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USDA estimates that farmers planted slightly more corn than soybeans this spring
HOUSTON (ICIS)–During the spring 2022 season US farmers planted slightly more corn than soybeans but both crops did not match the March estimates according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the acreage estimate report. Although growers are calculated to have sowed 89.9m acres of corn in recent weeks the overall amount of corn planted acreage is down by 4% year on year. While this is 3.44m acres less than the 2021 crop had planted, the total was higher than the agency had earlier estimated the crop would be in its acreage tally. The USDA said compared with last year, planted acreage is expected to be down or unchanged in 35 of the 48 estimating states. Area harvested for grain is at 81.9m acres which is also down by 4% from last year. For soybeans, the report showed that soybean planted area for 2022 is estimated at 88.3m acres, up 1% year on year but this amount is lower than the USDA had previously projected would be sowed. Compared with last year, planted acreage is up or unchanged in 24 of the 29 estimating states. The USDA said all wheat planted area for this spring is estimated at 47.1m acres, which is up 1% from 2021. If realized, this would represent the fifth lowest all wheat planted area since records began in 1919. For cotton the agency is calculating that all cotton planted area this year will be at 12.5m acres, up 11% year on year. Upland area is estimated at 12.3m acres, a rise of 11% from 2021, while American Pima area is forecasted at 156,000 acres, up 23% year on year.
Australia Centrex Limited executes trial shipment agreement with Ameropa
HOUSTON (ICIS)–Australian fertilizer developer Centrex Limited announced that its Agriflex has executed an agreement for a trial shipment of beneficiated phosphate rock with Ameropa Australia. The company said the terms are for the sale of a 5,000 wet tonnes beneficiated phosphate rock shipment to Ameropa and includes a first right of refusal to purchase 10% of the Ardmore mine’s annual production for the first three years. The trial shipment has been sold on a FOB basis with it set to be loaded in November 2022 with pricing to be finalised 6 weeks prior. If Ameropa does not elect to exercise the first right within the timeframe, then it will lapse for the available production and Ameropa will have no further obligation to Agriflex under the agreement. Centrex said the trial shipment is conditional upon upgrades to the processing plant being completed by Agriflex to its satisfaction to sufficiently produce the product. It is also conditional upon receiving all necessary approvals for the performance of the company’s delivery obligations. Last month the company said mining operations are achieving the scheduled rate of 27,000 tonnes of ore per month and that the crushing contractor had commenced efforts to create both direct application product and feed for the Ardmore beneficiation plant. The production rate is expected to progressively ramp-up over the next six months as crushing and the beneficiation plant are optimised. “Agriflex is proud to be entering into this agreement with Ameropa, a well respected and world class company, at the same time helping to improve Australia’s supply security of phosphate rock,” said Robert Mencel, Centrex Limited managing director. “With the signing of this agreement, the Ardmore Project has 100% of its first three years of production allocated to major customers in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.”
US Superfund taxes take effect on chemicals
HOUSTON (ICIS)–On Friday, the US will revive Superfund taxes on 42 building-block chemicals as well as imports of several substances made from those chemicals. The two Superfund taxes were allowed to end in the mid-1990s. The US is reviving them as part of the $1trn Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that President Joe Biden signed into law in November. The proceeds raised by the taxes will help replenish the government's Superfund programme, which pays for the clean-up of waste sites. The US is reviving two different Superfund taxes. The first one is levied on the sale or use of 42 chemicals. These taxes are imposed on companies that make or import the 42 chemicals. The following table shows 42 chemicals and their tax rate. Taxable Chemical Alias $/Short Ton Cent/lb Acetylene 9.74 0.487 Ammonia 5.28 0.264 Antimony Trioxide 7.40 0.370 Arsenic Trioxide 6.82 0.341 Barium sulphide 4.60 0.230 Benzene 9.74 0.487 Bromine 8.90 0.445 Butadiene BD 9.74 0.487 Butane 9.74 0.487 Butylene 9.74 0.487 Chlorine 5.40 0.270 Chromite 3.04 0.152 Cupric oxide 7.18 0.359 Cupric sulphate 3.74 0.187 Cuprous oxide 7.94 0.397 Ethylene 9.74 0.487 Hydrochloric acid HCl 0.58 0.029 Hydrogen fluoride hydrofluoric acid (HF) 8.46 0.423 Lead oxide 8.28 0.414 Methane 6.88 0.344 Naphthalene 9.74 0.487 Nitric acid 0.48 0.024 Phosphorus 8.90 0.445 Potassium dichromate 3.38 0.169 Potassium hydroxide Caustic potash 0.44 0.022 Propylene 9.74 0.487 Sodium dichromate 3.74 0.187 Sodium hydroxide Caustic soda 0.56 0.028 Stannic chloride 4.24 0.212 Stannous chloride 5.70 0.285 Sulphuric acid 0.52 0.026 Toluene 9.74 0.487 Xylene 9.74 0.487 Zinc chloride 4.44 0.222 Zinc sulphate 3.80 0.190 Antimony 8.90 0.445 Arsenic 8.90 0.445 Cadmium 8.90 0.445 Chromium 8.90 0.445 Cobalt 8.90 0.445 Mercury 8.90 0.445 Nickel 8.90 0.445 The chemical tax does include some exceptions. Exporters can apply for a refund, according to Deloitte, a consultancy. Companies that use the chemicals to make fuel, fertilizer or animal feed are exempt. Based on those exemptions, hydrofluoric acid or propylene used in the alkylation units of refineries could be exempt, because those chemicals would be used to make gasoline. Butane could avoid the tax if it is blended in gasoline. Ammonia used to make nitrogen fertilizers could also avoid the tax. Methane could escape the taxes if it is burned as a fuel in power plants or used to make hydrogen for feedstock in refineries. However, if the methane is used to make methanol for downstream chemical production, it could be taxed. The tax also exempts coal derivatives and sulphuric acid that is a by-product of air-pollution control. TAXABLE SUBSTANCESThe second tax covers substances sold or used by importers. The government has published three lists of substances that could fall under the tax. The most recent list was published earlier in June, and it includes 121 substances and their tax rates. The following table shows the full list of the 121 substances that the International Revenue Service (IRS) says could fall under the Superfund tax. The list includes the tax rates for each of the substances. Substance Alias $/Short Ton Cent/lb 1,3-butylene glycol BG 7.28 0.33 1,4 butanediol BDO 4.68 0.21 1,5,9-cyclododecatriene 9.74 0.44 2-ethyl hexanol 2-EH 7.16 0.32 2-ethylhexyl acrylate 7.34 0.33 acetone 20.06 0.91 acetylene black 10.52 0.48 acrylic acid resins 5.65 0.26 methacrylic acid resins 14.94 0.68 acrylonitrile ACN 9.38 0.43 adipic acid 6.13 0.28 adiponitrile ADP 8.57 0.39 allyl chloride 10.38 0.47 