The Asian petrochemical markets are likely to witness a mixed sentiment in the trading week ending July 16 amid an uncertain upstream crude price movement and demand recovery.
Receive daily email alerts, subscriber notes & personalize your experience.Register Now
** The Asian ethylene outlook this week remains steady to firm amid tight supply and volatile upstream prices. Naphtha-based steam crackers' margins would likely be pressured by high naphtha prices and weak downstream demand.
** Local supply is expected to be tight, and trade sources are monitoring steam cracker restarts in South Korea and Taiwan.
Purified terephthalic acid
** The Asian PTA market is likely to continue seeking direction amid a mixed sentiment in the week starting July 12.
** Market participants are closely monitoring the status of Zhejiang Petrochemical's new paraxylene plant, as well as the demand recovery along the whole Indian polyester chain.
** Despite a general uptrend seen since the prior week, many trade participants found it hard to reach consensus on prices amid a wide spot bid/offer spread for dollar-denominated cargoes in many Asian regions.
** Besides the improved sentiment in South Asia, other regions like China and Southeast Asian continue to show lackluster demand because of ongoing Chinese expansions and pandemic outbreaks in Southeast Asia.
** Isomer MX prices are expected to continue the trend of following crude oil and Asian paraxylene prices, although whether the PX-MX spread remains robust is a question mark this week.
** The East China domestic MX market expected to remain lackluster due to a lack of blending and aromatics demand.
** Taiwan's CPC Corp. is expected to begin a scheduled turnaround at its No. 3 aromatics unit around mid-July, which is expected to last until September, as reported by S&P Global Platts. No August-loading tenders were issued for isomer mixed xylenes till the time of publication due to the upcoming turnaround, market sources said last week.
** The Asian FOB Singapore MTBE marker is expected to be on a downtrend this week, pressured by tapering gasoline blending demand in China as well as rising supplies from India and South Korea.
** South Korea's LX MMA, previously known as LG MMA, is running its new 100,000 mt/year MTBE plant in Yeosu at full capacity, after starting operations mid-June.
** India's Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd. has concluded its recent sell tender offering 5,000 mt of MTBE for loading July 21-25 from Haldia around a low $20s/mt discount to the Mean of Platts FOB Singapore assessment.
** The trade momentum in the Asian toluene market is likely to remain cautious amid volatile oil prices in the week ended July 10 and shrinking demand.
** The key FOB Korea marker fell $9/mt on the week July 9 at $745/mt as downstream aromatics, such paraxylene and benzene, weakened over the same period, while gasoline-blending demand from Southeast Asia took a hit amid rising COVID-19 cases.
** CPC Corp. has scheduled maintenance at its No. 3 aromatics unit from mid-July to the end of September, several industry sources said July 9. The unit can produce 27,000 mt/year of benzene, 135,000 mt/year of toluene and 156,000 mt/year of isomer-MX, according to Platts historical data.