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

Weights & Measures – Moderating End-Product Prices to Hurt Supplier Margins; Can Capacity Meet Surging Power Needs?

Weights & Measures – Moderating End-Product Prices to Hurt Supplier Margins; Can Capacity Meet Surging Power Needs?

General Thoughts: US wholesale good price inflation is slowing, and the global consumer push toward cheaper goods is underway, which we view as unfavorable for margin improvement in many chemical chains in 2H24.

Supply Chain/Commodities: We discuss recent strength in copper prices, announced technologies, and capacity growth in critical minerals to lift supply, as well as consensus views for tightness to favor oversupply in some areas.

Energy/Upstream: US power capacity additions will likely set a record in 2024, with most of the additions being in wind and solar. However, capacity growth through 2030 appears likely to struggle to meet the demand surge.

Sustainability/Energy Transition: We discuss the anti-ESG movement in the US and its developments across a few states, and we view perceived issues with project incentives and permitting as unfavorable for energy transition.

Downstream/Other Chemicals: US and Europe interest rates surged post-COVID relative to China, and we discuss the potential for falling Western rates to stoke consumer demand and a likely push toward cheap Chinese goods.

How The Markets Look 

The Weekly Catalyst

Mixed Emotions – US Spot Polyolefin Price Strength Links to Supply Concerns, As Other Regions Deal With Oversupply

Mixed Emotions – US Spot Polyolefin Price Strength Links to Supply Concerns, As Other Regions Deal With Oversupply

Chemical Market Trends: US spot polymer prices generally reflect strength relative to overseas markets WoW, with US polyethylene (PE) reflecting the most strength and NW Europe polypropylene (PP) being the weakest.

Polymer Market Trends: Global base and intermediate spot chemical prices were mixed WoW, and we note the FM declaration at Celanese on acetic acid and VAM, and SABIC production issues in Mexico due to drought.  

Feedstock Market Trends: The North American chemical production cost advantage lessened relative to most peers abroad WoW, as US natural gas and ethane prices rose relative to Ex-US natural gas and naphtha prices.

Agriculture Market Trends: Global ammonia values were largely unchanged WoW, with strength in US natural gas prices hurting domestic producer margins relative to peer Ex-US ammonia production margins last week.

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what we are covering

Sunday Thematic & Weekly Recap 

Global Trade – The Greatest Risk for the Next Two Years?  

Global Trade – The Greatest Risk for the Next Two Years?  

Geopolitics threatens a global industrial, manufacturing, and retail model that has evolved over the last 30-plus years through increasing globalization and supply chains that depend on trade. Reversal would be dislocating.

We already have plenty of relative cost issues, with haves and have-nots on cheap energy and labor. These cost issues have caused trade to evolve into today’s interdependence between countries globally.  

Unpopular actions by Russia, China, and some in the Middle East cause reactions from others that generally focus on trade (sanctions and tariffs). Rising populism in the US and much of Europe suggests more trade risk.

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Valuable insights for critical subjects

Sustainaility & Energy Transition

Optimizing The Value in Waste Plastic – Is It to Make More Plastic?

Optimizing The Value in Waste Plastic – Is It to Make More Plastic?

1st Topic of the Week: The drive for plastics recycling is too prescriptive and will likely drive too much expense for products that may also not have the best carbon footprints. Recycle mandates, especially in Europe, could drive severe spikes in pricing when supply runs short, which seems likely given limited incentives to invest today.   

2nd Topic of the Week: Mandates run the second risk that they can be repealed if the political will to enforce them is not there, and the recent results in Europe suggest eventual change – perhaps not from sustainability goals but from the ideology that is driving costs higher than they need to be    

Otherwise: We look at why offshore wind may be good for consumers but not industry, and we compare very different sustainability messages from OMV and Westlake this week.

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weekly sERVICE

Hydrogen Economy Update 

Whatever It Takes: If Governments Are Serious About the Hydrogen Economy, Incentives Need to Rise

Whatever It Takes: If Governments Are Serious About the Hydrogen Economy, Incentives Need to Rise

Incentives to promote the hydrogen economy are insufficient today, and without a fix we will fall short of all ambitions for hydrogen. We need sufficient incentives today to start building the infrastructure for tomorrow.

While blue hydrogen cannot begin to meet the needs of the expected global market, even this important opportunity is being held back because the economics are not certain enough to raise funds: projects need help.

The green market is power constrained, and we need a workaround to maintain momentum in the equipment markets such that there is sufficient investment to meet future demand. We risk 3-4 years of stagnation.

Not focusing on carbon intensity, and instead on colors and sources, will cost Europe far more to develop a clean hydrogen economy than we will see in the US – the money required will likely be politically unpopular.

Otherwise, we do not see many new projects, and almost nothing getting through FID. Concerns are still rising around power demand – for data centers and AI, rather than EVs and energy transition.

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Polymer Pricing Service

Polymer Price Expectations Report

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