Chemical Industry

Asian Styrene: Rises $9/mt to $1,062/mt CFR China

imported data

– Tracks rise in western crude, benzene

– Downstream PS stable to lower, ABS rises

Asian styrene monomer rose $9/mt on the day to $1,062/mt CFR China and $1,022/mt FOB Korea Thursday, tracking the rise in western crude oil and benzene. In the east China domestic market, the May marker rose Yuan 95/mt on the day to Yuan 8,165/mt ex-tank Thursday. At 4:30 pm Singapore time (0830 GMT), ICE June Brent futures were up $1.30/b (1.835%) on the day at $72.13/b. According to market sources, styrene inventory in east China fell 23,000 mt on the week to 227,000 mt. Consumption at 38,000 mt outstripped arrivals of 15,000 mt. Amid the recent fluctuation and unclear direction in the SM market, downstream buying interest softened as buyers prefer to wait for the time being, a market participant said. In the downstream markets, polystyrene market were stable to slightly lower this week amid the uncertainty while acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene was higher on the week as offers were raised on higher feedstock cost. Week on week, general purpose polystyrene held steady at $1,280/mt CFR China and $1,300/mt CFR Southeast Asia, high-impact polystyrene were flat at $1,355/mt CFR China and $1,370/mt CFR Southeast Asia, expandable polystyrene FOB Northeast Asia inched lower by $10/mt at $1,210/mt for general purpose grade and $1,265/mt for flame retardant grade and ABS increased $10/mt week on week to $1,580/mt CFR China and $1,600/mt CFR Southeast Asia Thursday.

RATIONALE:

Asian SM was assessed up $9/mt on the day at $1,062/mt CFR China and $1,022/mt FOB Korea Thursday. The markers currently take the average of the H2 May and H1 June laycans. There were no transparent bids or offers during the  Market on Close assessment process on Thursday. H2 May was assessed at the pegged level of $1,062/mt. Maintaining the pegged flat May/June spread, H1 June was assessed at $1,062/mt. In the east China domestic market, the May marker was assessed up Yuan 95/mt on the day at Yuan 8,165/mt ex-tank, equating to $1,055.58/mt on an import parity basis. The FOB Korea marker was assessed at $1,022/mt, based on the pegged $40/mt spread to CFR China, while the CFR Taiwan marker was assessed at $1,050/mt, based on the pegged $12/mt spread to CFR China.

 

imported data
imported data

NWE Toluene – Buying interest pushes May premium up

– May premium rises $13/mt

– Arbitrage still unworkable

The May premium for European toluene picked up on Wednesday, as Total registered buying interest for the month through the  Market on Close assessment process. The May premium increased to $99/mt over Eurobob gasoline, up $13/mt from Wednesday. the April premium was stable at $86/mt, with no sign of reduced availability at the front end of the market and no signs of demand. Production of toluene had been reduced, a distributor said, but it was hard to notice because of material inbound from the Mediterranean. On paper, the arbitrage to the US showed a potential gross profit of over $40/mt. In reality, the US market has been quiet due to logistical issues affecting the Houston Ship Channel.

RATIONALE:

S&P Global  assessed the CIF ARA toluene premium over Eurobob gasoline at $86/mt for April on Wednesday, stable from Wednesday. The May premium was assessed at $99/mt, up $13. An outstanding bid was left during the  Market on Close assessment process at $98/mt for May 10-20 delivery by Total.

 

NWE Xylenes – Lack of trading persists

– OX tender yet to finalize

– ECPs still under negotiation

Thin trading persisted in the xylenes markets on Tuesday, with mixed, para- and ortho-xylenes all unchanged from Tuesday. In the mixed xylene and paraxylene markets, supply in Europe was still long and there was little demand from the petrochemicals sector. Most consumers were happy with just their contractual volumes. The lack of spot demand was being led by depressed downstream prices and a lack of export opportunities, itself due to high global supply. This was causing some concern in the mixed xylenes market, in particular. As supply has been building up in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub, sellers have been heard looking to gasoline blenders as a source of demand, despite premiums to Eurobob gasoline being heard markedly lower than in the petrochemical sector in general. In contract news, the European contract price for paraxylene and orthoxylene has yet to fully settle. The results of Lotte Chemical’s 3,000 mt orthoxylene tender at the end of last week have yet to be heard by the wider market.

