Commodity chemical values increase while US feedstock values fall due to storm-linked US production issues. Though US per-unit profit margins reflect multi-year highs on paper, low production rates limit returns for most. We flag pertinent chemical sector corporate items (e.g., Koppers, Solvay, Oxychem, Siegfried, Chemtrade Logistics, & Venator profit postings; Dow, MEGlobal, Westlake, & Covestro facility updates; OQ Chemicals price hikes) This report’s other relevant items include evaluating the recent surge in Ex-US naphtha relative to USGC ethane, several updates on global ESG initiatives, and comments on current foreign currency exchange trends.
We discuss several 4Q20 reports and corporate outlooks that comment on an array of supply chain issues recently jolted further by US winter storms. We foresee a production response, but timing remains in question. We flag pertinent chemical sector corporate items (e.g., AdvanSix, Sasol, Covestro, China Sunsine, Orion Engineered Carbons, Petronas Chemicals, Versalis, & Westlake profit postings; Multiple production & price updates) This report’s other relevant items include the surge in USGC spot ethylene relative to Asia since late 2020, several indicators incentivizing US chemical producers to lift operating rates quickly, and container freight rates from China to the US and Europe reflecting near decade highs.
US commodity chemical values broadly reflect price premiums to avg. Asia values. We foresee polymer values meeting in the middle of the current range between these regions into late 1H21 before seeing weakness on avg. in 2H21. Other items highlighted in this report: Ex-US naphtha values rise relative to USGC ethane WoW; USGC spot ethylene and PGP values relative to Asia; China spot polymer prices rise as US production issues jolt global markets.
“The math doesn’t work” is a regular retort when discussing many things related to ESG, energy transition, and climate – everything costs more. Governments and associated regulators should focus on mechanisms that create alignment. This would have a greater impact on behavior and on iterating towards an acceptable finish line than guessing what a 2050/2060 solution might look like. In Bill Gates’ book, he states that we know the challenges, but not all the solutions yet. If it becomes both economically and socially bad to emit greenhouse gas and to create plastic waste – environmental and economic goals are aligned. Nothing will be achieved without some economic alignment and possible economic sacrifice.