Rising interest rates, volatile exchange rates, high oil prices and plastic waste challenge aromatics industry

Fears are rising about the risks of recession, as I discuss in a new one-page summary of the key issues facing the aromatics industry, ‘What does the future hold for Aromatics?‘.  Please click here to download it.

These issues will also be key topics at next month’s 17th World Aromatics and Derivatives Conference, jointly organised with ICIS, along with detailed coverage of the benzene and xylene value chains.

We have the usual strong line-up of speakers, and the Conference will also provide an excellent opportunity to exchange views with business partners and colleagues.  For further details and to book your place, please click here.

I hope to see you in Amsterdam next month.

The post Rising interest rates, volatile exchange rates, high oil prices and plastic waste challenge aromatics industry appeared first on Chemicals & The Economy.

World Aromatics Conference focuses on key industry challenges

Vienna Sept16The 15th World Aromatics & Derivatives Conference take place in Vienna on 22 – 23 November.  The Early Bird discount finishes on Friday.

Co-organised as always with ICIS, we will benefit from the insight of key executives from the global industry including:

THE OUTLOOK FOR AROMATICS
Shell’s Commercial Manager, Europe, on feedstock and product availability
China’s CICCC on what the country’s New Normal policies mean for aromatics
Nexant’s detailed insights on the global aromatics market
Petrochemia Blachownia’s Chairman on unbalanced benzene supply and demand

SPECIAL FOCUS ON STYRENE
Trinseo’s Senior VP and Basic Plastics President on whether styrene markets have reached a tipping point
INEOS Styrolution’s Regional Development head on applications and innovation
ICIS on the Middle Eastern/African markets
Synthos on market developments in PS/EPS/CPS

I will be analysing the potential impact of Brexit, and looking at developments in China and downstream consumer markets.  Biorizon’s senior business development director will look at bio-aromatics opportunitIes.  Plus there will be a session on developments in PX/PTA/PET, and a panel on new trading platforms featuring Gobuychem and New Stone.

In addition, there will be the usual excellent opportunities for networking with your industry colleagues

Please click here for further details and to register.

 

Outlook for the global aromatics industry – insights from senior executives at Amsterdam Conference

Ben, PTA Aug15Aromatics markets often lead petrochemical markets, and provide good insight into economic trends.  This has certainly been true of PTA (terephthalic acid) and benzene over the past year.

PTA demand into polyester and PET is dominated by Asia: benzene’s wide variety of uses means it is a good proxy for industrial production in Europe.  Recent developments have been very significant, as the chart highlights.

It shows the spread (difference) between benzene and naphtha in Europe (green line); and between PTA and naphtha in Asia (red).  Naphtha is the oil-based feedstock for both products, and so the spread is the key measure for profitability:

  • PTA spreads collapsed in H2 2008 due to the financial crisis, but then rallied to $650/t with China’s stimulus
  • They then began a steady decline in H2 2013 as China introduced its New Normal policies
  • They fell to zero in H1 2014, but have since managed to stabilise around $200/t
  • Benzene spreads showed the same decline in H2 2008, but their rally was more volatile up to 2012
  • Spreads actually went negative for a period in early 2009, and returned to this level in late 2011, having been as high as $500/t
  • They then moved into the $300/t – $600/t range until a year ago, before declining and then rallying recently

Both products are thus highlighting underlying weakness in the global economy, with PTA also acting as an important leading indicator for the Asian economy.

How should companies and investors react to these developments?  Should they sit tight, and wait for the storm to pass?  Or should they develop new strategies to deal with a more difficult environment?