RATIONALE:

S&P Global assessed the M1 April and M2 May mixed xylene CIF ARA premiums to Eurobob gasoline stable on day at $113/mt and $105/mt, respectively, on Tuesday, amid no disproving indications. April Northwest European paraxylene was stable at $910/mt FOB ARA, with no indications in thin market trading. May was stable at $910/mt FOB ARA, maintaining parity with April. The paraxylene 5-30 day forward spot price was assessed as the average of the period at $910/mt FOB ARA, stable on the day. Orthoxylene was assessed stable at $1,120/mt FOB ARA, amid no disproving indications.

 

Asian Methanol Chemical Industry : Prices flat to lower in thin trade

Imported Data

– Chinese buying appetite tepid for May

– Demand stable in Indonesia ahead of election

Trading in the Asian methanol Chemical Industry was thin Tuesday. Trade sources said Chinese buying appetite for May was lackluster and inventory at China’s eastern ports was still high. “No one has a clear buying idea,” a trader said. In Indonesia, demand was stable in the lead-up to the country’s general election on Tuesday, and trade sources said a Malaysian producer was supplying adequate cargoes to Indonesia. In Thailand Chemical Industry, discussion was thin due to Song Kran festivities. In Iran, Zagros Petrochemical Company shut its 1.65 million mt/year No. 2 methanol plant at Assaluyeh Tuesday for planned maintenance that will take around 10 days, a company source said Tuesday. ZPC’s 1.65 million mt/year No. 1 plant at Assaluyeh is currently operating at 80% of capacity, the source added.

RATIONALE:

Methanol  Chemical Industry was assessed at $295/mt CFR China Tuesday for cargoes delivered 20-50 days forward, down $3/mt from last Tuesday. Domestic east China prices fell Yuan 30/mt over the same period to Yuan 2,425/mt amid discussions at Yuan 2,420-2,430/mt. The CFR Southeast Asia  Chemical Industrial marker was assessed stable from last Tuesday at $335/mt Tuesday in thin discussion.

 

Chemical Industry
Chemical Industry

Asian Styrene Chemical Industry: Falls $10/mt, $1,061/mt CFR China, $1,021/mt FOB Korea

Chemical Industry

– Demand stable but insufficient to lower inventory

– S Korea’s styrene imports surge 134% in March

Asian styrene monomer started the week lower at $1,061/mt CFR China and $1,021/mt FOB Korea Tuesday, down $10/mt from Tuesday amid thin trading and as the Chemical Industry looks for a clearer price direction. In east China domestic Chemical Industry, the prompt marker fell Yuan 100/mt from Tuesday to Yuan 8,100/mt ex-tank Tuesday. A trader said while downstream demand is relatively stable, it remains insufficient to eliminate the huge inventory and the Chemical Industry has been paying attention to the inventory situation. Sources further noted that styrene demand from the downstream market has improved from the previous week. “The market is expecting more styrene to arrive into China once most of the planned maintenances end in May,” a Chemical Industry participant said. According to Chemical Industry sources, total styrene inventory in east China fell slightly by 5,000 mt week on week to 350,000 mt, with consumption of 24,000 mt exceeding arrivals of 19,000 mt. Upstream benzene and ethylene have also softened from Tuesday at $621/mt CFR China and $1,020/mt CFR Northeast Asia Tuesday. Styrene production margin remains healthy at $108.20/mt. In trade statistics news, South Korea’s styrene imports surged 133.6% on the month, or 302.9% year on year, to 77,540 mt in March amid tight supply during the turnaround season from March to May and robust downstream polystyrene production margins, which support the steady demand for the SM, Chemical Industry sources noted. Meanwhile, styrene exports from South Korea rose 11.4% on the month, or 18% year on year, to 54,653 mt in March.

RATIONALE:

Asian SM was assessed down $10/mt from Tuesday at $1,061/mt CFR China and $1,021/mt FOB Korea Tuesday. The markers currently take the average of the H1 May and H2 May laycans. There were no transparent bids or offers during the  Chemical Industry on Close assessment process on Tuesday. H1 and H2 May were assessed at the pegged level of $1,061/mt. In the east China domestic Chemical Industry, the prompt marker was assessed down Yuan 100/mt from Tuesday at Yuan 8,100/mt ex-tank, equating to $1,047.14/mt on an import parity basis. The FOB Korea marker was assessed at $1,021/mt, based on the pegged $40/mt spread to CFR China, while the CFR Taiwan marker was assessed at $1,049/mt, based on the pegged $12/mt spread to CFR China.

