LG Chem to sell polarizer businesses to Chinese peers for USD800 mn

LG Chem to sell polarizer businesses to Chinese peers for USD800 mn

LG Chem Ltd., the parent of South Korea’s No. 1 battery maker LG Energy Solution Ltd., will unload its polarizer businesses to two Chinese players for a combined USD800 million as part of its business reorganization to focus on its new growth engines, battery materials, green materials and life sciences, said Kedglobal.

The company announced in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that its board of directors approved a plan to sell off its polarizer business to Suzhou-based Shanjin Optoelectronics for $200 million and the polarizer materials business to another Chinese company Hefei Xinmei Materials Technology Co. for 4.5 billion yuan (USD616 million).

A month ago, The Korea Economic Daily reported exclusively on LG Chem’s move to seek a new owner for its display film business to exit from the IT materials business amid the rapid ascent of Chinese players.

Many Chinese petrochemical peers have recently jumped into the IT film market, intensifying competition and deteriorating profitability.

The latest decision is also part of LG Chem’s broad business shakeup plan to bolster its new growth drivers -- battery materials, eco-friendly materials and life sciences for innovative medicine development, the company said in the filing.

We remind, LG Chem announced on 24 Sep 2023 that it will make inroads into the lithium-phosphate-iron (LFP) cathode materials business in partnership with China's Huayou Group. In addition, LG Chem will start vertical integration of its cathode supply chain. LG Chem and Huayou Group signed a comprehensive memorandum of understanding (MOU) on 22 Sep 2023, to jointly enter the LFP cathode material market and strengthen their cathode supply chain.

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S Korea September chemical exports fall 6.1%

S Korea September chemical exports fall 6.1%

The slump in South Korean exports eased further in September in a positive sign for an economy that depends heavily on trade, said Bloomberg.

Shipments adjusted for working-day differences decreased 2.1% from a year earlier, the customs office said Sunday. Headline exports fell 4.4% in September, compared with a 8.3% drop in the previous month. Economists had forecast a 9.3% decline. Overall imports fell 16.5%, resulting in a trade surplus of USD3.7 billion.

Korean exports began to sink late last year as semiconductor prices slid and demand from China weakened. Higher energy costs and interest rates have also weighed on the global demand that South Korea depends on to power its economy. Exports to US increased 9% in September, while those to China gained for a second month.

South Korea is one of the world’s largest exporters, with its manufacturers embedded in a wide swath of global supply chains. Its exposure to global trade makes the nation a useful indicator for the health of the world economy.

Policy makers have voiced hopes exports would return to growth by the end of 2023, with Finance Minister Choo Kyung-Ho saying last week shipments may turn positive in October. The latest breakdown on technology exports, which account for roughly a third of overall shipments, shows demand is starting to bounce back from a trough at the start of 2023.

The World Trade Organization said in August that global merchandise trade volumes turned up in the second quarter after two periods of decline, although uncertainties continue to cloud the outlook.

We remind, South Korea’s exports shrank last month for 11 consecutive months but signs of a recovery in demand for the country’s mainstay export item semiconductors, coupled with brisk Korean car sales overseas, have heightened expectations for a turnaround in exports in the last quarter of this year.

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Ultra low-sulfur diesel loadings from Russia's Primorsk to fall in October

MRC) -- Ultra low-sulfur diesel loadings from the Russian Baltic Sea port of Primorsk are set to fall in October by 80% month on month on a daily basis to 210,000 metric tons from 1.08 million metric tons scheduled for September, as per Reuters.

Last week, Russia temporarily banned exports of gasoline and diesel to cope with a domestic market shortage, but made some exemptions, including for transit cargoes. After the ban, Russian pipeline operator Transneft stopped export shipments of diesel fuel from Primorsk and the Black Sea's Novorossiisk port from Sept. 22.

Ultra low-sulphur diesel is shipped to Primorsk and Novorossiysk via the Transneft pipeline system. According to the market sources, diesel volumes planned for loadings from Primorsk in October originate from Belarus' refineries.

Transneft has not immediately replied to a request for comment. In 2021, Belarus and Russia entered into an agreement on transportation and transit transhipment for exports of petroleum products from Belarusian refineries via Russian ports.

Belarus' state energy company Belneftekhim declined to comment.

We remind, Russia may introduce quotas on overseas fuel exports if a complete export ban imposed last week does not succeed in bringing down persistently high gasoline and diesel prices, its Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said. The government said in a statement late on Thursday that Novak told a meeting of senior managers at Russian oil companies that the ban on the export of gasoline and diesel had initially led to a fall in prices on the commodity exchange.

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Russia considers fuel export quotas to tackle high prices

Russia considers fuel export quotas to tackle high prices

Russia may introduce quotas on overseas fuel exports if a complete export ban imposed last week does not succeed in bringing down persistently high gasoline and diesel prices, said Reuters, citing Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

The government said in a statement late on Thursday that Novak told a meeting of senior managers at Russian oil companies that the ban on the export of gasoline and diesel had initially led to a fall in prices on the commodity exchange.

The Kremlin and Russia's energy ministry have said the current fuel export ban, announced on Sept. 21, will remain in place until the domestic fuel market stabilizes. Analysts expect it to last until the Russian harvest, and peak fuel demand, is over in a few weeks.

Any fuel export quotas are likely to be put in place after the lifting of the export ban and would be similar to Russian restrictions on cross-border fertilizer sales.

The idea of fuel market regulations similar to those for fertilizers was first put forward by President Vladimir Putin at a governmental meeting on Wednesday.

Moscow introduced temporary quotas on some of its fertilizer exports in late 2021 to ensure sufficient domestic supplies but has extended them continuously since. Although Russian domestic fuel prices initially eased on the local commodity exchange after the export ban, they crept up after an easing was announced over the weekend.

"As a result of the ban on the export of gasoline and diesel fuel, we saw a decrease in prices on the exchange. We expect a reduction in these prices to be transmitted to the small wholesale and retail segments, as well as to agricultural producers," Novak was quoted as saying.

"Price increases are unacceptable. If the situation does not change, strict regulatory measures will be taken, comparable to those in force on the fertilizer market," he added. Novak also told the meeting with oil producers to take urgent measures to reduce fuel prices at filling stations of oil producers and the independent companies.

We remind, Russian government has approved some changes to its fuel export ban, lifting the restrictions for fuel used as bunkering for some vessels as well as diesel with high content of sulfur. It also lifted restrictions on the export of fuel already accepted for export by the Russian Railways and Transneft before the initial ban had been announced last week. The ban on all types of gasoline and high-quality diesel remains in place.

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North America chem rail traffic rises

North America chem rail traffic rises

North American chemical rail traffic rose for a sixth consecutive week, with railcar loadings for the week ended 23 September up 8.8% year on year to 46,175, according to Association of American Railroads.

For the first 38 weeks of 2023 ended 23 September, North American chemical rail traffic was down 1.5% year on year to 1,723,125 loadings - with the US down 2.8% to 1,183,796.

In the US, chemical railcar loadings represent about 20% of chemical transportation by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest. In Canada, chemical producers rely on rail to ship more than 70% of their products, with some exclusively using rail.

We remind, North American chemical rail traffic rose for a fifth consecutive week, with railcar loadings for the week ended 16 September up 2.0% year on year to 46,964. Increases in the US and Mexico more than offset a decline in Canada.

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