The Week in Chemistry: US spot PE up US$0.06/lb since start of 2022, PP up US$0.07/lb, poised for increases related to geopolitical disruption; Taiwan power cuts impact region's petrochemical plants, Asia naphtha hits US$1,055.625/tonne on March 2

Sample article from our Chemicals Industry

LOS ANGELES , March 4, 2022 () –

US Resins 

US resin markets are bracing for further challenges in energy and feedstock costs as conflict continues between Russia and Ukraine. 

On top of that, traders expect continued warehouse backlogs, limited ship space and high demand for shipping containers for much of 2022.

In the final week of February, spot prices for most PE commodity grades increased another US$0.01/lb, bringing gains to as much as SU$0.06/lb so far in 2022.

Currently, PE prices are down by about 40% from the highs seen in 2021. However, ongoing inflation, higher crude prices and looming geopolitical issues could forebode prices surging again.

Spot PP prices increased US$0.02/lb in the last week of February, up US$0.07/lb so far in 2022 with potential for more rapid increases ahead.

A recent refinery explosion has lead to an increase in polymer-grade propylene prices, which could lead to a double-digit increase in PP prices for March.

The primary source of this information is Plastics Today.

Taiwan Petrochemical Manufacturing

Power cuts in Taiwan have led to outages at major petrochemical plants in the area, according to market sources. 

On the positive side, the impact may be blunted by the fact that some facilities were already under planned maintenance.

Still, manufacturers don’t have a clear answer to when power will be completely restored. 

The affected plans include Taiwan Styrene Monomer’s 340,000-tonne/year styrene plant in Kaohsiung. 

Grand Pacific PC also halted a 144,000-tonne/year styrene plant, but a second 266,000-tonne/year plant was already under planned maintenance.

LCY Chemical halted operations at its 400,000-tonne/year PP plant, company sources say.

The primary source of this information is S&P Global Platts.

Asia Petrochemicals

LPG in Asia is selling at the deepest discount in nearly four years, giving petrochemical producers the option of propane or butane feedstock to improve margins, sources say.

Naphtha soared to a more than nine-year peak of US$1,055.625/tonne on March 2 on the back of rallying crude futures–an increase of 43% since the start of 2022. 

Butane demand could rise as some crackers choose it as feedstock, according to trade sources. However, Korean buyers may encounter potential shortages.

The primary source of this information is S&P Global Platts.



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