Summary of 2024 Asia Outlook Stories

ICIS Editorial


SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the 2024 Asia Outlook stories which ran on ICIS news throughout December and January.

Click on a headline to read the full story.

OUTLOOK ‘24: China acrylic acid to see shifts in focus, limited supply-demand changes
New acrylic acid plants in China are mostly scheduled to start up in the second half of 2024, with the timeline remaining uncertain. Apart from expansions of supplementary acrylic esters plants, new capacities are also seen in other downstream industries such as water treatment.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia ethylene dour sentiment may undermine derivative expansion
While Asia ethylene markets are likely to see demand in some regions being able to keep pace with new planned capacity, a bearish outlook for the coming year threatens to dampen further recovery hopes for the commodity.

OUTLOOK ‘24: Asia etac, butac demand to stay limited amid China economic woes
Asia’s ethyl acetate (etac) demand may remain limited in Q1 2024 amid challenging macroeconomic conditions and concerns of China’s frail demand.

OUTLOOK ‘24: Macroeconomic headwinds to continue to impact Asia R-PET
Sustainability targets will remain insufficient to bolster downstream demand for Asian recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) in the first half of 2024.

OUTLOOK ‘24: China propylene supply to be driven by PDH run rates
China’s domestic propylene market will continue to see expanding capacities in 2024. Spot supply is expected to depend more on the operating rates of propane dehydrogenation (PDH) units as PDH will become the largest production route in the new year.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia acrylic acid and acrylates face strong economic headwinds, ample supply
Asian acrylic acid and acrylate esters faced a turbulent 2023, with hopes of a recovery dented by multiple setbacks.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia ECH, LER recovery hampered by supply overhang, tepid demand
The recovery in Asia’s epichlorohydrin (ECH) and liquid epoxy resins (LER) markets, which hinges on the primary end-use market of the construction industries, will be hampered by continued demand headwinds and increases in ECH and LER capacities.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia propylene braces for volatility, downstream demand growth to slow
Asia’s propylene import market is set to face increased volatility in 2024 as market participants opt to lower term volumes in favour of higher spot allocations. Beyond this, uncertainties in upstream markets also continue to compound expectations that 2024 spot markets will see more volatility.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia BD to wrestle between tight supply and muted downstream demand
Asia’s spot butadiene (BD) market has been gripped by supply constraints for some time now. A respite seems to be quite unlikely in the near term, or at least for Q1 2024, so long as operations at regional crackers remain sub-optimal.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia glycol ethers await demand rebound, BG supply to contract
Demand for Asia glycol ethers may stay sluggish in Q1 2024, while the butyl glycol (BG) market will grapple with tighter supply in Q1 2024.

OUTLOOK ’24: Oversupplied China PP market to face obstacles for export growth
Faced with trade barriers from multiple countries and uncompetitive raw material costs, China PP market is expected to face rising capacity and saturated demand in 2024.

OUTLOOK ’24: SE Asia PP overshadowed by oversupply; new import regulations add uncertainties
Southeast Asia’s polypropylene (PP) market remains overshadowed by an oversupply situation that may worsen further with additional production capacities coming on stream in China and some major southeast Asian producers ramping up their commercial operations.

OUTLOOK ’24: China ACN demand growth to trail behind new capacity additions
China’s acrylonitrile (ACN) market is set to see a concurrent rise in both supply and demand in 2024.

OUTLOOK ’24: China benzene supply to tighten in H1 on demand pick-up
China’s benzene market will remain tightly balanced in 2024 on the back of slowing capacity expansions from large integrated refining and petrochemical facilities, amid new downstream plant start-ups.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia melamine could see demand support, stable costs
China’s melamine makers have hopes to see steady buying interest on the domestic and external fronts going into 2024, even as the market could continue to face some pressure from high run rates in China.

OUTLOOK ’24: Supply overhang, slow derivative to blunt Asia adipic acid recovery
While most of the year seemed lacklustre for Asia adipic acid markets, ICIS data showed that adipic acid did see an 8.69% year-on-year improvement in exports from northeast Asia from January to October*, indicating a year of recovery overall for the commodity in spite of the pessimistic climate.

