For the Quarter Ending December 2022
In the North American market, Paraxylene prices declined in the fourth quarter. The market situation had been bearish as Hurricane Ian forced the market to close. The storm had an impact on demand interrupting the import and export. In the mid of the fourth quarter, the prices went up because of supply disruption amidst low availability of inventories. However, the prices again declined at the end of November as the demand was not satisfactory, and purchasing activity fell as firms reportedly worked through excess inventories. The bearish market situation continued, and the price kept falling in November because the manufacturer’s confidence shrunk, fearing inflation. The price hovered at USD 1103/MT FOB Louisiana in the last week of December.
Paraxylene prices initially in the Asia-Pacific Region were held high with an improved demand outlook in the fourth quarter. The market situation was bullish as for PTA, polyester plant operation rates rose; thus, the demand in the domestic regions also rose. However, slow demand and healthy supply sent the price of Paraxylene the other way. The support from the global polyester market was affected because of weak global spending. Weak sales in the polyester market also had an impact on the price. In the month of November, the price stood at USD 1140/MT FOB Shanghai. The demand from downstream industries was bearish because the consumer’s confidence in the end-use polyester industries was not healthy to support the upward trend. Also, due to the strict Zero-covid policy, small businesses found it challenging to keep up with their production targets in order to ensure supplies. The prices were USD 1150/MT FOB Shanghai in the first week and rolled down to USD 1015/MT FOB Shanghai reason being low demand from downstream PTA and the polyester sector. The sentiments of the downward market were not optimistic, reducing the demand for Paraxylene as well. Last week saw constrained prices. Most traders were reluctant to take positions at the end of the year.
Paraxylene saw a marginal hike in prices as demand in Europe continued to be healthy overall, with small orders coming from the downstream polyester sector. Due to slow demand and increased imports, the price decreased by 6% to USD 1358/MT FD Hamburg in the third week of October. During this week, the demand was low as manufacturers came under pressure due to decreased demand for derivatives PET and PTA. The supply exceeded the downstream consumption, which caused a flooded stockpile. In the second week of November, the price stood at USD 1389/MT FD Hamburg as the demand stabilized. The uncertainty among the manufacturing units because of rising inflation also increased the price of Paraxylene. During the fourth week of November, the price fell by 3.3%, the reasons being signs of a slowdown as demand weakened in the downstream derivative market. In December, the market supply was unbalanced. The demand for bottles and sheets in the downstream market was low; thus, PET buyers and sellers continued to cut stockpiles which constrained the spot market activity. In the last month of December, the prices again dropped by 2.7%. Few factors such as decreased demand, falling natural gas prices, and the resolution of the supply chain issue are the main reasons for the downfall of paraxylene prices in Europe.
For the Quarter Ending September 2022
In the North American market, Paraxylene prices mainly dipped due to several factors like a slow economy, weak demand, recession, and rising inflation. The U.S. trade deficit in goods narrowed in Q3 amid a decline in imports, driven by slowing domestic demand as the Federal Reserve aggressively tightens monetary policy to tame inflation. The market is oversupplied in critical areas like PTA and packaging, which reduces customer interest in buying fresh materials. Given the persistently bearish demand, the Paraxylene-Naphtha Spread has undoubtedly shrunk even more as crude oil prices continue to decline compared to the previous few months. Thus, the downstream derivative market was mainly affected, and the offtakes from end-use industries declined. As a result, producers mostly held prices low, agreeing on USD 1297/MT FOB Louisiana.
Paraxylene Prices in the Asia-Pacific region declined throughout the third quarter. China's Paraxylene end-use market frequently experienced difficult market conditions. Weakness continued to be heard in the paraxylene market since the start of this quarter, falling around USD -57/MT. Stable polyester demand and low PTA operating rates kept offers for Paraxylene lower as inventory remained high. In the second half of Q3, due to typhoon "Xuan Lannuo," Paraxylene shipping and delivery were suspended, and tanker delivery speed slowed. Thus, the margin of reduction was slow, causing the price to settle at USD 1220/MT FOB Shanghai during September. In addition, On the 1st of September afternoon, Sinopec Tianjin reduced the operating rate of its 390 kt/yr Paraxylene plant and closed it for a 25-day maintenance period.
