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US Paraxylene Contracts Exhibit a Decline in December
US Paraxylene Contracts Exhibit a Decline in December

US Paraxylene Contracts Exhibit a Decline in December

  • 18-Dec-2023 4:41 PM
  • Journalist: Emilia Jackson

In December, contract prices for U.S. paraxylene (PX) witnessed a decline, dropping by one cent to reach 54 cents per pound (equivalent to USD 1,190.5 per tonne). This dip in prices can be attributed to the persistent downward trend in mixed xylene (MX) prices, coupled with subdued demand in the market. The ongoing decrease in xylene prices follows the culmination of the summer driving season, a period marked by heightened demand for MX due to increased gasoline consumption. However, the outlook for MX demand suggests a continuing decline throughout the remainder of the year.

The surplus in paraxylene supply remains a significant factor influencing pricing dynamics. The subdued demand for paraxylene stems from the sluggish market conditions for polyethylene terephthalate (PET), primarily driven by factors such as elevated mortgage rates and interest rates. These economic factors have rendered home purchases, renovations, and automobile acquisitions less affordable for consumers. Consequently, the demand for PET, a major application of paraxylene, has remained low.

Paraxylene plays a pivotal role in the production of polyester, as well as in the manufacturing of terephthalic acid (TPA) or dimethyl terephthalate (DMT). These materials serve as key components in various industries, with approximately 98% of paraxylene utilized for polyester and TPA or DMT production. Moreover, DMT is also employed in the synthesis of polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) resin.

Shifting focus to the global landscape, recent reports highlight the resumption of paraxylene production by Weilian Chemical in Dongying, an urban district in the northern part of China's Shandong province. Following scheduled maintenance, the plant, with a substantial capacity of 1 million tons of paraxylene per year, returned to full operational status. The maintenance activities were conducted from July 11 to August 29, 2022, showcasing a commitment to ensuring the plant's efficiency and reliability.

The multifaceted nature of the paraxylene market, influenced by supply-demand dynamics and economic factors, underscores the complexity of the petrochemical industry. The interplay between pricing, demand trends, and production capacities is crucial for market participants to navigate successfully. As paraxylene continues to be a linchpin in the production of essential materials like polyester, the market's response to economic shifts and operational developments remains a focal point for industry stakeholders.

The December contract price decline for US paraxylene reflects the ongoing challenges faced by the industry, marked by a combination of weakening demand, falling mixed xylene prices, and economic factors impacting consumer affordability. The intricate web of factors influencing paraxylene pricing underscores the need for market participants to stay attuned to global developments and emerging trends. The recent resumption of paraxylene production by Weilian Chemical in China adds a dimension of operational resilience to the industry narrative, emphasizing the importance of maintaining efficient and reliable production capabilities.

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