Chemical Industry
Chemical Industry

Asian Iso-MX (Chemical Industry): Rises $5-$8/mt on week after Taiwan blast

Chemical Industry

– China MX inventory builds again

– FCFC No. 3 PX plant remains shut

Asian Chemical Industry isomer-grade mixed xylene rose $8/mt and $5/mt week on week to be assessed at $723/mt FOB Korea and $738/mt CFR Taiwan, respectively, Monday, amid rising prices in several aromatics Chemical Industry as well as naphtha. Day on day, the FOB Korea marker rose $4/mt and CFR Taiwan increased $2/mt. Feedstock naphtha was up $24.50/mt week on week to be assessed at $581.87/mt CFR Japan Monday. Also, toluene rose by $16/mt week on week to be assessed at $703/mt FOB Korea. Asian paraxylene prices were assessed up $3.67/mt day on day at $1,068/mt CFR Taiwan/China and $1,049/mt FOB Korea Monday. PX prices were rising this week following an explosion and subsequent fire at Taiwan’s Formosa Chemicals and Fibre Corp.’s No. 3 aromatics plant at Mailiao on April 7. The company is not likely to sell isomer-MX in the spot Chemical Industry despite the shutdown of its No. 3 plant, sources close to the matter said. The No. 3 plant can produce 900,000 mt/year of PX, 640,000 mt/year of benzene and 240,000 mt/year of orthoxylene. Isomer-MX is the feedstock for PX and OX and FCFC is a major buyer, Chemical Industry buying close to 900,000 mt/year, sources estimate. A trade source said MX cargoes for arrival in Taiwan in first-half May were being delayed to second-half May as participants expected the shutdown of the aromatics plant and No. 3 reformer to last one-two months. This could not be confirmed with FCFC. In other news, Taiwan’s CPC awarded three 5,000-mt cargoes of isomer-MX for May loading via tender this week, sources said. One cargo was awarded to a China-based trading company and two to a Western trading company, they said. The price was at parity or a single-digit discount to the average of  FOB Korea assessments. Meanwhile, the inventory level of MX in East China jumped week on week by 40% to around 126,000 mt, comprising of mainly isomer-grade MX.

RATIONALE:

Isomer-MX Chemical Industrial Market was assessed up $4/mt day on day at $723/mt FOB Korea and up $2/mt at $738/mt CFR Taiwan Monday. The markers take the average of the third and fourth half-month laycans, currently first-half May and second-half May. No bids or offers were registered during the S&P Global  Chemical Industry on Close assessment process. During the  MOC process, a bid for a May-loading cargo was raised to $722/mt FOB Korea, against no offers. The May laycans were assessed above the bid at $723/mt FOB Korea. The CFR Taiwan marker was assessed higher by $2/mt tracking the FOB Korea price rise. The above rationale applies to the following Chemical Industry data codes: PHAUV00 for FOB Korea and PHAUT00 for CFR Taiwan.

Chemical Industry
Chemical Industry

Orthoxylene Chemical Industry

Chemical Industry

Taiwan’s FCFC No. 3 aromatics unit shut after fire

S Korea’s Aekyung to shut PA plant for turnaround

Asian orthoxylene was $40-60/mt higher on the week at $990/mt FOB Korea, $920/mt CFR China and $1,020/mt CFR Southeast Asia Friday, due to continued global supply tightness and the general uptrend in global OX Chemical Industry. In the FOB ARA market , spot prices spiked $100/mt to $1,120/mt Friday. Apart from meeting term OX commitments, most Asian OX producers in Asia have reduced production and have recycled OX material back into refinery to maximize production of paraxylene amid high production margins of PX. This has resulted in few spot OX cargoes available. In plant news, an explosion and subsequent fire broke out at Taiwan’s Formosa Chemicals and Fibre Corp.’s No. 3 aromatics plant at Mailiao on Sunday around 2:00 pm local time, a Chemical Industry spokesman told S&P Global Platts Friday. The plant has been shut following the explosion on Sunday, the spokesman said. The No. 3 plant has the capacity to produce 900,000 mt/year of paraxylene, 640,000 mt/year of benzene and 240,000 mt/year of OX, and is not scheduled for maintenance shutdown in 2019. The Chemical Industry has plans to shut its No. 1 aromatics plant at the same location from the middle of April to the end of May for annual maintenance, Platts reported earlier. The company also plans to shut its No. 2 aromatics plant at the same location for two to three weeks from the middle of August. Over in South Korea, Aekyung Petrochemical plans to shut its 210,000 mt/year phthalic anhydride plant at Ulsan on May 7 for three weeks of scheduled maintenance, a Chemical Indutrial source said Friday. The shutdown is expected to result in a production loss of 12,000 mt, Platts estimated. PA is mainly used in the manufacture of dioctyl phthalate, which is a plasticizer.