alpha-methylstyrene 9.93 0.45 ammonium nitrate AN 1.49 0.07 aniline 9.4 0.43 benzaldehyde 8.47 0.38 benzoic acid 7.31 0.33 bisphenol-A BPA 10.23 0.46 butanol butyl alcohol 6.31 0.29 butyl acrylate butyl-A 6.84 0.31 butyl benzyl phthalate 12.15 0.55 carbon tetrachloride 10.62 0.48 chlorinated polyethylene 10.25 0.46 chloroform 10.51 0.48 chromic acid 4.37 0.20 cumene 9.74 0.44 cyclododecanol 9.05 0.41 cyclohexane CX 10.02 0.45 decabromodiphenyl oxide 17.99 0.82 di-2 ethyl hexyl phthalate 7.37 0.33 diethanolamine DEA 6.01 0.27 diglycidyl ether of bisphenol-A 13.86 0.63 diisopropanolamine 12.76 0.58 dimethyl terephthalate DMT 5.91 0.27 dimethyl-2, 6-naphthalene dicarboxylate 6.81 0.31 di-n-hexyl adipate 8.23 0.37 diphenyl oxide 13.73 0.62 diphenylamine 10.28 0.47 epichlorohydrin EPC 12.89 0.58 ethyl acrylate ethyl-A 4.09 0.19 ethyl alcohol for nonbeverage use ethanol 5.94 0.27 ethyl chloride 4.52 0.21 ethyl methyl ketone methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) 7.6 0.34 ethyl benzene ethylbenzene (EB) 9.74 0.44 ethylene dibromide 9.03 0.41 ethylene dichloride EDC 6.62 0.30 ethylene glycol monoethylene glycol (MEG) 4.38 0.20 ethylene oxide EO 6.23 0.28 ferrochrome ov 3 pct. carbon 4.83 0.22 ferrochromium nov 3 pct 4.83 0.22 hexabromocyclododecane 9.11 0.41 hexamethylenediamine 8.93 0.41 isobutyl acetate 4.47 0.20 Isophthalic acid 6.23 0.28 isopropyl acetate 4.54 0.21 Isopropyl alcohol isopropanol (IPA) 6.82 0.31 linear alpha olefins LAO or normal alpha olefins (NAO) 9.74 0.44 maleic anhydride MA 5.75 0.26 melamine 4.28 0.19 methyl acrylate methyl-A 5.39 0.24 methyl chloroform 6.37 0.29 methyl isobutyl ketone MIBK 23.65 1.07 methyl methacrylate MMA 14.75 0.67 methylene chloride 10.33 0.47 monochlorobenzene 10.12 0.46 monoethanolamine MEA 5.96 0.27 monoisopropanolamine 11.74 0.53 nickel oxide 7.03 0.32 normal butyl acetate butac 4.47 0.20 normal propyl acetate 3.73 0.17 nylon 6/6 nylon 6,6 8.67 0.39 ortho-dichlorobenzene 10.35 0.47 ortho-nitrochlorobenzene 7.49 0.34 para-dichlorobenzene 10.35 0.47 para-nitrochlorobenzene 7.49 0.34 para-nitrophenol 8.59 0.39 pentaerythritol 3.86 0.18 perchloroethylene PCE 10.89 0.49 phenol 12.47 0.57 phenolic resins 9.86 0.45 phosphorous pentasulfide 2.49 0.11 phosphorous trichloride 6.21 0.28 phthalic anhydride PA 7.01 0.32 poly 1,4 butyleneterephthalate polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) 7.21 0.33 poly(propylene)glycol 10.38 0.47 poly(propylene/ethylene)glycol 8.84 0.40 poly(propyleneoxy)sucrose 2.04 0.09 poly(propyleneoxy/ethyleneoxy)sucrose 2.57 0.12 polyalphaolefins PAO 11.37 0.52 polybutadiene polybutadiene rubber (PBR) 9.74 0.44 polybutene 9.74 0.44 polybutylene PB 9.74 0.44 polybutylene/ethylene 9.74 0.44 polycarbonate PC 10.84 0.49 polyethylene resins, total PE 9.74 0.44 polyethylene terephthalate pellets PET 6.82 0.31 polypropylene PP 9.74 0.44 polypropylene resins PP 9.74 0.44 polystyrene homopolymer resins PS 9.93 0.45 polyvinylchloride resins PVC 7.46 0.34 propanol 5.47 0.25 propylene glycol PG 10.38 0.47 propylene oxide PO 13.6 0.62 styrene 9.93 0.45 styrene-butadiene, latex 9.84 0.45 synthetic linear fatty alcohol ethoxylates 7.12 0.32 synthetic linear fatty alcohols 9.29 0.42 terephthalic acid purified terephthalic acid (PTA) 6.23 0.28 tetrabromobisphenol-A 14.79 0.67 tetrachlorophthalic anhydride 8.95 0.41 tetrahydrofuran THF 5.78 0.26 toluene diisocyanate TDI 10.85 0.49 toluenediamine 9.18 0.42 trichloroethylene TCE 10.79 0.49 triethanolamine TEA 6.04 0.27 triisopropanolamine 12.84 0.58 trimethylolpropane 4.63 0.21 urea 3.01 0.14 vinyl acetate vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) 3.83 0.17 vinyl chloride vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) 7.46 0.34 Prior to the June list, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had published two earlier lists that contained a total of 151 taxable substances that, if imported, could be subject to the Superfund tax. Unlike the more recent list that was published in June. these two earlier lists do not include tax rates. Some of the substances in the two earlier lists are included in the more recent June list. Others substances in the earlier lists are not in the June list. In addition, some substances in the June list are not included in the earlier lists. The following table shows the 151 taxable substances that were in the two lists. Chemical Alias 1,4 butanediol BDO 1,3-butylene glycol BG 1,5,9- cyclododecatriene 2-ethyl hexanol 2-EH 2-ethylhexyl acrylate 2,2,4-trimethyl- 1,3-pentanediol diisobutyrate 2,2,4-trimethyl- 1,3-pentanediol monoisobutyrate acetic acid acetylene black adipic acid adiponitrile ADN allyl chloride alpha- methylstyrene aniline benzaldehyde benzoic acid bisphenol-A BPA butanol normal butanol or NBA butyl acrylate butyl-a butyl benzyl phthalate chlorinated polyethylene cyclododecanol decabromodiphenyl oxide di-2 ethyl hexyl phthalate di-n-hexyl adipate diethanolamine DEA diglycidyl ether of bisphenol-A diisopropano- lamine dimethyl terephthalate DMT dimethyl-2, 6-naphthalene dicarboxylate diphenyl oxide diphenylamine epichlorohydrin EPC ethyl acetate etac ethyl acrylate ethyl-A ethyl chloride ethylene dibromide ethylenebistetra- bromo- phthalimide formic acid glycerine hexabromocyclod odecane hexamethylenedia mine isobutyl acetate isopropyl acetate linear alpha olefins LAOs or normal alpha olefins (NAOs) methyl acrylate methyl-A methyl chloroform methyl isobutyl ketone MIBK methyl methacrylate MMA monochloro- benzene monoethanolamine MEA monoisopro- panolamine normal butyl acetate butac normal propyl acetate nylon 6/6 nylon 6,6 ortho- dichlorobenzene ortho-nitrochloro- benzene paraformaldehyde para- dichlorobenzene para-nitrochloro- benzene para-nitrophenol pentaerythritol perchloroethylene PCE phenol phosphorous pentasulfide phosphorous trichloride poly 1,4 butylenetere-phthalate polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) poly (69/31 ethylene/ cyclohexylene- dimethylene terephthalate) poly (96.5/3.5 ethylene/ cyclohexylene-dimethylene terephthalate) poly (98.5/1.5 ethylene/ cyclohexylene-dimethylene terephthalate) poly(ethyleneoxy) glycerol poly(propylene) glycol poly(propylene/ ethylene) glycol poly(propyleneoxy) glycerol poly(propyleneoxy)s ucrose poly(propyleneoxy/ ethyleneoxy) benzenediamine poly(propyleneoxy/ ethyleneoxy)diamine poly(propyleneoxy/ ethyleneoxy)glycerol poly(propyleneoxy/ ethyleneoxy)sucrose polyalphaolefins PAOs polybutene polybutylene PB polybutylene/ ethylene polycarbonate PC polyethylene terephthalate pellets PET propanol n-propanol sodium nitriolotriacetate monohydrate synthetic linear fatty alcohols synthetic linear fatty alcohol ethoxylates terephthalic acid purified terephthalic acid (PTA) tetrabromo- bisphenol-A tetrachloro-phthalic anhydride tetrahydrofuran THF texanol benzyl phthalate toluene diisocyanate TDI toluenediamine trichloroethylene TCE triethanolamine TEA triisopropanolamine trimethylolpropane vinyl acetate vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) acetone acrylic and methacrylic acid resins acrylonitrile ACN ammonium nitrate AN carbon tetrachloride chloroform chromic acid cumene cyclohexane CX ethyl alcohol for nonbeverage use