Global Statistics

All countries
527,822,950
Confirmed
Updated on May 23, 2022 10:08 am
All countries
483,888,406
Recovered
Updated on May 23, 2022 10:08 am
All countries
6,300,822
Deaths
Updated on May 23, 2022 10:08 am
Monday, May 23, 2022

Global Statistics

All countries
527,822,950
Confirmed
Updated on May 23, 2022 10:08 am
All countries
483,888,406
Recovered
Updated on May 23, 2022 10:08 am
All countries
6,300,822
Deaths
Updated on May 23, 2022 10:08 am
Molderizer and Safe Shield

TOPIC PAGE: Coronavirus, oil price direction – impact on chemicals

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Across the board bullishness seen in Asia’s
petrochemical markets is likely to continue in
the near term on tight supply in key China
market ahead of its peak turnaround season,
along with robust downstream demand and crude
oil prices.

Domestic Chinese markets have remained elevated
following the Lunar New Year holiday on 11-17
February on worries over tight supplies and the
bull run in the local futures markets, with
high crude oil prices providing additional
impetus for the uptrend.

Recent petrochemical production outages in the
US as a result of a polar storm earlier this
month are also impacting Asia’s trade as
players seek to fill in the shortfall in global
supply, as
seen in the polyvinyl chloride
(PVC)
 and  bisphenol
A (BPA) markets.

Chemical plants and refineries in the US
are beginning
to restart their operations
 following
the recent polar storm in the Gulf Coast, a
process that could last for days or even weeks.

On this topic page we analyse the
impact of coronavirus and oil price dynamics on
chemical markets and bring together the latest
news reported by ICIS. To visit the ICIS energy
markets topic page, click
here

Scroll down to see the
latest interactive graphics, podcasts and
videos. 

Click
here
to register for regular updates to
help you navigate these challenging
times.

LATEST HEADLINES


Asia petchem markets bullishness set to
continue amid tightening supply, high oil
prices

By: Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/01 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Across the board bullishness seen in
Asia’s petrochemical markets is likely to
continue in the near term on tight supply in
key China market ahead of its peak turnaround
season, along with robust downstream demand and
crude oil prices.


au Jibun Bank’s Japan manufacturing PMI rises
to 51.4 in Feb

By: Nurluqman Suratman 2021/03/01 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–au Jibun Bank’s manufacturing
purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for Japan rose
to 51.4 in February from 49.8 in January,
indicating the strongest improvement in the
health of the sector since December 2018, the
Japanese bank said on Monday.

VIDEO:
China’s BG market propelled by strong upstream,
limited supply

By Bonnie Yin 2021/02/26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–
Watch markets editor Bonnie Yin discuss the
recent developments in the China’s glycol ether
(BG) market which has surged after the Lunar
New Year holiday, driven by cost pressure from
upstream feedstock markets and limited offers.

VIDEO: Asia ABS
propped by US Gulf Storms, strong post-Lunar
New Year sentiment

By Julia Tan 2021/02/26 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Markets reporter Julia Tan discusses
the impact of recent polar storm-related
production outages in the US on the Asian
acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) spot
market and related upstream markets. The
production losses in the US has indirectly
supported market sentiment for Asian spot
markets amid stronger post-Lunar New Year
purchasing attitudes.

PODCAST: China
petrochemicals extend gains on tight supply, US
disruptions

By Yvonne Shi 2021/02/26 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–China’s petrochemicals market have
strengthened after the Lunar New Year holiday.
In this episode of the ICIS Asia podcast, Jady
Ma speaks with Yvonne Shi on recent
developments and outlook for the market.

Thailand’s IVL swings to
Q4 net profit; eyes better demand in
2021

By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/25 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Thailand-listed Indorama Ventures Ltd
(Ltd) expects demand recovery for its products
to continue this year after it swung to a net
profit of Thai baht (Bt) 1.61bn ($54m) in the
fourth quarter of 2020.

Fourth-quarter earnings were driven by stronger
production volumes and contributions from its
polyethylene terephthalate (PET) business.

Mideast chemicals
supply tight amid US outages, strong China
demand

By Felicia Loo 2021/02/25 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Supply tightness prevails in the Middle
East chemicals markets and it remains a
challenge to scour the region for cargoes amid
winter storm-related outages in the US and
strong demand coming from China.

The ramifications are felt keenly in the
polymer markets.

For both polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene
(PP), selling sentiment is strong on
expectations that demand from the US and Latin
American buyers will surge, which would affect
the Middle East’s allocations to other regions.

BLOG: China 2021
PX imports could fall by 64%, with styrene
imports down 59%
By ICIS Editorial
2021/02/24 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Click here to see
the latest blog post on Asian Chemical
Connections by John Richardson. There is a lot
of focus on US production losses resulting from
the severe winter weather and how the losses
have tightened markets in the US, Latin America
and Europe. Even Asia has also been affected to
a lesser extent, as cargoes from the Middle
East and Asia that would have stayed within
these regions have been diverted.


