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INDUSTRY SOLUTION PAPERS


In these papers, Platts specialists take an in-depth look at various issues affecting the energy, petrochemical & metals industries; highlighting current trends, looking at what price history can tell us and drawing attention to things in the future that will be important for market participants.

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'Make in India,' A new window of opportunity for commodities

Published April 2017

The "Make in India" campaign aims to boost manufacturing's share of the economy from 16% now to 25% by 2025. The push to expand manufacturing will trigger massive requirement for oil, gas and other resources. Find out more about the opportunities and challenges in India's commodities landscape.

French Presidential Elections: Crunch time for the country's energy mix

Published April 2017

France is facing its most uncertain presidential elections in decades. The outcome is critical not just on a geopolitical level, but also in terms national energy policy, with nuclear the key battleground. In this special report, S&P Global Platts analyses the impact of the three main candidates’ energy views.

Volatility Analysis: EMEA

Published March 2017

This report goes through the quantitative analysis of volatility fluctuations for the most important crude and petroleum products in Europe: Brent, Eurobob, ULSD ARA, Jet CIF NWE, and Rotterdam Fuel Oil 3.5%. The current analysis is based on February data.

Loop Sour Crude: A benchmark for the future

Published March 2017

LOOP Sour crude, which encompasses the value of both domestic US and imported medium sour crude, has increasingly become a key part of the USGC crude complex and provides a valuable price point for physical sour crude barrels traded and refined on the US Gulf Coast.

The aromatics conundrum and the ever important role of toluene

Published March 2017

As oil prices show signs of recovery, those gains are trickling downstream. This report looks at the US aromatics markets and explores the margins producers are enjoying, with special attention on the importance of toluene as we approach the US driving season.

Ring in the new resin – added polyethylene capacity could reshape North American market - but when?

Published March 2017

Polyethylene market participants have been watching the clock, anticipating the potential impact of a flood of new resin set to come online during 2017. This reports looks at current market dynamics to understand the potential impact of these new pellets.

Middle East emerges as LNG demand center

Published March 2017

The Middle East, traditionally associated with large-scale LNG exports, has become one of the fastest growing demand centers for the commodity. Over the past three years, LNG imports into the region have grown by more than 380%, at a time when deliveries to traditional demand centers have been relatively stagnant or in decline.

Gazprom vs Naftogaz: Gas war to be settled in Stockholm?

Published March 2017

We examine the origins of the current arbitration dispute between Russia's gas giant and Ukraine's state gas company, and spell out the gas market implications of whatever rulings the court makes. What are the complexities of the legal arguments and what are possible future scenarios?

US LNG vs pipeline gas: European market share war?

Published February 2017

The response to US LNG from the traditional suppliers of gas to the European market has already been marked - with gas demand only steady in Europe, pipeline flows from Russia, Algeria and Norway have been significantly up on previous years. Are state-controlled gas exporters producing at full blast despite low prices to retain European market share?

Volatility Analysis: Americas

Published January 2017

This report goes through the quantitative analysis of volatility fluctuations for the most important crude and petroleum products in Americas: WTI, RBOB, ULSD USGC, Jet USGC and Fuel Oil 3% USGC. The current analysis is based on December data.

Bringing transparency to European olefin and polymer contract prices

Published January 2017

Feedback from the market suggests that there’s a dislocation between the published contract price and the actual price that has been paid. As a result we recently made a change to our methodologies. We see this as essential to bringing transparency to the polymer contract market. This report explains the detail of these changes.

Container Shipping: What next for the smaller TEU fleet?

Published January 2017

The world is becoming an ever smaller place and the ability to conduct business with the most competitive companies globally is paramount for survival. The emphasis on customer needs now provides competitive advantage, and in the case of the container market, this may present opportunities for smaller TEU vessels for niche arbitrages in commodities like sugar, scrap or petrochemicals. Can the abandoned smaller TEU vessels become the workhorse for the customer focused container market?

Asia Petrochemical Outlook H1 2017 - Olefins and Polymers

Published January 2017

Asian olefins and polymers markets will mostly face an oversupply situation, fueled in part by a lighter steam cracker turnaround season and fresh production capacity. Amid the supply and demand fundamentals, China’s futures markets are expected to have a volatile impact on polymers markets. This outlook report highlights the key themes to look out for across Asia in 2017.

