Due to increasing demand for transparent information on the recycled plastics markets, S&P Global Platts will launch three daily spot assessments for recycled low density…
Mar 17, 2021
Due to increasing demand for transparent information on the recycled plastics markets, S&P Global Platts will launch three daily spot assessments for recycled low density polyethylene pellets in Northwest Europe, from March 24, 2021.
The daily spot assessments will take into consideration price information gathered up to the close of the assessment process at 4:30 pm London time.
The new assessments in Eur/mt will have the following specifications:
Basis: Delivered duty paid, where applicable, within Northwest Europe.
Standard spot cargo size: Minimum 20 mt lots
R-LDPE Black Pellets: Black colored recycled LDPE pellets from post-consumer waste, with an MFI of 0.3-1.2g/10 min tested at 190degC/2.16kg. Pellets are non-odorless and non-food-grade.
Symbol: ARBPA00 (daily), ARBPA04 (weekly average), ARBPA03 (monthly average)
R-LDPE Grey Pellets: Grey colored recycled LDPE pellets from post-consumer waste, with an MFI of 0.3-1.2g/10 min tested at 190degC/2.16kg. Pellets are non-odorless and non-food-grade.
Symbol: ARGPA00 (daily), ARGPA04 (weekly average), ARGPA03 (monthly average)
R-LDPE Translucent Pellets: Translucent recycled LDPE pellets, suitable for transparent and clear packaging, from post-consumer waste, with an MFI of 0.3-1.2g/10 min tested at 190degC/2.16kg. Pellets are odorless and non-food-grade.
Symbol: ARTPA00 (daily), ARTPA04 (weekly average), ARTPA03 (monthly average)
The new assessments will be found on Platts Petrochemical Alert on pages PC0503, PC0574 and PC0441, in Platts price database, on Platts Market Center, on Platts Platform and in Polymerscan under the symbols listed above.
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Mar 16, 2021
Delivered at S&P Global Platts Virtual London Energy Forum, gain unique insight into where the outlook for Petrochemicals.
Apr 22, 2021
Dow Chemical expects its facilities to be in “strong operating rate territory” for the rest of 2021, but increasing demand amid economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic will keep supply tight, CEO Jim Fitterling said April 22.
“I don’t think we’ll be building inventory until maybe possibly the end of the fourth quarter, and that all depends on whether we have a slow fourth quarter or not,” he said during the company’s Q1 2021 earnings call.
“There’s upside in automotive, there’s upside in travel, there’s upside in construction and home, there’s backlog in appliances and long lead times,” Fitterling said. “Everything is pointing to the direction of high operating rates.”
All of Dow’s units that shut down in mid-February when sustained subfreezing temperatures hit the US Gulf Coast were back online and reached pre-storm operating rates by the end of March, he said.
Fitterling also said Dow’s sales were up 22% year over year, with gains in all operating segments in every region. Volumes were in in line with year-ago levels as gains in construction, mobility, electronics and consumer durables, such as vehicles and appliances, were offset by supply constraints from the freeze.
Dow’s net income for the quarter more than quadrupled to $991 million from $239 million in Q1 2020, the company said, benefiting from product prices up 19% from the year-ago period.
Fitterling said resilient demand for polyethylene amid tight supply and inventories at five-year lows enabled profit momentum, particularly for industrial and consumer packaging, and flexible food and beverage packaging.
Polyethylene is used to make the world’s most-used plastics, from milk jugs and grocery bags to shampoo bottles and cookie packaging.
CFR Howard Ungerleider said entering the second quarter, market demand “remains robust” for packaging, electronics, mobility and architectural coatings, such as paint, as well as “consumer durable end markets,” which include vehicles and appliances.
And as travel, workplace and social interaction resumes amid widespread COVID-19 vaccinations, Dow expects higher demand for higher-margin personal care products, such as cosmetics, as well as global service sectors, Ungerleider said.
Fitterling said the company sees momentum in job growth, consumer spending, a return to air travel and expanding manufacturing and industrial activity for global manufacturing purchasing manufacturing indexes at 15-year highs in March. He said those trends, in addition accelerating vaccine rollouts and the Biden Administration’s US infrastructure plan, if passed, “will further support growth in our downstream markets.”
