see sufficient supply, slow demand into 2023
Demand for polyurethane systems is anticipated to remain slow heading into 2023 amid a broader economic slowdown and widespread expectations for a recession in 2023.

OUTLOOK ’23: US MPG supply expected to lengthen with upstream production coming online
US mono propylene glycol (MPG) demand has continued to fall in December. Although part of the weaker demand is due to short-term issues such as year-end destocking, softer demand is expected to continue in Q1 2023. Short-term supply is likely to continue lengthening.

OUTLOOK ’23: US chem tanker rates remain elevated on tight supply as container market softens
Around this time last year, demand for shipping containers from east Asia and China to the US were at all-time record highs while the liquid chemical tanker market was struggling to maintain rates amid weak demand.

OUTLOOK ’23: Players to focus on US phenol run rates, acetone supply
The outlook on US phenol run rates and acetone supply is clouded because of the fragile economic climate.

OUTLOOK ’23: US HCl likely relatively balanced on opposing supply-demand factors
US hydrochloric acid (HCl) starts 2023 with opposing factors shaping the supply and demand balance heading into the new year.

OUTLOOK: Lacklustre demand affecting US paraffin wax business in H1 2023
Paraffin wax business is fiercely competing in many niche markets, including the tire, construction, packaging, candles, and food industries, as product technology, design, and price become even more important in retaining a loyal customer base related to slack and fully refined waxes.

OUTLOOK ’23: US fuel, industrial ethanol facing competing factors in H1
US fuel ethanol could face pressure in the new year if there are competing forces such as a recession versus if corn prices and natural gas continue to remain slightly elevated; whereas there could be some upward pressure for industrial ethanol if production and material costs remain elevated.

OUTLOOK 23: LatAm ethanol market concerns about PIS, CONFINS return in H1 2023
Price increases for ethanol are expected for Q1 2023 because mills are betting on the return of Programa de Integração Social (PIS) and Contribuição para Financiamento da Seguridade Social (COFINS) in the following year, causing a lower number of offers in the spot market.

OUTLOOK ’23: US refined products inventories to remain tight
US refined products inventories are expected to remain tight in 2023 due to strong demand and less refining capacity.

OUTLOOK ’23: US base oil markets start sluggish but could firm
US base oil supply is long against weak demand heading into 2023, but two major turnarounds in H1 should rebalance the markets.

OUTLOOK ’23: US MA facing demand headwinds, bearish feedstocks
US maleic anhydride (MA) is less firm going into 2023 as sentiment is cautious amid demand headwinds.

OUTLOOK ‘23: US R-PE to see diverging trends on sustainability vs cost-sensitive resin demand
The US recycled polyethylene (R-PE) market will continue to show diverging market trends in 2023, depending on the recycled resin grade. Sustainability-driven demand for material such as post-consumer, natural coloured recycled high-density polyethylene (R-HDPE) or recycled low-density polyethylene (R-LDPE) will continue to be robust as companies make progress against regulatory and voluntary post-consumer recycled (PCR) content targets.

OUTLOOK ’23: Global downturn will drag US chem exports
Economic downturns and recessions around the world will drag down US exports, while the country’s producers should benefit from improving logistics and cost advantages for energy and feedstock.

OUTLOOK ’23: Higher for longer rates to pressure US, global economies
Elevated inflation and the US Federal Reserve’s response in taming this beast will be a key driver for not just the US but global economies as central banks around the world also strive to achieve price stability, even at the cost of growth.

OUTLOOK ’23: US etac expected to face downward pressure in H1
Similarly to what was expected to happen mid-year, the US ethyl acetate (etac) market expects competitive pricing during the start of 2023 as demand has been soft and destocking has been occurring.

OUTLOOK ’23: US MTBE export demand to remain healthy as gasoline demand recovers
US methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) exports are expected remain healthy in 2023 as the tightness in octane boosters supply continues and global gasoline demand recovers.

OUTLOOK ’23: US plasticizers demand expected slow in Q1; price hikes sought for oxo-alcohols
Despite soft demand in Q4, a price increase nomination for 1 January has emerged for US oxo-alcohol buyers. Meanwhile, players are expecting a slow start in Q1 for plasticizers demand in early 2023.

OUTLOOK ’23: US PA, OX demand expected to remain weak on economic headwinds
Demand for phthalic anhydride (PA) is expected to remain weak through the beginning of 2023 as the market continues to destock inventories.

