ASIA: This week in petrochemical

New York —
An upward trend is expected in several Asian petrochemical markets in the week starting Nov. 30, as styrene, ethylene and methanol are poised to receive firm support from tight supply.

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**In Northeast Asia, toluene fundamentals appeared to improve as supply balance corrected itself from lower production among refineries and maintenance at cracker units. Some market participants are in viewed that some tightness would likely spill over into the January trading laycan as a few key producers would extend repair works.


**Among Asian xylenes, orthoxylene is expected to remain at a wide premium to paraxylene due to firm downstream plasticizer markets in both China and India.

The strong demand that has led to the widest OX-PX spread in around 6 years is coming from construction and automobile sectors, market sources said.


** The styrene market is poised to stay firm this week, buoyed by inventory drawdown in China and the restocking needs in Northeast Asia due to cargo delays.

** While strong demand from downstream acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene will last until the end of the year, the overall demand tends to slow down on lower polystyrene and expandable polystyrene operating rates in China.

** The Indian styrene prices is likely to lose steam after an upward trajectory for almost two months, with deep-sea supplies flowing in. The downward pressure on styrene inventories is also likely to ease as all vessels have started to arrive at the scheduled time.


**Asian ethylene market is expected to have more discussion on floating price compare to fixed price, with the uncertainty of production recovery in Northeast Asia, most market participants are monitoring the cracker restart process of Lotte Chemical in Daesan, which will ease the supply tightness in domestic South Korea.

** The demand likely to be sluggish, due to end-year destocking, most buyers want to keep the inventory at the lowest level.

** More supply from Southeast Asia are expected to Northeast Asia, given by strong demand from the North and wide North/South spread.


** Market participants are closely monitoring China’s butadiene exports as the new butadiene plant startup will likely increase the volume. China’s Wanhua Chemical targets to achieve on-spec production from its new 50,000 mt/year butadiene unit in Yantai this week.


**The China propylene market is likely to swing above the $1,000/mt level this week as restocking needs and tighter spot supply lend support.

** Japan Eneos Cracker outage and several suppliers’ troubles in Korea and China,”

**Taiwan’s Formosa issued a sell tender for 10,000 mt propylene Nov 27, loading December., Platts understand that this tender was heard awarded at $1,067/mt FOB Taiwan.


**Chinese methanol prices, with its V-shaped recovery from the coronona virus pandemic, is expected to extend gains this week, on expectations of tight methanol supply from Iran in winter.

**Chinese methanol futures have rallied strongly over the past two weeks on expectations that Iranian methanol producers could experience gas supply shortages in winter, in

line with last year, and significantly reduce exports. Methanol prices across Asia are likely to firm in line with bullish market fundamentals in China.


**The acrylonitrile market stayed poised to trend higher this week as plants shutdown and tighter supply lifted trade

**China’s Zhejiang Petrochemical plans to shut its new 260,000 mt/year acrylonitrile plant at Zhoushan in eastern Zhejiang province on Dec. 10 for 18-20 days’ turnaround, a company source said Nov. 27. Taiwan’s largest ACN producer Formosa Plastics Corp. is planning to shut its 280,000 mt/year ACN plant in Mailiao for around four weeks’ maintenance on Jan. 8.

Oxo Alcohol

** CFR China 2-ethyl hexanol prices soared to six-year high on Nov. 19 to $1,240/mt, as tight spot supply and stronger propylene feedstock lend support

**The previous high assessed by S&P Global Platts was $1,265/mt on Nov. 27, 2014.

**The price has rebounded by $595/mt, or over 92%, since hitting a multi-year low on April 9 of $645/mt as the spread of the coronavirus pummeled demand in China and other parts of Asia.

** The 2-EH price is likely to remained support till January next January till LG Chemical restarted their 2-EH plant.


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