Chemical Market Analysis

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Chemical & Associated Industries

C-MACC has extensive expertise in the chemical and related industries. With a background in both finance and chemistry, we offer services that provide market analysis, news discovery, expert perspectives, and valuable data. Our services are used by corporations and investment firms to gain insights and make informed decisions.

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what we are talking about today

Daily Chemical Reactions

Will Crop Production Keep Pace With Bioproduct Demand Later This Decade? Unlikely Without Higher Prices!

Will Crop Production Keep Pace With Bioproduct Demand Later This Decade? Unlikely Without Higher Prices!

General Thoughts: US corn production has been rangebound during the past ~10 years, suggesting that absent a supply boost this decade rising bioproduct demand will favor crop price support – a plus for farm input sellers.

Agriculture Inputs: We discuss recent US fertilizer and agricultural chemical equity performance, and why we think a weaker agriculture economy YoY in 2024 will likely set the stage for constructive sector sentiment into 2025.

Sustainable Agriculture: We discuss an RFP issued by GEVO to identify and secure low-carbon corn for an SAF project, highlighting the significant supply-chain complexities and higher cost of producing a low-carbon crop.

Biofuels: US ethanol production margins have bounced higher from YTD lows, after a strong close to 2023, and we discuss challenges facing airline initiatives mostly targeting fuels to meet their long-term zero-emission targets.

Crop Markets & Demand: We discuss recent crop price movements, highlight recent US soy-to-corn price ratios that favor soy plantings, and flag a few crop production and end-market health indicators worth consideration.

How The Markets Look 

The Weekly Catalyst

Most US Integrated Polymer Margins Remain Above Their 1Q24 Average, Europe & Asia Margins Are Relatively Lower

Most US Integrated Polymer Margins Remain Above Their 1Q24 Average, Europe & Asia Margins Are Relatively Lower

Polymer Market Trends: US spot polymer prices reflect downward pressure QTD but improvement in the US feedstock cost advantage YTD relative to Asia and Europe keeps PE and PVC margins above 1Q average levels.    

Chemical Market Trends: Global base and intermediate spot chemical prices were largely unchanged WoW, with the most significant support being seen in the US and the most notable weakness being seen in Europe.

Feedstock Market Trends: Crude oil prices declined WoW at a similar rate at US natural gas, holding the oil-to-gas ratio near multi-year highs, and Ex-US naphtha values are above the five-year range relative to US ethane.

Agriculture Market Trends: Corn prices moved higher WoW, Ex-US natural gas prices rebounded relative to US natural gas WoW, and the ammonia market shows global support which is a net plus for US producer margins.

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what we are covering

Sunday Thematic & Weekly Recap 

Global Ethylene – More Now See the Writing on the Wall but Much More Action Needed

Global Ethylene – More Now See the Writing on the Wall but Much More Action Needed

ExxonMobil and SABIC announced ethylene closures in Europe will remove less than 0.5% of capacity from a global market that is oversupplied by 25+% and getting worse! Strategies are evolving but need more pace.

Widespread closures are likely in Europe, Asia Ex-China and possibly in Latin America. China keeps building and so does India and there remains an economic incentive to keep building in the US – this will take years to fix.

The pressure to close in Europe is high, but at some point, Industrial Security issues will be raised and then we will get into protectionist strategies which may keep units running but will keep the value chain uncompetitive.

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Valuable insights for critical subjects

Sustainaility & Energy Transition

Money Talks, And Today It Says That Transition and Sustainability Are Unattractive

Money Talks, And Today It Says That Transition and Sustainability Are Unattractive

1st Topic of the Week:  As the European oil companies lament the multiple discounts that they see versus the US, they are just one of many groups focused on transition not feeling love and support from the financial markets. While 2022 was a year of hope, 2023 was a year of discovery, and for many this meant discovering that transition is not as easy or as cheap as had been thought.

2nd Topic of the Week:  Yet, despite the concerns above, we are overbuilding globally in some subsegments, and while much of the overbuilding may be in China, there are plenty of examples where it is not – lithium for example, but also batteries.

Otherwise: We look at the increasingly interesting and rapidly developing CCS focus from the US oil majors; this may prove to be a very profitable move. We also discuss some of the food grade recycling challenges, and why industry is lagging in signing PPAs.

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weekly sERVICE

Hydrogen Economy Update 

Making The Most of Unattractive Economics – Finding the Best Pathways

Making The Most of Unattractive Economics – Finding the Best Pathways

For a hydrogen investment to work several factors need to be stacked in your favor, not just one or two. Lining up all the options should give you a place to start, but it is unlikely that any two opportunities will be the same.

The most common misalignment is where you can find inexpensive power, but you cannot find nearby demand, but sequestration opportunities vary dramatically with geography and jurisdiction, and capital costs vary also.

In our Sunday piece we discussed deteriorating geopolitics as one of the uncertainties in ethylene rationalization globally, and the role of China in energy transition technology and spending remains a wild card.

Investors need to get behind projects where they have a handful of unique opportunities to help drive a profitable solution, but in almost all cases one of those opportunities will need to be a customer willing to pay.

US ammonia and methanol cost advantages remain significant, but coal-based methanol supply in China is keeping pressure on prices and margins – blue projects do not need high prices, but they need stability.

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Polymer Pricing Service

Polymer Price Expectations Report

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