ethanol ethylbenzene EB ethylene dichloride EDC ethylene glycol EG ethylene oxide EO ethyl methyl ketone methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) ferrochrome ov 3 pct. carbon ferrochromium nov 3 pct ferronickel formaldehyde hydrogen peroxide isophtalic acid isopropyl alcohol isopropanol (IPA) maleic anhydride MA melamine methanol methylene chloride nickel oxide nickel powders nickel waste and scrap phenolic resins phthalic anhydride PA polybutadiene polybutadiene rubber (PBR) polypropylene resins PP polystyrene homopolymer resins PS polyethylene resins, total PE polypropylene PP polystyrene resins and copolymers PS polyvinylchloride resins PVC propylene glycol PG propylene oxide PO styrene styrene-butadiene, latex styrene-butadiene, snpf synthetic rubber, not containing fillers unwrought nickel urea vinyl chloride VCM vinyl resins vinyl resins, nspf wrought nickel rods and wire The government could add or remove substances from this list. Companies can also request that the IRS add or remove substances from the list. Substances could be added to the taxable list if they contain at least 20% of the 42 taxable chemicals. The tax rate would depend on the percent of the taxable chemicals contained by the substance, either by weight or by value, according to the IRS. For example, a short ton of a substance that contains 20% propylene would be added to the list. If an imported substance contains more than 20% of two or more of the 42 taxable chemicals, then it could fall under the tax. For example, an import that contains 10% benzene and 10% ethylene could be added because it contains 20% of the taxable chemicals. If companies do not comply with the substance tax, then they will pay a default rate of 10% of the value of the substance, the IRS said. The IRS published a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that can be found here.
Freight rates could fall in face of tricky headwinds
LONDON (ICIS)–Shipping rates have been a key cost pressure for the chemicals industry in the wake of the pandemic, but fundamentals – and therefore prices – may be set to change course due to persistent geopolitical pressures. As logistics major Stolt Nielsen posted its highest net profit in 15 years for the second quarter and restated the company’s positive outlook for the rest of 2022, the company was still cautious of the challenges surrounding the market. “Although we are starting to enjoy improving returns on our investments, we cannot ignore the many external challenges that lie ahead. The war in Ukraine is increasingly impacting energy supplies, particularly in Europe,” Stolt-Nielsen said. “We remain cautious when making new investments, ensuring that the return hurdles account for higher inflation and funding costs in the future, and we are maintaining our focus on debt reduction to strengthen the balance sheet and continue to favour fixed rate loans to protect our cash flow against rising interest rates.” MARKET IMPACTSpot tanker shipping remains tight, despite a slight downward trend in fluctuating bunker fuel costs, which has kept freight rates flat for both intra-Europe and shipping outside of the continent, in contrast to the continued upward momentum in prices last week. Deals are shifting from containers of 20-24-feet to break bulk, where goods are stowed on ships in individually counted units, where volumes can be as small as 4,000-5,000 tonnes for some industries, including the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) markets. Depending on regional fundamentals, this is also having an impact, as one trader stated that those bringing material in 5,000-10,000 tonnes in break bulk would see equivalent prices for current container costs. “China PET prices got softer, and containers got cheaper. Shipping costs on a CIF [cost, insurance and freight] basis are below $300/tonne, so the cost is $6000/container,” the trader said. While prices for 40-feet containers prices from Europe to Asia tracked increases in the latter part of June, rates for freight going in the opposite direction have been stable at a significant premium. As bottlenecks persist, transporting smaller volumes – especially for markets where prices are sustained at high levels, such as PET – could keep material flowing to customers, but it is not without risks. Shippers may have to pay demurrage charges if vessels are not unloaded in time and could face further costs if materials are stored in warehouses, depending on where the material is sent to. One trader advised that the key river port in Duisburg, Germany was currently more than 90% full due to “too many empty containers”. Another European polymer distributor had to send a vessel using break bulk to fulfil existing contracts as they have 800 containers sitting in Houston which were scheduled for shipping between January and June. Now ships are forgoing docking in Houston as they are warned that they will have to wait for two weeks and are choosing to go to the next port rather than face the fortnight’s demurrage. “Delays in container shipments are causing all the problems,” the distributor said. “There is a lack of bags to put material in, a lack of drivers in trains, a lack of bagging facilities, a lack of trucks and truck drivers, warehouse space and warehouse people. The whole chain is just a total disaster. “[Break bulk] is not really solving the problem. It is fulfilling existing contracts but costing an absolute fortune, as a temporary bail-out.” The war in Ukraine has been another factor in disrupting the industry, as trade flows have had to redirect to avoid conflict zones, with ships going for long haulage, which is also limiting availability of vessels. Sentiment indicates that supply chains will remain under pressure for the rest of the year, but longer-term fundamentals could balance out as more new capacity becomes available in 2023. There has been an uptick in orders for new container ships, which have also been delayed in the wake of the pandemic but are expected to come into operation next year. Front page picture: Containers are being moved in the Port of Rotterdam; archive image Source: Peter Dejong/AP/Shutterstock Focus by Morgan Condon Additional reporting by Vicky Ellis, Marta Fern, Julia Meehan, and Caroline Murray Infographics by Yashas Mudumbai
TOPIC PAGE: Coronavirus, oil price direction – impact on chemicals
