Topic page: US-China trade war

13 July 2018 14:29 Source:ICIS News

As trade tensions rise between the US and China, the prospect of a trade war has wide-ranging implications for the chemical industry. On this landing page you will find links to the latest related ICIS news and analysis plus graphics.

US TARIFFS

  • Part 1 - $34bn. These 25% tariffs were published on 11 June and imposed on July 6. Click here to see the list. Chemicals are not included.
  • Part 2 - $16bn. These 25% tariffs were published on 11 June and went into operation on 23 August. The finalised list contains 279 from the original June list of 284. Click here to see the updated list published by the Office of the US Trade Representative.

These tariffs affect around $2.2bn of Chinese exports of chemicals and polymers to the US, according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC).

The impact on China’s bulk chemicals and polymers exports to the US is minimal in the second round, at under 10,000 tonnes per product based on 2017 trade flows, according to the ICIS Supply and Demand database.

  • Part 3 - $200bn. These 10-25% tariffs were published on 10 July and on 17 September the US announced they will go into operation on 24 September at 10%. On 1 January, the tariffs will rise to 25%. The US has partially or fully removed 297 products from the original Part 3 list. Click here to see the final tariff list which contains 5,745 of the original 6,031 products in the earlier version.

"Certain chemical inputs for manufactured goods, textiles and agriculture" were removed after public consultation, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Click here to see the earlier proposed list of products to be targeted by the US, published in July.

US hearings to get feedback on the tariffs ended on 6 September.  On 1 August the Trump administration had proposed to increase the tariff from 10% to 25%.

The analysis below reflects the earlier proposed Part 3 list and will be updated once we have analysed the final tariff list.

These tariffs will impact an additional $16.3bn in China chemical and plastics exports, according to the ACC.

The list is massive, exceeding 6,000 products. It includes olefins, aromatics, alcohols, acetyls, acrylics, anhydrides, glycols and glycol ethers. Nitrogen fertilizers and surfactants are included as well as caustic soda and titanium dioxide (TiO2).

The US tariffs in the third round target China’s finished plastics products in particular. In round two, about $1.4bn in these exports were put under tariff. In round three, this jumps to $5.8bn, according to an ICIS analysis of 2017 US International Trade Commission (USITC) statistics.

  • Part 4 - If China takes what the administration considers to be retaliatory actions, then President Trump has threatened another round of tariffs on $267bn worth of additional imports.
  • On 13 September 2018 President Trump signed the bipartisan Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), which was unanimously approved by the House and Senate. The legislation aims to remove tariffs against products which cannot be manufactured within the US. President Trump's China tariffs are unaffected by the MTB tariff reductions, which apply to older tariffs.

Work on the bill began in 2016, before the current round of China tariffs was proposed.  It is designed to revise outdated tariffs which the National Association of Manufacturers says are now acting as a tax on US production. Click here to see the full list of products exempted from tariffs by the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill.

CHINA TARIFFS

On 15 June China said it would impose a 25% tariff on $50bn of US imports in retaliation for US President Donald Trump's administration moving forward with US tariffs.

  • Part 1 - Tariffs on $34bn of US imports kicked in on 6 July, which included agricultural products such as corn and soybeans but not chemicals. Click here to see this list published in Mandarin.
  • Part 2 - China’s finance ministry also listed a second set of US exports valued at around $16bn, which include a wide variety of US chemical and energy products. China imposed an updated list of these tariffs on 23 August in response to the US tariffs. These tariffs affect around $2bn in US chemical and plastics exports, according to the ACC.

The list includes, for the first time, most grades of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) plus all high density PE (HDPE). Ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) has been included as well as polypropylene (PP). Low density PE (LDPE) has been removed from an earlier list. Source for table: ICIS Supply & Demand Database.Products added/removed from $16bn (part 2) China tariff list

US bulk chemicals and polymers most impacted by the second round in terms of trade volumes to China are ethylene dichloride (EDC), styrene, HDPE,  LLDPE, monoethylene glycol (MEG) and PP, in that order, according
to the ICIS Supply and Demand Database.

  • Part 3 - China’s Ministry of Finance announced on 18 September it would impose 5% and 10% tariffs on $60bn of US imports on 24 September as a countermove against the latest US measure. Click here to see the full list of chemicals.

