New economic forecasts have upgraded prospects for 2021 as the vaccination programme kicks in, but logistics problems could threaten any recovery.
- Economists upgrade expectations for 2021
- But recovery may be held back by logistics challenges
- Spare industrial capacity and higher capital spending may benefit chemicals, economy
- Don’t expect business as usual to return
- Thousands of businesses have closed permanently, unemployment is high
- Consumer spending has changed, permanently
- Chemicals must pivot to local sourcing, production, recycling
- Brexit uncertainty is hurting business
The news that ExxonMobil will write down up to $20bn in asset values shows that the era of fossil fuels is drawing to a close, so chemical companies must focus on completely new strategies for long-term success.
- ExxonMobil write downs signal the end of reliance on fossil fuels
- Companies need to understand demand trends on a micro basis
- Four key megatrends for chemicals strategies are pandemic, sustainability, demographics, geopolitics
- Chemical return on capital employed is falling as over-capacity increases
- China self-sufficiency in chemicals will force plant closures, moves downstream
- With or without a deal, Brexit is a disaster for UK industry
- Boston Consulting Group analysis shows Jan-June 2020 chemicals Total Shareholder Return (TSR) was -11% driven by falling sales and profits
- By 2021 expect significant bounceback to 2019 levels driven by prices and volumes
- Chemical companies must analyse role in circular economy/sustainability agenda
Podcast interview with Andreas Gocke, managing director and senior partner at Boston Consulting Group; Nigel Davis, ICIS Insight Editor; Paul Hodges, chairman of New Normal Consulting and John Richardson, ICIS senior consultant for Asia.
Europe and Asian BPA markets are spiking, amid short supply and rebounding demand.
- Supply restricted in Asia and Europe, exacerbated by LG’s Yeosu outage
- Prices soaring in Asia, Europe following similar trend
- Supply to remain short in the near term on rebounding demand, low stocks
- LG's ops status, ZPC's new China BPA plant start-up progress monitored
Senior Editor Caroline Murray and Senior Editor for Recycling, Matt Tudball discuss how the current high freight costs, together with the uncertainty of coronavirus, is impacting the short-term outlook for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and recycled PET. They discuss:
The current uptrend in virgin PET prices and the impact on R-PET
Supply, demand and turnarounds in PET impact supply
Brexit, virgin plastics taxes in Italy and Spain, and the €800/tonne EU Charge on non-recycled plastic waste
Following a surge in European base oils Group I spot prices, ICIS editors Samantha Wright and Eashani Chavda discuss the latest market developments for the domestic and export markets as well expectations for December.
Manufacturing hundreds of millions of coronavirus vaccine shots could boost demand for polypropylene (PP), but not enough to compensate for losses in other end use markets.
- Coronavirus vaccine packaging may boost demand for polypropylene (PP)
- But not enough to replace lost demand from other end uses
- Refinery closures will restrict petrochemical feedstocks
- End use markets shifting to renewables, low carbon technologies
- Danger that fiscal tightening could stifle recovery, raise unemployment
- Current wave of lockdowns not as damaging to economies
- Lack of visibility on demand patterns beyond Q4
Podcast interview with Rhian O’Connor, ICIS lead analyst for demand modelling and Paul Hodges, chairman of New Normal Consulting.
As year-end looms, trading activity in the global sulphuric acid market has picked up pace. Sylvia Traganida talks to Andy Hemphill and Annalise Porter about the latest market news.
Epoxy markets in Europe and Asia are in turmoil, with outages hitting supply amid a rebound in demand.
- Europe and Asia face epoxy supply shocks on unexpected issues, demand rebound
- Epoxy prices rising rapidly in Asia and Europe, varied rises in Europe, depending on timing
- BPA tightness and rising costs are an additional pressure for epoxy resins
- Asia/Europe epoxy supply tightness could continue into 2021
Podcast interview with ICIS senior editor Heidi Finch and ICIS editor Ai Teng Lim.
European and US methanol market dynamics continue to follow a similar trend, with healthy demand recovery amid tighter supply boosting spot prices.
ICIS editors Anna Matherne and Eashani Chavda discuss recent market developments and key topics to look out for in 2021.