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India’s IPA and m-Xylene Maintain Price Hikes Buoyed by Prevailing Market Uncertainties

With Indian petrochemical importers seeking alternative sources for their cargoes imported from China, prices of certain petrochemicals have recorded new heights in the past few months. Increased interest of the Indian pharmaceuticals and automotive manufacturers towards boycotting heavily imported Chinese raw materials has given a strong push to the profit margins of domestic players as many of them have recorded healthy gains in the prices of certain petrochemicals based on improved buying indications.Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) prices remained on the upper edge, although somewhat flatter since last two weeks, hovering around $1266/mt in the week ending 7th August. Consistent rise in demand for multiple disinfectant products containing IPA as a result of the coronavirus pandemic remains the key driving factor of the unprecedented price surge in both the Indian and international markets. In its recently revealed financial results for the first quarter ending June, India’s Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals (DFPCL)- the largest and sole manufacturer of IPA in the country, posted a double-digit increase in its net profit to USD 1.2 billion as its IPA sales volume jumped by about 49 per cent year-on-year. While things seem in favor of the domestic IPA market both in terms for demand and supply, domestic m-Xylene is still struggling to get back to norm. With traders highly anxious about market tightness in the beginning of August, m-Xylene prices were assessed around USD 106 per tonne further supported by higher upstream crude and gasoline values.Prolonged lockdown and trade restrictions have deterred a huge impact on the country’s chemicals supply chains. Traders are finding other trade routes as prevailing reluctance of Indian buyers towards Chinese cargoes may leave a long-term impact on their procurement strategies.