These tariffs would be largely lower than its initial plan, which was announced on 3 August and included rates of 5%, 10%, 20% and 25%. These tariffs will hit an additional $8.8bn in US chemical and polymer exports to China, according to the ACC.

In round three, US exports to China most impacted in terms of volume would be paraxylene (PX), ethylbenzene and methanol. But the overall impact on commodity chemicals would be less than in the second round.

SE Asia polyols flat; potential upside from strong upstream markets

21 September 2018 05:40 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Import prices of polyether polyols in southeast Asia have stagnated, as sellers sought to sustain thin buying interest with stable offers.
But as cost pressures continue to mount on firm upstream values, it may not be long before sellers have to raise offers to rescue margins.

China will never intentionally devalue the yuan - Premier Li

20 September 2018 10:09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China will never intentionally devalue the yuan currency to stimulate exports, and will continue to introduce measures to further lower the average tariff on all imports, the country’s Premier Li Keqiang said.
In a keynote speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Tianjin, China, Li also said that unilateral trade actions will not solve any problems, the WEF said in a statement released on Thursday.
The yuan's sharp depreciation was largely due to the growing trade tensions between the US and China.

China ethylene self-sufficiency to top 64% by 2022

20 September 2018 08:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s self-sufficiency for ethylene is expected to reach 64.1% by 2022, up from 58.7% in 2017, as expansion in domestic capacity will speed up in the coming years, ICIS research data showed.
The country’s total ethylene capacity is estimated to increase by 72.9% over a five-year period to 40.38m tonnes/year in 2022, with a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.6%.

Asia SAN tumbles as selling pressure mounts

20 September 2018 04:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN) prices tumbled this week as sellers were keen to move parcels while demand in the key Chinese market stayed tepid.
“Some sales were finalized in the low-$1,600s/tonne CFR (cost & freight) China this week,” said a trader selling into China.

China PX buyers shun US-origin material amid trade war

19 September 2018 11:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Chinese paraxylene (PX) buyers are unwilling to accept US-origin materials due to the ongoing US-China trade war.
This might pose some logistics challenges as several US-origin PX materials loaded from the second-half of August were mostly expected to arrive in China in end-September/early-October.
Several buyers in China are unwilling to accept US-origin materials unless the sellers are willing to bear the tariff costs.

Asia ABS under downward pressure amid lacklustre demand

19 September 2018 07:59 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia's acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) market remained under downward pressure this week with demand in the key Chinese market staying lacklustre.
The ongoing trade war between the US and China continued to dampen sentiment and slow trade.
“With the trade war ongoing, buyers kept asking for low prices,” said a trader in China.

US launches third round in China tariff war but blunts initial impact

18 September 2018 23:37 NEW YORK (ICIS)--With the third round of US tariffs on $200bn in Chinese imports, the US is launching another phase in the US-China trade war. However, it is mitigating some of the impact by excluding a number of chemicals in the final list and setting a lower initial tariff rate.

Revised US tariff list removes 142 chemical, plastic products – ACC

18 September 2018 18:37 HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US removed 142 chemical and plastic products from the latest round of tariffs that it will impose on Chinese imports next week, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said on Tuesday.

US tariffs against China to have limited impact on fertilizers

18 September 2018 16:35
LONDON (ICIS)--The US tariffs against China are not likely to have any major impact on the fertilizers market, even though the final list includes nearly all the crop nutrients produced in China.

China to slap 5% & 10% tariffs on $60bn of US goods from 24 September

18 September 2018 15:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s Ministry of Finance announced late on Tuesday it would impose 5% and 10% tariffs on $60bn of US goods from 12:01 Beijing time on 24 September as a countermove against the latest US measure. That would be largely lower than its initial plan, which was announced on 3 August and included 5%, 10%, 20% and 25% rates. The product list would remain the same.

Final $200bn US tariffs against China excludes some chemicals

18 September 2018 13:34 LONDON (ICIS)--The list of US tariffs against China in the latest $200bn round excludes 297 products from the original list, including some chemicals.

China imposes countermeasures to new round of US tariffs

18 September 2018 08:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China will "synchronize its countermoves" to the US' latest round of tariffs, further escalating the trade war between the world's two biggest economies. "We deeply regret this. In order to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests and the global free trade order, China will have to synchronize its countermoves," the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said. Beijing had previously announced a 5%-25% tariffs on $60bn worth of US goods as its countermeasure to a further tariff action by the US.

