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Crashing Crude Oil Likely to Disbalance Chemicals Buying Sentiments

Constantly declining crude is likely to put delays on the purchase of new chemical cargoes as buyers may seek impact of falling crude on the downstream industries. Oil prices slashed down by 30 per cent on Tuesday. Brent closed at $35.79 per barrel and WTI closed at $32.98 per barrel on 10th March,2020. However, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects second-quarter prices for Brent to be USD 37 per barrel before rising to USD 42 per barrel in the second half of the year. This will definitely impact the international prices of major petrochemicals. Falling crude is likely to suppress the Benzene prices which may directly impact the phenol consumers, who would have to pay a lesser amount. Moreover, Polycarbonate players are making further delays in procuring raw materials as crude is likely to plummet. Amidst reduced demand, the base-oil buyers have postponed their crude buying plans, anticipating better margins if the decline sustains. Acrylate producers are pessimistic about the market since global demand has slowed down and is likely to remain flat for a significant time period. As biodiesel competes with diesel and gasoline in fuels markets, market players are keen to see if falling crude would impact the plans of Southeast Asian government who had been apprehensive about mandating biodiesel blending in fuels. It is estimated that persistently low crude oil prices may increase the financial pressure on the Indonesian and Malaysian governments towards implement the mandates. This is likely to mute Palm oil demand which is already affected due to subdued demand for edible oils in China and other countries across the globe due to rising coronavirus cases. Furthermore, if the biodiesel mandates fail to get implemented, it could influence Glycerine markets as crude Glycerine is obtained as a byproduct during the biodiesel production. Current scenario is highly favorable for IPA producers as IPA prices are skyrocketing due to robust rise in the demand for alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Spot prices for technical and Pharma grade IPA have almost doubled since the past week.