Here is the energy crisis writ large. The chart, from bp as it released its latest Statistical Review of World Energy this week, shows the sharp rebound in energy consumption as COVID-19 restrictions eased and global economic activity recovered. In this week's podcast, ICIS analysts Jady Ma and Lucy Shuai discuss the recent developments and outlook of China's polypropylene (PP) market amid concerns over COVID-19. Asia’s acrylic acid (AA) and acrylate esters spot discussions were under pressure, with market sentiment bearish amid a downtrend in China. The China domestic market was sluggish, with the economy impacted by earlier lockdowns. Meanwhile, the US ethylene market is seeing ample supply, lower margins but decent derivative demand heading into Q3. Updated on 1 July 2022 On this topic page we analyse the impact of coronavirus and oil price dynamics on chemical markets and bring together the latest news reported by ICIS. Scroll down to see the latest interactive graphics, podcasts and videos. Click here to register for regular updates to help you navigate these challenging times. LATEST HEADLINES (Last updated at 09:00 GMT on 1 July 2022) Mideast petchem market sentiment bearish on weak demand By Felicia Loo 01-Jul-22 11:30 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Sentiment in the Middle East petrochemical markets is bearish, as demand is tepid against a backdrop of ample supply. The soaring inflation rates have led to a reduced purchasing power, weakening buyers’ appetites. Asia AA and acrylates largely lower; sentiment softer on China downtrend By Li Li Chng 29-Jun-22 21:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)— Asia’s acrylic acid (AA) and acrylate esters spot discussions were under pressure, with market sentiment bearish amid a downtrend in China. PODCAST: China PP to face uncertainties in H2 ’22 amid high costs By Lucy Shuai 29-Jun-22 17:47 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analysts Jady Ma and Lucy Shuai discuss the recent developments and outlook of China's polypropylene (PP) market. PODCAST: Europe and Middle East isocyanates demand slows By ICIS Editorial 29-Jun-22 17:09 LONDON (ICIS)–Isocyanates Europe editor Zubair Adam discusses current demand and supply market trends for Europe with isocyanates Middle East editor Damini Dabholkar. US ethylene begins Q3 with ample supply, eroding margins By John Donnelly 29-Jun-22 05:45 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US ethylene market is seeing ample supply, lower margins but decent derivative demand heading into Q3. INSIGHT: Energy demand rebound at a time of crisis, bp stats show By Nigel Davis 28-Jun-22 23:39 LONDON (ICIS)–Here is the energy crisis writ large. The chart, from bp as it released its latest Statistical Review of World Energy on Tuesday, shows the sharp rebound in energy consumption as COVID-19 restrictions eased and global economic activity recovered. PODCAST: Isocyanates face high costs, squeezed margins in H2 – ICIS analysts By Morgan Condon 28-Jun-22 21:02 LONDON (ICIS)–The isocyanates market is faced with steep production costs and weakening demand across downstream sectors, presenting the industry with a darkening outlook. European PVC shows signs of lengthening on demand, global trends By Chris Barker 28-Jun-22 17:29 LONDON (ICIS)–European polyvinyl chloride (PVC) contract prices for June have settled with rollovers to decreases compared to May, with indications that the outlook for availability has lengthened compared to earlier in the year. Asia ADA trade flows punch above weight in May By Josh Quah 24-Jun-22 13:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia adipic acid (ADA) markets logged a large trade surplus in May, according to import-export data captured by ICIS Supply and Demand Database. Europe capro, nylon 6 markets face slow summer demand By Marta Fern 24-Jun-22 00:35 LONDON (ICIS)–European caprolactam (capro) and nylon 6 markets are facing persistent soft demand, which could weaken further in the coming months while the costs of production are on the rise. VIDEO: Asia MEG may face more challenges in H2 2022 By Judith Wang 23-Jun-22 17:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch ICIS Senior Editor Judith Wang discuss current developments in Asia's monoethylene glycol (MEG) market and its outlook. China’s NBR import offers plummet with domestic losses, soft demand By Ai Teng Lim 23-Jun-22 15:56 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China's import offers for acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) are at year-low levels, as sellers tried to chase deals with wider discounts. Tight tonnage and robust demand push Asian chemical tanker market, sentiment bullish By Luffy Wu 23-Jun-22 14:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian chemical tanker shipping market saw overall upward pressure amid high global bunker levels and regional tonnage tightness, drained by robust long-haul activities and clean petroleum product (CPP) markets. PODCAST: How may China respond to looming global energy crisis? By Bee Lin Chow 23-Jun-22 13:32 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analysts discuss how China may respond to what seems like a looming global energy crisis. US SBR demand healthy from tyre sector, but tyre imports growing By Amanda Hay 23-Jun-22 05:34 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) demand healthy for tyres, but North American tyre manufacturers face growing tyre imports. INSIGHT: Don’t stifle chemicals now in the face of energy uncertainty and climate reform – UK industry By Nigel Davis 22-Jun-22 22:20 LONDON (ICIS)-The UK chemical industry is now 6% larger than at the onset of the pandemic, chief executive of the country’s sector trade group, the Chemical Industries Association (CIA), said last week. PODCAST: China benzene prices hit 8-year high; cost and supply support to persist By Yoyo Liu 17-Jun-22 10:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analyst Jady Ma and Yoyo Liu discuss the recent developments and outlook of China's benzene market. Asian BD buying slows as domestic China tumbles By Ai Teng Lim 17-Jun-22 09:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Sentiment was duller in this week’s spot talks for Asian butadiene (BD) imports, as buyers retreated after the domestic China market suffered heavy losses early-week. PODCAST: Europe PET speculation rife in face of diverging upstream dynamics By Caroline Murray 17-Jun-22 00:07 LONDON (ICIS)–Mixed xylene prices are skyrocketing higher than PX prices and concerns over negative margins mount. PX June contract talks are ongoing. By contrast, MEG supply remains lengthy and demand has been low, pressuring down spot prices. The June MEG contract price also remains unconfirmed. INSIGHT: PET, politicians and TikTok – the industry’s battle for our attention By Matt Tudball 16-Jun-22 22:17 BRUSSELS (ICIS)–The battle for our attention is a fierce one. In the post-COVID-19 world, as employees we feel a sense of email overload and Zoom fatigue while as a consumer we face a constant bombardment of media telling us what we should be doing, thinking, eating, drinking and watching. Asian petrochemicals to rebound in June amid bumpy recovery – ICIS analysts By Ann Sun 16-Jun-22 12:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian petrochemical market is expected to be generally firmer in June given higher crude prices and easing lockdowns in China, according to a latest Price Forecast by ICIS analysts. PODCAST: Global base oils supply and refinery margins to stay under pressure in H2 By Eashani Chavda 15-Jun-22 22:35 LONDON (ICIS)–ICIS editors Eashani Chavda, Samantha Wright and Amanda Hay are joined by ICIS analyst Mike Connolly to discuss the latest developments in Europe and US base oils markets. Key topics include: supply shortages, shifting trade flows, refinery margins and additive shortages. PODCAST: Chemical distributors see inflation hurting demand, downturn in