US to impose tariffs on $200bn worth of Chinese imports, may add more

18 September 2018 00:16 HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US will impose tariffs on $200bn worth of imports from China, many of which include plastics and petrochemicals, President Donald Trump said on Monday. The tariffs will go into effect on 24 September, and they will start at 10%, Trump said. On 1 January, the tariffs will rise to 25%. If China takes what the administration considers to be retaliatory actions, then Trump threatened another round of tariffs on $267bn worth of additional imports, he said.

US Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2018 does not roll back US-China tariffs

14 September 2018 23:04 NEW YORK (ICIS)--The US Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2018 (MTB) does not void any of the 25% tariffs on a combined $50bn of Chinese imports, but simply reduces existing “normal” tariff rates on all the imports listed to zero or reduces them significantly for three years. Of the over 1,600 products listed in the MTB - which became law on 13 September - chemicals comprise over 50%, and this amount is around 60% including finished plastics products, according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC).

INSIGHT: Trade dispute disruptions colour entire PE chain

14 September 2018 17:21 LONDON (ICIS)--In an interview with ICIS in New York on Thursday, LyondellBasell CEO Bob Patel offered a measured analysis of the impact of the US/China trade dispute on polyethylene (PE) trade flows, costs and prices.  It is necessary to see whether the trade dispute is a negotiating tactic and transitory or whether there is more regional trade activity, he said. “Trade patterns are shifting as China sources from other regions and [US producers] are shifting to markets that are vacated,” he added on the sidelines of a Societe de Chimie Industrielle (SCI) meeting.

SE Asia PE stable to soft amid tepid demand, thin trade

14 September 2018 11:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Southeast Asia’s polyethylene (PE) import prices were stable-to-soft in the week amid limited buying interest. There was thin trade activity across the region as most buyers had purchased their cargoes as needed in the last two weeks.

Trump signs US bill for tariff exemption into law

13 September 2018 23:53 HOUSTON (ICIS)--US President Donald Trump signed the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) Act of 2018 into law on Thursday, a bill designed to reduce or eliminate import tariffs on several products not available in the US. “By signing MTB into law, the President has affirmed his support for US chemicals manufacturers who rely on select foreign inputs to retain our position as the world’s leading, low-cost producer of chemicals," the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said.

Asia petchem shares rise sharply on hopes of fresh US-China trade talks

13 September 2018 10:32 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asian petrochemical shares tracked the sharp rise in regional stock markets on Thursday, following news that the US has reached out to China for fresh trade talks.

China domestic PE may weaken amid ample supply, uncertain demand

13 September 2018 07:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s domestic polyethylene (PE) prices may weaken in the near term because of ample supply and demand uncertainties amid the country’s trade war with the US.
Since mid-August, the combined PE and polypropylene (PP) inventories of state-owned petrochemical giants Sinopec and PetroChina stood at more than 700,000 tonnes per day, which were above the comfortable level, according to ICIS data.

Asia benzene slumps as China inventories rebound

12 September 2018 04:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s benzene market has been weakening as inventories in the key China market snapped two months of declines.
Spot prices tumbled below $850/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea in September, after hovering at above $870/tonne FOB Korea in the second half of August.

China Aug exports grow 9.8% on year; trade surplus with US at $31bn

10 September 2018 11:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s overall exports in August increased by 9.8% year on year to $217.4bn, according to preliminary government data. The country’s imports for the month were up 20.0% year on year at $189.5bn, resulting in a trade surplus of $27.9bn.
China's trade surplus with the US increased to $31.1bn in August despite the escalating trade war between the world's two biggest economies since early July.

Retaliatory tariffs on US chem exports to China threaten $18bn in economic harm – ACC

06 September 2018 23:22 HOUSTON (ICIS)--The $11bn worth of tariffs on US chemical exports enacted by China put almost $18bn in domestic activity at risk along with nearly 55,000 US jobs, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said on Thursday.

China imports of US ethane to make cost-competitive PE – consultancy

06 September 2018 22:38 BOSTON, Massachusetts (ICIS)--Importing ethane from the US to produce polyethylene (PE) in China should be a cost competitive proposition, a consultant said on Thursday.

US chem distributors face $1.277bn hit from latest tariff round

06 September 2018 21:23 HOUSTON (ICIS)--US chemical distributors would face a cost increase of $1.277bn if the country moves forward with its third round of tariffs on imports from China, according to a trade group that represents the industry.