These are some of the key questions that will be debated at our 14th annual World Aromatics & Derivatives Conference in Amsterdam on 17 – 18 November.  Co-organised as always with ICIS, we will benefit from the insight of key executives from the global industry including:

  • Bayer MaterialScience’s Global Procurement head, Dirk Jan de With
  • Dow Chemicals’ Corporate Chief Economist, Rafael Cayuela
  • Investec’s Chemicals Analyst, Paul Satchell
  • PwC’s Director, Deals, Don van Neuren
  • Reliance Industries President, Strategy & Business Development, Harish Davey
  • Shell Chemicals’ General Manager Kate Johnson, and Global Strategy Manager for Styrene and Aromatics, Herbert Le Lorrain

A €150 ($175) Early Bird Discount is available until Friday night – please click here to register.

World Aromatics and Derivatives Conference next week

Aromsa Nov14Our 13th annual World Aromatics & Derivatives Conference takes place in Berlin next week.  Jointly organised as always by International eChem and ICIS, it features a must-hear list of speakers:

  • ExxonMobil:  Europe Business Director Tim Stedman will give a global market overview
  • Dow Chemical: Global Business Director Pieter Platteeuw will discuss the future for benzene
  • BASF: Business Manager Klaus Ries will look at the styrene value chain
  • Shell: General Manager Elise Nowee will ask the question, “What about Europe?”

In addition, we will benefit from expert presentations on key issues:

  • International Energy Agency:  Analyst Fabian Kesicki will present the IEA’s energy outlook to 2035
  • BMW: Senior Researcher Peter Phleps will look at how Mobility trends will impact car markets
  • Nexant: Global Manager Stewart Hardy will focus on the outlook for paraxylene and polyester
  • VCI: Senior Economist Christian Buenger will analyse global economic megatrends
  • Biorizon: Business Development manager Florian Graichen will look at opportunities in the bio area
  • ICIS price reporters Rhian O’Connor and Rob Peacock will highlight toluene and phenol/acetone developments

I will also be giving a presentation discussing the likely impact of the Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus on the industry.

As the chart above highlights, chemical markets suggest a major economic slowdown is underway, caused by China’s new policies.  We are therefore in the New Normal world of slow demand growth and deflation.  How can companies create new markets for the future?

Full details of the agenda and registration details can be found by clicking here.

Shell, Bayer, Tullow to speak at World Aromatics conference

BrusselsNext month’s World Aromatics and Derivatives Conference in Brussels has a range of top-name speakers discussing key issues for the markets.

Co-organised as always with ICIS, it features:

Shell:  Global strategy manager Herbert Le Lorrain will present Shell’s new scenarios for the future, ‘Mountains and Oceans’

Bayer MaterialScience: New procurement head Christian Buhse will provide his first impressions of global benzene and toluene markets

Tullow Oil: Oil marketing manager Ben Holt will share the insights of this fast-growing company on the crude oil market

Styrolution:  Global product manager Brian Torrez will outline challenges and opportunities for the styrene market

Equipolymers: Commercial Director Antonello Ciotto will describe how the PET industry is meeting new requirements from brand managers

Avestra: CEO Adam Popov will provide an overview of Russia’s phenol/acetone market developments

In addition, Andrew Horncastle of leading consultants Booz & Co will describe the impact of latest refining industry developments on the aromatics markets.  Whilst Stewart Hardy of industry experts Nexant will review the outlook for the paraxylene chain.

The blog will also present two papers.  ‘Life as a by-product’ will look at the benzene outlook.  Whilst ‘Aromatics and Derivatives in the New Normal’ will discuss how age range and income levels will be key to future industry success.

Sponsored by Integra, the Conference has become a key event for the global industry, and provides an ideal networking opportunity.  Please click here for registration, and the full agenda.

Global Aromatics conference in Berlin next week

Berlin Nov12.pngNext week’s World Aromatics conference is a must-attend event for anyone involved with the industry.

It features speakers from leading companies including Dow, Saudi Aramco and Shell, as well as from the International Energy Agency. In addition, there will be a special session on the impact of today’s record oil price levels. Plus the blog will discuss how companies can manage their businesses in today’s increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.

In addition, of course, it provides an excellent opportunity to network with colleagues. Please click here to see the latest delegate list.