Asia Petrochemicals: Key Market Indicators

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Outlook for most Asian petrochemical markets appeared mixed on the back of bullish crude oil prices and improved demand.  While prices of some petrochemical products moved up in view of upstream oil market, fundamental demand for some products seemed not as firm as rally in crude oil.

Methanol

  • Fundamentals in the Asian methanol market are expected to be mixed in the week as market participants await clearer price direction, especially in China following volatility in the week ended October 15.
  • Production cuts at major downstream MTO facilities, along with higher port inventory levels in East China, further weakened sentiment that saw the CFR China methanol physical fell to $445/mt on Oct 15.
  • In Southeast Asia, however, prices will likely remain supported on the back of production issues in the region that curtailed supply.
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Propylene

  • The Asia propylene import market is likely to stay rangebound this week as buyers are wary of picking up imports after witnessing a spike in price for propylene for feedstock last week.
  • Propylene CFR China marker hit $1,125/mt Oct. 15, up $90/mt on the week from $1,035/mt.
  • Firmer crude oil and other feedstock are likely to lend support to both domestic and imports market.
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Monoethylene glycol

  • The outlook for monoethylene glycol, or MEG, was, however, mixed as the downstream polyester sectors were operating at low rates due to the power consumption curbs in the wake of China’s energy control policy, traders said.
  • MEG was assessed up Oct. 15 on higher discussions led by crude futures which rose to as high as $84.84/barrel at 0830 GMT on Oct 15.

Paraxylene

  • Asia paraxylene is expected to keep pace with the movement in the energy complex in the week starting Oct. 18 and underpinned by lower run rates across Asian producers.
  • However, uncertainty around Chinese PTA run rates, as a result of poor fundamentals, and China’s energy control has led PX market sources to take a cautious stance on the demand outlook.
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