prospect By Will Beacham 14-Jun-22 22:03 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Rising inflation is now hurting demand for chemicals, raising the prospect of a broad economic downturn later this year or in 2023, according to chemical distributors. China PE finds support from stimulus policies; eyes on demand performance By Sijia Li 14-Jun-22 14:57 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s domestic polyethylene (PE) market entering June has found support from stimulus policies and costs. Looking ahead, players are focusing on demand recovery, with the easing of lockdowns in multiple regions amid decreasing COVID-19 infections. India domestic LAB prices rise; China demand improves as lockdowns ease By Clive Ong 10-Jun-22 11:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–India’s domestic prices for linear alkylbenzene (LAB) have spiked on the back of rising costs, but some players expect some headwinds with the monsoon season kicking off. Monsoon season to hamper India demand China demand sees uptick as COVID-19 restrictions ease China’s competitively priced cargoes still available in Asia (including India), Mideast Oil prices drop more than $1/bbl on partial lockdowns in China By Nurluqman Suratman 10-Jun-22 11:34 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices fell more than $1/bbl on Friday on renewed demand fears after fresh COVID-19 lockdown measures were announced in China, but tight supply concerns capped losses. INSIGHT: Sustainability to remain the key driver for Asia recycled polymers By Arianne Perez 10-Jun-22 11:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Capacity expansions of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) and recycled polyethylene (R-PE) faced delays amid the onslaught of COVID-19, particularly last year, but overall growth of Asia polymers recycling is set to continue with sustainability as the main driver. PODCAST: European ACN market keeps a close eye on ammonia and propylene By ICIS Editorial 09-Jun-22 18:35 LONDON (ICIS)–The European acrylonitrile (ACN) market has good supply and some softening demand, but costs remain high. In this latest podcast, ICIS deputy managing editor Jane Massingham (Europe) talks to managing editor fertilizers, Julia Meehan and senior editor on olefins, Nel Weddle about the ammonia and propylene markets and what to expect in the months ahead. PODCAST: Asia benzene, styrene short-term outlook to hinge on demand-supply balance By Jasmine Khoo 09-Jun-22 11:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s benzene prices have hit an all-time high on strong performance from the US amid the turnaround season, while styrene price gains have been lagging behind due to weak performance in the styrenics sector. In this podcast, Jasmine Khoo speaks with editors Angeline Soh and Trixie Yap on benzene and its key downstream styrene monomer (SM) and styrenics sectors. China PP exports may fall on narrow price gap with SE Asia By Lucy Shuai 08-Jun-22 17:09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–With the lifting of COVID-19 lockdowns in China, as well as stimulus policies to boost the economy, China’s polypropylene (PP) prices have rebounded since late May. However, as PP prices have fallen in the southeast Asian market, China's PP exports may fall in June due to a narrow price gap. VIDEO: China PP demand set to improve in June as restrictions ease By Lucy Shuai 08-Jun-22 16:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Watch industry analyst Lucy Shuai share her insights on the rebound seen in China's polypropylene (PP) market following the easing of strict COVID-19 curbs in the country. Asia Q3 biodiesel market sentiment to stay weak on poor European demand By Felicia Loo 07-Jun-22 12:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The third-quarter market sentiment for southeast Asian palm methyl ester (PME) biodiesel is expected to remain weak amid poor buying requirements from Europe, a key importing region for southeast Asian material. Germany's chemicals hit hard by China lockdowns, automotive sentiment improves – Ifo By Jonathan Lopez 03-Jun-22 16:49 MADRID (ICIS)–Lockdowns in China to contain the coronavirus pandemic have had a major impact on export-intensive industrial sectors in Germany such as chemicals, research institute Ifo said on Thursday. Asia MEG rebounds on higher crude, demand recovery expectations By Judith Wang 03-Jun-22 10:50 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) weekly prices rebounded during the week amid stronger crude values and expectations of demand improvement due to easing lockdowns in Shanghai. Global chem production fell 2.9% year on year in April By Stefan Baumgarten 03-Jun-22 01:57 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Global chemical production volumes in April fell 4.1% month on month and 2.9% year on year, and they were off 0.4% year on year for the first four months of 2022, ICIS senior economist Kevin Swift said in a report on Thursday. China methanol to face ample supply, mixed demand performance By Doris He 01-Jun-22 21:05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s methanol market is expected to face overall ample supply from domestic and overseas producers in the near term, while demand may be mixed from different downstream sectors. INSIGHT: China, India to be main drivers of PVC supply, demand in Asia By Jonathan Chou 01-Jun-22 11:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we live our lives, upending also supply and demand dynamics for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and its related markets. Over two years on since the pandemic hit, much of Asia has attempted “living with COVID-19” in 2022, with some starting to treat it as an endemic disease. China SM margins likely to be squeezed by higher costs, weak demand By Tina Zhang 31-May-22 11:55 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Margins in China's styrene monomer (SM) market are expected to continue to be squeezed in the near term, in view of rising feedstock benzene values and weak demand. China petrochemical market sentiment upbeat on Shanghai recovery plan By Fanny Zhang 30-May-22 13:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s domestic petrochemical market sentiment is upbeat at the start of the week, with demand expected to recover when the two-month lockdown in Shanghai is lifted in June. Asian epoxy market stable, Chinese domestic market outlook ambiguous By Luffy Wu 27-May-22 11:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asia epoxy resins market saw overall stable market sentiment while buyers exhibited improved price acceptability compared with in April. Asia nylon market cautious as Shanghai inches towards June reopening By Josh Quah 26-May-22 16:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The lockdowns have been damaging for Asia's nylon market, with prolonged demand loss particularly felt in the CFR (cost & freight) China market. There have been recent signs, however, that the worst may have passed in the lead up to the reopening of key cities in China. PODCAST: Weak demand from lubricants, China’s Group II base oil import margins