Asia Petrochemical Outlook H1 2017 - Aromatics & Blendstocks

Published January 2017

Fresh supply is expected to enter Asia’s aromatics markets over 2017, and the timing for the new aromatics plants will be crucial, especially as new downstream derivative plants start up and whether idle plants resume operations. This outlook report highlights the key themes to look out for across Asia in 2017.

European Petrochemical Outlook H1 2017

Published January 2017

2017 is set to be one of two halves for many chemical commodities. A heavy turnaround season in Europe and Asia is expected to see a rise in many commodity grade chemical prices in the first half of the year, before a wave of additional cracker capacity comes online in the United States in the latter half of the year. This outlook report highlights the key themes to look out for across Europe in 2017.

Americas Petrochemical Outlook H1 2017

Published January 2017

If you thought 2016 was intense, fasten your seatbelt because 2017 looks to give petrochemical markets in the Americas quite the ride. It promises to keep players on their toes, with major capacity expansions on the olefin and polymer sides set to come online in the US Gulf Coast region. This outlook report highlights the key themes to look out for across the North and Latin America in 2017.

Latin America’s petrochemical dilemma

Published November 2016

Even as Mexico welcomes new capacity and Argentina’s shale-fueled ambitions grow, the region grapples with limited investment and an uncertain future. This report explores the region's petrochemical landscape.

Iran: What is the state of play regarding petrochemical investments?

Published November 2016

The easing of international sanctions has given the Iranian economy a lifeline to stabilize and grow on many fronts. So how is this playing out on the growth of the petrochemical industry, especially in ethylene and polyethylene?

European Gas Daily: Platts guide to EU-Russian energy relations

Published November 2016

This guide looks at relations between the EU and Russia in different energy-related areas, and gives an overall assessment of the relationship.

The IMO's 2020 global sulfur cap: What a 2020 sulfur-constrained world means for shipping lines, refineries and bunker suppliers

Published October 2016

On October 27 the UN’s International Maritime Organization confirmed a 2020 start date for a much lower 0.5% global sulfur cap on marine fuels. With the uncertainty over, a sharply more regulated shipping emissions sector looms into view, with potentially a large increase in demand for middle distillates. What will the impact be on refiners, crude producers, bunker suppliers, and emissions?

The IMO's 2020 global sulfur cap: What a 2020 sulfur-constrained world means for shipping lines, refineries and bunker suppliers

Published October 2016

On October 27 the UN’s International Maritime Organization confirmed a 2020 start date for a much lower 0.5% global sulfur cap on marine fuels. With the uncertainty over, a sharply more regulated shipping emissions sector looms into view, with potentially a large increase in demand for middle distillates. What will the impact be on refiners, crude producers, bunker suppliers, and emissions?

Surging coking coal costs a boon for scrap prices?

Published October 2016

This report examines the impact of rising coking coal prices out of Australia on the Turkish market for imported scrap.

2016 - A tale of two metals

Published October 2016

This report provides a market overview on the non-ferrous metals market.

Platts Dry Bulk Market Survey

Published October 2016

Despite the recent improvement in freight rates, the second annual Platts Dry Bulk Market Survey has revealed that participants remain overwhelmingly bearish on the potential timescale for a sustained recovery. Of over 120 respondents, some 94% believe that a prolonged rebound will not happen for at least another year.

What’s behind high ethylene margins in Europe and Asia?

Published October 2016

This Special Report investigates the factors that have led to the current high-profit environment. We look into the future to analyze what ethylene markets, sitting on the cusp of fundamental changes, should expect in the coming years.

Trump vs. Clinton: On energy, the stakes are high for renewables, coal

Published October 2016

As with nearly every issue raised during this combative presidential campaign, the natural tension between environmental protection and the generation of electric power has revealed widely disparate positions by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

GCC's value-add push changes landscape across hydrocarbons, metals

Published October 2016

In this special report, Platts commodity specialists look at the GCC's uneven success at moving local production downstream in hydrocarbons and industrial metals.

