China plans Shanghai crude oil futures launch in H2 2017

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China is looking at launching its crude oil futures in Shanghai in the second half of this year, two sources familiar with the matter said, breathing new life into a derivative that was considered shelved only months ago, said Reuters.

The contract is aimed at giving China, world's second-largest oil consumer after the United States, clout in pricing crude in Asia, and a share of the trillions of dollars in oil futures trade that flow through global benchmarks Brent and West Texas Intermediate.

Shanghai's International Energy Exchange (INE) last year was close to launching the futures contract, which was approved in 2014 after years of planning, but its plans were shelved after volatility in domestic stock and commodities markets spooked regulators.

The sources were unclear when the contract would actually start to trade. "In the second half of this year, maybe in September or October," one of the sources said, adding it could take place before the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, where a change of guard under President Xi Jinping will take place.

The second source said the launch could happen earlier, possibly in July or August. It was not immediately clear what factors prompted the project's revival.

An INE spokeswoman did not give a definitive start date, saying, "We are actively preparing and are striving to launch the product as soon as possible."

Crude oil sold in Asia is mainly priced against the Dubai, Oman and dated Brent benchmarks assessed by S&P Global Platts or the Oman crude futures on Dubai Mercantile Exchange.

PVC imports to Ukraine dropped by 35% in Q1 2017

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) into Ukraine decreased by 35% in the first three months of this year, compared to the same period in 2016 and reached about 20,900 tonnes, according to MRC DataScope.

March SPVC imports into Ukraine despite a small seasonal increase in demand for finished PVC products fell to 6,700 tonnes against 7,400 tonnes in February. The main reason was limited export quotas and a high level of PVC prices at European producers. Overall SPVC imports were about 20,900 tonnes in January-March 2017, compared to 31,900 tonnes a year earlier. Last year's high figure was a result of low prices in the US in November-December 2015, which led to the fact that some companies were actively building up additional inventories of cheap material at the start of the season. Prices of North American PVC were significantly higher than the European ones in the end of 2016.

Structure of PVC imports into Ukraine over the reported period was as follows.

Last month's SPVC imports from the USA were about 800 tonnes, compared to 1,500 tonnes in February. Imports of North American resin totalled 3,500 tonnes in the first three months of 2017 versus 22,200 tonnes a year earlier. Many Ukrainian companies did not form additional stocks of PVC because of the high export prices at the end of last year.

March imports of European PVC into Ukraine decreased to 3,700 tonnes, compared with 4,600 tonnes in February. Many companies last month, as well as in the current one, failed to fully meet their requirements for PVC because of supplies from Europe. Total imports of European PVC into Ukraine were about 12,300 tonnes in the first three months of the year, compared with 7,100 tonnes year on year.

Last month's imports of Russian SPVC grew to 2,300 tonnes from 1,300 tonnes in February. A significant reduction of Russian resin supplies is expected to be in April due to the introduction of a temporary ban on the import of products from two producers: RusVinyl and Kaustik Volgograd. Shipments of Russian resin slightly exceeded 5,000 tonnes in the first three months of 2017, compared to 2,400 tonnes a year earlier.


Socar Polymer to build new BOPP plant in Sumgait at cost of USD32 mln

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The construction of the biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) film production plant is estimated at USD32 million in Sumgait within Azerbaijan’s SOCAR Polymer project, Farid Jafarov, director general of SOCAR Polymer company, said, reported Trend.

He said that the issue should be considered from the perspective for the future as the company has focused on the construction of the polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) production plants.

It will be possible to use polypropylene, which will be produced as part of the project, as raw material," he said."

The total cost of SOCAR Polymer project is USD750 million. The project is being implemented in the Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park.

At the first stage, the plant’s production capacity will reach 120,000 tons of PE and 184,000 tons of PP. By 2021, the plant’s total capacity can reach 570,000 tons of products.

As MRC informed before, state owned energy company SOCAR’s Polymer investment project, which is first of its nature and scale implemented for the last 40 years in Azerbaijan’s downstream oil and gas industry, will make USD10-11 billion of revenues during the plant’s lifetime. Some 30% of this sum will be the net profit of the company. In the meantime, cooperate taxes and property taxes worth USD800 million and value added tax worth USD700 million will be paid to the government. PP and High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) plants of SOCAR Polymer are being built within the Sumgayit chemical industrial park’s territory which was established by the decree of the President Ilham Aliyev and provides a number of significant privileges for its residents.