Trade war intensifies as round 3 tariffs get closer

06 September 2018 17:21 As the third round of US-China tariffs looms, China finished plastics products will be in the crosshairs, along with additional US exports of commodity chemicals.

Risks intensifying in global economic growth outlook - ACC economist

06 September 2018 16:28 BOSTON, Massachusetts (ICIS)--Risks from US trade disputes and other factors are intensifying, dampening the global economic outlook even as overall growth is expected to continue, an economist said on Thursday.

Asia petchem shares fall as new round of US-China tariffs looms

06 September 2018 06:05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Shares of major Asian petrochemical firms were trading mostly lower on Thursday, tracking declines in global equities this week, as investors were wary about the potential impact of a fresh round of US tariffs on Chinese goods.
The public consultation period for the latest round of proposed US tariffs on $200bn additional Chinese good ends on 6 September, and they could technically take effect immediately thereafter. It is not yet clear if the tariffs will be set at 10% or 25%.

ExxonMobil mulls cracker, PE and PP plants in China’s Guangdong

06 September 2018 04:31 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--ExxonMobil is mulling a “multibillion-dollar” chemical complex in China’s Guangdong, which would include a 1.2m tonne/year flexible feed steam cracker as well as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) units, the US energy and petrochemicals major said on Thursday.

China says trade talks with US ‘constructive and candid’

24 August 2018 04:05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China and the US held “constructive and frank” exchanges on economic and trade issues of mutual concern, China’s Ministry of Commerce said on Friday.
“The two sides will maintain contact regarding the next steps,” it said in a statement. A Chinese delegation led by vice commerce minister Wang Shouwen ended the two-day talk with US officials in Washington on 23 August.

INSIGHT: US chemical exports to take bigger hit in US-China 2nd round of tariffs

23 August 2018 17:54 NEW YORK (ICIS)--The 2nd round of US and China tariffs, each comprising 25% on $16bn in imports and going into effect on 23 August, will hit US commodity chemical exports to China far harder, as the impact on comparable China exports to the US should be negligible.

Weak Turkey adds woes to Europe PE market as China tariffs come into effect

23 August 2018 12:53 LONDON (ICIS)--The ailing Turkish polyethylene (PE) market is leading to concerns over fresh imports into Europe as China's 25% tariffs on US product came into effect on Thursday. Turkey is on holiday this week, but is still reeling from the weakness of the lira, and the inability of PE buyers to buy what they need.

23 August 2018 13:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--From 23 August China levies a 25% tariff on US imports of mono ethylene glyclol (MEG). In the short-term, US-based producers will face some challenges to divert the cargoes to other locations, while in the middle-to-long term, changes in trade flows will be inevitable to cater to the new facilities coming on board in the US.

China shuns US petchems as trade war escalates; eyes Asian supply

23 August 2018 07:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China's petrochemical importers have been actively looking for new sources of supply within Asia to minimize their reliance on US cargoes amid the escalation of the US-China trade war. The second wave of the US’ 25% tariffs on additional Chinese imports worth $16bn took effect on 23 August, raising the value of affected goods in the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies to $50bn.

US-China trade war escalates as new round of tariffs take effect

23 August 2018 06:55 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The US-China trade war escalated as a new round of tariffs affecting $16bn worth of imports, including petrochemicals, took effect at midday in Asia on Thursday, raising the total value of affected goods to $50bn on each side. The second wave of US tariffs on Chinese imports is being implemented less than two months since the first salvo on 6 July, and just as trade negotiations between the two countries were revived in Washington.

US EDC caught in China tariffs; players expect minor disruptions, firmer prices

22 August 2018 22:15 HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US will begin implementing tariffs on Thursday against a host of Chinese products. This will draw US ethylene dichloride (EDC) into the fray as China implements retaliatory 25% tariffs against US imports of the feedstock for polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

INSIGHT: China's latest tariffs on chemicals, polymers set to distort regional trade

22 August 2018 16:58 LONDON (ICIS)--It is not necessarily a calm before the storm but traders and others have to deal with the world as it is. The bottom line impact can be gauged later. Petrochemical sources in China do not hold out much hope for the working-level China-US trade talks in Washington which begin on Wednesday.

