Aromatics & Derivatives: Actionable Market Outlooks and the Transitioning Feedstock Landscape
The aromatics and fibers markets have not escaped the challenges faced by most chemical sectors this year, higher crude oil prices and exceptionally high natural gas costs in Europe and Asia, COVID lockdowns in mainland China affecting consumption, and rising inflation impacting consumer spending and driving weaker economic growth. These factors have caused demand to fall and costs to rise, to the detriment of producers all along the aromatics and derivatives chains. However, an unexpectedly tight global gasoline market that pushed octane values to record levels added an extra dimension to the dynamics of the aromatics markets this summer. Each aromatics value chain will be discussed in detail by Chemical Market Analytics experts at the World Chemical Forum and the outlook for these markets as the world adjusts to the new geopolitical climate.
Benzene, octane, and aromatics markets have experienced extraordinary volatility in recent years, especially in North America and Europe. Were market conditions in 2022 a harbinger of things to come? In this presentation Chemical Market Analytics will review the current benzene market and outline projections for the future supply / demand balances and trade in the context of an on-going energy transition, unprecedented freight rates, and other market dynamics.
Traversing Alaska’s Iditarod Trail tests competitors with long distances, harsh terrain and severe weather. Styrene producers are running their own Iditarod as they face the challenges of a long, deep trough. Some competitors have already dropped out of the arduous trek as margin pressures prove to be too daunting. This presentation will explore expectations for the styrene market including outlooks for strong octane markets, tight benzene, high freight rates, POSM developments and sustainability pressures, and how those factors will force producers to adjust their strategies if they want to survive.
Speaker: Eiko Ito, Assistant Manager of R&D, Sumitomo Chemical Company
We introduce Sumicle®, a novel material developed by Sumitomo Chemical, specifically designed to enhance the recyclability of plastic packaging.
Conventional plastic packaging are composed of multiple materials, including PE, PP, PA, and PET, with different functions assigned to each polymer layer. However, the recyclability of multi-layer packaging composed of different types of materials is inferior to that of mono-material packaging.
Sumicle®, PE-based material, offers comparable rigidity and heat resistance at handling to those of PA films. By substituting PA films with Sumicle®, mono-material plastic packaging, consisting only of PE, can be achieved.
This presentation not only introduces the excellent performance of Sumicle® but also illustrates the recyclability of plastic packaging using Sumicle®.
Sessions will resume at 11:00 am
The coming decade will bring enormous uncertainty to aromatics feedstock supplies. Approximately 50% of aromatics feedstocks are currently produced at reformer units. That production is expected to fall as the energy transition advances and gasoline demand declines. At the same time, pygas supply from steam crackers is projected to increase. This speech will explore outlook uncertainties and the implications for aromatics feedstocks.
As the largest polyester producing country, the performance of the mainland Chinese economy materially impacts demand for global PTA and paraxylene. We expect the lifting of COVID restrictions in mainland China result in stronger polyester growth in 2023 and potentially improve PTA and paraxylene business performance. However, large new paraxylene capacity which will operate at higher rates was added in mainland China in Q4 2022. Additional PTA capacity is coming in 2023, raising the question of whether these markets will climb out of their current downcycles. The gasoline market is also a competing outlet for paraxylene feedstocks which could put pressure on paraxylene and PTA costs. These issues will be discussed in this global overview of the paraxylene and PTA markets.
Ethylene Oxide and its derivatives, including glycols and other high purity Ethylene Oxide based products, currently struggle with an asymmetric situation. On one side, some market sectors face multiple issues, including significant oversupply and challenging margins. Conversely, other sectors of the ethylene oxide chain are dealing with limited supply and enjoy healthy prices. Additionally, all market sectors must continuously respond to new challenges, variables, and volatility. This presentation will address the varying market conditions and provide insights to navigate the ethylene oxide and derivatives markets in turbulent times.
COVID-19 highlighted the importance of PET for hygienically storing and delivering food and beverages. However, the post-pandemic focus on sustainability is increasing. Major companies are doubling down on efforts to achieve their near-term sustainability goals, thus leaving PET fighting an uphill battle with other packaging products. Enhanced efforts are needed to highlight the dual values of PET as (1) a sustainable packaging product that (2) delivers hygienic advantages for the food and beverage markets. This speech will discuss the acceptability of PET as a product and its future with respect to competitive sustainability versus other packaging products. We will also explore whether investments in PET will continue to be economically viable.
COVID infections in mainland China and poor economic conditions in Europe and the United States decreased fibers demand during 2022 despite a significant decline in previously high ocean freight costs. This speech will explore the impact that current and forecast market dynamics and macroeconomic conditions are projected to have on polyester fibers growth.
The global nylon industry has experienced substantial change over the past decade. Inter-fiber competition, the emergence of Mainland China, trade wars and COVID-19 collectively reshaped the industry landscape. The bumpy ride isn’t over yet as raw material volatility, an extended oversupply situation and macroeconomic headwinds portend continued obstacles for the industry. This speech will explore the journey towards improved profitability, why it will take longer and be tougher than previously anticipated, and how nylon producers must continue their balancing acts to weather near-term challenges.
The world of polyurethane isocyanates has always known change, but never more so than now. Threats to the industry are coming from all sides, including demand slumps, regional disadvantages, overcapacity and traditional exporters becoming importers. As threats increase, so do opportunities. The end of the economic downturn will bring recovery. A high cost energy environment and enhanced focus on a circular economy are expected to catalyze increased isocyanates consumption for insulation and refurbishment . This speech will address these and other isocyanates market considerations to help you prepare your formula for strategic success.
The outlooks for the propylene oxide (PO) and polyether polyols industries directly affect expectations for future polyurethanes market dynamics. However, PO and polyether polyols must evolve to meet new demands in a changing petrochemical landscape as global initiatives including energy transition and decarbonization advance. This speech will explore the challenges for PO and polyether polyols, and it will present market outlooks to answer how PO and polyether polyols will support the important feedstock needs of the polyurethane industry.
Vice President, Global Aromatics & Fibers Team Lead Chemical Market Analytics by OPISRead Bio
Executive Director-Polyester Fibers and Glycols & EO Derivatives Chemical Market Analytics by OPISRead Bio
Executive Director, Americas Styrenics Chemical Market Analytics by OPISRead Bio
Executive Director, Asia Benzene, Styrene Chemical Market Analytics by OPISRead Bio
Executive Director, America Benzene, Pygas & Reformate Chemical Market Analytics by OPISRead Bio
Executive Director, EMEA Phenolics and Americas Isocyanates Chemical Market Analytics by OPISRead Bio
Vice President, Asia Aromatics | Global Polyurethane Feedstocks | Polyester Fibers & Feedstocks | Polyester Stream Chemical Market Analytics by OPISRead Bio
Executive Director, Global Ethylene Oxide | Ethylene Glycol Chemical Market Analytics by OPISRead Bio
Director, EMEA Styrenics & Polyurethane Feedstocks Chemical Market Analytics by OPISRead Bio
Director, Americas Purified Terephthalic Acid | Polyethylene Terephthalate Chemical Market Analytics by OPISRead Bio
Executive Director, Global Nylon Fibres & Feedstocks Chemical Market Analytics by OPISRead Bio