However, supply squeezes resulting from the freeze as well as turnarounds will linger, Fitterling said.
“We expect the constrained industry inventory levels to continue in the second quarter, preventing inventory builds until later this year as we focus on clearing the growing backlog of customer orders,” he said.
Also April 22, Dow announced a partnership with London-based Mura Technology to support scaling of Mura’s new recycling process that converts plastic waste back to chemical feedstocks used to make new plastics.
Dow said Mura’s process can recycle all forms of plastics, including multi-layer, flexible material used in packaging, which are currently difficult to recycle and typically burned or sent to landfills. Dow also said Mura’s process has no anticipated limit to the number of times the same material can be recycled.
The world’s first plant using Mura’s technology is in development in Teeside, the UK, with the first 20,000 mt/year production line expected to start up in 2022. Once all four lines are operational, Mura will be able to recycle up to 80,000 mt/year of plastic waste, providing Dow with its output.
Fitterling said most recycling investments to date have focused on mechanical recycling, which involves collecting, washing and melting plastics and turning them into new plastics. Chemical recycling involves transforming used plastics back to chemical feedstocks.
Fitterling said mechanical recycling costs less than chemical recycling, but it has limits on what kinds of plastics can be recycled. Flexible packaging and other types need advanced recycling, he said.
“What we’re doing today is piloting different technologies, trying to prove out business models that work,” Fitterling said. “Once we see what works and we can replicate it, we’ll come back and talk more about what the investment looks like.”
The global olefins/polymers market will continue to face challenges in H1 2021. Fresh supplies will be available in Asia in line with planned capacity expansions,…
Feb 16, 2021
The global olefins/polymers market will continue to face challenges in H1 2021. Fresh supplies will be available in Asia in line with planned capacity expansions, while bullish naphtha feedstock prices put pressure on petrochemical margins.
Petrochemical demand started recovering in H2 2020, but the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic lingers. S&P Global Platts examines the outlook for the global olefins/polymers markets for the first half of this year.
Polymerscan is a weekly market report for the global plastic and resin marketplace, specifically designed to help those involved in trading, buying or selling polymers. The report provides you with online and mobile access to the latest worldwide polymer prices, news, and closing market price assessments.
Aug 14, 2020
— Daily access to over 200 global term and spot polymer price assessments so that you’re always up to date with the latest plastic prices, including: LDPE, LLDPE, polypropylene, polystyrene, PVC and the HDPE price
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Weekly access to over 200 global term and spot polymer price assessments including:
— Polymers: LDPE, HDPE, LLDPE, PP, PS, PVC and ABS, PET;
— Polymer Feedstocks:
• Olefins: Ethylene, Ethylene Glycol, Propylene, Butadiene;
• Aromatics: Paraxylene, Styrene;
• Intermediates: Purified Terephthalic Acid, Acrylonitrile, Ethylene Dichloride, Vinyl Chloride Monomer
Apr 28, 2021
US polypropylene US polypropylene exports are expected to continue to trend downward in the short term amid improved availability, sources said. The homopolymer assessment fell…
Apr 26, 2021
US polypropylene exports are expected to continue to trend downward in the short term amid improved availability, sources said.
The homopolymer assessment fell 13.5 cents/lb in the week ended April 24 amid talks of railcars available much lower for the period. S&P Global Platts assessed the homopolymer injection at $2,249-$2,271/mt April 23 on a FAS Houston basis. Ramp-ups by suppliers recovering from the February cold weather disruptions that hit the US Gulf Coast were expected to continue through the end of the month. Talks of normal production were expected to resume in June, sources said. Many buyers were still buying on allocations by producers. Despite the drop, participants deemed pricing too high to export to traditional import markets like Latin America amid competitive pricing from key global sellers. Still, there was talk that pricing would continue to dip on expected decreases in feedstock propylene contract price. Domestic market participants were eying a potential decrease as downstream contract settlements typically follow a monomer plus formula.
US spot polymer-grade propylene is expected to continue rising in the week started April 25 on strong downstream polypropylene demand, sources said. April domestic PGP contracts are expected to settle in the week started April 25 between 10 and 16 cents lower.