US ethanol, biomass-based diesel RIN prices
near all-time highs – EIA

By
Adam Yanelli 2020/02/24 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Prices
for US renewable identification number (RIN)
credits have been rising steadily and are near
all-time highs, largely because of reduced fuel
production due to softer demand amid the
coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the US Energy
Information Administration (EIA) said on
Wednesday.


Asia petrochemicals at multi-year highs on
strong crude, bullish China
markets

By: Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/24 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Key petrochemical markets in Asia have
hit multi-year highs, driven up by strong crude
gains following winter storm-related US output
disruptions, and robust post-holiday activity
in China.


Japan’s Mitsui Chemicals restarts Chiba cracker
after quake-related shutdown

By: Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/24 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Mitsui Chemicals restarted the cracker
at its Ichihara Works site in Chiba prefecture
on 23 February and is in the process of
restarting other downstream units, the Japanese
producer said on Wednesday.


PODCAST: US Gulf Coast storm outages
risk global chemical supply
crunch

By: Will Beacham 2021/02/22 BARCELONA
(ICIS)—The US Gulf Coast storm impact could be
worse than Hurricane Harvey, and cause a global
supply crunch for major product groups.

  • Polar storm impact could be worse than
    Hurricane Harvey
  • 100% of US capacity knocked out for major
    commodities
  • Polar storm comes on top of
    pandemic-related shipping container,
    semi-conductor disruption
  • Supply was already tight in some value
    chains

au Jibun Bank
flash manufacturing PMI rises to 50.6 in
Feb

By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/19 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–au Jibun Bank’s flash manufacturing
purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for Japan rose
to 50.6 in February from the final reading of
49.8 in January on improved export orders, the
Japanese bank said on Friday.

A PMI reading above 50 indicates an expansion
in the manufacturing economy.

Forecasting
Chinese LNG demand: Why a monthly update is
superior to a static yearly estimate, in an
increasingly volatile market

By Alex Siow 2021/02/19 ICIS forecasts China to
import between 4.7 million to 5.3 million
tonnes of LNG per month during February to
April 2021. This is on average a 12%
year-on-year (yoy) increase compared to the
same months last year. On an annual basis, we
are forecasting China to import 76m tonnes this
year, an 11% yoy increase.

But this is only a valid prediction for now,
within these few weeks. By early next month,
our forecast number could have been updated and
changed, depending on events that might have
happened between now and early next month. Or
it could be maintained, also depending on
events.

US Gulf Coast
storm outages rise, send ripples round global
markets

By Will Beacham 2021/02/18 BARCELONA (ICIS)—The
US polar storm has now shut down 84% of US
polypropylene (PP) capacity, 65% of ethylene
and devastated other important products,
sending ripples around global chemical markets
prices soaring.

More chemical plants and refineries across the
Gulf Coast region have been hit by prolonged
power and feedstock outages caused by freezing
weather, snow and ice which have also halted
logistics networks. More bad weather, forecast
for later in the week, may prolong the
disruption.

Norway’s Yara,
partners to electrify, decarbonize Porsgrunn
ammonia plant

By: Pearl
Bantillo 2021/02/18 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Fertilizer firm Yara International has
signed a deal with two industrial firms to
electrify and decarbonize its ammonia facility
in Porsgrunn, Norway.

The Porsgrunn plant produces 500,000
tonnes/year of ammonia, according to ICIS data.

The company has signed a letter of intent with
fellow Norwegians Statkraft and Aker Horizons
on the project, also with the aim of enabling
the hydrogen economy and accelerating the green
energy transition, Yara said in a statement on
Thursday.

PODCAST: Gulf
petrochemicals special focus with GPCA
secretary general Dr. Abdulwahab
Al-Sadoun

By Will Beacham 2021/02/16 BARCELONA
(ICIS)–Arabian Gulf petrochemical companies
are committed to pursuing a low carbon future
while battling the impact of the coronavirus
pandemic and increasing self-sufficiency in
China, according to the Gulf Petrochemical
Association (GPCA).

  • Transition to a low carbon future presents
    opportunities for Gulf Cooperation (GCC)
    chemicals
  • Region is committed to boost recycling plus
    new, greener technologies
  • GCC chemicals managed to grow volumes in
    2020, despite the pandemic

China
petrochemicals lead Asia gains on strong crude,
US supply disruptions

By Pearl Bantillo 2021/02/18 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–China’s petrochemical trades were brisk
upon re-opening on Thursday after a week-long
hiatus, leading gains in key Asian markets amid
surging crude prices and US supply disruptions.

Prices in the Chinese commodities futures
markets surged on the first trading day after
the Lunar New Year holiday, with styrene
monomer (SM) logging an 11% spike as of midday,
largely on concerns over tight post-holiday
supply.

Oil prices extend
strong gains on US Gulf Coast cold
snap

By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/18 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Oil prices rose by more than $1/bbl on
Thursday, with Brent on its fifth day of gains,
as severe cold conditions in Texas and
surrounding regions in the US led to refinery
shutdowns and production cuts.