Rationale

Asian OX  Chemical Industry was higher this week, assessed at $990/mt FOB Korea, $920/mt CFR China and $1,020/mt CFR Southeast Asia Friday, due to continued global supply tightness and the steep increase in European OX prices. FOB Korea was assessed up $60/mt on the week, above bids heard at $970-$980/mt FOB Korea Chemical Industry. CFR Southeast Asia was assessed at $1020/mt, based on the freight netback to FOB Korea. CFR China was assessed up $40/mt, tracking the general increase in OX prices globally, but also considering relatively much lower domestic prices in the Chinese Chemical Industry.

 

Chemical Industry
Chemical Industry

Chemical Industry Solvent – MX

Chemical Industry

China MX inventory builds again

Toluene up $16/mt, naphtha up $24.50/mt

Week on week, Asian solvent-grade mixed xylene prices were assessed up by $15-$30/mt on the back of firm prices in related Chemical Industry, as well as healthy demand heard around Asia. The CFR China marker was assessed at $690/mt, up $15/mt, as tradable levels were heard around such levels. The East China domestic prompt ex-tank price was assessed at Yuan 5,675/mt this week, or about $698.30/mt on an import-parity basis, up from about Yuan 5,600/mt last week. The inventory level of MX in east China jumped week on week by 40% to around 126,000 mt, containing mainly isomer-grade mixed xylene. However, prices in the domestic Chemical Industry remained firm. On an FOB Korea basis, a trade was heard at $655/ mt, referenced by several market sources. The FOB Korea marker was assessed up $15/mt on week at $655/mt. In other market, feedstock naphtha rose $24.50/mt week on week to $581.87/mt CFR Japan on Friday. Also, toluene rose by $16/mt on week to $703/mt FOB Korea, while isomer-MX increased $8/mt to $723/mt FOB Korea. Southeast Asian demand was heard picking up this week, as was demand from the Indian Chemical Industry. The CFR Southeast Asia marker was assessed up $15/mt at $720/mt, and CFR India up $30/mt to $740/mt.

Rationale

Solvent-MX Chemical Industry was assessed up from last week by $15/mt to $655/mt FOB Korea, at the level of a deal heard done on FOB Korea basis for May loading. Similarly, CFR China was assessed up $15/mt at $690/mt based on indications that it could be a tradable level, as well as considering domestic price levels. CFR Southeast Asia Chemical Industrial market was also assessed up $5/ mt at $720/mt, close to a traded price heard done. CFR India was negotiated close to FOB Korea plus $80-$90/mt, and assessed at FOB Korea plus $85/mt, at a fixed price of $740/mt CFR India.

