CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

The supply-chain inflation threat to petrochemicals demand

JOHN RICHARDSON AND FERGUS JENSEN | May 9, 2021

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Petrochemicals themselves remain in short supply. This is partly because of reduced feedstock from refineries, a consequence of the pandemic-related collapse in transportation fuels demand.Global petrochemical supply is still edging back to something like normal following the US winter storms in February, during which most US capacity was shut down.

A point of discussion is whether containers will become available in the right places at the right prices to relieve tightness in the European polyethylene (PE) market, once US supply has normalised. The container issue is making it difficult to move PE and polypropylene (PP) cargoes from Asia to Europe.Market intelligence from the US-based ICIS CDI team indicates that enough container freight space will be available to resume significant shipments of US PE to Europe, albeit at high prices. It will be several more weeks before domestic pipelines have been refilled, enabling US producers to refocus on exports, added CDI.

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Vitol Group

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Spotlight

Vitol Group

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