At 03:30 GMT, Brent crude was trading at
$65.18/bbl, off the intra-day high of
$65.52/bbl, while WTI crude was at $61.80/bbl.

Japan’s Showa Denko
swings to 2020 loss as petrochemical profit
slumps

By Pearl Bantillo 2021/02/17 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Japan’s Showa Denko has incurred a
full-year 2020 net loss of yen (Y) 76.3bn
($720m), reversing the profit in 2019, while
earnings from its petrochemical segment slumped
amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan January
chemical exports rise 23.6%; overall shipments
up 6.4%

By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/17 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Japan’s total chemical exports in
January rose by 23.6% year on year to yen (Y)
788.7bn ($7.4bn), while overall shipments
abroad were up by 6.4%, official data showed on
Wednesday.

Exports of organic chemicals fell by 7.2% year
on year to Y139.4bn in January while shipments
of plastic materials abroad increased by 30.4%
to Y224.8bn, Ministry of Finance data showed.


Singapore’s Jan petrochemical exports rise by
10.1%; NODX up 12.8%

By: Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/17 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Singapore’s petrochemical exports rose
by 10.1% year on year to Singapore dollar (S$)
1.14bn in January, supporting the growth in
overall non-oil domestic exports (NODX),
official data showed on Wednesday.

The country’s NODX rose by 12.8% year on year
to S$15.1bn in January, accelerating from the
6.8% expansion in December 2020, Enterprise
Singapore data showed.


Japan January chemical exports rise 23.6%;
overall shipments up 6.4%

By: Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/17 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Japan’s total chemical exports in
January rose by 23.6% year on year to yen (Y)
788.7bn ($7.4bn), while overall shipments
abroad were up by 6.4%, official data showed on
Wednesday.

Thailand’s PTTGC Q4 net
profit surges on strong margins as prices
spike

By Nurluqman Suratman
2021/02/16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–PTT Global
Chemical’s (PTTGC) fourth-quarter net profit
surged to Thai baht (Bt) 6.41bn from the same
period last year on the back of higher product
prices, with sales up 3% year on year.

Its full-year 2020 results, however, reflected
a general weakness in demand caused by the
coronavirus pandemic, with a 20% decline in
sales nearly wiping out its profit.

Singapore to see strong
GDP rebound after 2020
contraction

By Nurluqman
Suratman 2021/02/16 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Singapore’s economy is expected to see
a strong rebound this year after contracting by
5.4% in 2020, supported by a robust
manufacturing sector as its outward-oriented
sectors continue to benefit from rising
external demand.


VIDEO: Europe R-PET colourless flake,
post-consumer bottles prices jump in
February

By Matt Tudball 2021/02/12 LONDON
(ICIS)–Senior Editor for Recycling, Matt
Tudball, looks at the outcome of the European
recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET)
monthly price discussions for February.

– Large jumps in colourless flake and
post-consumer bottle (PCB) prices

– Virgin PET prices still a key driver for
R-PET demand

– Flake buyers expecting bullish March, April


Shell commits to
growing chemicals as part of low-carbon
strategy

By: Will Beacham 2021/02/11 BARCELONA
(ICIS)–Shell on Thursday committed to growing
its chemicals business, setting targets for the
division as it transitions the company towards
net carbon neutrality.

In a strategy update, the company’s CEO Ben van
Beurden laid out targets to increase cash
generation from chemicals by $1-2bn/year and
reduce exposure to commodity chemicals by
around 70% by 2030. He also reiterated a target
to process 1m tonnes/year of plastic waste for
recycling by 2025.

Van Beurden said the company’s aim – announced
in the third quarter of 2020 – of reducing its
portfolio of 14 oil refining sites globally to
six energy and chemical parks by 2030 is well
underway through the divestment and closure of
some assets.

Signs of healthy
recovery unable to prop up crude demand as
transport drags – OPEC

By: Jonathan Lopez 2021/02/11 LONDON
(ICIS)–There are early “signs of a healthy
recovery” in 2021 but the recovery in crude
demand will lag as transportation is not set to
fully recover any time soon, the producing
cartel OPEC said on Thursday.

Petrochemicals activity, however, will remain
healthy and continue to support demand from
crude oil, which has found in the industrial
sectors an ally to keep a determining role in
the global energy mix as transport electrifies
in coming decades.

Before transport electrifies, however, the
gasoline and derivatives used to fuel mobility
will still remain somewhat redundant in 2021 as
demand from those sectors is not set to recover
pre-pandemic levels this year.

India’s IGPL
plans new 80,000 tonne/year PA
line

By Priya Jestin 2021/02/11 MUMBAI
(ICIS)–India’s IG Petrochemicals Ltd (IGPL)
plans to set up a greenfield 80,000 tonnes/year
phthalic anhydride (PA) plant in western
Gujarat state, it said in a statement.

