US propylene market surges during January amidst PDH outage

US propylene market surges during January amidst PDH outage

MRC -- The US Propylene market experienced a turbulent January 2024, marked by relentless price hikes fueled by a confluence of factors, said Chemanalyst.

The trend, already bullish throughout December, gained further momentum due to a combination of limited supply and surging demand. While a scheduled maintenance shutdown at Enterprise Products Partners' Mont Belvieu plant contributed to the tight supply, the adverse effect was the December 4th outage of their newest 750,000 mt/year PDH unit. This unexpected event, triggered by an operational issue, sent shockwaves through the Propylene landscape. The sudden removal of a major production artery from the equation drastically reduced readily available Propylene, sending scarcity levels soaring.

As per the recent assessment, the Propylene market in the USA keeps on rising with a hike of 10% at the beginning of January 2024 due to supply constraints. Therefore, Propylene Polymer Grade DEL US Gulf assessed at 1090 USD/tonne with a surge of 100 USD during the third week of January 2024. This bullish trend was attributed to an outage of the PDH plant in Texas whose immediate impact was a tightening of supply with a major production artery suddenly out of commission, and readily available propylene dwindling.

Adding fuel to the fire, US Propane and Propylene inventories dipped below more than 90 million barrels for the first time in three months, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration. This declining stockpile further exacerbated the scarcity, creating a perfect storm for price hikes. The affected PDH units have hampered the production of Propylene, leading to a decrease in the overall supply. The magnitude of the impact depends on the duration of an outage which keeps on affecting the margins. As supply falls, the price of the product has skyrocketed during this timeframe. This reflects the increased demand for the limited available product, which is a vital feedstock for many downstream industries, especially Polypropylene production. A shortage of the product can lead to production slowdowns or shutdowns in these industries, impacting sectors like packaging, textiles, and automotive components. The spot export US Polypropylene market, heavily reliant on readily available Propylene and the tightened conditions, slowed movement, and skyrocketing prices became the new reality. This domino effect also intensified inflationary pressures across the industry, as cost burdens stemming from increased supplier prices for metals and plastics, coupled with higher transportation charges, cascaded down the chain.

As per ChemAnalyst, the price of Propylene in the US market is expected to sustain its uptrend throughout January 2024. While the immediate shock of the Enterprise outage may have subsided, its long-term effects continue to ripple through the Propylene landscape. The spot exports US Propylene market, though recovering from the initial shock, still grapples with the consequences of the disrupted supply chain. The unexpected outage, coupled with pre-existing scarcity and inflationary pressures, created a complex landscape with a bullish future.

We remind, Pengerang Refining and Petrochemical (PRefChem), a collaborative venture between Malaysia's major petrochemical entity Petronas and the state-owned Saudi oil company Saudi Aramco, recently announced a tender on January 19. The tender is for the sale of a spot shipment of propylene with the intention of swift shipment scheduled for the conclusion of January. Specifically, the batch, totalling 5 thousand tons, is slated to be shipped from PRefChem's facility in Pengerang, located in Johor, Malaysia, on January 28-30.

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China records 2.8% rise in plastic products production for December

China records 2.8% rise in plastic products production for December

MRC -- In December 2023, China witnessed a notable upswing in the production of plastic products, reaching approximately 6.98 million tons, said Chemanalyst.

This marked a 2.8% year-on-year increase and a 4.2% month-on-month growth. Reflecting on the entire year of 2023, the cumulative production of plastic products amounted to 74.89 million tons, showcasing a substantial 3.0% rise compared to the previous year.

The surge in output throughout 2023 marked a noteworthy rebound from the downturn experienced in 2022. The decline in production in the preceding year was attributed to the impact of COVID-related restrictions. However, as China progressively eased these restrictions in 2023, the plastic products industry experienced a resurgence, contributing to the positive growth observed throughout the year. It's worth noting that while the overall production increased, the year-on-year growth rate did exhibit a slowing trend.

The term "plastic products" in this context encompasses a diverse range of items manufactured through various processes such as extrusion, injection molding, blow molding, lamination, and more. These products are crafted using polymer compounds as the primary raw material. Additionally, the category includes items produced through the recycling of plastic. Notably, plastic shoes are excluded from this classification.

The revival in plastic products production aligns with broader economic trends, reflecting the resilience and adaptability of China's manufacturing sector. As the nation navigated the challenges posed by the global pandemic, the easing of restrictions and a renewed focus on industrial activities contributed to the recovery of plastic products manufacturing. The year-on-year growth, although moderated, signifies a positive trajectory for the industry.

Shifting focus to the international landscape, there is a pertinent mention of Russia's chemical product exports in the period from January to November 2023. According to data published by the Federal Customs Service (FCS), the export value of Russian chemical products during this period amounted to USD 24.9 billion. This figure represents a 34% decrease compared to the corresponding period in 2022 when the export value stood at USD 37.8 billion. The substantial decline in chemical product exports indicates a challenging period for Russia's chemical industry, possibly influenced by global economic dynamics and geopolitical factors.