China petchems players calm on new tariffs, seek alternative suppliers

22 August 2018 10:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Chinese petrochemicals players appear calm ahead of the tariffs to be implemented on several US goods this week while speeding up the search for alternative suppliers. However, some players conceded they will face losses on contractual volumes signed months ago which will be subject to tariffs. On Thursday (23 August), a 25% tariff on $16bn worth of US-origin goods will come into effect, and petrochemicals players have been busy looking for alternative ways to replace imports from that country, acquire new supply and reduce possible losses.

US ACC requests removal of all chems, plastics from third tariff list against China

20 August 2018 19:40 HOUSTON (ICIS)--The American Chemistry Council (ACC) on Monday requested that US President Donald Trump’s Administration remove all chemicals and plastic products from the the third list of imported goods from China, approximately $16.4bn worth.

Trump US trade, fiscal policy cause for concern - economists

20 August 2018 16:18 HOUSTON (ICIS)--US President Donald Trump’s trade and fiscal policy stances are cause for concern among economists, according to a survey conducted by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) on Monday.

INTERACTIVE: China tariffs on US MEG could alter trade flows, new capacity plans

17 August 2018 21:41 HOUSTON (ICIS)--Market players are contemplating the long-term impact of China's upcoming tariffs on US monoethylene glycol (MEG), especially as new US capacity is slated to come online in 2019.

NE Asia EDC at 16-month high on tight supply, US-China trade war

17 August 2018 05:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Ethylene dichloride (EDC) prices in northeast Asia are at their highest in 16 months amid short spot supply and uncertainty caused by the US-China trade tensions.
Asia could see changing trade flows as China, a key import market in the region, will start imposing a 25% tariff on US-origin EDC on 23 August.

China petchem imports weaken; domestic prices spike on yuan slump

16 August 2018 07:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s appetite for petrochemical imports is waning on rising costs stemming from the continued depreciation of the Chinese yuan, while the consequent surge in domestic demand was fueling price spikes in the local markets.
Chinese petrochemical buyers are shying away from the import market as the yuan has slid almost steadily for four months, losing more than 10% of its value against the US dollar from 15 April, according to currency data provider XE.

China benzene rally bolsters Asia markets; inventories dwindle

14 August 2018 07:34 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s domestic benzene prices continued to rally, bolstering the Asian markets in August, amid the country’s ongoing trade war with the US.
Local prices of benzene increased this week to above Chinese yuan (CNY) 7,200/tonne ($1,047/tonne) ex-tank, up by CNY1,000/tonne or 16% from late June/early July, ICIS data showed.

Asia BD market shrugs off China’s 25% tariff on US imports

13 August 2018 07:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s butadiene (BD) market is not expected to take a significant hit even as the key China market will start imposing an additional 25% tariff on US material from 23 August. The US is traditionally not a key BD exporter to Asia, and only tends to ship out BD to the region toward the end of each year as US producers destock, market sources said.

China’s levy of new tariffs to have little impact on US MEG imports
10 August 2018 07:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s decision to levy an additional 25% tariff on $16bn worth of US-origin goods starting from 23 August will have a limited impact on monoethylene glycol (MEG) imports in the near term, market players said.

China ACN imports from the US to decline more after trade war
10 August 2018 08:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s import of acrylonitrile (ACN) from the US will decline further after imposition of 25% tariff on US origin goods from 23 August.

China to impose additional 25% tariff on US base oils imports
09 August 2018 10:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China has finalised its second list for $16bn worth of US-origin goods subject to an additional 25% tariff starting from 23 August, the Ministry of Commerce announced late on Wednesday.

China's HDPE, LLDPE US imports disruption seen after 23 Aug tariffs
09 August 2018 09:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Chinese imports of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) from the US will be severely disrupted after tariffs are imposed by both countries from 23 August.

China tariffs on $16bn of US goods to take effect 23 August

08 August 2018 19:50 HOUSTON (ICIS)--China said on Wednesday that it will begin imposing 25% tariffs on $16bn of US goods starting 23 August.

Second list of US tariffs on China goods to go into effect 23 Aug

07 August 2018 23:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US Trade Representative (USTR) office on Tuesday finalised its second list for $16bn worth of Chinese imports subject to a 25% tariff, saying US Customs officials will begin collecting duties on 23 August.