OUTLOOK ‘24: Mideast conflict to keep regional PE, PP demand weak in Q1
Demand for polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) in the Middle East is expected to remain weak throughout the first quarter of 2024, weighed down by a prolonged Israel-Hamas conflict and amid fears it would spread to neighbouring countries.

OUTLOOK ’24: China PE supply-demand to rebalance on capacity rise
China’s PE capacity expansion shows an overall slowdown in 2024. However, competitive pressures persist for high-density polyethylene (HDPE), while demand is poised for a steady and modest increase.

OUTLOOK ’24: SE Asia PE face challenges from China, Vietnam demand weakness
The southeast Asian polyethylene (PE) market is expected to see a sluggish start to the new year, with demand from China showing little sign of any improvement while demand in Vietnam also stagnates amid an increasingly competitive price environment.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia PX looks to gasoline markets, downstream for direction
The paraxylene (PX) markets in Asia will look towards the gasoline markets as well as the downstream purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and polyester sectors for direction in 2024.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia MEK facing strong upstream pressure; demand outlook mixed
Heading into 2024, market players are divided about demand in the Asia methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) markets. The main driver of the market in early 2024 could likely be the strong feedstock naphtha market.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia IPA braces for upstream-driven volatility, rising capacity
In 2024, Asian isopropanol (IPA) makers are likely to face pressures from the acetone volatility which plagued the market in 2023, as well as increased supply when new capacities in China come on stream in Q1 2024.

OUTLOOK ‘24: China demand recovery to play major role in India PE, PP sentiment
Demand for polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) in the Indian market during the first half of 2024 will be tightly linked to an expected demand recovery in China after the Lunar New Year Holidays in February.

OUTLOOK ‘24: Asia toluene pins hopes on demand recovery
Asia’s toluene markets are heading into a traditional slowdown, with the winter season weighing on gasoline-blending demand, while solvent-sector buying may only see a pick-up in early 2024.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia benzene-naphtha spread to stay healthy, derivative additions outweigh production
Asia benzene players expressed mixed projections for 2024, amid planned nameplate capacity additions down the benzene chain.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia ACN market sees low chance of improvement
The acrylonitrile (ACN) market in Asia has endured a difficult 2023, with promises of a strong COVID-19 recovery hitherto unfulfilled.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia’s naphtha supply crunch to persist
Asia’s naphtha market is expected to stay well supported in the short-term as political tensions, bad weather conditions and Middle Eastern refinery maintenance will limit supplies coming to this region.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia MX growth subdued, downstream expansions to support demand
Asia mixed xylenes (MX) of both isomer grades will observe slowdown in capacity expansions in 2024, but new downstream paraxylene (PX) and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) start-ups are prompting cautious expectations of demand support among some regional market players.

OUTLOOK ’24: East and south Asia ethanolamines faces soft demand, ample supply
The ethanolamines markets in east and south Asia are expected to be mired in weakness into the first quarter of 2024. The plant outages in Europe and Asia in the latter half of Q4 2023 did little to bolster the market, with demand largely in a low ebb.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia PBT to face increased competition, weak demand
The Asian polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) market ended 2023 on a softer note with concerns that the weak demand would continue into Q1 2024.

OUTLOOK ’24: China BD market supply still tight, downstream expansion provides support
In 2024, China’s butadiene (BD) capacity expansion will slow, but downstream ABS and others may continue to launch new facilities, and so downstream sectors will still have room to accept overseas BD supply.

OUTLOOK ’24: China BDO faces high-speed capacity expansion, low utilization
China’s 1,4-butanediol (BDO) capacities will rise at a quicker pace in 2024, after kicking off a new expansion cycle since 2023, but plant utilization rates may stay low amid a potential supply surplus.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia ABS, SAN run rates to be reduced, capacity additions outweigh demand
Asia acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) players largely expect production to be mitigated to factor in recent and upcoming capacity additions, with some sellers readjusting their focus to emerging Asian markets and beyond.