In contrast, imports of chemical products during the same eleven-month period experienced a relatively modest decline of 1.2% compared to 2022, reaching a total of USD 51 billion. This data suggests a more resilient demand for chemical products in the importing nations, thereby contributing to a comparatively smaller contraction in import values.

We remind, Wayne, Pennsylvania-based TekniPlex Healthcare has joined forces with Alpek Polyester to introduce a groundbreaking pharmaceutical-grade polyethylene terephthalate (PET) blister film, incorporating 30 percent postconsumer recycled (PCR) monomers. This innovative collaboration aims to provide pharmaceutical companies with a fully recyclable blister pack option that aligns with stringent quality standards for product protection and consumer safety, while also contributing to environmental sustainability.

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Hebei Haiwei suspends propylene production in China

Hebei Haiwei suspends propylene production in China

MRC -- Hebei Haiwei Group, one of China's prominent petrochemical producers, implemented a temporary shutdown of propylene production at its propane dehydrogenation plant in Hebei Province, China, starting on January 13, said Chemanalyst.

This decision was made in order to facilitate scheduled maintenance activities at the facility. The duration of the closure, impacting the propane dehydrogenation unit with an annual production capacity of 500 thousand tons of propylene, remains unspecified at this time.

The propane dehydrogenation plant, a vital component of Hebei Haiwei's operations, plays a crucial role in the production of propylene, a key building block in the petrochemical industry. Propylene is widely utilized in the manufacturing of various products, including plastics, resins, and synthetic fibers. The suspension of production underscores the importance of proactive maintenance measures to ensure the reliability and efficiency of the plant's operations.

This is not the first instance of operational adjustments for Hebei Haiwei Group in recent times. Earlier reports indicated that on April 10, the company resumed polypropylene (PP) production at its facility in Hebei Province after completing unscheduled repairs. The PP production facility, with an annual capacity of 300 thousand tons, had undergone maintenance activities starting from February 15 of the same year. Polypropylene, a versatile polymer with numerous applications, is a key product in Hebei Haiwei's portfolio.

The ongoing commitment of Hebei Haiwei Group to maintenance practices highlights its dedication to ensuring the operational integrity and efficiency of its facilities. Scheduled maintenance plays a crucial role in sustaining the longevity of industrial assets and preventing unexpected disruptions in production. The temporary halt in propylene production aligns with industry best practices, emphasizing the proactive approach adopted by Hebei Haiwei to maintain the reliability of its propane dehydrogenation plant.

As a major petrochemical producer in China, Hebei Haiwei Group's operational dynamics are closely monitored within the industry. The temporary shutdown for maintenance underscores the intricate balance between meeting production demands and ensuring the long-term sustainability of industrial assets. The duration of the closure remains a point of interest, and industry stakeholders will be keenly observing updates from Hebei Haiwei Group regarding the resumption of propylene production.

Hebei Haiwei Group's decision to temporarily shut down propylene production for scheduled maintenance reflects the company's commitment to operational excellence and asset integrity. The propane dehydrogenation plant's role in producing propylene, a fundamental component in the petrochemical industry, underscores the significance of proactive maintenance measures. Hebei Haiwei Group's strategic approach to managing its facilities contributes to the resilience and efficiency of China's petrochemical sector, reinforcing its position as a key player in the country's industrial landscape. As the industry awaits further details on the duration of the closure, the incident serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between production demands and the imperative of sustaining long-term operational reliability.

We remind, Pengerang Refining and Petrochemical (PRefChem), a collaborative venture between Malaysia's major petrochemical entity Petronas and the state-owned Saudi oil company Saudi Aramco, recently announced a tender on January 19. The tender is for the sale of a spot shipment of propylene with the intention of swift shipment scheduled for the conclusion of January. Specifically, the batch, totalling 5 thousand tons, is slated to be shipped from PRefChem's facility in Pengerang, located in Johor, Malaysia, on January 28-30.

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TekniPlex plans to unveil pharmaceutical-grade PET blister film

TekniPlex plans to unveil pharmaceutical-grade PET blister film

MRC -- Wayne, Pennsylvania-based TekniPlex Healthcare has joined forces with Alpek Polyester to introduce a groundbreaking pharmaceutical-grade polyethylene terephthalate (PET) blister film, incorporating 30 percent postconsumer recycled (PCR) monomers, said Chemanalyst.

This innovative collaboration aims to provide pharmaceutical companies with a fully recyclable blister pack option that aligns with stringent quality standards for product protection and consumer safety, while also contributing to environmental sustainability.

The key feature of this newly launched blister film is its incorporation of 30 percent PCR monomers, obtained from postconsumer recycled plastic scrap. The PCR plastic undergoes a meticulous depolymerization process through chemical recycling, breaking down the material into its constituent monomers. Following this, the repolymerization process transforms the recycled monomers back into PET, resulting in a recycled resin that essentially mirrors virgin material in quality.