to be negative By Whitney Shi 25-May-22 14:09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analyst Jady Ma and Whitney Shi discuss the recent developments and outlook of China's base oil market. INSIGHT: China crude consumption softens amid COVID-19 lockdowns By Pearl Bantillo 25-May-22 12:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s consumption of crude has softened as industrial production is hit by pandemic-related restrictions in place since February, with no sign of the government giving up on its zero-COVID policy. INTERVIEW: China emergence from lockdowns, stimulus to recharge auto and construction – Covestro CFO By Joseph Chang 25-May-22 05:17 NEW YORK (ICIS)–China’s easing of and potential emergence from COVID-19 lockdowns along with government stimulus should spark a major recovery in its automotive and construction markets, the chief financial officer (CFO) of Germany-based Covestro said on Tuesday. Asian MMA peaks in May; outlook pending clarity amid easing restrictions in China By Li Li Chng 24-May-22 13:47 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian methyl methacrylate (MMA) peaked in May, after increasing around 17% since H2 February. Market players are awaiting clearer picture on China’s lifting of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions. PODCAST: Europe PE and PP update and outlook By Ben Lake 23-May-22 23:42 LONDON (ICIS)–Senior editor, Vicky Ellis, and market editor, Ben Lake, join forces to discuss a distinct change in the polymers market. The frenzied activity in March and April has given way to a far more relaxed sentiment in May – on the buy-side, at least. Vicky and Ben give their outlook for June and take a look at events that could shake up the markets again. INSIGHT: China PE demand to rebound from June, but slow road ahead By Amy Yu 23-May-22 18:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)—China polyethylene (PE) demand is expected to firm as COVID-19 containment measures ease, but the pace of recovery remains hindered by remaining lockdown measures. Asia BDO under pressure as tepid demand persists, economic uncertainty By Clive Ong 20-May-22 12:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian butanediol (BDO) market remains under downward pressure from prevailing soft demand in the region. Buying momentum could remain slow in the near term from economic headwinds from the Ukraine conflict and Russian sanctions, as well as the lockdown in China which looks set to ease. INSIGHT: US supply chain problems may continue for two more years By Al Greenwood 19-May-22 21:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US supply-chain problems could persist for another two years because new problems continue to pop up. Since the pandemic started more than two years ago, problems continue to compound problems, said Eric Byer, president of the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD). He participated in a conference call with the ACC. Markets sell-off drives down Europe chemical stocks By Tom Brown 19-May-22 19:28 LONDON (ICIS)–European chemical company stocks fell on Thursday amid a wider market sell-off as below-expectations US retail financials and high domestic inflation drive fears that falling consumer demand could result in a recession. PODCAST: China’s MMA demand recovery to lag despite Shanghai reopening By Olivia Dai 19-May-22 15:06 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ICIS analyst Jady Ma and Olivia Dai discuss the recent developments and outlook of China's methyl methacrylate (MMA) market. Asia fatty alcohols near-term demand may pick up on China lockdown easing By Helen Yan 18-May-22 12:14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Improved Chinese demand may lend support to Asia’s fatty alcohols market, as China gradually eases its COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. This is amid expectations that Shanghai, a major port and key financial and production hub, is likely to open up fully from 1 June. Increase of PP, PE imports from China in Pakistan due to lockdowns By Nadim Salamoun 17-May-22 23:29 DUBAI (ICIS)–Chinese polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) breakbulk and containerized cargoes have been increasingly available in the Pakistani market, directly competing with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-origin material. The situation could be attributed to the increased lockdowns in China, which have negatively impacted domestic demand. PODCAST: Slowing China will hurt global economy, chemicals By Will Beacham 17-May-22 21:29 BARCELONA (ICIS)–As lockdowns, the Common Prosperity policy and lacklustre export markets cut growth in China’s economy, the global chemical industry should prepare for negative demand growth in 2022. Easing of lockdown provides limited support for Asian IPA By Julia Tan 17-May-22 19:31 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian isopropanol (IPA) markets saw slightly mixed indicative prices in the week, although market sentiment continues to be weak. Market sources underlined on Tuesday that demand was not likely to pick up until mid-June. Despite news that Shanghai lockdowns would begin to ease in early June, a number of market participants were fairly sceptical that this would provide significant support to the Asian IPA markets. Asia petrochemical supplies rise as China exports grow amid weak yuan By Fanny Zhang 13-May-22 16:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical markets are being weighed down by growing supply, with China exporting more products – spurred by the weak yuan and poor domestic demand amid lockdowns. The Chinese yuan (CNY) lost nearly 7% against the US dollar from the start of April to 13 May, with the exchange rate at CNY6.79 to $1, data from the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) show. The yuan depreciation has caused a narrowing or closing of arbitrage windows for moving cargoes into China, while opening up better export opportunities. With a weaker yuan, the trading route “out of China” may stay for a while, traders said. The country’s domestic demand is significantly dented by tight restrictions on people movement and business activity following a strong resurgence of COVID-19 infections, consequently, exerting strong downward pressure on Asian markets. Asia fatty acids remain soft on China lockdowns and Indonesia export ban uncertainty By Helen Yan 13-May-22 15:05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s fatty acids market is likely to remain soft in the near term, due to the economic slowdown in China and the expected removal of Indonesia’s export ban on crude palm oil (CPO) sometime in May. China lockdowns are weighing on demand in Asia. “There is too much uncertainty, with the market not sure when China will lift its lockdowns and when Indonesia will lift its export ban on palm oil,” a regional supplier said. Market players are adopting a cautious stance and buyers are reluctant to commit to any large spot purchases, given the uncertainty and expectations that the export ban is likely to be removed soon. Container rates from China to US down by 20% since Shanghai lockdowns began