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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

Uptown Funk: European Ammonia Margin Improvement, Troubled Strategies, and EU Decarbonization Challenges  

Uptown Funk: European Ammonia Margin Improvement, Troubled Strategies, and EU Decarbonization Challenges  

General Thoughts: We highlight improving European ammonia producer fundamentals and Yara 2Q24 results as we take a cautious view of ammonia in 2H24 before our more constructive views start to materialize in 2025/26.

Supply Chain/Commodities: We discuss the transformation toward building products at Westlake that has paid off for shareholders, the weakness in lithium that has hurt Albemarle, and PPG vs. Sherwin-Williams equity trends.

Energy/Upstream: We provide a price table looking at the drop in US natural gas and USGC ethane during the past three months compared to Crude oil and ex-US naphtha prices – a positive trend for US chemical producers.

Sustainability/Energy Transition: Following Yara and H2Global conference calls, we provide our views and discuss whether the EC can maintain its positive momentum toward energy transition amid still-stiff challenges.

Downstream/Other Chemicals: We discuss US mortgage rate weakness spurring homeowner refinance activities, which could free up more funds for homeowners to spend on improvements and other notable global trends.

How The Markets Look 

The Weekly Catalyst

Can They Hold On? – US Spot Integrated Polymer Margins Near YTD Highs, Europe Chemical Prices See the Most Strength WoW

Can They Hold On? – US Spot Integrated Polymer Margins Near YTD Highs, Europe Chemical Prices See the Most Strength WoW

Chemical Market Trends: US integrated spot polymer margins rose into 3Q24 amid global price strength and upstream feedstock cost relief, creating a favorable setting for the 2Q reporting season for producers.

Polymer Market Trends: Western base chemical prices rose WoW relative to Asia, with Europe seeing the most regional price strength on average, and US spot ethylene being the strongest among the commodities.

Feedstock Market Trends: Brent Crude Oil and Ex-US naphtha prices have increased in the past 30 days relative to US natural gas and USGC ethane, pushing the North American cost advantage upwards.

Agriculture Market Trends: Crop prices fell WoW, implying downward pressure on farmer income and the perception of fertilizer use, though ammonia prices are relatively unchanged compared to feedstock costs.

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what we are covering

Sunday Thematic & Weekly Recap 

Are We Negative Enough on Ethylene?

Are We Negative Enough on Ethylene?

Very high shutdown costs are causing companies with more obvious shutdown candidates to pause, even taking losses for years, and to explore possible sales (even paying an acquirer) as alternatives – margins must go lower.

The oversupply in the global market is evident, and the steepness of the cost curve creates wildly different economics. Optimism for a better 2025 and 2026 is based on incremental operating rate improvements.

More closures will come, but they will likely timed to avoid a required round of maintenance spending where the capital cannot be justified. Eventually, the costs of decarbonization will drive closures – especially in Europe.

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Valuable insights for critical subjects

Sustainaility & Energy Transition

Accounting Carbon: Maybe More Work for Banks and Lawyers than Developers

Accounting Carbon: Maybe More Work for Banks and Lawyers than Developers

1st Topic of the Week: A carbon capture conference in Houston next week appears to have more bankers and lawyers attending than developers. This is partly the conference focus, but it also shows the interest in carbon accounting and trading, with the value of tax credits and other credits critical to project success.

2nd Topic of the Week: We have to talk about US politics, as it is becoming central to almost all client discussions around business planning, not just for the next few months but also for the longer term.

Otherwise: We look at the lower cost of solar panels but the higher costs of power and question stock values.

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weekly sERVICE

Hydrogen Economy Update 

Europe: High Costs and Too Much Focus

Europe: High Costs and Too Much Focus

The Europeans risk bankrupting themselves if they keep pushing ahead with largely uneconomic hydrogen projects, almost all showing no promise of achieving the economics required to survive.

As the subsidy and price pass-through ask rises, we do not expect local governments to react by spending even more public money; instead, we expect an easing of rules to allow a role for less perfect but lower-cost options.

The Shell renewable fuels backdown may have some project cost basis, but the larger driver is likely customer reluctance to pay up for much more expensive products – despite subsidies – this could change for SAF.

We evaluate why China can accelerate electrolyzer development, while European and US makers may get orders and capacity reservations but not much action. Orders for Europe may stall if Shell is a precedent.

Otherwise, we review only a handful of projects – Germany, the UK, and Australia, with only Australia looking plausible, we note the pressure on grey ammonia prices and recap our weekend work on data center power.

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Polymer Pricing Service

Polymer Price Expectations Report

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