OUTLOOK ’24: East, south Asia LAB in seasonal lull while China soldiers on
The linear alkylbenzene (LAB) markets in east and south Asia have entered a slower year-end season, with demand likely to stay tepid in the near term.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia BDO faces greater oversupply, lacklustre downstream performance
The Asia 1,4-butanediol (BDO) market had already faced the first round of new capacities in China, with even more to follow.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia synthetic rubber braces for soft demand; hopes pinned on China
Soft downstream demand, underscored by lingering macroeconomic headwinds, is expected to weigh on Asian’s spot import market for various synthetic rubber grades – from styrene-butadiene-rubber (SBR), polybutadiene rubber (PBR) to acrylonitrile-butadiene-rubber (NBR).

OUTLOOK ’24: Mideast, S Asia PS to remain dull, potential restocking ahead of Lunar New Year
Polystyrene (PS) markets in both South Asia and the Middle East struggled to show any momentum in the last quarter of 2023, as evidenced by the poor demand and sales.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia PS market to face competition, macro uncertainties
After struggling with feedstock styrene monomer (SM) market uncertainties and shallow margins for a year, Asia’s polystyrene (PS) market players appear to have a mostly conservative market outlook for 2024.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia caustic soda demand likely mixed; producers grapple with costs
Asia’s caustic soda spot market is likely to see uneven demand, while producers are likely to struggle with squeezed margins amid higher operating costs.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia nylon markets to meet tougher challenges in 2024
The nylon markets in Asia saw obstacles in 2023 which have mostly yet to be overcome. Macroeconomic factors and increased frugality among consumers of end-use products, such as textiles and clothing, have driven down demand, especially with ramped-up recycling and upcycling efforts.

OUTLOOK ‘24: China n-butanol to see ample supply on capacity expansions
Supply will likely remain sufficient in the first half of 2024 due to few turnarounds for n-butanol (NBA) despite the switch to 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) production at some oxo-alcohols plants.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia styrene players eye changing trade landscape, recovery may stay slow
Asia’s styrene market players faced a challenging year in 2023 amid slow demand and shallow production margins.

OUTLOOK ’24: China SM capacity growth to slow, competition to intensify
China’s styrene monomer (SM) capacity growth is expected to slow down significantly in 2024, after rapid expansions in 2020-2023, with only Chambroad Petrochemical’s 600,000 tonne/year and Luoyang Petrochemical’s 120,000 tonne/year plants likely to come on stream. Despite the slowing capacity additions, competition will intensify as the industry is in the process of seeking a dynamic balance.

OUTLOOK ’24: China acetic acid may face pressure from capacity expansion
China’s acetic acid market may face pressure from imbalanced fundamentals in 2024. A number of new units are scheduled to start up while there are many uncertainties on the demand side.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia fatty acids demand tepid in Q1, with pick up from Q2
Asia fatty acids demand for the first quarter of 2024 is likely to be tepid but is expected to strengthen from the second quarter onwards if there is an ease in the macro-economic headwinds which have battered the global economy.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia fatty alcohols subdued in Q1 but CPKO rally may bolster demand
Asia fatty alcohols market is likely to be subdued in the first quarter of 2024, but a rally in the feedstock crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) price will bolster demand.

OUTLOOK ‘24: Asia EVA supply overhang clouds Summer Olympics optimism
Asia’s ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) market outlook in the near-term faces supply length and slow demand pressures, as the downstream footwear and photovoltaic (PV) industries focus on destocking activities hence clouding optimism from the 2024 Summer Olympics multiplier effect.

OUTLOOK ‘24: TiO2 trend could mirror 2023, but potential ADD may be a game changer
Spot titanium dioxide (TiO2) prices could continue to trend similarly to 2023 while Chinese makers are bracing for potential antidumping duties (ADDs) on Chinese products to Europe.

OUTLOOK’24: Asia’s phenol market faces rationalisation as China’s capacity growth threatens
Phenol and acetone market rationalisation in Asia is underway as output cuts in 2023 failed to safeguard margins amid capacity growth in China. Leading producers will push for a benzene cost-based approach in the 2024 contract pricing.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia’s PO markets likely to remain subdued, minimal downstream support
Asia’s propylene oxide (PO) markets will likely continue grappling with weak demand in 2024, with supply mixed across the region, and the downstream sectors unlikely to provide significant support to demand.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia polyols demand outlooks mixed across region
Asia’s import markets for slabstock polyols were in the doldrums for most of 2023, and the demand outlooks for 2024 are mixed across the region.