By Adam Yanelli 13-May-22 05:23 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Rates for shipping containers from east Asia and China to both US coasts have fallen by between 13-20% since COVID-19-related lockdowns began in Shanghai in March, and with China holding fast to its zero-COVID-19 policy, the trend could continue. The impact of the lockdown measures on China’s available exports has been significant, leading to the major ocean shipping alliances announcing cancellations of at least a third of their scheduled sailings out of Asia through early June. US considers dropping Chinese tariffs to fight inflation – Biden By Al Greenwood 11-May-22 06:09 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The administration of US President Joe Biden is discussing whether removing the tariffs imposed on Chinese imports would lower inflation, he said on Tuesday. The US imposed tariffs on billions of dollars' worth Chinese imports – including plastics and chemicals – amid allegations of unfair trade policies on the part of China, which included unfair technology transfers and theft of intellectual property. INSIGHT: Can US, global economies avoid recession amid a whirlwind of headwinds? By Joseph Chang 12-May-22 01:10 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Can the US and major economies around the world avoid a recession in the face of what can only be called a whirlwind of headwinds? In the US, the Federal Reserve is moving to tame the inflation beast and engineer a soft landing for the economy. Fed chair Jerome Powell opened the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) press conference on 4 May by addressing the American people directly. “Inflation is much too high, and we understand the hardship it is causing, and we’re moving expeditiously to bring it back down. We have both the tools we need and the resolve it will take to restore price stability on behalf of American families and businesses,” said Powell. Asian spot TiO2 to come under pressure from weak Chinese yuan in early May By Joson Ng 06-May-22 11:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–A depreciating Chinese currency against the US dollar could start to have an impact on the Asian titanium dioxide (TiO2) spot market starting in May. Turkey PE and PP prices stable, market quiet amid public holidays By Samantha Wright 05-May-22 23:53 LONDON (ICIS)–Turkish polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) values were steady this week due to a lack of activity following a public holiday. Europe ABS, SAN import challenge likely to persist By Yashas Mudumbai 05-May-22 19:20 LONDON (ICIS)–Acquiring imports from Asia for European styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) market players remains a challenge amid ongoing logistical constraints. There has been some tightness in supply due to reduced imports from Asia. INSIGHT: EU Russia oil ban will further drive global remapping of trade By Tom Brown 05-May-22 19:11 LONDON (ICIS)–The European Commission’s proposed ban on Russian oil imports by the end of the year is more likely to drive further remapping of global trade flows than drive a spike in crude prices, but the pain could be more substantial in refined products markets. Oil rises more than $1/bbl on supply worries; China woes cap gains By Nurluqman Suratman 04-May-22 12:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices rose by more than $1/bbl on Wednesday on concerns over tight supply after industry data showed a drop in US crude and fuel inventories last week, but worries over poor manufacturing data from China capped gains. PODCAST: Europe chemicals could face short periods of gas rationing this winter By Will Beacham 03-May-22 22:12 BARCELONA (ICIS)–European chemical companies may be forced to cut gas use for short periods this winter if demand is very high and supply crimped, though steps are being taken to avoid this scenario. Margin pressure to persist in European ethanolamines market By Cameron Birch 03-May-22 21:33 LONDON (ICIS)–Two main questions dominate the European ethanolamines market as participants make forecasts for the rest of Q2 and into Q3. First, is the question of continued uncertainty linked to feedstock costs, and, second, is the uncertainty that surrounds the demand picture across the continent. ANALYSIS AND RESOURCES
BLOG: China 2022 PE demand: Latest data point towards a 2% contraction as confusion over outlook builds
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Click here to see the latest blog post on Asian Chemical Connections by John Richardson. The China Beige Book, the independent economic analysis service, has found that: China services and manufacturing businesses saw a slowdown in the second quarter from the first quarter, reflecting the prolonged impact of COVID controls. · Orders for domestic consumption and overseas export mostly fell during Q2. Orders for textiles and chemicals processing were among the worst affected. This is in line with what our contacts have been saying and what the ICIS polyolefins data appears to be indicating. Based on the January-May numbers 2022, the outlook for full year polypropylene (PP)) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) demand seems to have deteriorated. We worry that China’s options for turning its economy around in 2022 are narrowing. At least in low-density PE (LDPE), as we discuss in, the outlook hasn’t got any worse. This is small consolation, as it had already become bleak before May. Our latest worst-case scenario is that LDPE demand may decline by 8% this year. LDPE stands out from the other grades of polyolefins because China CFR LDPE price spreads over CFR Japan naphtha costs have held up very well this year. In PP, HDPE and linear-low density PE (LLDPE), spreads have hit record lows. Why LDPE appears to be different is because supply has been reduced, thereby keeping prices relatively high, because ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)/LDPE swing plants have swung to more EVA production as EVA demand seems to be booming. The EVA price premiums over LDPE are at or close-to record highs, depending on the ICIS price assessment. And LDPE film price premiums over C4 LLDPE film have also reached record highs in China in 2022. The two resins compete for many of the same end-use markets. LLDPE supply is much longer. So, it is not just the economy that LDPE players in China have to worry about, but these other dynamics as well. This may be the third year in a row of negative LDPE demand growth in China because of these other factors – and now an economy that could see a recession. Meanwhile, as with the other grades of polyolefins, LDPE exporters to China need to be also concerned about a potential significant fall in China’s LDPE imports. Our worst-case scenario sees China’s net imports in 2022 some 500,000 tonnes lower than in 2021. We are sorry it is so gloomy, and, hopefully, conditions will pick up. But hope is not a strategy. The chemicals industry industry needs to prepare for worst-case outcomes. Editor’s note: This blog post is an opinion piece. The views expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of ICIS.
