Europe Chemical Industry Outlook for 2014

08 January 2014 13:00 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--The following OUTLOOK '14 stories were published by ICIS news between Monday 23 December 2013 and Monday 6 January 2014. Please click on the headlines to read the full versions.

OUTLOOK ’14: Europe ACN chain demand to rely on economic growth
European acrylonitrile (ACN) 2014 consumption is expected to grow because of macroeconomic recovery and adoption from new applications, according to market estimates.

OUTLOOK '14: Europe chems right to be ‘cautiously optimistic’
To use a much overused phrase in the industry, European chemical producers would be right to be ‘cautiously optimistic’ heading into 2014.

OUTLOOK ’14: Imports to play greater role in Europe VAM market
The European vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) market is going through a period of major restructuring, the effect of which will be to significantly increase the role of imports. A similar long-term trend has been seen in the acetic acid market, where the bulk of domestic consumption is already met through imports.

OUTLOOK ‘14: Europe PET to stay long, but may retain its value
The polyethylene terephthalate (PET) market in Europe is long but the survival of existing plants will depend partly on competition and demand so PET could retain its value, according to industry sources.

OUTLOOK '14: Europe nylon chain expects 3-5% growth, threats remain
The majority of the European polyamide chain is forecasting demand growth in 2014 of up to 5% year on year because of macroeconomic recovery.

OUTLOOK '14: Europe, Russia base oil producers face testing year
European Group I base oil producers are set to face a challenge in 2014 from an influx of US-produced Group II material.

OUTLOOK '14: CEE petchems face anxious wait over cheap imports
An air of anxiety hangs over the petrochemical industry of central and eastern Europe with 2014 likely to deliver further evidence of a real competitive threat from US and Middle East producers that benefit from cheap feedstock, analysts say.

OUTLOOK '14: Europe methanol prices to stay historically high
The European methanol market appears likely to remain structurally tight in 2014, with prices supported at historically high levels.

OUTLOOK ’14: Europe fatty acids market braced for change
European market players are braced for change with the implementation of import duties on palm-based fatty acids from India, Indonesia and Malaysia in 2014.

OUTLOOK ’14: Slow recovery expected for EU chemicals
Chemicals output could improve more strongly this year following a difficult 2013 for some parts of the industry, but the path back to growth has not been, and will not be, easy.

OUTLOOK '14: MPG demand will depend on weather, PO set to grow
The European monopropylene glycol (MPG) market is keeping one eye on the winter weather conditions and the other on the price movement of propylene, which is formula-linked to propylene oxide (PO), from which MPG is derived.

OUTLOOK '14: Europe acrylates sector aims for year of modest growth
It is not easy to paint a clear picture for the European acrylates market in 2014, but most players in the sector are aiming for a year of growth.

OUTLOOK '14: Europe p-wax producers face weak end-user demand
Following a difficult 2013, European paraffin wax (p-wax) producers are likely to face another year of weak end-user demand in 2014.

OUTLOOK '14: Europe PS, EPS demand and pricing unclear
The European polystyrene (PS) and expandable polystyrene (EPS) markets have had a turbulent 2013, particularly the second half, as volatility pushed prices to record highs in September on the back of upstream feedstock cost increases.

OUTLOOK '14: Weak prospects for EU benzene-based MA production
The move away from benzene-based maleic anhydride (MA) production in Europe in favour of butane-based output that was seen in 2012 has remained in effect throughout 2013, and there is no indication that this is likely to change in the foreseeable future.

OUTLOOK '14: Phenol market not expecting strong start to year
The outlook for the phenol market in 2014 is uncertain, particularly for major derivative bisphenol A (BPA) which drives global demand.

OUTLOOK ’14: Two key factors could impact Africa PE, PP markets
There are two main factors that could impact both business and prices in the African polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) markets next year - the European import duty and new capacity coming online in the Middle East and Asia.