Hinkley Point C: The journey to final approval

Published October 2016

The UK’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power project's twin reactors are set to be the first built in the UK for over 20 years and could launch a nuclear renaissance in the country. This latest version of S&P Global Platts’ special report tracks the UK government’s approval decision, adds a chart showing how Hinkley’s index linked strike price has risen since the initial 2012 agreement and includes recent news of downgrades for EDF from S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s.

Japan's oil and LNG price evolution: On the path to transparency

Published October 2016

In this special report, Platts looks at the ongoing changes in Japan’s refining sector, potential development of new spot oil products price benchmarks, and the possible development of a spot LNG price benchmark.

Platts guide to Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipeline projects

Published September 2016

How does Russia's controversial planned 55 Bcm/year Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany compare with its existing Nord Stream 1 link? The two pipelines are technically almost identical, but this special report finds many differences in the market, political and regulatory conditions for each of them. It also includes the key milestones for both pipelines, plus a comprehensive map of Russia's current and planned gas export routes to Europe.

Anatomy of a price spike: Sugar's big move laid bare

Published September 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016. A day in which bulls and bears watched as the New York number 11 ruthlessly set aside the will it, won’t it debate and posted its largest one day price surge in over five years. When prices move in such a dramatic fashion in a sector as nuanced as sugar, there’s rarely one factor at play. As the upward move took hold, the industry put forward a number of theories and kneejerk factors that could explain such a charge.

Iron ore market turns attention to benchmark-brand relationship

Published September 2016

Market participants are increasingly looking at the premium or discount at which an iron ore grade – or brand – with identifiable qualities and characteristics, trades at versus an underlying index value. This approach to grade assessments has long been the norm in other commodity markets, where differentials are priced against benchmarks according to type, origin and qualities. But, it’s rapidly gaining currency now in iron ore and related markets, such as metallurgical coal.

Steel futures keep the price party going

Published September 2016

In China’s steel markets this year, there has often appeared to be a growing disconnect between underlying fundamentals and steel prices. Market sentiment has always played a major role but has become even more the case with the rapid uptake of steel and iron ore futures on Chinese exchanges, in large part from retail investors. Buoyed by higher steel prices this year, investors and mills have been making better returns. No one wants to return to the dark days of 2015 and, as a result, there has been a tendency to jump on anything deemed to be supportive of steel.

Seaborne iron ore vs port stocks - a chance in market dynamics

Published September 2016

Historically, the price of purchasing a seaborne cargo of iron ore on a per ton basis has been cheaper than purchasing smaller lots from a trader at a Chinese port. This makes logical sense for the market as seaborne ore provides the main source of the steel-making raw material with little competition from domestic products. However, for the most of 2016, this trend has been reversed with port stock prices generally lower than the seaborne cargoes. This report looks at why and how the market players are operating under this situation.

The Final Countdown? The last stages of European oil-fired power generation and the coming marine LSFO market

Published September 2016

The writing is on the wall for the low sulfur fuel oil used in power generation – at least, that has been the narrative for many years. But even as European oil-fired power generation looks set to disappear within a decade, increasingly stringent shipping emission regulations are expected to create new demand for LSFO on a global scale. Can refineries adapt to this swiftly changing environment? Platts’ latest analysis distils the technical and regulatory developments across the region.

Tail wagging the dog: Is China's MTO the driving force behind methanol pricing?

Published September 2016

Over the last five years, the use of methanol in China has undergone a radical shift with the introduction of methanol-to-olefins technology. Now an exclusive S&P Global Platts statistical analysis shows that changes in polypropylene prices in China can be used to help understand changes in methanol prices in a statistically significant manner, with evidence from industry sources pointing to Chinese MTO plants as the mechanism.

The China corn problem: What will the country do with its strategic reserves?

Published September 2016

While it had been limping along for a while, China's corn stockpiling policy was well and truly buried on March 28, 2016, when a senior official provided details of a new mechanism of "marketized purchases". Less than six months from the next harvest, and with a year's worth of production sitting in stockpiles, the news generated quite a buzz.