China’s tariff on $60bn US products covers many key chemicals

06 August 2018 09:06 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China's latest tit-for-tat tariff ranging 5-25% on 5,207 US products include hundreds of chemicals attracting the highest duty rate.  Key petrochemicals such as aromatics (including toluene and its derivatives), methanol, acetic acid, terephthalic acid (PTA), methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI), toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) will all face a 25% punitive duty.

US LNG sellers, developers view China-imposed tariffs as threat, unproductive

03 August 2018 20:19 HOUSTON (ICIS)--US liquefied natural gas (LNG) companies and advocates said that the announcement by China’s finance ministry on its intent to impose a 25% tariff on US LNG is detrimental for the industry, although timing of imposing the tariffs are unclear.

Global PE markets to manage China tariffs on US imports - LyondellBasell CEO

03 August 2018 19:55 NEW YORK (ICIS)--The global polyethylene (PE) markets should be able to adjust to US-China tariffs well, similar to how the styrene markets adjusted to China antidumping duties (ADDs), the CEO of producer LyondellBasell said on Friday.

US Trinseo expects only minimal tariff impact - CEO

03 August 2018 17:26 HOUSTON (ICIS)--The trade tariffs currently being implemented or proposed should have only minimal, but certainly not material impacts on Trinseo, the CEO of the US-based producer of plastics, synthetic rubber and latex binders said in an update on Friday.

China announces 25% retaliatory tariff on US LNG, other goods; timing yet to be set

03 August 2018 16:32 HOUSTON (ICIS)--The Chinese commerce ministry has announced retaliatory tariffs on US goods, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), which will be subject to a 25% tariff, the agency said on Friday.

US DowDuPont expects no meaningful effect from tariffs this year

02 August 2018 19:42 HOUSTON (ICIS)--DowDuPont expects that tariffs will not have a meaningful effect on the company this year because of steps it has already taken and because it has plants all over the world, the CEO of the US-based company said on Thursday.

China to remain attractive market for PE exports despite tariffs - Westlake

02 August 2018 18:15 HOUSTON (ICIS)--China will remain an attractive market for polyethylene (PE) exports from the US and other regions, despite recent trade tensions, Westlake Chemical executives stated during a Thursday earnings call.

Asia ABS steady after recent decline, near term improvement likely

02 August 2018 06:45 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) demand remained lacklustre this week although some sellers expect a potential improvement in the near term.

US considers increasing tariff rate on second set of Chinese goods to 25%

01 August 2018 22:55 HOUSTON (ICIS)--US President Donald Trump’s administration is considering raising the proposed tariff rate on $200bn in Chinese goods to 25% from 10%, US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday.

US manufacturing continues to expand in July but at slower rate

01 August 2018 16:40 HOUSTON (ICIS)--US manufacturing activity expanded for the 23rd consecutive month in July, although at a slower rate compared with June, the country's Institute of Supply Management (ISM) said on Wednesday.

US distributor Univar clear on tariff threat, sees price inflation - CEO

01 August 2018 16:18 HOUSTON  (ICIS)--Univar sees no material impacts from tariffs in the ongoing US-China trade dispute, David Jukes, CEO of the US-based international chemicals distribution major said in an update on Wednesday.

Global regions react to potential paraffin wax tariffs

26 July 2018 20:27 HOUSTON (ICIS)--In the US, wax market participants are cautious about forward supply since the US is a net-importer of paraffin waxes, mostly from China.

US Axalta gauges tariffs impact, warns on consumer behaviour – CEO

26 July 2018 17:23 HOUSTON (ICIS)--US coatings major Axalta estimates direct impacts from the ongoing trade tensions and tariffs at less than 1% of its adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), CEO Charles Shaver said in an update during the company’s Q2 earnings call on Thursday.

ACC requests US to remove $2.2bn worth of chems, plastics from proposed China tariffs

25 July 2018 HOUSTON (ICIS)--US President Donald Trump’s administration risks losing thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in chemical investments by not excluding $2.2bn worth of chemicals and plastic products from its second list of tariffs against China, a senior American Chemistry Council (ACC) official testified on Wednesday.

China PP under pressure amid trade war with US, falling yuan

25 July 2018 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s polypropylene (PP) import prices are under pressure amid the country's escalating trade war with the US and the continued depreciation of the yuan against the US dollar.
Downstream demand is seasonally soft, with the weakness aggravated by concerns about the US’ proposed tariffs on additional $200bn worth Chinese imports.