OUTLOOK '14: Streamlining, affordability to drive Europe M&A
Europe is recovering. After years of forecasts that the region’s economy may have bottomed out, there is evidence that green shoots are slowly pushing through the compacted muck of years of economic malaise. “Slow” is the operative word, and this is a huge stumbling block for the European chemical industry’s recovery.

OUTLOOK '14: Europe SBR market expected flat on subdued demand
The European styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) market is braced for flat performance in 2014, as passenger vehicle and light truck tyre replacement sales look set to remain subdued next year due to cash-strapped consumers holding back on purchasing new cars and driving fewer miles.

OUTLOOK '14: Europe chlorvinyl players mull possible market changes
European chloralkali and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market players are focused on the looming prospect of changes in the seller landscape and the possibility of production consolidation for 2014.

OUTLOOK '14: DOP output to fall further as Arkema plans closure
While the macroeconomic environment has remained unfavourable to the European plasticizers industry in 2013, producing a largely flat market, the process of replacing low-phthalate dioctyl phthalate (DOP) with alternative plasticizers has continued apace, and will be a major feature of the market in 2014.

OUTLOOK '14: Europe IPA, MEK, MIBK demand likely to remain weak
The European isopropanol (IPA), methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) and methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) markets have seen lacklustre demand in 2013 and this is expected to continue into 2014.

OUTLOOK '14: Legislative uncertainty clouds Europe biofuels future
Legislative uncertainty is likely to continue to cloud the outlook for European biofuels markets in 2014, with a decision on amendments to the European Renewable Energy Directive (RED) yet to be made.

OUTLOOK ’14: Europe BD players cautiously positive for year ahead
European butadiene (BD) players are, on the whole, cautiously optimistic for the year ahead but no-one is expecting any major fundamental shifts.

OUTLOOK ‘14: Europe styrenics to be driven by supply not demand
Despite struggling downstream demand, global supply issues and structural challenges will keep upward pressure on European styrene numbers next year, with several players predicting more sharp volatility and record high spot pricing.

OUTLOOK ‘14: Europe aromatics face continued volatility, weak demand
Following on from an unpredictable environment this year, the aromatics market is expected to see further volatility in 2014, with the twin pressures of bearish downstream sentiment and upward pressure on BTX (benzene, toluene, xylenes) prices from the continued growth of shale oil and gas production keeping it a tough market to operate in.

OUTLOOK ’14: Europe ethylene, propylene could be a 2013 re-run
European ethylene and propylene market players are not expecting much of 2014 with most taking a fairly neutral stance in terms of any structural changes, despite improving signs on the economy front.

OUTLOOK ’14: Europe PE, PP players expect little improvement
2013 has been a fairly flat year for polyolefins with positive growth arriving only towards the end of the year, and even then sources acknowledge that fundamentals remained weak.

OUTLOOK '14: Shipping markets showing signs of recovery
Although the global shipping markets have been sluggish during parts of 2013, some analysts say that this year has in fact seen an improvement in freight rates.

OUTLOOK ’14: Europe naphtha market braces for fundamental changes
The European naphtha market is bracing itself for fundamental changes in 2014 as it is forced to loosen its tight grip over the US export market.

OUTLOOK ’14: Fertilizer markets eye pick up in demand for 2014
Fertilizer markets and prices have come under pressure in 2013 from slow global economic growth and rising world grain production reducing grain prices, while at the same time world fertilizer demand stagnated.

OUTLOOK '14: Russia moves towards polymer import substitution
The Russian market of polymers continues to undergo significant changes with the country expected to discontinue imports of polypropylene (PP) and become a PP exporter in 2014.

OUTLOOK '14: Crude markets to be shaped by economy, Mideast
The crude oil markets in 2014 are expected to continue along similar lines to this year with no real concerns over overall supply levels and the main influences being the state of the global economy as well as continued concerns over tensions in the Middle East.

By Franco Capaldo