OUTLOOK ’23: Plant activity will tighten US propylene balance even as economy undermines demand
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: US PVC and vinyls chain face new year of weakened demand
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: Higher PVC prices expected in Latin America in H1 2023
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) prices in Latin America are placed to follow Asia market trends in Q1 2023, as Formosa Taiwan raised its prices to all destinations last week and sold out on the same day.

OUTLOOK ’23: US methanol exports expected to remain the bright spot
US methanol supply in 2023 is expected to be healthier, while demand growth forecast to slow in comparison to 2022.

OUTLOOK ’23: US chemical equities look to rebound from 2022 backsliding
Chemical equities over the past year reversed gains experienced in 2021, and will end 2022 sharply lower year on year.

OUTLOOK ’23: US glycerine oversupply to persist in H1 2023
US glycerine supply is largely expected to outpace demand in H1 2023, as demand concerns persist with soaring inflation and growing fears over a global recession.

OUTLOOK ’23: US PET, PTA demand expected to remain muted on economic headwinds
US virgin polyethylene terephthalate (PET) demand will likely remain weak through the remainder of 2022 and into the first half of 2023.

OUTLOOK ’23: LatAm PET contracts and spot prices under pressure in H1 2023
Latin America polyethylene terephthalate (PET) consumption rates continue to follow international benchmark markets due to global economic uncertainties and unexpected weather conditions.

OUTLOOK ’23: US soda ash set for sharp contract increases; surging demand for exports
US soda ash enters 2023 in relatively strong demand and tight, but recovering, supply – and the sharpest increases to annual contracts in memory.

OUTLOOK ’23: US styrene market poised for stability after volatile year
The US styrene sector enters 2023 with sufficient supply and soft demand and, with a light turnaround schedule ahead, should see much steadier market conditions than in 2022.

OUTLOOK ’23: US fatty acids, alcohols demand expected slow in Q1 2023
US fatty acids and alcohols markets will face continued headwinds in Q1 and likely in H1 2023, as long supply and slowing demand for several carbon fractions against the backdrop of soaring inflation and growing concerns over a global recession weigh on the market.

OUTLOOK ’23: US acetic acid demand largely dependent upon global economy
Compared with many other chemicals sectors, the acetic acid market in the US usually appears quite placid because it does not generally enjoy rapid growth in consumption, marked peaks or troughs in purchasing activity due to seasonal variations, notable supply problems, or, consequently, steep price movements.

OUTLOOK ’23: US polyurethane market expected to see sufficient supply, slow demand into 2023
Demand for polyurethane systems is anticipated to remain slow heading into 2023 amid a broader economic slowdown and widespread expectations for a recession in 2023.

OUTLOOK ’23: US MPG supply expected to lengthen with upstream production coming online
US mono propylene glycol (MPG) demand has continued to fall in December. Although part of the weaker demand is due to short-term issues such as year-end destocking, softer demand is expected to continue in Q1 2023. Short-term supply is likely to continue lengthening.

OUTLOOK ’23: US chem tanker rates remain elevated on tight supply as container market softens
Around this time last year, demand for shipping containers from east Asia and China to the US were at all-time record highs while the liquid chemical tanker market was struggling to maintain rates amid weak demand.

OUTLOOK ’23: Players to focus on US phenol run rates, acetone supply
The outlook on US phenol run rates and acetone supply is clouded because of the fragile economic climate.

OUTLOOK ’23: US HCl likely relatively balanced on opposing supply-demand factors
US hydrochloric acid (HCl) starts 2023 with opposing factors shaping the supply and demand balance heading into the new year.

OUTLOOK: Lacklustre demand affecting US paraffin wax business in H1 2023
Paraffin wax business is fiercely competing in many niche markets, including the tire, construction, packaging, candles, and food industries, as product technology, design, and price become even more important in retaining a loyal customer base related to slack and fully refined waxes.

OUTLOOK ’23: US fuel, industrial ethanol facing competing factors in H1
US fuel ethanol could face pressure in the new year if there are competing forces such as a recession versus if corn prices and natural gas continue to remain slightly elevated; whereas there could be some upward pressure for industrial ethanol if production and material costs remain elevated.

