July has been a turning point where European petrochemical market is finally getting back on tracks. There are still some heavily impacted sector such as automotive, tourism and aeronautics but generally most sectors are coming back to normality.

Regarding raw materials we are witnessing a general stability . Naphtha since July is above 360 $/MT as well as Brent above 40 $/ bbl while monomers have posted slight increases in August.We therefore confirm our June forecast that trend of monomers will remain positive till September.

On the other side exchange rate has had some strong movements. The Dollar have lost more than 5% to the Eur from 1.12 in early July to the 1.17 – 1.18 of these days. This will have some repercussion in Q4 if the trend will be confirmed. We can imagine that some trade flows will change from Asia & US to/ from Europe.

We can begin to analyze the first impacts of the pandemic on the petchem industry. Losses are important and this will lead to a strong restructuring of the market. We can already see first acquisitions/ dismissal of assets such as:

  • 5$ Billon deal where BP have dismissed assets to Ineos BASF which want to dismiss several assets

  • Reliance/ Aramco done deal of 15 $ Billion has not been closed and discussions are underway to revise terms & conditions. It seems if it will be concluded it won’t be before 2021…

Just to cite a couple of significative numbers on results for Q2:

  • Five global oil majors collectively slashed production rates and the value of their assets by nearly 50 Billion $ in Q2 2020

  • Basf European Giant has posted lower sales of 12% year on year for Q2, with an EBIT of -77% year on year and a net income minus of 878 Million €

  • Middle East Giant has posted lower profit for Q2 with a fall of 73.4% year on year

  • Us Giant ExxonMobil has posted for their first time in history a consecutive quarterly with loss of 1.1 Billion $ in Q2

  • Chevron Corp posted its biggest los in three decades at 8.3 Billion $

  • Brazil Giant Brazil’s Braskem registered a net loss of BRL2.5 billion ($468.1 million) in Q2 2020

We believe in restructuring the market is the only way to make it viable on the long term. There are plenty of old & not environment friendly plants as well as global oversupply/ production of many commodities on the market. Last but not least all these old plant have been already amortized which makes it more simple to dismiss.

Highlight on PVC Market

Pvc market remains tight with increases of prices world wide in August.

Prices in Asia are continuing to grow and new shipments for September are witnessing further price increases. In U.S. Prices have hiked through the last two month with a healthy construction sector despite health emergency in several states.

In Europe demand for the pipe, flooring and gardening sector remains strong. Compounding sector is still lagging behind but have much improved since our last report and capacity utilization is back to normal. We can see that July 2020 is year on year around same level if not above 2019. Generally PVC prices are increasing between 10 to 15 €/t. Price fork between consumers and European regions can be important.

Regarding production we are still witnessing minor issues in some plants as well as other plants restarting production after some problems. This is anyhow helping the market to remain tight in Europe.

Finally our forecast is definitely a stable to firm trend in prices for PVC in September.

Highlight on Plasticizers Market

Plasticizer markets are right now tight in Asia with most producers running out of stock having already sold future shipments in September. Demand in China is very strong at the moment. Recent flooding had also a positive impact on demand for plasticizer.

In August we are witnessing general increases on all plasticizers in Europe. Fork prices remain wide depending on regions and producers. We believe market will get more firm in September due to much lower imports from Asia and some production issues in Europe. The path between firm and short market will depend on the real demand of the market.

We can divide our analysis in 2 segments:

  • European based productions (DINP & DIDP/DPHP) where we are seeing Evonik and Basf having some INA production troubles. It hasn’t been officially confirmed but we can see it clearly on the market. Moreover Perstorp is still facing C3 supply issue (due to Borealis) for DPHP production. We are witnessing general increases in August.

  • European and Extra European based productions (DOTP) where we can see still a confused market with wide price range. Fewer imports are noticed on the market and this trend will continue in the next months. Sibur continues to have production problems and this situation should last in Q4 meaning that nearly no material will arrive from Russia. Turkish players surprisingly remain much below market prices in July-early August, of more than 5% Vs. Normal market. Difficult to understand their strategy considering the low volumes exported to Europe. Demand is getting better with some sectors booming and others still recovering. Generally prices are moving up and we can expect definitely higher prices in September. If demand will be strong for next month the market could easily go very short due to the fewer imports.



C3 PRICES SEEN HIGHER @ 732.5 €/t (+27.5 €/t )

C2 PRICES SEEN HIGHER @ 785 €/t (+21 €/t )

BENZENE  PRICES SEEN HIGHER @ 375 €/t (+6 €/t)




C3 PRICES SEEN HIGHER @ 705 €/t (+75 €/t )


BENZENE  PRICES SEEN HIGHER @ 369 €/t (+76 €/t)







We are witnessing finally a distant light in Europe with Covid-19 situation getting slowly under control in most countries. Southern, Eastern and Northern Europe is re-opening slowly it’s activities as well restaurant, bars. We can expect situation to gradually come back to a pseudo-normality.

This is also signaling that in May we have reached in Europe the lowest levels in raw materials and June is showing a general round of increases, with Oil (Brent index) stable above 40 $/t, Naphtha showing some strong increases (after a shocking low of 130$/t in its darkest moment) and monomers generally posting some decisive increases.

Nevertheless the downstream sector and general demand is still heavily impacted by the pandemic crisis with only specific sectors of the industry coming back to full capacity. We are expecting this situation of low demand to continue on most sectors for the next month with the automotive sector being the most hardly hit with an expected recovery not before 2021.

Slow monetary intervention from local governments into the direct economy are also showing some cash flow issues in SME which could lead to casualties if no major further action will be taken.

