Mixed outlook for European petrochemicals in 2019 as market digests new trade flows

US-China trade tensions were in the spotlight last year across commodity markets, and the petrochemicals sector was by no means untouched. Antidumping duties introduced by China on the imports of some origins of styrene – used to make packaging and other plastic and synthetic rubber products – altered trade flows significantly. One result has been an increase in trading activity within Europe. Growing plastics and fibres demand was behind supply tightness in paraxylene and its entire supply chain in another trend that is poised to continue. Meanwhile other products may have to grapple with continued oversupply – including the gasoline additive MTBE and key feedstock benzene. In a recent webinar, S&P Global Platts analysed the prospects for the European aromatics sector in the first half of 2019, while market participants were polled on the biggest price and fundamentals questions of the moment. Antidumping measures In the styrene market, China implemented antidumping duties on the US, Taiwan and South Korea, ranging from 3.8%-55.7%, with the US attracting duties on the higher end of the range.  The US is a major producer and exporter to China, and the higher cost of imports from the US led to a surge in costs to… continue reading

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Source: CTRM Center

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