Caixin China June manufacturing PMI rises to 51.7
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Caixin’s China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 51.7 in June from 48.1 in May as factory activity recovered on the back of easing regional COVID-19 lockdowns, the Chinese media firm said on Friday. A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing economy, while a lower number denotes contraction. The June reading was the first expansion in fourth months and marked the strongest rate of increase seen since May last year, Caixin said in a statement. Chinese manufacturers registered the first expansion of output since February at the end of the second quarter. The rate of growth was the quickest seen since November 2020, with a number of firms linking the rise to the return to more normal operations and reopening of production lines as COVID-19 restrictions were eased. Total new orders likewise returned to growth in June, though the rate of increase was only modest. New export business also rose modestly. "Covid lockdowns and other restrictions eased in June, facilitating a gradual recovery in manufacturers’ operations. Supply and demand were on the rise, with supply improving more," said Wang Zhe, senior economist at Caixin Insight Group. “Restoration in the post-pandemic era remained the focus of the current economy, yet its base was far from strong. Deteriorating household income and expectations caused by a weak labor market dampened the demand recovery," Wang added. China’s official manufacturing PMI released on 30 June also showed expansion at 50.2 in June. The Caixin PMI mostly tracks smaller and private firms while the official PMI covers larger, state-owned companies.
US meteorologists monitoring tropical disturbances in US Gulf, western Atlantic
HOUSTON (ICIS)–The National Weather Service is tracking three disturbances in the US Gulf and western Atlantic, one of which could bring large amounts of rainfall to the Houston area over the next two days. Source: National Hurricane Center (NHC) Disturbance No 1 is generating showers and thunderstorms near the south Texas coast and is forecast to move slowly northward and inland, meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. Slow development of the system remains possible as it is still over water, meaning there remains a chance it could strengthen into a named storm. “Regardless of development, heavy rain is possible along portions of the Texas coast for the next two days,” the NHC said. A flash flood watch is in effect for southeast Texas, including the greater Houston area, which is home to several chemical plants, refineries and terminals that export oil, fuel, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and natural gas liquids (NGLs) such as ethane and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The Office of Emergency Management of Deer Park, Texas, said the watch is in effect through Friday night. Disturbance No 2 is located several hundred miles east of the Windward Islands and is producing disorganised showers and thunderstorms. The NHC only gives a 10% chance of this disturbance becoming a hurricane in the next five days. The third disturbance, referred to by the NHC as potential tropical cyclone No 2, is likely to generate heavy rainfall across Colombia today before moving west across Nicaragua and Costa Rica by Friday. Areas of life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides are expected. Hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area along the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua late on Friday. There is limited chemical production in the region, according to the ICIS Supply and Demand Database, with some caustic soda and chlorine produced in Costa Rica. The Gulf of Mexico hosts several offshore oil wells, accounting for 15% of the nation's crude production, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), and federal offshore natural gas production in the Gulf accounts for 5% of total US dry production. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from 1 June to 30 November.
TFI praises Congress leadership for efforts to address railroad service issues
HOUSTON (ICIS)–The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) said it was praising the bipartisan leadership efforts of Congressmen Ralph Norman and Jim Costa for their work in organising a letter to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) regarding poor rail service. The trade group, which representing the domestic fertilizer industry, said ongoing failures by the railroad companies are having a negative impact on the industry and their movement of vital products, which as a result is have consequences for the overall agricultural sector. “With over half of all fertilizer moving by rail, we are grateful for the leadership of Congressmen Norman and Costa in bringing the issue of inconsistent rail service to the attention of the STB,” said Corey Rosenbusch, TFI President and CEO. “Their dedication to working with all stakeholders will help ensure that essential crop nutrient inputs reach farmers when and where they need them.” TFI said fertilizer shipments rely heavily on rail to reach farmers, but imposed restrictions, along with skeleton crews and railroad-led initiatives such as precision-scheduled railroading have forced fertilizer shipping reductions and potential production delays. “Fertilizer is attributable to half of all crop yields. With the world leaning on US farmers now more than ever before to feed our growing population, we must ensure strong yields and our food security,” Rosenbusch said. “Fertilizer must reach farmers in a timely manner and crop harvests also need to get to their destinations, including the kitchen table.” The letter to the STB was signed by 51 members of Congress and it noted that during the late April STB hearing on rail service a variety of industries, including grain and feed and fertilizer producers, reported severe service problems with most of the Class I rail carriers. It highlighted that TFI had said recent service problems, and imposed restrictions have forced shipping reductions and potential production delays. This not only can restrict supply but can raise costs on the farmers who rely on this necessary input for 50% of their crop yields. Warning about future and further consequences, the STB was told that by placing onerous restrictions on shippers without consulting customers that railroads may “run the risk of jeopardising family farms and increasing the cost of food for consumers.” The letter closed by stressing to the STB that “rail service must be improved, and we appreciate the STB’s attention to this matter. While we respect the challenges of operating a major railroad, communication is essential when taking steps to make the necessary improvements, including the imposition of service curtailments.” “As we work toward solutions to meet the ongoing supply chain challenges, carriers and the STB should also be mindful of essential commodities and our country’s best public interest.”
US Koch completes acquisition of 50% stake in JFC III from OCP
HOUSTON (ICIS)–US Koch Ag & Energy Solutions (KAES) announced it has successfully completed the acquisition of a 50% interest in Jorf Fertilizers Company III (JFC III) from fertilizer producer OCP thereby establishing a 50/50 joint venture between the two companies. JFC III owns and operates an industrial facility producing up to 1.1m tonnes/year of phosphate-based fertilizers. Koch said that through its advantaged location within the Jorf Fertilizer Complex, the world’s largest phosphate fertilizer production platform, JFC III benefits from a unique relationship with OCP’s broader industrial operations at the complex. “Our long-term partnership with Koch is reaching a new stage through the establishment of our Moroccan-based joint venture, which confirms our common goal to provide farmers with high quality and reliable Moroccan phosphate fertilizers,” said Mostafa Terrab, OCP Group Chairman and CEO. Koch said the acquisition marks Koch’s first substantial investment on the African continent. “KAES and OCP have a long-standing relationship, and we are excited to continue growing our relationship as we work together to secure JFC III’s long-term success,” said Mark Luetters, Koch Ag & Energy Solutions president.
PODCAST: Global base oils challenges continue for H2 2022, post-WBO insights
LONDON (ICIS)–ICIS editors Eashani Chavda, Matthew Chong and Amanda Hay discuss their latest market insights with ICIS analyst Mike Connolly after an eventful World Base Oils and Lubricants Conference. Key topics discussed include: Asian arbitrage, record prices in Europe, the US hurricane season, refinery margins and sustainability.
VIDEO: Europe R-PET sees some signs of stability emerge
LONDON (ICIS)–Senior Editor for Recycling, Matt Tudball, discusses the latest developments in the European recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) market, including: Some signs of stability creeping into regional markets Flake buyers see shift in sellers' attitudes for July Hot weather, more tourism will help bottle supply
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