The company’s board of directors approved the
setting up of the Indian rupees (Rs) 6bn ($82m)
chemical complex at Gujarat which will contain
the PA line and other derivative plants, it
said in the filing on the Bombay Stock Exchange
(BSE) on 9 February.

The new plant will commence operations in three
years, the company said, adding that it planned
to raise funds for the new project through
internal accruals and loans.

The new PA capacity will help IG Petrochemicals
meet increasing demand in downstream products
like paints, plasticizers¸ polyvinyl chloride
(PVC), unsaturated polyester resins etc, IGPL
said in its statement.

PODCAST: MEG
global supply tightness
prevails

By Melissa Hurley 2021/02/08 LONDON
(ICIS)–Global monoethylene glycol (MEG) supply
tightness remains a key issue across Europe, US
and Asia.

Asia MEG prices rise to 16-month peak
Heavy turnaround schedule in the Middle
East
East China MEG inventories rise 4.4% to 681,000
tonnes
Quicker Lunar New Year demand recovery due to
less travel
European short-term supply eases;
spot-stable-to-soft
US diethylene glycol (DEG) spot supply remains
sold out
MEG outages could extend tight US MEG supply
into spring

S Korea’s LG Chem
starts push for renewable energy across
worksites

By Pearl Bantillo 2021/02/09 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–South Korean producer LG Chem will
fully run its Yeosu nitrile butadiene rubber
(NBR) plant, along with its Osan Tech Centre,
on renewable energy this year.

The company is procuring an annual 120
gigawatt-hours (GWh) of renewable energy
through the Korean RE100 (Renewable Energy 100)
system called “Green Premium” Program.

PODCAST: Asia
phenol, acetone supported by tight supply,
strong derivatives

By Jasmine Khoo 2021/02/09 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Asia’s phenol and acetone prices have
been supported by snug supply, arising from
plant turnarounds and reduced production across
Asia, Europe and the US.

In this episode of the ICIS Asia podcast,
Senior Editor Jasmine Khoo speaks with Angeline
Soh, editor in charge of the Asia-Pacific
acetone and phenol analysis on the recent
development.


US January Port Houston chem tanker arrivals
rise by 5.6% year on year

By Adam Yanelli 2021/02/09 HOUSTON
(ICIS)–Chemical tanker arrivals at Port
Houston started the year off on a positive
note, rising by 5.6% compared with the same
month a year ago, while overall arrivals are
down by 12% as global economies continue to be
impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.


IMF raises LatAm GDP forecast to 4.1% for
2021

By Janet Miranda 2021/02/08 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The
Latin American and Caribbean 2021 growth
forecast has been revised to 4.1% from 3.6%,
based on stronger than expected performance in
2020, due to expanding vaccination efforts and
a better growth outlook for the US, the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on
Monday.


PODCAST: drive to lower carbon means no
new steam crackers after
2030

By Will Beacham 2021/02/08 BARCELONA
(ICIS)—The climate change agenda means that no
new steam crackers will be built beyond 2030 as
the chemical industry harnesses new
technologies and investors steer clear of high
carbon projects.

  • Coronavirus makes oil refinery
    rationalisation more urgent
  • No new steam crackers will be built from
    2030
  • Decarbonisation, sustainability will drive
    future investment decisions
  • Chemical companies will harness new
    technologies like green hydrogen, electric
    furnaces

Borealis to focus
on chemicals, polyolefins as OMV consolidates
position

By: Tom Brown 2021/02/08 LONDON
(ICIS)–Borealis is tightening its focus on
base chemicals and polymers as it prepares to
divest the bulk of its fertilizers business
after shareholder OMV doubled down on its
position in the Austria-headquartered
petrochemicals producer.

DIVESTMENT AND REALIGNMENT
After several years of peaks and troughs for
its fertilizers operations, Borealis announced
last week that it is preparing to put the
business in play.

With no set timeline to divest, the sale of the
nitrogen and melamine operations will represent
a total break from the fertilizer sector for
the company, with the exception of a Benelux
player with two production plants it continues
to hold a stake in.


Thailand’s PTTGC pursues feedstock
flexibility with new project

By Pearl Bantillo 2021/02/08 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Thailand’s petrochemical major PTT
Global Chemical is looking at increasing the
share of propane in its feedstock mix under a
new project coming on stream two years from
now.

Canada’s January light
vehicle sales fall 17.4% amid pandemic
lockdowns

By Stefan
Baumgarten 2021/02/05 TORONTO (ICIS)–Canadian
sales of new light vehicles are estimated to
have fallen by 17.4% year on year in January,
to 90,890 units, according to the latest data
by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants (DAC) on
Friday.


US industrial energy consumption to return to
’19 levels faster than other sectors –
EIA

By Adam Yanelli
2021/02/03 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US consumption of
petroleum and other liquids from the industrial
sector, primarily for use as feedstocks in the
production of plastics, could return to
pre-pandemic levels by 2023 in a best-case
scenario, the Energy Information Administration
(EIA) said on Wednesday.