US spot ethylene is expected to fall amid steam cracker restarts.
US spot export polyvinyl chloride prices were expected to remain at an all-time high of $1,800/mt FAS Houston in the week started April 25 as producers assess whether they will be able to offer volumes for May export. While all plants that shut amid sustained subfreezing temperatures in mid February have since restarted, turnarounds that were slightly delayed by the freeze shutdowns and more slated for May has kept output tight. Market participants do not expect output to resume normal levels until June. Upstream, caustic soda prices could inch up on growing demand in the pulp and paper industry as offices slowly reopen to workers, particularly in the US, with COVID-19 vaccinations becoming more available.
Benzene prices are expected to continue falling from the almost seven-year high of 503 cents/gal DDP USG reached April 20. While some sources said the decline in prices in the latter half of the week ended April 24 was simply a correction, the week of April 25 started with even lower spot ranges, including May benzene bid and offered at 410-485 cents/gal DDP HTC. May benzene had closed April 23 at 460 cents/gal DDP USG, up 35 cents on the week. Price movements through April 28 may prove influential in the settlement of the May CP, expected by the end of the week. May spot prices in recent weeks show the settlement should be sharply higher than the April CP of 301 cents/gal. Downstream, US styrene prices may see support from producers raising offers to account for higher feedstock prices as CP estimates clarify margins, as well as demand from Europe amid skyrocketing benzene costs in that region. May styrene closed April 23 at $1,520/mt FOB USG, up $50/mt on the week.
Stability is expected in the lower liquidity US aromatics markets of toluene and xylenes. While no spot trading was reported in the week of April 19-23, one market participant said the final days of April could usher in offers from producers who have otherwise been uncharacteristically quiet in the spot market since the mid-February Texas freeze derailed refining operations and supply chains. Sharp increases in benzene prices have improved economics for toluene disproportionation, allowing operators to increase STDP unit run rates, one trader said. Prompt nitration-grade toluene closed April 23 at 273 cents/gal FOB USG, up 3 cents week on week, while mixed xylenes gained 1 cent on the week at 249 cents/gal FOB USG.
US spot methanol prices are expected to strengthen in the week started April 25 ahead of May CP announcements, and with supply talked limited on lower production rates at two regional facilities. MTBE prices are expected to be stable to weaker on healthy regional supply driven by favorable production margins. Export activity remained uncertain, especially to Mexico and Latin America, on concerns surrounding a pandemic resurgence and its impact on demand.
Latin polymers prices are expected to be lower in the week started April 25 for polyethylenes, driven by more material available in the market and lower Asian prices. Polypropylenes prices are also expected to be lower in the import markets of Brazil and West Coast South America, driven by offers from Asia and the Middle East. The Latin American region had been mostly relying on imports from Europe and Asia since early March as the US was having limited volumes for exports, which opened a window of opportunity for Asian markets to establish more competitive offers than the US.
The market was still divided on expectations if US prices, summed with freight, would be more competitive than Asian and European products. The US is generally the most important supplier of polyethylene for the region, while the Middle East and Asia are for polypropylene.
In Brazil, a local producer has not yet settled its pricing policy for May bookings, so the expectation is for flat prices for the week. All PE prices are already at all-time highs in Real and dollar basis.
Polypropylene prices are expected to fall for the week along with offers on the sea from Asia, while higher prices are seen especially from local producers in Latin America.
The PVC market in Latin America was seeing mixed expectations regarding prices. Most Latin American countries have poor demand at the moment, particularly Brazil. WCSA was seeing higher prices than Brazil, unusual for the market due to poor Brazilian demand. The situation should change as lockdown measures are softening in the country. In Mercosur, market participants expect new prices for May bookings. Distributors said prices would be steady until the turnover of the month. Availability was already sold out from most distributors. In Argentina, prices are at their all-time record highs and expected to change only for May bookings.
Singapore — The much anticipated merger of Sinochem Group with ChemChina has paved the path to create an oil-to-chemicals giant that analysts said would give…
Apr 13, 2021
For the oil segment, some of the key benefits of the merger would be the sharing of retail outlets, oil product quotas, feedstock resources as well as refining expertise, analysts and trade sources said.