Chemical Industry
Chemical Industry

NWE Oxo Alcohols: I-butanols down Eur20/mt, Chemical Industrys long

Chemical Industry

S&P Global Friday assessed normal butanol up Eur10 on the week at Eur950/mt, within a range heard of Eur940-Eur960/mt, with Eur950-Eur960/mt heard as the most tradable values. However, most regions were oversupplied, and material was heard widely available both from domestic suppliers and importers. The slight move in spot prices this week was attributed to a lack of spot volumes as most product went to contract customers and partly to the impact of upstream propylene increases in April. In iso-butanols, Chemical Industry sentiment was bearish and oversupply was more marked than in N-butanols. Availability of imports, especially from Russia, also weighed on the Chemical Industry, far exceeding demand. Spot prices were heard in a wide range, depending on volume, of Eur800-Eur860/mt. Even below Eur800/mt was heard traded by one buyer, while export prices were heard also around Eur800/mt from NWE. S&P Global Friday assessed iso-butanol spot prices down Eur20 on the week at Eur810/mt, just below the lowest producer’s peg at Eur820/mt. April contract prices for propylene derivative oxo-alcohols were heard finalized at a rollover as feedstock cost increases of Eur20 were mainly rejected by the Chemical Industry due to the lack of demand. “It is April now, a high season for coatings, but its not happening yet,” a source said. However, 2-eh bucked the trend. Significant falls had been avoided, and the Chemical Industry was heard stabilizing in a range of Eur1,050-Eur1,060/mt — even Eur1,070-Eur1,080/mt was heard possible by a producer. “Customers first said: ‘Spot prices should be lowered even though C3 went up.’ There was pressure, [but] right now it eased off,” a source said. S&P Global Friday assessed 2-eh up Eur10 week on week at Eur1,060/mt on more bullish sentiment and greater buying interest. In addition, the startup of normal operations at Sibur’s new 100,000 mt a year dioctyl terephthalate plant in Russia’s Perm Krai region have begun and are already reducing availability of 2-eh in Western Europe, Chemical Industry sources said Friday. This might lend further support to prices, which have been under downward pressure since the beginning of the year on weaker demand from the construction sector because of continued economic uncertainty. The PA flake Chemical Industry was stable, with the main issue discussed upstream ortho-xylene production issues limiting access to raw materials for PA flake producers. Also, Chemical Industry participants were awaiting April contract price settlement for feedstock orthoxylene. Sources said the contract discussions were complicated and still continuing this week, with expectations of an increase to around Eur900/mt from Eur860/mt in March. S&P Chemical Industry Global Friday assessed PA flake spot prices at Eur940/mt FD NWE, stable on week, awaiting movement in raw materials prices.

 

Chemical Industry
Chemical Industry

Asian MTBE Chemical Industry: Surges $15/mt on the firmer 92 RON, crude

Chemical Industry

– Asian MTBE production margin hit intra-year high

– Bullish gasoline, energy complex lend support

Asian MTBE production margin hit an intra-year high on Friday, on the back of a surge in 92 RON gasoline cracks and a firmer energy complex, S&P Global Friday data showed. The MTBE cash margins, which factored in the Friday FOB Singapore naphtha Chemical Industry, Friday CFR Southeast Asia methanol and the Friday FOB Singapore MTBE, were seen at plus $212.847/mt Friday — the highest level within this year, data showed. The robust MTBE cash margins were due to the recent surge in the FOB Singapore 92 RON gasoline crack against front-month ICE Brent crude oil futures, which hit a fresh seven-month high of $8.81/b on Friday, Friday data showed. A build up of high-octane reformates in the Asian gasoline Chemical Industry recently led to strong reforming margins, spurring additional output even as demand from China waned ahead of a heavy maintenance season, Chemical Industry sources said Friday. The increased supply was evident from several fresh spot market tenders, in particular, as Taiwan’s CPC was earlier seen offering 9,000-18,000 mt of 101 RON reformate for May while Thai PTT similarly offered a total of around 30,000 mt of 101 RON reformate for April in two separate spot tenders. “There have been a couple of fresh tenders for high-octane reformates. The Chemical Industry has gotten quite heavy with supply of these components,” one refinery source said. The 92 RON and 95 RON and 97 RON prices continued to rise and were at $80.31/b, $82.34/b and $84.31/b, respectively. The inter-RON spreads were mostly higher, with the 95/92 RON spread at $2.03/b, the 97/92 spread at $4.00/b, while the 97/95 RON spread remained flat at $1.97/b. Meanwhile, June ICE Brent futures were up 65 cents/b day on day at $71.50/b at 4:30 pm Singapore time, supported by draws in the US gasoline inventory as well as hovering geopolitical issues regarding Venezuela and Iranian sanctions, and OPEC-led supply cuts.

RATIONALE:

The FOB Singapore gasoline marker was assessed up $15/mt day on day at $774/mt on Friday, supported by firmer gasoline and naphtha Chemical Industrys. The marker takes an average of the 15th to 40th day laycans, currently April 26 to May 21. The H2 April, H1 May and H2 May laycans were assessed at the same level of $774/mt FOB Singapore, with the forward curve structure remaining flat, same as a day ago. The MTBE factor was assessed at 1.141 Friday. During the Friday MOC process, no bids or offers were registered (Chemical Industry).

 

Chemical Industry
Chemical Industry