US will return to ’19 energy consumption levels
by ’29 – EIA

By Al Greenwood
2021/02/03 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US energy
consumption should return to 2019 levels by
2029, the nation’s Energy Information
Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.

BLOG: The new oil
shocks: semiconductor supply shortages threaten
the global economy

By ICIS Editorial 2021/02/03 LONDON
(ICIS)–Click here to see the latest blog post
on Asian Chemical Connections. The oil supply
shocks of the 1970s are at risk of being
replaced by the semiconductor supply shocks of
the 2020s. There are just three global
suppliers of high-value semiconductors that
might soon become two, down from 25 in 2000.
Eighty percent of all types of semiconductor
production is located in northeast Asia.

Europe PVC
outlook balanced to tight in early 2021 as
prices trend upward

By: Chris Barker 2021/02/02 LONDON
(ICIS)–The outlook for European polyvinyl
chloride (PVC) remains balanced to tight in
early 2021, with contract prices rising for
January as global availability is still limited
and prices high.

For January,
increases were proposed in a wide range of
€35-100/tonne at the beginning of the month.
Final settlements were also in a relatively
wide range, with some negotiations concluded
with increases of €40-50/tonne in northwest
Europe and the Mediterranean, according to
buyers and producers.

Downstream demand is also respectable with the
European construction market expected to
rebound and return to growth in 2021 after
suffering damage from the pandemic in 2020.

PODCAST: chemical
sector must step up circular investments from
tens to hundreds of millions

By Will Beacham 01-Feb-21
15:32 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Chemical companies
need to take the circular economy more
seriously and invest hundreds rather than tens
of millions in recycling.

  • Investors now seek companies active in
    circular economy
  • Risk that brand owners may seize initiative
    from chemical companies
  • Chemical companies need to step up circular
    investments
  • 2021 could be the year of circular economy
    ahead of COP26 meeting in November
  • China chemicals threatened by persistent
    shortage of containers, soaring rates
  • Electricity shortage, resurgent pandemic,
    microchip shortage also pose risks
    China will move towards self-sufficiency in
    paraxylene (PX), styrene (SM) and
    polypropylene (PP)

Click on the headline to hear the
podcast.

VIDEO: Asia/Mideast
Groups I, II base oils find footing amid tight
global supply

By Matthew Chong 2021/02/02 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Senior Editors
Matthew Chong
and Izham Ahmad discuss recent developments in
the Asia-Pacific and Middle East base oils
markets.


Asian chemical demand sentiment mixed
post-Lunar New Year

By Felicia Loo 2021/02/02 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Unlike previous years, post-Lunar New
Year chemical markets in 2021 will be uniquely
different in China – the world’s number-two
economy – as well as in other parts of Asia
where the holiday is celebrated.

At issue, the extent of plastics demand
recovery in Asia remains to be seen on
prospects of businesses resuming earlier than
past years, when factories shut for two to four
weeks during the holiday in China.

US WR Grace
reaches standstill agreement with 40
North

By Janet Miranda 2021/02/01 HOUSTON (ICIS)–WR
Grace entered into a letter agreement with 40
North on Monday, after it announced its
decision to discuss a sale to 40 North’s upped
bid of $65 per share, the US-catalyst producer
said.


Caixin’s China Jan manufacturing PMI
dips to 51.5 in January amid lower
output

By Nuuqman Suratman 2021/02/01 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Caixin’s China general manufacturing
purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 51.5
in January from 53.0 in December as business
conditions improved at the slowest rate for
seven months, the Chinese media firm said on
Monday.

au Jibun Bank
manufacturing PMI slips to 49.8 in
Jan

By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/02/01 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–au Jibun Bank’s manufacturing
purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for Japan fell
to 49.8 in January from 50.0 in December 2020
on a drop in output as rising coronavirus cases
had a renewed impact on the economy, the
Japanese bank said on Monday.

PODCAST: Asia
Special Report – Base oils

By Jasmine Khoo 2021/02/01 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–2020 could be summed up as a
topsy-turvy year for the base oils industry.
The slump in Asian base oils prices in Q2 last
year due to lockdowns followed by the rapid
recovery in prices to even higher than
pre-pandemic levels in 2019 has astounded
market players.

VIDEO: Asia butyl
acetate prices rise on tight
supply

By Melanie Wee 2021/02/01 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Watch ICIS senior editor Melanie Wee
discuss the latest developments in the Asia
butyl acetate (butac) market and its key
drivers.

LyondellBasell plans to
run Houston refinery at 80% in
Q1

By Al Greenwood 2021/01/29 HOUSTON
(ICIS)–LyondellBasell expects to run its
refinery in Houston at 80% of its throughput
capacity during the first quarter, the same
rate as the fourth quarter, the CEO said on
Friday.

