Methanol Chemical Industry

Chemical Industry

Muted sentiment in China, Taiwan

End-April arrival spot cargo scarce in SE Asia

Fundamentals in the South Korean Chemical industry were mostly balanced even as domestic prices rose Won 5/kg to Won 390/kg (34 cents/kg) and a major South Korean acetic acid plant shutdown this week for planned maintenance. “Small-sized user demands were slightly weak, but it did not influence the South Korean chemical industry. Demand from mid-large companies, except Lotte BP, was healthy,” a trader said. Lotte BP Chemicals shut its 550,000 mt/year acetic acid plant at Ulsan for a turnaround and debottlenecking on Friday and will restart at the end of April. A trade for a 5,000-mt cargo arriving around the end of April and the first half of May was heard done Friday at $327/mt CFR Korea (chemical industry). In Southeast Asia, fundamentals were mostly stable except for one end-user requiring 3,000-5,000 mt of methanol for April 25 to May 5 arrival. The buyer had approached a number of sellers but few had product for that particular arrival laycan, except for one who was heard offering end-April to May 5 arrival cargoes at $350/mt CFR Southeast Asia. Elsewhere, sentiment was muted in China and Taiwan as markets (chemical industry) there were closed for a public holiday.

Rationale

Methanol was assessed stable on the day at $296/mt CFR China Friday for cargoes delivered 20-50 days forward, as was Chinese domestic prompt spot cargoes at Yuan 2,440/mt, unchanged day on day, since China was closed for a public holiday. The CFR Southeast Asia  chemical industry was assessed at $331/mt Friday, up $4/mt from Friday, above a buying idea heard at $330/mt CFR and under a selling idea heard at $350/mt CFR. The CFR Korea chemical industry rose $2/mt week on week to $327/mt CFR based on a trade done at $327/mt CFR Friday for a 5,000-mt cargo arriving at the end of April onwards. The CFR Taiwan marker was higher $3/mt week on week at $303/mt CFR, tracking firmer regional prices.

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