SOCAR is involved in exploring oil and gas fields, producing, processing, and transporting oil, gas, and gas condensate, marketing petroleum and petrochemical products in domestic and international markets, as well as, supplying natural gas to industry and the public in Azerbaijan. Three production divisions, one oil refinery and one gas processing plant, a deep water platform fabrication yard, two trusts, one institution, and 23 subdivisions are operating as corporate entities under SOCAR.

Titanium dioxide supply squeeze 'threatens European plastics converters'

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Polymers for Europe Alliance is warning of the impact on European plastics manufacturers of a supply shortage in the additive titanium dioxide (TiO2), which is used for white masterbatch and as a UV stabiliser in rigid PVC outdoor products, said Plasticsnews.

"We call upon all the TiO2 producers to help our plastics converting industry to create a global level playing field to secure the development of our business in Europe," said Ron Marsh, chairman of the Polymers for Europe Alliance.

In a statement, the alliance said: "The issue that is today threatening large parts of the plastics conversion industry in Europe is the supply of titanium dioxide where unplanned maintenance shutdowns are limiting production, thereby restricting output and driving up additives prices to uncompetitive levels. No extra volumes seem to be made available for Europe by the producers from outside the EU to support the growth in the plastics industry markets, especially for some PVC building applications and polymer masterbatches."

The Polymers for Europe Alliance was set up by the European Plastics Converters association (EuPC) in 2015 when there was a severe shortage of commodity polymers, including PE, PP and PVC, in Europe. It says its objective is "to build and maintain good communications between suppliers and customers of polymers and additives in Europe following the catastrophic situation during the first semester 2015".

In addition to the problems in the TiO2 market, the alliance said in the testament that supply of some polymers is also getting very tight and plastics converters face difficulties in passing on the consequent large price increases to their customers.

It said: "It seems that the margin of the converters sandwiched between polymer suppliers and users of plastics is being squeezed in growing markets, and this is damaging business prospects in the first quarter of 2017.

The alliance also drew attention to the Best Polymer Producers Awards for Europe 2017, which it is organising. "The Awards will give a clear indication which polymer suppliers will have won the trust of the European converters when it comes to material delivery reliability," it said.

Chinese Competition Authority green lights ChemChina acquisition of Syngenta

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The China National Chemical Corporation, known as ChemChina, and Syngenta announced that they have received approval from the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China for the proposed acquisition of Syngenta by ChemChina - at USD43 billion, it's the largest foreign acquisition by a Chinese company, as per SeedWorld.

In a statement, the companies note that this approval represents another step toward closing the transaction, which is expected in the second quarter of 2017.

Last week the U.S. and European Union competition authorities gave conditional approval of the deal, which was followed by Mexico’s approval earlier this week. India has not yet signed off on the deal.

Under the conditions set by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Syngenta must divest three pesticides: paraquat, abamectin and chlorothalonil. Syngenta owns the branded version of each of the three products, giving it significant market shares in the United States. ChemChina’s subsidiary ADAMA focuses on generic pesticides and is either the first- or second-largest generic supplier in the United States for each of these products.

The FTC believes that "without the proposed divestiture, the merger would eliminate the direct competition that exists today between ChemChina generics subsidiary ADAMA and Syngenta’s branded products. The merger would also increase the likelihood that U.S. customers buying paraquat, abamectin, and chlorothalonil would be forced to pay higher prices or accept reduced service for these products."

The proposed settlement requires ChemChina to sell all rights and assets of ADAMA’s U.S. paraquat, abamectin and chlorothalonil crop protection businesses to California-based agrochemical company AMVAC.

For more information about the consent agreement, which includes an asset maintenance order and allows the commission to appoint a monitor, check out the analysis to aid public comment.

The two companies maintain that the completion of this transaction will ensure continued choice and ongoing innovation for growers around the world.

As MRC reported earlier, in late June 2016, ChemChina started the process of substituting equity for part of the loan financing of the offer made by CNAC Saturn, a subsidiary of ChemChina. A first equity commitment of USD5 billion was made by Feng Xin Jian Da, a fund managed by CITIC Trust, a subsidiary of CITIC Ltd., which is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange. CITIC and HSBC are the banks handling ChemChina’s acquisition of Syngenta.

ChemChina produces special chemical materials, basic chemicals, oil refining, agricultural chemistry, rubber products, and chemical equipment.