VIDEO: Asian
liquid tanker freight utilisation under
pressure

By Ai Teng Lim 2021/01/29 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Watch ICIS editor Lim Ai Teng discuss
the latest developments in the Asian chemical
shipping market,


BLOG: Final China PE ’20 numbers and new ’21
outlook as logistics, pandemic threats
increase

By ICIS Editorial 2021/01/29 LONDON
(ICIS)–Click here to see the latest blog post
on Asian Chemical Connections. China’s
first-quarter growth looks set to decline over
Q4 2020 because of the country’s new pandemic
outbreak and global container freight and
microchip shortages.

The container freight shortage is unlikely to
be resolved until Q2 with the microchip
shortage forecast to last six months.

Both of these logistics challenges represent a
moderate threat to China’s export-led economic
recovery.

Dow sees momentum
in PE, PU driving earnings gains in Q1,
2021

By Joseph Chang 2021/01/28 NEW YORK
(ICIS)–US-based Dow expects continued momentum
in polyethylene (PE) and polyurethanes (PU)
driving further earnings growth in Q1 and 2021
following a strong Q4 that soundly beat Wall
Street consensus estimates.


INSIGHT: Covid, end of aid may cause Brazil Q1
GDP to contract

By Al Greenwood 2021/01/28 HOUSTON
(ICIS)–Economists are warning that Brazil’s
economy is slowing down and may even contract
in the first quarter, the result of emergency
aid expiring and the coronavirus spreading.

Reliance’s
oil-to-chems ops spin-off to ease entry of
foreign investors

By Priya Jestin 2021/01/27 MUMBAI
(ICIS)–India’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL)
has spun-off its oil-to-chemicals (O2C)
operations which should help facilitate entry
of foreign investors like Saudi Aramco into the
business.

Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest crude
exporter, is in the process of acquiring a 20%
stake in RIL’s O2C operations, for $15bn in
line with the strategy to grow its downstream
operations.

Completion of the deal was pushed back to early
2021 from March 2020.

Developing Asia
2021 growth upgraded to 8.3% on improved India
outlook – IMF

By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/01/27 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
late on Tuesday lifted its 2021 growth
projection for the emerging and developing Asia
region to 8.3% from its previous projection of
8.0% after upgrading India’s economic outlook
for the year.

China will continue to support the region’s
growth outlook with its economy projected to
expand by 8.1% in 2021 and 5.6% in 2022, the
IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook
report.

PODCAST: Global
melamine market cost pressure; US and Europe Q1
price surge

By Melissa Hurley 2021/01/26 LONDON
(ICIS)–Global melamine markets are being
affected by logistical issues, increased
production costs and rising contract prices in
Q1 2021.


Demand for electronics, durable goods to drive
demand in 2021 – HB Fuller

By Adam Yanelli 2021/01/26 HOUSTON
(ICIS)–Continued improvement in underlying
demand, especially for electronics, durable
goods and consumer goods, is likely to drive
volume growth in 2021, US-based adhesives
producer HB Fuller said on Tuesday.


South Korea economy contracts 1.0% in
2020; shrinks 1.4% in Q4

By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/01/26 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–South Korea’s economy contracted by
1.0% year on year in 2020, its worst
performance in 23 years, as exports and
manufacturing faltered due to the coronavirus
pandemic.


LyondellBasell, Sinopec to start up new
China SM/PO in end-2021

By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/01/26 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–LyondellBasell and Sinopec expect to
start up their joint propylene oxide
(PO)/styrene monomer (SM) unit at Zhenhai in
Ningbo, China at the end of the year.

The facility is expected to produce 275,000
tonnes/year of PO and 600,000 tonnes/year of
SM.

PODCAST: Europe
chemicals face €1bn 2021 carbon bill as global
action intensifies

By: Will Beacham 2021/01/25 BARCELONA
(ICIS)–Europe’s chemical sector faces a carbon
bill of around €1bn in 2021 amid a ramp up in
regulatory measures around the world.

  • Europe carbon prices rose from €25/tonne in
    October 2020 to €35/tonne today
  • Expect a big shift from global to local
    supply chains as pandemic exposed weaknesses,
    carbon taxes to enable change
  • Beyond 2030 there may be no more worldscale
    chemical projects built
  • Automotive semiconductor shortage
    highlights vulnerabilities of global supply
    chains

Click on the headline to hear the
podcast

Shortages,
skyrocketing prices continue for chems
shipping

By: Tom Brown 2021/01/25 LONDON
(ICIS)–The shipping woes that have dogged the
chemicals sector for months show no sign of
abating, with disrupted international trade
flows driving up prices and limiting
availability, with European issues exacerbated
by confusion and gridlock following the UK’s
departure from the EU.

Shipping costs have skyrocketed over the last
few months, with market sources reporting that
they have been quoted six times or more the
level seen in mid-2020, when prices first
started to climb.

““Every day and week the sea freight costs are
going up,” said a European trader.


Germany’s
business climate worsens as lockdown could go
beyond mid-February

By: Jonathan Lopez 2021/01/25 LONDON
(ICIS)–Germany’s business confidence index,
compiled by the ifo Institute, declined in
January as the country’s lockdown is “unlikely
to end” on 14 February as planned, financial
analysts said on Monday.