Middle East gas trends increase regional LNG, DRI steel costs

Published September 2016

Along with shifts in the Egyptian gas markets and imports, Middle East gas pricing is moving up and increasingly cited for regional steel and aluminum production and competitiveness. S&P Global examines regional DRI steel costs alongside Egyptian gas and LNG trends affecting wider industrial gas availability and pricing.

India and the potential for growth

Published August 2016

With a 2% increase in world sugar consumption predicted by 2020, this report aims to assess the sugar production potential of India, the second largest sugar producer in the world. We also examine Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and some smaller sugar producing states to gage fully the country’s medium-term potential.

TSI Market Watch: Ferrous scrap adapting to change

Published August 2016

Steel and ferrous raw material trading is a difficult matter at the best of times. Add price volatility, substitutable products and a highly price sensitive market, and it becomes even more challenging. Turkey, with a geographical location straddling Europe and Asia is a key customer for many in ferrous scrap. However, what happens when Turkey starts to look to alternative methods in producing its finished steel products?

Platts Asia gasoil benchmarks - next stage of evolution

Published August 2016

Platts is actively considering whether and when to evolve the FOB Singapore Gasoil benchmark assessment to the 10 ppm sulfur grade. This white paper aims to take the discussion further on the evolution of Asia’s gasoil benchmark.

TSI Market Watch: Asian finished steel indexing

Published August 2016

Finished steel prices within Asia over 2016 have exhibited extremely high levels of volatility, precipitating contract defaults on both buy and sell sides. In 2004, when the United States steel market experienced less volatility, it resulted in a fundamental re-structuring of steel pricing mechanisms that calmed commercial tensions and are still in place today. This report looks at the issues bedeviling producers, end-users and traders of steel within Asia.

Crack shot: Beleaguered blenders eye gasoline crack recovery

Published August 2016

2016 has seen a reversal in the fortunes of European gasoline blenders seeking to profit from the value of octane and the components used in the production of finished grades. This report examines key market dynamics and takes a detailed look at key blending components MTBE and Toluene, to understand if the current doom and gloom over gasoline margins could be coming to an end.

A failed coup in Turkey could lead to drastic plastic concerns

Published July 2016

A failed coup attempt launched in July by a wing of the Turkish army had little impact on the polymer market. However, the coup attempt has raised concerns on the unstable state of politics as well as the Turkish economy in the near future, especially regarding the volatility of its currency. This report examines key factors affecting the country’s political and economic landscape and potential impact on the plastics sector.

Cuba holds lion's share of Latin American growth potential

Published July 2016

When attempting to predict supply and demand for sugar through to 2020, the majority of expectations are firmly focused on the growth in demand outpacing the ability to supply. Latin America and its sugar industry has many of the criteria that mean it could be well placed and have the most to gain in realizing its supply potential.

Gas Crunch: The UK faces a rough winter 2016-17

Published July 2016

This report examines both the short and medium-term implications for the UK gas system of the extended maintenance at Rough, and analyses the opportunities open to other supply sources that could cover the loss of UK storage capacity during the next winter season.

Hinkley Point C: The long march to FID

Published July 2016

The UK’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power project's twin reactors are set to be the first built in the UK for over 20 years and could launch a nuclear renaissance in the country. In this report, S&P Global Platts summarizes the project’s development to date, places it in the context of the UK’s ageing reactor fleet and assesses the remaining uncertainties in the run-up to and after a Final Investment Decision, which came July 28, 2016.

North Sea Brexit special report

Published July 2016

What is clear after the UK referendum is that the result leaves huge uncertainty over the UK's trade relations with its continental European neighbors. In this special report S&P Global experts give their view on what the Brexit vote, and its accompanying uncertainty, means for the North Sea and the Dated Brent benchmark.

Flexibility, optionality and the challenge facing Europe's power utilities

Published July 2016

Europe’s baseload power business model is dying. Conventional thermal plant operators have seen once-profitable generation operations turned upside down by renewables. There are, however, emerging opportunities for controllable plant in flexibility and optionality.

