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Aromatics: Strong olefins margins weak gasoline lead to overhang petrochemicals Asia

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Petrochemicals, Strong olefins margins weak gasoline lead to overhang in Asia

Petrochemicals, Strong olefins margins weak gasoline lead to overhang in Asia

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  • 1. © 2013 Platts, McGraw Hill Financial. All rights reserved. Aromatics: Strong olefins margin, weak gasoline lead to overhang in Asia Singapore, April 04, 2014 Additional media contact: Elizabeth Catalano +44 207 176 6024.
  • 2. First Quarter Olefin Margins
  • 3. Olefins margins trigger an overhang 3 • Attractive margins for olefins and a weak gasoline market in Asia, triggered an overhang in the Asian aromatics market in the first quarter of this year. • "The bullish ethylene and propylene markets prompted refiners to keep high operating rates at naphtha splitters so as to produce more light naphtha for steam crackers [for producing ethylene and propylene]," a trader said. • Asian ethylene and propylene margins against naphtha remained in positive territory through the first quarter, data showed.
  • 4. Access the Asian Petrochemical Data set 4
  • 5. Positive margins for Asian ethylene and propylene 5 • Asian ethylene and propylene margins against naphtha remained in positive territory through the first quarter, data showed. • The FOB Korea weekly ethylene margin hit an year-to-date high of $185/mt on January 17, and FOB Korea propylene margin also touched an year-to-date high of $263.63/mt on the same day, Platts data showed. • The FOB Korea weekly ethylene margin was assessed at $1,375/mt March 28 and FOB Korea propylene margin was assessed at $1,325/mt March 31. • The Asian ethylene market found support in the first quarter from lack of supply from the Middle East and massive turnarounds at regional plants, according to market sources.
  • 6. Aromatics languish on over supply • The naphtha splitters refine full-range naphtha into light and heavy naphtha in a 55:45 ratio. • As splitter operating rates were increased to produce more light naphtha, volume of heavy naphtha being produced also increased. • But, there was not enough consumption of heavy naphtha as demand for most aromatics -- which are produced from heavy naphtha -- remained lackluster in Asia in the first quarter. 6
  • 7. Aromatics languish on over supply (…cont) • "In an effort to consume the heavy naphtha stocks, many refiners kept run rates at reformers at high levels [producing more aromatics and] ... in turn, [putting] pressure on aromatic prices," the trader said. • Run rates at reformers were also kept high to produce benzene, which found strong support during the first quarter from strong demand from the US. 7
  • 8. Make sense of the issues and opportunities created by shale gas in North America 8
  • 9. Isomer-MX prices down 9
  • 10. Asian Aromatics prices fall • Asian isomer-grade mixed xylene, paraxylene and toluene prices fell during the quarter. • Isomer-MX prices were down 10.9% from $1,201/mt FOB Korea on January 2 to $1,070.50/mt FOB Korea March 31, while Asian PX and toluene prices were down 12.8% and 9.3% respectively. • Benzene also fell, but relatively less -- down 6.6% over the period. 10
  • 11. Benzene FOB Korea W2 : Jan 2 – Mar 31, 2014 11
  • 12. Weak gasoline demand pulls down Aromatics • Another factor pulling down aromatics was weak gasoline demand which meant reformate was being used to produce aromatics instead of being blended with gasoline, according to market sources. • This further increased aromatics supply in Asia in the first quarter. "A bearish gasoline market in Asia led refiners to [produce] more reformate to [be used for producing aromatics] rather than to blend gasoline," a trader said. • Bearish gasoline demand had resulted in high reformate inventory at refineries. But as refiners can still make a slight profit by "producing aromatics" from the reformate instead of gasoline, "they are still running aromatics plants at high rates," a refinery source said. 12
  • 13. About Platts • About Platts: Founded in 1909, Platts is a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals, metals and agriculture information and a premier source of benchmark prices for the physical and futures markets. Platts' news, pricing, analytics, commentary and conferences help customers make better-informed trading and business decisions and help the markets operate with greater transparency and efficiency. Customers in more than 150 countries benefit from Platts’ coverage of the biofuels, carbon emissions, coal, electricity, oil, natural gas, metals, nuclear power, petrochemical, shipping and sugar markets. A division of McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE: MHFI), Platts is headquartered in New York with approximately 900 employees in more than 15 offices worldwide. Additional information is available at http://www.platts.com. • About McGraw Hill Financial: McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE: MHFI), a financial intelligence company, is a leader in credit ratings, benchmarks and analytics for the global capital and commodity markets. Iconic brands include: Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, CRISIL, J.D. Power and McGraw Hill Construction. The Company has approximately 17,000 employees in 29 countries. Additional information is available at www.mhfi.com. • Additional media contact: Elizabeth Catalano at elizabeth.catalano@platts.com or +44 207 176 6024. 13
  • 14. © 2014 Platts, McGraw Hill Financial. All rights reserved. 14