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.