NWE petrochemicals industry faces choppy waters post-Brexit

Published July 2016

The combination of currency volatility, varying feedstock costs and policy uncertainty point to stormy times for petrochemicals in and around the waters of Northwest Europe following the UK's vote on June 23 to leave the EU.

Americas Petrochemical Outloook H2 2016

Published July 2016

As we enter the second half of 2016, the petrochemicals outlook for the Americas is one with more questions than answers amid complex developments in the world's political, financial and commodities sectors. This outlook report highlights the key themes to look out for in the second half of the year.

European Petrochemical Outlook H2 2016

Published July 2016

This report highlights the key themes that the European petrochemicals sector faces in the months ahead, including pressure on styrene prices from a potential supply glut as supply returns, bullish benzene and bearishness in the blending components market.

Asia Petrochemical Outlook H2 2016: Aromatics & Blendstocks

Published July 2016

The Asian aromatics market is entering a general period of oversupply in the second half of this year as new plants come on stream. As such, certain aromatics such as paraxylene and benzene will face surpluses, thus squeezing production margins. This reports outlines what’s up or down in H2 2016.

Asia Petrochemical Outlook H2 2016: Olefins & Polymers

Published July 2016

Most Asian olefin and polymer markets will be weak in the second half of the year as tepid downstream demand is compounded by rising production from new plant start-ups. This outlook report highlights the key themes to look out for in the second half of the year.

Sentiment bleak as Chinese mills face tough second half of 2016

Published June 2016

After a volatile first half year, China's mills face tough market conditions over the rest of 2016 as end-user demand softens. Meanwhile, international competitors fear that China will turn back to export markets rather than curb steel production, prompting a repeat of the steel price weakness and margin pressures seen last year. Download this special report for the details.

TSI Market Watch: Asian HRC

Published June 2016

The North Asian export market and South East Asian import market for finished steel have altered radically over the last six years, as have pricing mechanisms in raw material markets. Trade tensions are high, as is price risk – especially during the price surge seen over the first half of 2016. Margins are thinning, once again.

TSI Market Watch: Coking coal

Published June 2016

This TSI market watch looks at how the seaborne coking coal market is now a crossroad in its market pricing evolution. Six years after the first major change to contract terms, development may be starting to lose steam, while the lack of offshore derivative liquidity poses potential to alter the course of coking coal's commoditisation.

Mediterranean longs market: Seeking direction

Published June 2016

The rebar market in the Mediterranean area is looking for a clear direction for the second half of the year. Prices are following not only market fundamentals linked to seasonal demand and supply but also reacting to Chinese oversupply and regional political decisions in North Africa: factors which have hit trade significantly and added to the current market uncertainty.

Latin America's Petrochemical Conundrum

Published June 2016

Mexico's new Braskem-Idesa petrochemicals complex is poised to help the country minimize its ballooning polyethylene deficit. There are enormous opportunities and equally imposing challenges in Latin America, where many petrochemical producers, many of them state controlled, find themselves at a crossroads. This reports looks at the road ahead for Mexico's petrochemical industry.

Platts downgrades global steel output forecast

Published June 2016

In early May, Platts slightly lowered its 2016 global steel production forecast, first published in January. The forecast now sees somewhat weaker global steel output compared to 2015. Global production is projected at 1.61 billion metric tons, down almost 1% from 2015's level of 1.62 billion mt. We see China, the world's largest steelmaking country -- which is still facing structural challenges -- producing about 784 million mt this year -- down 2.5% from 2015.

US methanol – bracing for growing pains amid unprecedented expansion

Published June 2016

Oversupply, logistical constraints and crude prices are among the challenges faced by a resurgent, shale-fueled, US methanol industry that’s looking to change global trade flows. The most recent phase of development has triggered a transition from a net-importer into a net-exporter. However, there are some challenges ahead. This report looks at some of the key issues facing the US methanol industry.

US scrap derivatives: ready for take off

Published June 2016

A key steelmaking ingredient and a widely exported product, obsolete scrap is central to the conversation in US steel markets. And with volatility intensifying in ferrous scrap prices, the need to manage price risk is becoming even greater. One solution is the recent launch of the world's first US obsolete scrap futures contract, a hedging tool that gives participants in the steel supply chain forward price certainty and a hedge against increasingly volatile ferrous scrap prices.