“The creation of larger players may help to phase out smaller units, and a merger like this will help to create a company that would be able to compete better and have a bigger influence on the domestic market,” said Grace Lee, senior oil analyst for China at S&P Global Platts Analytics.
While it would take some time for the synergies to flow in, analysts said the merger of the two state-run companies would also widen the scope for the combined entity to expand its footprint beyond energy — from tires to machinery equipment.
“The merger is more likely to help in ChemChina’s oil trading and refining businesses as it would bring in Sinochem’s expertise and resources,” a Hong Kong-based analyst said, adding that crude buying and oil products selling would be the areas that would see early benefits.
In addition, Sinochem is expected to share its domestic oil products outlet with ChemChina’s refineries, while more ChemChina barrels could be sold to the international market by using Sinochem’s export quotas, analysts and trade sources added.
The two state-owned companies, with a combined asset value of $245 billion, received the final approval for merger from China’s Assets Supervision and Administration Commission on March 31 to start the consolidation process.
The merged entity would help expand in chemicals, biosciences, materials science, basic chemicals, environmental science, rubber and tires, machinery equipment, urban operations and industrial finance, according to a joint statement from the companies.
“It will take a long time for the giants to merge their key businesses first, their chemicals business and energy,” a Beijing-based analyst said.
Sinochem Group is an integrated operator in the oil and chemicals industry, providing agricultural inputs — seeds, agrochemicals and fertilizers — and modern agricultural services. ChemChina operates in business sectors covering new chemical materials and specialty chemicals, agrochemicals, oil processing and refined products, tire and rubber products as well as chemical equipment.
Analysts said the merger with Sinochem is expected to lead to changes in ChemChina’s oil business operations, but the impact is unlikely to be felt soon.
In the energy sector, Sinochem has 32 oil and gas upstream cooperation projects in nine countries, with about one billion barrels interest, the 15 million mt/year Quanzhou Petrochemical in southern China, 1,368 branded retail gas stations and 5.12 million cu m of domestic storage capacity, according to its company website.
It also has a robust oil trading team, a business which was established as early as in the 1950s.
Sinochem Energy has been attempting to list on China’s A share market to finance expansion of its refining and storage operations after it started planning for an IPO in Hong Kong in mid 2018
It plans to list the company’s crude and oil products trading, refinery, product sales and storage assets, but would exclude its upstream operations that will remain under its parent company Sinochem Group, it said in the prospectus.
In comparison, ChemChina was set up in 2004 and currently owns four operational refineries, with a total capacity of 22.2 million mt/year capacity. The capacity was expanded through the acquisition from the country’s independent sector.
It also built up its trading desks and invested a 12% stake in Mercuria in 2016 in an effort to serve its refineries better and develop a trading business.
ChemChina has three major refineries in Shandong: the 7 million mt/year Huaxing Petrochemical, the 8 million mt/year Changyi Petrochemical, and the 5 million mt/year Zhenghe Petrochemical. It imported 17.33 million mt of crudes in 2020, up 19.8% from 14.46 million mt in 2019.
ESPO, Nemina and Murban were the top three crudes imported by ChemChina in 2020, which accounted for 35%, 16% and 11%, respectively. Brazil’s Tupi, Buzios and Iracema, as well as Oman, closely followed, accounting for a combined 19% last year.
SinoChem is one of the seven oil product export quota holders in China.
In fourth quarter 2019, ChemChina’s Shandong-based Changyi Petrochemical, Huaxing Petrochemical and Zhenghe Group exported gasoline cargoes through Sinochem. The outflow was suspended in 2020 due to weak overseas demand following the pandemic.
Singapore — The weakening economic outlook in parts of Asia led by the COVID-19 emergency in India has led to a slew of bearish, or…
Apr 26, 2021
South Asian demand promises weakness despite the usual demand surges due to Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr festival.
**Asian ethylene spot discussions are expected to be thin in the coming week, ahead of the five-day national holiday in China, while most May arrival demands were fulfilled and June arrival discussions have yet to start.
**China’s domestic price likely to firm amid tight supply amid cracker turnarounds.
**Asian butadiene would likely remain mixed this week. Market participants decided to take a wait-and-see stance. Butadiene plant turnaround season tightened spot supplies, while several new butadiene plants are due to start up in May.