Crucially, TekniPlex emphasizes that achieving monomer-level deconstruction and repolymerization, as seen in this process, is unattainable through traditional mechanical recycling methods. The end product from Alpek's polymer reactor is a sheet in a master reel, crafted using the melt-to-sheet process.

Melissa Green, the Head of Global Marketing for TekniPlex Healthcare, emphasized the importance of the development by expressing that it represented a milestone for pharmaceutical companies. She noted that, for the first time, these companies now had the choice to integrate a fully recyclable blister pack, which also included a substantial amount of recycled material. Importantly, this option allowed them to meet the demanding pharmaceutical quality standards for both product protection and consumer safety.

One of the notable advantages of adopting TekniPlex's PET blister film with PCR content is its ability to position pharmaceutical companies ahead of impending sustainability legislation. As global calls for increased eco-friendliness in packaging continue to grow, this sustainable film is poised to meet the rising demand for environmentally conscious solutions across various sectors, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry.

The film, when combined with TekniPlex's Teknilid Push polyester lidding, forms a blister system that is fully recyclable in the polyester recycling stream where appropriate infrastructure exists. This comprehensive approach underscores the commitment to sustainability throughout the lifecycle of the packaging materials.

Furthermore, the pharmaceutical-grade PET blister film meets the stringent requirements outlined in the European Pharmacopoeia Section 3.1.15 and U.S. Pharmacopoeia Section 661.1. This adherence to regulatory standards ensures that the film is well-suited for pharmaceutical applications, where product quality and safety are of utmost importance.

To showcase this groundbreaking PET blister film, TekniPlex plans to unveil it at Pharmapack Paris on January 24-25, underscoring the company's dedication to advancing sustainable solutions within the pharmaceutical packaging landscape. The introduction of this innovative film not only addresses the immediate need for environmentally friendly packaging but also positions TekniPlex Healthcare as a frontrunner in delivering cutting-edge, sustainable solutions to the pharmaceutical industry.

We remind, Neo Group, a notable entity in the European polyethylene terephthalate (PET) production sector, has recently announced its plan to resume operations on PET production line No. 3 at its Klaipeda facility in Lithuania. The decision to restart operations follows a period of essential maintenance and is projected to be fully operational by the end of February.

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China witnesses a 1.7% decline in the average utilization of ABS production

China witnesses a 1.7% decline in the average utilization of ABS production

MRC -- In the week concluding on January 19, the average capacity utilization at acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plants in China experienced a decline of 1.7%, said Chemanalyst.

This reduction is notable when compared to the average load of ABS production in China as of January 12, resulting in a decrease to 66.8%.

An earlier report highlighted the recovery of Russian ABS plastics production in 2023, surpassing figures from 2021 after a decline in 2022. The production volume reached 22 thousand tons. South Korean supplies dominated this period, constituting 56% (12.5 thousand tons) compared to 54% (10.6 thousand tons) in the same timeframe in 2022. Following closely were imports from China, representing 30% (6.6 thousand tons) from January to August 2023. Taiwan contributed 13% (3 thousand tons) to the overall imports during this period.

The recent decline in average capacity utilization at China's ABS plants indicates a shifting dynamic within the country's production landscape. With a reduced utilization rate of 66.8%, manufacturers are likely adjusting their production levels in response to market conditions, demand fluctuations, or operational considerations.

In the broader context, the Russian ABS plastics sector's resilience and growth in 2023 underscore its recovery trajectory after facing challenges in the previous year. The surpassing of production figures from 2021 is a positive indication of the industry's rebound. This resilience aligns with the global dynamics of ABS, a versatile polymer widely used in various industries, including automotive, electronics, and consumer goods.

ABS imports into Russia during the first eight months of 2023 demonstrate a notable uptick, reflective of the industry's increased demand. The 12% year-on-year increase in imports, reaching 22.2 thousand tons, signifies a heightened reliance on foreign ABS sources to meet domestic requirements. South Korea's predominant role as a supplier is consistent with its strong presence in the global ABS market. The 2% increase in its share of supplies further solidifies its position.

Chinese imports, comprising 30% of ABS imports into Russia from January to August 2023, highlight China's continued role as a significant player in the global ABS trade. Despite the observed decline in capacity utilization within China's ABS plants, the country remains a key contributor to the international ABS market. Taiwanese imports, constituting 13% of the total, further diversify the sources of ABS for the Russian market.

The nuanced dynamics in China's ABS production, coupled with the resurgence of the Russian ABS plastics industry and the evolving patterns in ABS imports, paint a comprehensive picture of the global ABS market. These trends reflect the industry's adaptability, responding to market shifts, regional developments, and global demand. As the ABS landscape continues to evolve, stakeholders will closely monitor these indicators to gauge the trajectory of this crucial polymer in the international market.

We remind, anticipated softness in global Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) demand is expected for the first quarter of 2024, driven by a slower-than-expected global economic recovery and an oversupply situation stemming from the underperformance of upstream materials markets. These factors adversely affected ABS producers’ margins and profitability in 2023 and are expected to persist into 2024.

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