OUTLOOK 23: LatAm ethanol market concerns about PIS, CONFINS return in H1 2023
Price increases for ethanol are expected for Q1 2023 because mills are betting on the return of Programa de Integração Social (PIS) and Contribuição para Financiamento da Seguridade Social (COFINS) in the following year, causing a lower number of offers in the spot market.

OUTLOOK ’23: US refined products inventories to remain tight
US refined products inventories are expected to remain tight in 2023 due to strong demand and less refining capacity.

OUTLOOK ’23: US base oil markets start sluggish but could firm
US base oil supply is long against weak demand heading into 2023, but two major turnarounds in H1 should rebalance the markets.

OUTLOOK ’23: US MA facing demand headwinds, bearish feedstocks
US maleic anhydride (MA) is less firm going into 2023 as sentiment is cautious amid demand headwinds.

OUTLOOK ‘23: US R-PE to see diverging trends on sustainability vs cost-sensitive resin demand
The US recycled polyethylene (R-PE) market will continue to show diverging market trends in 2023, depending on the recycled resin grade. Sustainability-driven demand for material such as post-consumer, natural coloured recycled high-density polyethylene (R-HDPE) or recycled low-density polyethylene (R-LDPE) will continue to be robust as companies make progress against regulatory and voluntary post-consumer recycled (PCR) content targets.

OUTLOOK ’23: Global downturn will drag US chem exports
Economic downturns and recessions around the world will drag down US exports, while the country’s producers should benefit from improving logistics and cost advantages for energy and feedstock.

OUTLOOK ’23: Higher for longer rates to pressure US, global economies
Elevated inflation and the US Federal Reserve’s response in taming this beast will be a key driver for not just the US but global economies as central banks around the world also strive to achieve price stability, even at the cost of growth.

OUTLOOK ’23: US etac expected to face downward pressure in H1
Similar to what was expected to happen mid-year, the US ethyl acetate (etac) market expects competitive pricing during the start of 2023 as demand has been soft and destocking has been occurring.

OUTLOOK ’23: US MTBE export demand to remain healthy as gasoline demand recovers
US methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) exports are expected remain healthy in 2023 as the tightness in octane boosters supply continues and global gasoline demand recovers.

OUTLOOK ’23: US plasticizers demand expected slow in Q1; price hikes sought for oxo-alcohols
Despite soft demand in Q4, a price increase nomination for 1 January has emerged for US oxo-alcohol buyers. Meanwhile, players are expecting a slow start in Q1 for plasticizers demand in early 2023.

OUTLOOK ’23: US PA, OX demand expected to remain weak on economic headwinds
Demand for phthalic anhydride (PA) is expected to remain weak through the beginning of 2023 as the market continues to destock inventories.

OUTLOOK ’23: Plant activity will tighten US propylene balance even as economy undermines demand
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: US PVC and vinyls chain face new year of weakened demand
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: Higher PVC prices expected in Latin America in H1 2023
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) prices in Latin America are placed to follow Asia market trends in Q1 2023, as Formosa Taiwan raised its prices to all destinations last week and sold out on the same day.

OUTLOOK ’23: US methanol exports expected to remain the bright spot
US methanol supply in 2023 is expected to be healthier, while demand growth forecast to slow in comparison to 2022.

OUTLOOK ’23: US chemical equities look to rebound from 2022 backsliding
Chemical equities over the past year reversed gains experienced in 2021, and will end 2022 sharply lower year on year.

OUTLOOK ’23: US glycerine oversupply to persist in H1 2023
US glycerine supply is largely expected to outpace demand in H1 2023, as demand concerns persist with soaring inflation and growing fears over a global recession.

OUTLOOK ’23: US PET, PTA demand expected to remain muted on economic headwinds
US virgin polyethylene terephthalate (PET) demand will likely remain weak through the remainder of 2022 and into the first half of 2023.

OUTLOOK ’23: LatAm PET contracts and spot prices under pressure in H1 2023
Latin America polyethylene terephthalate (PET) consumption rates continue to follow international benchmark markets due to global economic uncertainties and unexpected weather conditions.

OUTLOOK ’23: US PET, PTA demand expected to remain muted on economic headwinds
US virgin polyethylene terephthalate (PET) demand will likely remain weak through the remainder of 2022 and into the first half of 2023.

OUTLOOK ’23: Chemical M&A stymied by rates, uncertainty but may rebound in H2
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.

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