The pandemic’s second wave has hit Germany
hard, and the country’s health services have
been under pressure since December; unlike in
the spring of 2020, Germany’s death toll has
surpassed 1,000 on several days in January this
year.

January’s economic performance was hit by the
lockdown, with falls in practically all
economic sectors – including manufacturing,
construction, trade, and services – although
the fall in confidence during the month is far
from the lows posted in the second quarter of
2020.


China holiday-travel curbs dampen petrochemical
restocking

Petrochemical restocking in China this year
will not be strong as in the past as the usual
heavy manufacturing disruption that accompanies
the Lunar New Year holidays may not happen,
with travel curbs in place to ward off another
wave of coronavirus infection in the country.


India’s Reliance net profit rises in Sept-Dec
despite drop in revenue

Reliance Industries Limited’s (RIL) net profit
rose by 13% year on year in the three months to
31 December 2020 despite a drop in revenue, the
Indian chemicals major said late on Friday.

US
adds oil, gas drilling rigs as count rises for
ninth week

By Adam Yanelli 2021/01/22 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The
US saw an increase in the number of oil and gas
drilling rigs in operation this week, rising
for the ninth week in a row, despite rising
concerns about how an outbreak of
the coronavirus in China will impact crude oil
demand


Japan’s au Jibun Bank flash
manufacturing PMI slips to 49.7 in
Jan

By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/01/22 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–au Jibun Bank’s flash manufacturing
purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for Japan
slipped to 49.7 in January from the final
reading of 50.0 in December 2020 as output fell
amid rising costs, the Japanese bank said on
Friday.

A PMI reading below 50 indicates a contraction
in the manufacturing economy.

“Despite a return to growth in new orders for
the first time since December 2018, falling
output and employment levels and rising cost
pressures dampened operating conditions,” au
Jibun Bank said.


Washington state in US denies permit
for methanol plant

By Al Greenwood 2021/01/21 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The
Washington Department of Ecology denied a
permit for a proposed methanol plant in that
state’s town of Kalama.

The department denied issuing the
shoreline-conditional-use permit because of
concerns about greenhouse-gas emissions, it
said. As a result, Washington state could fail
to meet its greenhouse-gas targets that were
set by its legislature.

The plant is being developed by Northwest
Innovation Works (NWIW). The methanol would be
used in China’s methanol-to-olefins (MTO)
plants.


Mideast chemical supply tight on
container shortages, Asian plant
shutdowns

By Felicia Loo 2021/01/21 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Middle East’s petrochemical markets are
facing tight supply, mainly due to shortage of
containers, with shipment difficulties to last
until March. Plant shutdowns in Asia
exacerbated the tight supply conditions,
overshadowing demand from strong to stable in
certain sectors in the Middle East.


Japan’s chemical exports rise by 10% in
Dec, overall shipments up 2%

By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/01/21 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Japan’s chemical exports rose by 10.0%
year on year in December 2020 to yen (Y)
833.9bn as overall shipments abroad rose for
the first time in two years, official data
showed on Thursday.


USA’s INVISTA licenses technology to
Sinopec Yizheng for new PTA
line

By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/01/21 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–INVISTA and China’s Sinopec Yizheng
have reached a technology licensing agreement
for a new purified terephthalic acid (PTA) line
in Jiangsu province, the US producer said on
Thursday.


Indian chemicals industry bats for
increasing duties on imports

By Priya Jestin 2021/01/21 MUMBAI (ICIS)–The
Indian chemicals and petrochemicals industry,
which is now seeing a slow recovery in demand,
expects the government to support its growth
trend by introducing measures to reduce
unnecessary imports.


PODCAST: Global ACN supply restrictions
continue to dominate talk in
Q1

By Jane Massingham 2021/01/20 LONDON
(ICIS)–The global acrylonitrile (ACN) market
is expected to remain tight through Q1,
although uncertainty looms in the shape of
Chinese New Year and how it may impact on
regional demand. ICIS pricing editors Jane
Massingham (Europe), Li Li Chng (Asia) and
Lucas Hall (US) discuss the latest developments
in the ACN market and what lies in store.


PODCAST: Jet and bio fuels in 2021 –
what are the trends?

By Andrew Putwain 2021/01/20 LONDON (ICIS)–
Jet fuel has been one of the oil products hit
hardest by the pandemic. With vaccines now
being rolled out will there be more support in
2021 – even as the market faces pressures to
turn to more sustainable biofuels? Market
analyst Man Yiu Tse and crude oil reporter
Andrew Putwain look at the big trends for 2021
in jet fuel and biojet alternatives.


Malaysia central bank keeps accommodative
monetary stance amid new
lockdown

By Pearl Bantillo 2021/01/20 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Malaysia’s central bank decided on
Wednesday to maintain an accommodative monetary
policy as it acknowledges that new
coronavirus-related restrictions will hit
near-term economic performance. Its overnight
policy interest rate was kept at 1.75%.