We are forecasting a firming trend on monomers till September and this is also reflected by the strong firming on most monomers and downstream products in Asian markets. We can expect generally a partial recovery on the April and May strong dip and it will mostly depends on demand increase in the next month.

On the side of the downstream market we are not expecting a show up in demand to Q1 levels but more on a slow recovery month after month and a stop for most Southern European economies for August break.

Highlight on PVC Market

Pvc market tightens in Asia and prices spiked in the last 2 weeks. Prices firmed, mainly on account of stronger import offers from oversea producers and bullish regional buying appetite. Higher PVC futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange and bullish upstream costs, further supported the price rise. This have later been reflected on the Turkish market which turned bullish too on PVC with much higher prices witnessed from May.

In Europe we can clearly see a good demand for the pipe, flooring and gardening sector. While Compounding sector is still lagging behind and suffering with its utilization capacity rate which can be accounted around 70%. Generally PVC prices are reflecting monomer 50% C2 increase of 30 €/t but we can see some lower +20 €/t here and there. The main problem to assess prices is a large number of Spot prices from Western European producers.

Regarding production we are witnessing issues in some Central European plants.

Finally our forecast is definitely a firming trend in prices of PVC in July, following Asian market as well as very probable July C2 increases.

Highlight on Plasticizers Market

Plasticizer markets are tightening in Asia posting increases of more than 120 $/t following bullish local raw material prices while in Europe we can still see a very difficult market due to slow demand, despite Naphtha and C3 increase of 60 €/t. Compounding sector is definitely affected as well as coating, cable and automotive sector in general. While medical, gardening and flooring sector are definitely much stronger at the moment. Generally some suppliers have tried to increase prices this month due to higher feedstocks but we think they were trying to increase prices in June to prepare customers for a more realistic increase in July.

We can divide our analysis in 2 segments:

  • European based productions (DINP & DIDP/DPHP) where there is a clear overcapacity and prices have reached historic lows with producer not managing to raise prices despite rebound in Naphtha. However we believe that despite high stocks, prices should have reached their lows considering most of the market going with roll overs or small increases. We are therefore heading for some probable increases in July
  • European and Extra European based productions (DOTP) where we can see a very confused market with extremely wide price range. Demand is on hand to mouth basis and often price is not the main driver but rather lead time. Final end users are willing to remain low with stocks and consume only what is needed for the month production. This is preventing, mainly, cheap imports as nobody is willing to take further risks considering demand very uncertain in the near future. Nevertheless we expect June to have reached the bottom with prices and if demand should increase slightly we may well expect some possible increases in July









COVID-19 News: General-OXO have stocks and is offering Carbomer

COVID-19 News: General-OXO have stocks and is offering Carbomer as gelling agent for hand sanitizers. Carbomers are the most commonly used gelling agents in the manufacture of creams, ointments, and gels particularly meant for the application on mucous membranes.



During a time of weaker selling prices and a global slowdown in economic growth, the world’s leading oil and petrochemical companies have so far reported underwhelming profits. Many producers struggled to remain profitable during the final quarter of 2019, and the financial results from several have pointed towards major losses. In order to give a strong example, Sabic, the Middle East’s biggest petrochemicals producer, swung to a loss of $19 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, down noticeably from a net income of $858 million in a year-earlier period.

Rationalizing productions where there is over capacities will be an important theme in 2020, as well as reorganization/ sales of plants and personnel to counter the profit warning in many companies.

Corona Virus in China is an other hot theme of the moment, which will have strong impacts on worldwide economy. We can expect recession in countries heavily depending on import/export with China. While Chinese GDP will definitely be hit hard by the current situation. We will see the real impact on economy of the virus outbreak in the second half of the year. Immediate effects are Oil & Agricultural goods sharp decrease in future values, as China is the biggest worldwide buyer.

Logistical issues continue to pose challenges for domestic transportation in China following travel restrictions to curb the spread of the virus as well as maritime transportation which forced many shipping companies to cancel up to 50% of their vessels since February and transiting through Singapore instead of Chinese ports.

Pvc market tightens globally in key markets as supply shocks squeeze exports. The US planned shutdown at Formosa Plastic’s facility in Texas has led to a global tightening of PVC availability.
Europe, average export prices have overtaken domestic spot prices in dollar terms for the first time since 2017. Indian and Turkish market have very strong demand and PVC is extremely tight and will remain tight in the future months. This is putting European producers in a stronger position to recover margins. An other fundamental reason for European producers to recover margins is the heavy losses in the Soda market (a by-product of PVC) where the market remains unresponding to decreases of more than 400 €/t in the last 6 months. We therefore expect in the coming months prices which will not follow the ethylene movement and going opposite way due to a combination of tight availability, increased demand from India and higher price announcements from the US.

In Plasticizer markets are tightening globally due to a strong demand in the PVC sector worldwide.
Recent DOP plant closure in Korea from LG end of 2019 have tighten DOP market which have since then rose significantly price wise. By reflection South American markets are beginning to replace DOP with DOTP which is more competitive. Moreover corona virus effects in Asia are visible as China is usually an export country for plasticizers. This have pushed all plasticizers to increase in Asia significantly.

On the other side European market remains with a stable demand and can be divided in 2 segments:

– European based productions (DINP & DIDP/DPHP) where there is a clear overcapacity and one producer will have to close plant in the medium term or convert it (BASF, Exxon or Evonik). Therefore we can forecast a market which will remain stable and characterized by a long market. To note that we have a new president for the European Plasticizer association, Mr. Nigel Sarginson of ExxonMobil.

– Extra European based productions (DOTP) where we can see a market which is tightening very fast. Less material is arriving from Asia & US and at higher prices while European demand continue to grow due to replacement from ftalates to non ftalates. We can expect a tight market for the next couple of month, regardless of propylene probable decreases.