The Europe market experienced a low market throughout the third quarter of 2022. Since the Europe market was struggling with the energy crisis, consumer confidence weakened. Market sentiment has been generally bearish on the European Paraxylene, and the end use of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) market also experiences the same. Sluggish demand and sharply lower PTA plant operating rates played a role in the ensuing downturn. Since August, the week-on-week decline of the freight index on the European route has been significantly more significant than that in July. The freight index of European ways was down by 3.0%. In contrast, the low water level of the Rhine River in Germany has led to a significant reduction in the cargo capacity of ships or even suspension of sailings, weakening consumers' confidence in Paraxylene. Thus, with reduced prices, the Paraxylene market value settled at USD 1401/MT FD Hamburg.
For the Quarter Ending June 2022
The paraxylene market in North America dipped in the first half of Q2, which later rose and hovered around USD 1483/MT FOB Louisiana in the month of June 2022. This explanation was based on the volatile price of crude oil, which persisted throughout the second quarter. Additionally, the market for its raw materials like Toluene, Benzene, and mixed Xylene exerted intense cost pressure, contributing to the upward price trend in the second half of Q2. The regional market's demand for the commodity was high from downstream Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA) and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottle industries over the period under consideration. Therefore, during the month of June, ChemAnalyst prices for Paraxylene settled at USD 1458/MT FOB Charleston.
Prices for Paraxylene in the Asia-Pacific region increased throughout the quarter in China and India, owing to the increasing price trend for its feedstock market. Crude oil prices increased after OPEC+, an alliance of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producing nations, including Russia, whose output has fallen by about 1 million BPD following Western sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine. Further, tight supply amid healthy demand from downstream Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA) and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Bottle contributed to the soaring pricing of Paraxylene. Paraxylene feedstock such as Toluene, Ethylene, and mixed Xylene has been firm since the end of April, which continued its upward trend until June. Thus, the price of Paraxylene saw an upward rally in the Asia-Pacific region. The prices settled at USD 2097/MT Ex-Ahmedabad and USD 1307/MT FOB Shanghai, respectively, in June 2022.
In Europe, the Price for Paraxylene continued to rally upward throughout the second quarter, aided by the firmness in its feedstock prices. Climbing crude oil prices in recent weeks have made their presence felt where European Paraxylene (PX) market observe a significant rise in PX prices owing to a resurgence in ICE Brent crude oil values. In addition, volatility in crude oil affected Paraxylene production, as it requires benzene, toluene, and Xylene. Therefore, the drastic price change is due to soaring Freight charges and Port congestion, keeping the paraxylene price upward in the domestic market. From the demand side, offtakes from the Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA) and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Bottle industries lifted the price trend in the domestic market. Thus, considering the reasons mentioned above, the price for Paraxylene rose and hovered at USD 1575/MT FOB Hamburg during June 2022.
Paraxylene market saw marginal increment in the first half of Q1 which later rose substantially towards second half due to volatile crude oil prices. The Russia -Ukraine war and disrupted supply chain exacerbated its value. USA, being the exporter as well as the importer of Paraxylene was hit harder with the changing Naphtha price affecting the price trend of crude derivative product. From demand side, the PTA (Purified Terephthalic Acid) industry boosted with higher demands lined up from PET bottle industry. Thus, the price for Paraxylene in USA rose and settled at USD 1308 FOB Louisiana (USA).
Paraxylene price witnessed drastic increment in the H2 of Q1 2022 owing to the global rise in crude oil values amid escalating tensions in Europe. With interwoven connection between crude oil and aromatics, the change in one reflects the change in other. On demand side, the downstream purified Terephthalic Acid has also increased volume intakes as weaving factories improve rates after the holiday break in early February. Later, with seasonal change hitting Asia-Pacific region, the demand for Paraxylene gained momentum with availability of inventories. thus, the price for paraxylene stabilized in the month of March and settled at USD 1166 FOB-Shanghai.
In Europe, the price for Paraxylene climbed in the first quarter with high crude oil prices. Paraxylene prices rose significantly owing to resurgence in WTI crude oil values. Crude oil has increased to over USD 130/bbl as of March 8th, 2022, the increase in crude prices came in lieu of strong demand fundamentals and weakened supply dynamics amid tensions in West Asia in 1st half of the quarter and European crisis in H2 of Q1. The production cost also increased with rising energy prices and on demand side, downstream PTA increased offtakes as PET bottle demand climbed in the European countries. Thereby, the price for Paraxylene rose and hovered around USD 1030 FOB Hamburg (Germany).