**Asian polyethylene prices are likely to extend their downtrend as southeast Asian prices continue to fall on the back of weak demand during Ramadan, traders said. China prices fell due to a seasonal lull starting from May.
**Asian recycled HDPE outlook is weak amid thin trade due to a lack of recyclable material. A range of prices were heard, with the lower colored end applications as much as 50% cheaper than the transparent resin.
**Asian PVC market will likely turn bearish in the coming week as buyers’ sentiment has been weakening amid record-high prices. India’s buying appetite for PVC has been diminishing due to the partial lockdowns amid a fresh COVID-19 outbreak.
**Fundamentals in the Asian methanol market are likely to be mixed in the week ending April 30. Indian methanol demand is expected to be weak as the country grapples with a virulent wave of COVID-19 cases, while the Chinese methanol market is likely to trade higher as vessel delays exacerbate limited availability of spot cargoes and low inventory at China’s coastal areas.
**MTBE blending demand to focus on delivery to Malaysia, continues for late April and late May cargo.
**MTBE prices follow gasoline and crude oil values, but some market players still consider FOB Straits MTBE to be overpriced.
**South China MTBE market oversupplied leading to low domestic values and low bids.
**Asian toluene supply-demand balance steady from the previous week, as pockets of demand were streaming from gasoline-blending activity, or stockpiling from Northeast Asia, while toluene disproportionation unchanged.
**Tightness in some blendstocks had given opportunity for toluene to grab some trader interest. FOB Korea toluene physical was flat at $715/mt on April 23, versus FOB Singapore MTBE at $726/mt.
**Asian MX remains supported by tight supply due to turnarounds at key exporting country Japan, with the spread to naphtha widening to more than $200/mt at the end of last week ended April 23.
**Demand has been mainly from China-based PX producers, with MX inventory in East China dropping to its lowest since late April 2020, currently at about 67,000-68,000 mt, S&P Global Platts data showed.
**Gasoline demand in China appears sluggish, but traders said MX tightness is partially the result of the increase in gasoline production by refiners, leading to lower aromatics production.
**Tight regional PX supply continues to provide support and expected to remain in the quarter amid scheduled turnarounds at Asian plants, sources said.
**Demand, however, was seen as uncertain. While spot demand would likely pick up following the PTA plant maintenance season, sources continue to raise concerns that weak Chinese PTA margins may potentially result in overall lower operating rates and therefore softening PX demand, sources added.
**This week, market participants are keeping a close watch on the May PX Asia Contract Price negotiations. The April PX ACP failed to settle, while the last major settlement for PX ACP was at $870/mt CFR Asia for the March PX ACP.
**Outlook for the Asian monoethylene glycol prices is bearish due to weak demand ahead of the seasonal lull that begins in May, market sources said.
Chinese port inventories had declined to 543,000 mt in the week April 26-30, down by around 30,000 mt week on week, according to market observers.
NOVA Chemicals declared force majeure on all its polyethylene resins produced in the Sarnia region of Ontario, Canada, because of mechanical failures, the company said…
Apr 27, 2021
NOVA Chemicals declared force majeure on all its polyethylene resins produced in the Sarnia region of Ontario, Canada, because of mechanical failures, the company said in an April 27 letter to customers seen by S&P Global Platts.
“NOVA Chemicals has experienced a mechanical failure beyond our control at our Corunna ethylene cracker in the Sarnia, ON, region, which supplies ethylene to our polyethylene facilities in that region,” it said in the letter.
“As a result of the estimated repair timing and current inventory levels, we must declare a force majeure/excuse for nonperformance event for all polyethylene resins produced in the Sarnia region … effective April 27, 2021,” the letter said.
The force majeure does not affect any of its other polyethylene products, it said.
In addition, the letter stated there is no firm indication as to what extent they would be able to supply for customers during the force majeure.
The company was not available for immediate comment April 27.
The PE plants affected include Mooretown high-density polyethylene at 210,000 mt/year, Mooretown low-density polyethylene capacity at 170,000 mt/year, and St. Clair HDPE capacity at 209,000 mt/year, according to Platts Analytics.
