For the Quarter Ending March 2022
In North America, prices of m-Xylene increased during the first quarter of 2022 due to a surge in demand from mostly paints and coatings sector. M-Xylene prices mirrored the crude oil market sentiment where the prices initially increased and went up to a very high level, then settled at a suitable range during the middle of Q1 2022. The freight cost also rose due to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, increasing shipment costs and transportation charges. Furthermore, the product's global supply shortage has kept its value under persistent upward pressure, thus increasing the prices. M-Xylene prices in the USA witnessed a rise by nearly 4% in Q1-2022.
APAC saw an escalation in the prices of m-Xylene due to increased demand from downstream batteries, solvents, and intermediates enterprises. India saw an increase of 8.1% in the price of m-Xylene in the first quarter, with prices hovering around USD 1342/ton-USD 1434/ton in March. High upstream Brent crude oil prices translated into an upward trend for m-Xylene. Moreover, firm demand has been registered from the downstream isophthalic acid manufacturers, supporting the spike in m-Xylene prices. In terms of demand, consumption from downstream Plasticizers and Phthalic Anhydride remained strong. M-Xylene prices gained an upward momentum following market optimism in line with the forthcoming festive season in the regions of China during February.
In Europe, prices of m-Xylene were observed to be fluctuating in Q1 2022, with a downfall in February, which went down up to USD 815/ton CIF Hamburg, then again rebounding back in March. The fluctuating prices of upstream Naphtha and Crude Oil due to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine led to variations in m-Xylene prices. Freight charges on the European routes remained high throughout the quarter; however, marginal ease in shipping costs and freight charges was witnessed towards the end of the quarter. Strong demand from downstream paints, coatings, intermediates, etc., catapulted m-Xylene prices.
For the Quarter Ending December 2021
In Q4, m-Xylene market in the North American region remained on the uptrend for the major past of the quarter owing to firm cost pressure from upstream WTI crude oil. Crude oil prices were volatile throughout quarter where crude oil prices initially increased on the back of strong demand fundamentals then plunged significantly in H2 of Q4 in the aftermath of another covid wave in late November. Similarly, m-Xylene prices mirrored the crude oil market sentiment where prices initially increased to USD 940 per MT and then settled at USD 895 per MT towards later stages of the quarter.
In India, m-Xylene market remained strong throughout the last quarter owing to strong crude oil values during initial months of Q4. Aromatics have traditionally mirrored the market sentiment of crude oil, and recent increase in all xylenes vindicate the above fact. In terms of demand, consumption from downstream Plasticizers and Phthalic anhydride remained strong. In Chinese domestic market, m-Xylene prices seesawed in the last quarter as initially firm demand from downstream along with rising cost pressure catapulted m-Xylene prices. However, market sentiment changes towards the H2 of Q4 and prices declined owing to slump in demand and weakening cost pressure. Prices were assessed at INR 95360 per MT in December 2021.
European market was termed as firm during Q4 of 2021 despite a marginal decline in prices during later stages of the last quarter. Strong prices of upstream Brent crude oil translated into upward trend for m-Xylene. Freight charges on the European routes remained high throughout the quarter however ease in shipping cost and freight charges was witnessed towards end of the quarter. USA major exporter of m-Xylene to Europe delivered material on the European shores irrespective of high freight charges on Atlantic routes. Hence, m-Xylene prices were assessed at USD 940 per MT after conclusion of December 2021.