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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Chemical Market Analysis

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what we are talking about today

Daily Chemical Reactions

Shifting Gears – Many 1Q24 Chemical Demand Views Similar To 4Q23, Costs Notably Different

Shifting Gears – Many 1Q24 Chemical Demand Views Similar To 4Q23, Costs Notably Different

General Thoughts: We discuss recent movements in global commodity chemical production costs in light of a few recent producer reports, as those seeing a flatter cost curve and falling prices face more tepid growth investment.

Supply Chain/Commodities: We discuss the Methanex G3 facility delay, flag Celanese 1Q24 and 2024 outlook commentary, and highlight Westlake 4Q results, US PVC margin trends, and other relevant chemical trends.

Energy/Upstream: We highlight recent movements in Brent Crude oil prices and US, Asia, and European natural gas, note impacts to LNG movements due to Suez Canal issues, and flag 2024 US power market curtailments.

Sustainability/Energy Transition: We discuss rising concerns with the availability of low-cost and green power to meet surging demand and comment on the IEA World Energy outlook that, in pockets, could prove too aggressive.

Downstream/Other Chemicals: We highlight freight rate movements showing still high rates between China, the US, and Europe, and we flag the recent rebound in mortgage rates and Home Depot outlook commentary.

Push It – Wherever You Are In Chemicals, Price Support In 1H24 Is Critical To Lift YoY Profit

Push It – Wherever You Are In Chemicals, Price Support In 1H24 Is Critical To Lift YoY Profit

General Thoughts: Chemical feedstock and intermediate costs are mixed YTD, with some chains seeing near-term margin benefits relative to weakness in others, but price support is critical for most to lift 1H24 profit YoY.

Supply Chain/Commodities: We highlight AdvanSix 4Q23 results and outlook commentary, discuss a few items in methanol and ammonia, and note considerable price strength in US crude oil linked US commodity chemicals.

Energy/Upstream: We discuss the IEA electricity price outlook, rising corporate commentary about an upcoming lack of power supply relative to demand, and why this shortage is concerning for the US “green” build out.

Sustainability/Energy Transition: We flag a study noting hydropower, due to its high-capacity factor, should play a major role in the clean electricity build out for industry alongside intermittent sources, notably solar and wind.

Downstream/Other Chemicals: We highlight Oxy views of the DAC market, comment on North American rail traffic as an export market gauge and US Dollar movements, and flag several chemical end-user business updates.

How The Markets Look 

The Weekly Catalyst

Global Chemical Supply Response Likely As Cost Pressures Lessen

Global Chemical Supply Response Likely As Cost Pressures Lessen

Feedstock Market Trends: Global commodity chemical feedstock costs, on average, declined WoW, with US natural gas posting the most significant decline, but Brent crude oil and Ex-US naphtha values also weakened.

Chemical Market Trends: Global chemical market values, on average, increased WoW, with the most sizable gains seen in the US and Asia relative to NW Europe. Global margins improved in support of lifted production.

Polymer Market Trends: Global PE prices rose relative to other polymers WoW. The most significant PE price strength YTD has occurred in Europe and the US, benefiting producers with assets in both regions MoM.

Agriculture Market Trends: Global ammonia values declined WoW, lagging recent global natural gas price weakness, and we also flag recent weakness in corn and soybeans posing as farmer income headwinds.

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weekly sERVICE

Hydrogen Economy Update 

What Do We Do with Intermittent Hydrogen? The Rush for Transport Is One Answer

What Do We Do with Intermittent Hydrogen? The Rush for Transport Is One Answer

As some of the hype comes out of the large-scale “panacea” hydrogen market, we see a rise in the number of transport-related initiatives – maybe because it is used for distributed limited volumes.

Pockets of curtailed power lead to pockets of low cash-cost but very intermittent hydrogen. Assuming you cannot build significant storage, options for use are to blend into a natural gas stream or liquefy for transport.

Hydrogen engines and storage tanks are heavy, but where weight is not as much of an issue – buses and short-haul delivery may make sense – especially in the hub and spoke operations. Otherwise, transport is a challenge.

We updated our cost models again this week and note that blue and grey costs have decreased in Europe and the US because of the global fall in natural gas prices. This is partly offset in Europe by weaker carbon credits.

Otherwise, we look at the dilemma for ammonia – long-term demand but weak current investment incentives. We also study why Chinese power is cheapening, carbon intensity, and why Linde likely has the right strategy.

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Valuable insights for critical subjects

Sustainaility & Energy Transition

Walking Back To (Un)Happiness: Will 2024 Be the Year to Reset 2030 Goals?

Walking Back To (Un)Happiness: Will 2024 Be the Year to Reset 2030 Goals?

1st Topic of the Week: 2030 Shortfalls – The oil and gas companies are not alone in backtracking on climate and sustainability-related goals. As power shortfalls arise and renewable/recycle shortfalls emerge, those dependent on them will need to recalibrate, both at the company level and at the country level – is 2024 a reset year – probably.

2nd Topic of the Week: Carbon Offset Price Inflation – On a related note, we see an increasing risk that too many companies see carbon offsets as a 2030 lifeline, and that this will bid credit values materially higher. While DAC cost should be a logical price cap, if there are insufficient credits, prices could spike much higher.

Otherwise – We look at very high expectations for recycled plastics margins, which imply an expected shortage (not evident today), more on Ørsted’s revised guidance and how that further increases China’s green leadership, another communications own-goal from Origin Materials, and biorefineries.

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what we are covering

Sunday Thematic & Weekly Recap 

Plunging US Natural Gas Prices – Export Incentives Ever Higher.  

Plunging US Natural Gas Prices – Export Incentives Ever Higher.  

Although the US built a major wave of new chemical capacity based on available cheap feedstock, plus added export capacity for almost everything in the chain, current natural gas prices suggest the US should build more.

The step change in US oil production has driven more natural gas and NGL production than new LNG facilities, and its ethylene and propylene units can handle. Gas prices are low, historically so, compared to crude oil.   

We have more LNG under construction and one new ethylene unit, in addition to a few units that are not fully operational – current pricing and natural gas inventories suggest room for more North American additions.

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