OUTLOOK ’24: China phenol to wrestle between supply surge and demand
China’s phenol capacity expansions in 2024 may be slower than in 2023, but the market will continue to feel supply-side pressure as a number of new plants coming on stream around the end of 2023 are likely to release output in 2024. Whether downstream producers could digest the supply additions and whether exports will increase in 2024 are a key concern for the market.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia chemical freight rates may remain elevated
Charterers have advanced discussions for chemical shipments in Asia amid expectations that tanker supply may remain tight into the new year.

OUTLOOK ‘24: China BPA imports to drop further on new start-ups
The expected surge in 2024 domestic supply following start-ups of more capacities in end-2023 will further erode demand for overseas cargoes.

OUTLOOK ’24: Mideast polyether polyols market to see supply outstrip demand in 2024
Middle East polyols markets are expected are facing excess supply and tepid demand next year on additional capacities for both polyols and their feedstock, propylene oxide (PO).

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia’s acetone market braced for higher term prices on reduced output outside China
Asia’s acetone market players were braced for higher 2024 term prices as global supply shortages in 2023 – due to planned and unplanned output cuts and outages at phenol/acetone plants – supported pricing discussions.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asian BPA sellers brace for tough times as China cuts imports
Asian bisphenol A (BPA) makers will continue to have a challenging time in most of the first quarter as China is likely to keep its import volume low due to growing domestic supplies and weak downstream demand.

OUTLOOK ‘24: Asia Group I base oils supply to stay tight, Group II supply to rise
Asia’s Group I base oils supply is expected to remain tight in Q1 2024 due to a refinery turnaround and production cuts in southeast Asia.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia caprolactam market anticipates China’s shift from net importer
A shift in caprolactam (capro) supply and dynamics throughout 2023, especially in China, has led to expectations that China, once a net importer, could be self-sufficient as soon as 2024 or 2025.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia MA mired in demand weakness while supply expands
Asia’s maleic anhydride (MA) markets are likely to remain subdued in the first quarter of 2024 amid weak demand and ample supply.

OUTLOOK ‘24: Asia oxo-alcohols stalemate to persist amid tight import supply
The stalemate in Asia’s oxo-alcohol import markets is expected to continue into the first half of the first quarter.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia methanol prospects marred by production expansions, stagnant demand
Methanol market participants in Asia are maintaining a bearish outlook, weighed by the rise in production capacity expected in 2024 and following a slower-than-expected recovery from last year.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia PA near-term demand to remain muted, supply-driven upside capped
Asia’s phthalic anhydride (PA) markets are likely to stay subdued in H1 2024, with tepid demand outweighing cost-push factors.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia MTBE supply glut persists, demand may improve
Trading of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) in Asia has been active in Asia on ample supply in 2023, while the extent of oversupply could be reduced with potentially improving demand in 2024.

OUTLOOK ’24: China MTBE capacities to continue growing; exports to SE Asia persist
China’s methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) capacity expansion will continue into 2024, exacerbating the domestic supply pressure amid expectations of limited local demand as gasoline consumption may have peaked, but southeast Asia may still require some incremental volumes.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia’s PVC market enters 2024 in a sombre mood
If Asia’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) spot market performance in 2023 is anything to go by, players are bracing themselves for similar challenges in 2024.

OUTLOOK ’24: Mideast, south Asia PVC Q1 uptake expected to be healthy, oversupply remains a challenge
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) markets in both South Asia and the Middle East saw a lot of volatility in 2023, affected by events like the safeguard investigation in India, seasonal factors and economic challenges faced by major economies, like China.

OUTLOOK ’24: China methanol supply-demand to grow at slower pace; imports to stay high
China’s methanol output and demand are expected to grow further in 2024, albeit at a slower pace, while the import volumes may remain at high levels.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia plasticizers demand sluggish, 2-EH to remain key market driver
The Asian plasticizers market is expected to remain sluggish in H1 2024, as a seasonal lull in demand coincides with weak end-user consumption due to the bearish construction sector in China.

OUTLOOK ’24: New capacities to exert further pressure on China PO market
China’s domestic propylene oxide (PO) market is expected to suffer further supply pressure because of new capacity start-ups in 2024.

OUTLOOK ’24: China 2-EH supply to remain tight in H1 2024
China’s 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) market is likely to experience a tight balance in the first half of 2024 due to limited new capacities.