Singapore’s 2020 chemical fixed asset
investments fall; overall FAI
grows

By Nurluqman Suratman 2021/01/20 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Singapore’s chemical fixed asset
investments (FAI) fell by 18.9% year on year to
Singapore dollar (S$) 4.11bn in 2020, but
overall FAI rose despite the challenges arising
from the coronavirus pandemic, official data
showed on Wednesday.


India’s GNAL delays commissioning of new
caustic soda line to August

By Priya Jestin 2021/01/20 MUMBAI
(ICIS)–India’s GACL-NALCO Alkalies &
Chemicals Ltd (GNAL) has pushed back the
scheduled commissioning of its greenfield
266,667 tonne/year caustic soda plant in Dahej
to August 2021, a company source said on
Wednesday.


VIDEO: China non-carbide VAM supply to tighten
further on EVA start-ups

By Anna Xiang 2021/01/19 SINGAPORE
(ICIS)–Watch industry analyst Anna share her
views on China’s domestic vinyl acetate monomer
(VAM) market for 2021.


Chip shortage threatens global auto
sector, demand for chemicals and
polymers

By: Will Beacham 2021/01/18 BARCELONA
(ICIS)–A global shortage of computer chips is
threatening the nascent recovery of automotive
production, as well as demand for automotive
chemicals around the world.

Semiconductor chip manufacturers have struggled
to meet demand growth in the fourth quarter of
2020 and into 2021 as the automotive sector
rebounded from Coronavirus lockdowns,
especially in China. Increased sales of
computers and electronic devices through the
pandemic have also boosted demand.

Auto production is already disrupted by the
shortage of chips. Germany’s Audi has slowed
production and has furloughed 10,000 employees,
according to an interview quoting company CEO
Markus Duesmann in the UK Financial Times on 17
January.


INSIGHT: UK chemicals face continued
disruption from post-Brexit paperwork,
container shortages

By: Will Beacham 2021/01/18 BARCELONA
(ICIS)–UK chemical companies and their 27 EU
trading partners are still struggling with new
paperwork requirements and disrupted logistics,
two weeks after the country left the Single
Market and Customs Union.

– Tariffs are 0% from the UK-EU
– Tariffs average 4.5%, maximum 6.5% for other
countries not covered by free trade
agreements
– Rules of origin and customs declarations
required from exporters and customers before
products can cross borders
– Incomplete paperwork holding up trade at
border
– DB Schenker pauses UK-EU operations
– Asia-Europe container rates at $4,000-6,000
as global pandemic-related shortage persists

Despite the post-Brexit free trade deal struck
by UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson,
cross-border trade is still subject to a raft
of new customs checks and procedures plus a
global shortage of containers which continues
to delay shipments and inflate costs.

Although tariffs have been maintained at 0%,
all goods are now subject to rules of origin
and other customs declarations.

Singapore petrochemical
exports snap 27-month decline; up 11.5% in
Dec

By Nurluqman Suratman
2021/01/18 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore’s
petrochemical exports in December 2020
increased by 11.5% year on year to Singapore
dollar (S$) 1.25bn, ending more than two years
of decline, official data showed on Monday.

The year-on-year expansion was the first
recorded since August 2018, according to
Enterprise Singapore.

China’s 2020 GDP rises by
2.3% after 6.5% expansion in
Q4

By Nurluqman Suratman
2021/01/18 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s GDP grew
by 2.3% year on year in 2020, its slowest pace
in more than four decades, after it reported a
6.5% expansion in its economy in the fourth
quarter, official data showed on Monday.

France’s Total to invest
$2.5bn in India’s Adani Green
Energy

By Pearl Bantillo
2021/01/18 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–France’s Total
will acquire a 20% interest  in Adani
Green Energy Ltd (AGEL), along with a 50% stake
in a 2.35 GWac (gigawatt alternating current)
portfolio of the Indian solar developer’s
operating solar assets, for a total of $2.5bn.

US WR
Grace is willing to discuss sale to 40
North

By: Jane Miranda 2021/01/15 HOUSTON (ICIS)–WR
Grace is willing to discuss a sale to 40 North,
after the private investment firm raised its
bid to $65 per share earlier this week, the
US-based catalyst producer.


German chemicals reject calls to shut
plants as pandemic hits hard

By: Stefan
Baumgarten 2021/01/15 LONDON
(ICIS)–Germany’s top chemical industry trade
groups are rejecting calls to shut down plants
as part of the country’s “hard lockdown” to
contain the second wave of the coronavirus
pandemic.

“A shutdown would
be counter-productive, in all respects”,
chemical producers group VCI and employers
group BAVC said in a joint statement on Friday.

The chemical-pharmaceutical industry makes “key
contributions” to containing the pandemic, the
trade groups said, in vaccine production, the
manufacture of essential medicines or as the
most important upstream supplier for
diagnostics, medical, and laboratory equipment
manufacturers.



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