Asia ABS steady after recent rout; producers reduce output

25 July 2018 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) market was stable this week, following recent tumbles, as buyers emerged from the sidelines to pick up some cargoes.
The resins were deemed to be trading at an attractive discount after recent slippages.

Asian petchem shares mixed amid US-China trade war concerns

23 July 2018 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Shares of major petrochemicals firms in Asia were trading mixed on Monday after US President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on $500bn worth Chinese imports, and a warning from G20 on rising risks from trade tensions.
At 12:40 hours (04:40 GMT), Japan’s Asahi Kasei was down 0.99%, South Korea’s LG Chem was up 0.75% and Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical was 0.62% lower.
Trump on 20 July said that the US was ready to impose tariffs on the full amount of $500bn of Chinese goods. Beijing has yet to respond.

Asia ABS tries to regain footing after recent tumble

18 July 2018 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) market is trying to regain its footing after a sharp fall last week. Most offers this week are at the low- to high-$1,900/tonne CFR (cost & freight) NE (northeast) Asia, but some sales to the key Chinese market remained at under $1,900/tonne CFR for certain sellers. Prices plunged to $1,925/tonne CFR NE Asia last week, after the US threatened to slap tariffs on additional $200bn worth of Chinese goods, which included a range of appliances, of which ABS is a major component.

IMF keeps '18 global growth at 3.9%; warns of risks from trade war

16 July 2018 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday said that it has kept its global growth forecast unchanged at 3.9% for both 2018 and 2019, but warned that risks to the outlook are mounting amid escalating trade tensions between the US and China. “The balance of risks has shifted further to the downside, including in the short term,” the IMF said in its World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update report. The IMF warned that avoiding protectionist measures and finding a cooperative solution remains crucial to preserve the overall global economic expansion.

China files WTO challenge over US tariffs

16 July 2018 LONDON (ICIS)--China has filed a complaint against the US at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Monday over the decision to place tariffs on an additional $200bn of exports to the country. The statement from China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) comes less than a week after the US announced plans to levy a 10% tax rate against a raft of Chinese exports to the US, the latest tranche of punitive trade charges placed on the country.

INSIGHT: Trade war means seismic shift for chemicals

13 July 2018 BARCELONA (ICIS)--As Donald Trump ratchets up his tariffs against China it looks increasingly like a full-blown trade war is in the offing. His decision to put “America First” signals a move away from the globalisation philosophy that has dominated the global economy since the Second World War. Replacing it is a retreat into a focus on individual nations and regions which has major implications for the chemical industry. With import tariffs going up between major economies and likely to increase in scope and intensity, chemicals CEOs will need to focus on ensuring they have production within their key markets. Relying on a single plant to serve the global market may no longer make business sense if a 25% tariff will be slapped onto its exports.

US polymers can pay China tariffs and still make money - consultant

13 July 2018 BARCELONA (ICIS)--US ethane-based polyethylene (PE) producers are so cost-advantaged that they could absorb a 25% tariff on their exports to China and still be profitable, according to an ICIS consultant. With US president Donald Trump threatening to impose an extra $200bn in tariffs against Chinese imports, China is likely to activate its next round of tariffs which include a 25% duty on low density polyethylene (LDPE) and linear-low density polyethylene (LLDPE).

China options limited to counter US’ proposed tariffs - analysts

13 July 2018 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China has limited options to respond to the US’ planned tariffs on as much as $500bn additional Chinese goods, and may have to resort to non-tariff countermeasures on what the Asian powerhouse deemed as “trade bullying”. China has vowed to adopt a tit-for-tat approach on any trade barrier that the US will put up.

China Q3 PE imports to weaken vs Q2 on yuan slump amid trade war

12 July 2018 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China's polyethylene (PE) imports will weaken in the third quarter due to the sharp depreciation of the yuan (CNY) amid the country’s escalating trade war with the US. According to industry estimates, China’s second-quarter PE imports totaled 3.5m tonnes, up from the official data of 3.4m tonnes in the first three months of the year.

Latest $200bn US tariff proposal includes many Chinese chems

11 July HOUSTON (ICIS)--Several chemicals are included in the $200bn worth of tariffs that the US may impose on Chinese imports in the latest escalation of the trade war between the two countries. The US will hold hearings on 20-23 August before imposing a 10% duty on the items in the list. The list is massive, exceeding 6,000 products

US chem trade group ACC slams latest US tariff announcement

11 July HOUSTON (ICIS)--The American Chemistry Council (ACC) on Wednesday called the US Trump administration’s announcement of a potential 10% tariff on $200bn of additional imports from China “a stunning and unfortunate development for US manufacturers and consumers”. US President Donald Trump’s administration unveiled late on Tuesday a new list of tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200bn, including a significant amount of chemicals.