OUTLOOK ’24: Easing Asia acetic acid supply may outstrip demand upside in Q1
Asia acetic acid supplies will lengthen during the first half of 2024, offsetting upside from regional plant outage and increased downstream plant utilisation in two key markets.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia glycerine demand to stay tepid in Q1 on bearish sentiment
Asia’s glycerine demand is expected to remain soft in the first quarter of 2024 given continued weakness in the global economy.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia PET supply expected to outstrip demand on new capacities
Asia’s polyethylene terephthalate (PET) supply is set to outstrip demand in 2024 on the back of new capacities coming on stream.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asian PTA capacity expansion continues, downstream demand growth to lag
The purified terephthalic acid (PTA) markets in Asia will undergo another challenging year ahead, amid continual expansions of new capacities in China.

OUTLOOK ’24 INSIGHT: Asia MEG market could improve in 2024 as capacity build-up eases
The Asian mono ethylene glycol (MEG) market is expected to hit the pause button in 2024 after aggressively expanding capacity over the past few years. The market is expected to brace for some improvement in prices to help ease poor or even negative margins.

OUTLOOK ’24: GCC PET supply to recover, demand to rise in 2024
Supply of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) spot cargoes from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is expected to be healthy going into 2024, while domestic demand is expected to be flat. Demand from key export markets, however, is expected to see some slight increase going into 2024.

OUTLOOK ‘24: China’s MEG supply-demand to improve on slower capacity growth
The capacity boom since 2020, driven by the start-ups of multiple large refining and chemical projects, will ease in 2024, which will give a relief to the pressurized monoethylene glycol (MEG) market and improve the supply-demand fundamentals.

OUTLOOK ’24: China slated to transform into net exporter for MIBK
Asia’s methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) import demand looks set to contract in 2024 as China dramatically increases its production capacity from as early as the first half of next year.

OUTLOOK ’24: Reduced supply may support China’s DEG market
As a by-product, the output of diethylene glycol (DEG) has been significantly squeezed in recent years by the low operating rates at monoethylene glycol (MEG) units. MEG producers in various regions based on different routes are facing competition amid persistently thin margins.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia soap noodles to remain soft in Q1 on macro headwinds
Asia’s soap noodles market is expected to remain soft in the first quarter of 2024 as regional economies grapple with inflationary pressures and global recession fears amid a global economic downturn.

OUTLOOK ’24: Asia FAE tepid in Q1 on weak demand and bearish sentiment
Asia’s fatty alcohol ethoxylates (FAE) market is expected to remain tepid in the first quarter of 2024 amid a slowdown in activities during the Lunar New Year holidays.

OUTLOOK ’24: Solar glass demand, supply disruption fuel China’s soda ash market
China’s soda ash market may continue to find support in the first quarter of 2024 amid domestic output disruptions on the back of capacity additions in the downstream solar glass sector in 2023 while stock buffering interest among buyers in southeast Asia may stimulate spot market liquidity.

OUTLOOK ‘24: Costs to drive China PTA market amid capacity mismatch with upstream PX
The domestic purified terephthalic acid (PTA) market is likely to be cost-driven in 2024, as its capacity expansion – albeit slowing down – may lead to a mismatch compared with upstream paraxylene (PX), which may not see any capacity additions next year.

OUTLOOK ’24: Tight VAM supplies in Asia may persist into Q1
Asia’s vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) prices for prompt imports have risen on signs that bulk cargo availability may remain tight into the first quarter, contrary to previous expectations.

OUTLOOK ‘24: China VAM supply may tighten in Q1 despite new capacities
China’s domestic vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) production capacity is poised for a consistent upswing in 2024, with the continuous expansion of downstream China’s ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) production capacity in recent years.


Global News + ICIS Chemical Business (ICB)

See the full picture, with unlimited access to ICIS chemicals news across all markets and regions, plus ICB, the industry-leading magazine for the chemicals industry.

Contact us

Partnering with ICIS unlocks a vision of a future you can trust and achieve. We leverage our unrivalled network of industry experts to deliver a comprehensive market view based on independent and reliable data, insight and analytics.

Contact us to learn how we can support you as you transact today and plan for tomorrow.