London — European gasoline export loadings are set to ease slightly in the week commencing April 26, but support will continue for higher octane blending…
Apr 26, 2021
Northwest European gasoline markets continued to find support from loadings for delivery to the US Atlantic Coast in the week to April 23, exports which have been high during March and April. This support, however, may start to wane during the final week of April amid a saturated New York Harbour market; commodity data company Kpler shows gasoline exports from Northwest Europe to the USAC in the week to April 30 are expected to be around 760,000 barrels lower than the previous week at 1.65 million barrels. In the Mediterranean, tight supply in the Middle East has seen a flurry of cargo enquiries for loadings from the region to the Persian Gulf, offering an outlet when gasoline demand had faltered in some markets, such as Israel and Lebanon. Meanwhile, heavily discounted Mediterranean gasoline prices versus their Northwest European counterparts will encourage buyers to source gasoline from the region.
The European naphtha complex remained relatively stable in the week to April 23, while market participants are anticipating rising support not just from gasoline blending in Europe, but also through blending demand in gasoline exports to the US. Domestic blending margins also remained stable over the course of the week. The front-month May Eurobob FOB AR swap contract against the equivalent naphtha closed at a $76.50/mt premium, from a $76/mt premium the previous week, with limited volatility.
The indicative naphtha arbitrage to the US narrowed slightly, with the Platts NYMEX RBOB front-month contract against the Brent frontline contract closing at $18.55/b on April 23, down slightly from $19.64/b the previous week.
Demand for butane blending largely faded across the complex for both coasters and large cargoes. In particular, butane large cargoes were assessed at 85% against physical naphtha on April 23 from 90% the previous week. Demand is not expected to increase in the week starting April 26, as RVP requirements in the summer gasoline specification do not accommodate butane participation in the blending pool.
European undenatured ethanol physical spot prices climbed 3.2%, or Eur18.75/cu m in the week to April 23, at Eur604.75/cu m FOB Rotterdam, on an increase in mobility across the EU as well as a continued rally in feedstocks prices.
T2 ethanol prices hit a six-month high in the week to reach levels last seen in October prior to the announcement of partial lockdowns across the continent, as mobility across Europe’s five largest economies rose by eight percentage points in the week to April 18 and averaged 31.6% below pre-pandemic levels, with the UK leading the gains, Google data showed.
The continued rally in wheat and corn prices as global balance sheets remain tight is also expected to support the ethanol market. “Fundamentally, high grain prices are set to continue for the next two years on significant tight ending stocks, which will be more evident in the USDA’s new crop report in a few weeks’ time,” a source said. “Squeezed ethanol crush margins, rallying US and Brazilian ethanol prices, the vaccination push and better weather reducing infection rates are all very bullish even if demand doesn’t pick up as expected.”
S&P Global Platts calculated the ethanol average price per RON at $17.83/cu m April 23, up from $15.41/cu m a week earlier.
MTBE participants broadly expect demand to strengthen in the week ahead as the market continues to move further into summer peak driving season and as some countries in Europe continue to emerge from coronavirus restrictions.
However, the emphasis on non-oxygenated gasoline blends — favouring components such as reformate — might slow MTBE’s demand recovery. Additionally, MTBE stock levels in Europe were understood to be balanced to well supplied.
In addition, some sources say they expect the export market to continue to play an increasing role in the European MTBE balances as volumes are utilized for exports to the US and Latin America.
Overall, demand expectations are positive, with sources seeing more upward than downward potential.
The subdued spot trading activity in the MX market is expected to continue in the week commencing April 26, with sellers also keeping a close eye out for any signs of an workable arbitrage out of Europe to the US. However, mixed xylenes supplies are limited, which is keeping their premiums over Eurobob gasoline close to $80/mt, showing relatively high octane value from both TX or MX and blenders expected to look elsewhere for any octane booster needed. Sentiment in the toluene market indicates premiums are likely to remain bullish this week, as tight supply due to ongoing production outages is balanced against solid demand. Toluene premiums close to $140/mt over EBOB exclude the product from the gasoline blending pool.
Toluene and MX approximate prices per RON were at $7.74/cu m and $7.39/cu m respectively April 26, from $7.43/cu m and $7.72/cu m a week earlier.