Chinese traders shy away from US MLLDPE cargoes as trade war looms

11 July SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Traders in China are shying away from metallocene linear low density polyethylene (MLLDPE) imports of US origin as trade tensions between the two countries continues to escalate, market sources said on Wednesday.  US President Donald Trump’s administration unveiled a new list of tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200bn late on Tuesday, with China threatening to retaliate with countermeasures.

Trump ups China trade war ante, “shocked” Beijing to respond

11 July 2018 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--US President Donald Trump’s administration unveiled a new list of tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200bn late on Tuesday, unleashing a new threat in an escalating trade war that has the whole world worried, rattling markets on Wednesday. China vowed to fight back. “China is shocked and will be forced to take countermeasures as usual to defend its own interests,” the country’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

US to impose new tariffs on additional $200bn Chinese goods

11 July 2018 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--US President Donald Trump’s administration unveiled a new list of tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200bn late on Tuesday, unleashing a new threat in an escalating trade war that has the whole world worried.  The US administration has announced a two-month public review of the list of Chinese products identified on which a new 10% duty will be imposed, with hearings to be held on 20-23 August.

China eyes measures to ease adverse impact of US tariffs

10 July 2018 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China is looking at implementing a combination of policies to ease any adverse impact on all types of enterprises of its trade war with the US. China responded in kind on 6 July to the US' imposition of tariffs on $34bn worth of Chinese goods. The country will use majority of the expected increase in its tax revenue from its countermeasures to alleviate the expected impact of the US tariffs on enterprises.

US-China trade war begins; tariffs on $34bn goods take effect

06 July 2018 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--US tariffs on $34bn on Chinese goods took effect on 6 July, prompting China to respond with the same scale and intensity, effectively triggering a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said the US has launched the “largest trade war in economic history”, and violated World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

China says US launched “largest trade war in economic history”

06 July 2018 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s Ministry of Commerce said the US has just launched the “largest trade war in economic history”, when Washington's tariffs on $34bn worth of Chinese goods took effect on 6 July. The US move was in violation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, the Chinese ministry said in a statement, noting that China will retaliate. “China promised not to shoot the first shot, but in order to safeguard the core interests of the state and the interests of the masses, it had to be forced to make the necessary counter attack,” the MOC said

US-China tariffs could lead to global PE price war - consultant

06 July 2018 BARCELONA (ICIS)--The introduction on Friday of trade tariffs by China and the US is the first step in a trade war that could turn into a global polyethylene (PE) price war as the wave of new US production is sent to new markets, likely Europe, according to a chemical consultant.

China will not implement tariffs ahead of the US - Ministry of Finance

05 July 2018 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China will not move ahead with tit-for-tat import tariffs before Washington makes a move to impose them on 6 July. Because of the 12-hour time difference, it was widely expected that China will impose tariffs on $34bn of US goods ahead of Washington but the country’s Ministry of Finance on Wednesday said that it will not fire the first shot.

Demand for MLLDPE imports in China weak as yuan continues its slump

04 July SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Demand for metallocene linear low density polyethylene (MLLDPE) imports from China was tepid in the week, as the Chinese yuan continued its slump amid fears of a US-China trade war, market sources said on 4 July.

More US tariffs pose strong risks to global trade, economy – Fitch

04 July 2018 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Further tariff measures by the US would escalate risks to global trade and economic growth, Fitch Ratings said on 4 July. So far, the scale of tariffs imposed has been too small to materially affect forecasts for world growth, it said.

China factory conditions may deteriorate further on weak exports

03 July 2018 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s manufacturing conditions will likely deteriorate further in the coming months amid weakening exports, while the government’s recent measure to boost domestic consumption may take some time before taking root, according to analysts. Manufacturing activities in Chinese industries eased in June, with the country’s official June purchasing managers’ index (PMI) falling to 51.5 points from 51.9 in May. Export orders posted a lower reading of 49.8, indicating a contraction.

Picture source: Rex Shutterstock

By Will Beacham