North American steel markets looking to shake off 2015

Published May 2016

US steelmakers endured a trying 2015 with crashing prices for raw materials, finished steel and oil. After a year marked by mill shutdowns, layoffs and depressed steel prices, steelmakers started off 2016 positioned to take advantage of a healthier, more balanced steel market. Here’s a lookback at the year the steel industry is eager to shake off and some insight into what’s supporting the rally in pricing so far this year.

Kingsman sugar editorial: Will they/won’t they? Has the EC signed off EU sugar with a whimper?

Published May 2016

The expectation that the European Commission would at least discuss potentially taking special measures to boost the domestic supply of EU sugar was brought to a shuddering halt in the week ended May 20, when the Commission confirmed the discussion had been pulled from the agenda. The global sugar industry had watched to see whether the EC would intervene in regulating domestic sugar supplies as a final hurrah, or if it would leave the market do its job to regulate the situation as we are coming closer to the liberalization of the EU sugar market as from October 2017.

Chinese ethylene demand and the fortunes of global methanol -- a window for Europe?

Published May 2016

The Chinese economy may be buffered by headwinds but a growing demand for polyethylene is prompting domestic producers to examine global feedstock options. One alternative to Asian imports of ethylene is methanol-to-olefins. This report examines key market dynamics, looking at Chinese PE supply and demand, spreads and margins for alternative feedstock options and potential challenges for MTO.

US Gulf versus China: who will soak up Asia’s surplus benzene?

Published May 2016

As a wave of new benzene plants come onstream over the next year, adding pressure to current benzene surplus in Asia, the biggest question on everyone’s mind is – where will the extra supply go? This reports explores downstream demand growth in Asia and the US, in order to understand where this excess capacity will end up.

Dry bulk tonnage at a crossroads

Published May 2016

The dry bulk market is in a sorry state. It is going through the worst downturn in decades and its main scourge -- tonnage oversupply, is projected to get even worse in 2016-2017. So, does that mean that the future only holds more disappointment for shipowners in this troubled sector? In this special report, Platts shipping editors explore the challenges of tonnage overcapacity, give an outlook for the global dry bulk fleet and identify opportunities that may still be there for the right investors.

Forward curve comes to the fore in iron ore markets

Published May 2016

The growing interplay between index-linked pricing and the derivatives market is driving a revolution in the way iron ore is traded, with trading the commodity no longer a one-way upward bet.

Iron ore floating price trends

Published May 2016

Alongside increased price volatility and a rise in paper trading volumes, the iron ore market has seen a surge in 'floating price' trades in recent years. Could it be going the way of energy product markets, in many of which floating price transactions are the norm?

Platts MVS China steel mill margins

Published May 2016

Platts MVS China Domestic Steel Mill Margin spreads will provide a detailed interpretation of raw material and other costs against finished steel prices to better gauge operating conditions in the world's biggest steel market.

China's polypropylene importers battle for survival as domestic supply balloons

Published April 2016

China's polypropylene supply surge is changing the market landscape. The main reason is increasing domestic capacity, especially startups of CTO/MTO and PDH plants. In this report, we'll explore how the entire PP supply chain is reacting to this, who the winners and losers are, and if China is heading towards becoming a net exporter of PP.

Fragmented European biofuel markets: The challenges and opportunities ahead

Published April 2016

The increasingly fragmented nature of the European biofuels market adds to the challenge of navigating through an already difficult industry for some participants but can also create opportunities for traders as shifts in the way the market trades offer the potential for innovative new pricing solutions.

Coking coal: Coming to terms with the end of the China bull run

Published April 2016

This report examines the challenges and opportunities that the global coking coal market faces amid changing supply ownership, slowing steel demand in China and the fundamental basis of pricing.

Coking coal: Coming to terms with the end of the China bull run

Published April 2016

This report examines the challenges and opportunities that the global coking coal market faces amid changing supply ownership, slowing steel demand in China and the fundamental basis of pricing.

Platts steel mill economics global spreads

Published April 2016

This is an introduction to new Platts analysis identifying key operating margin ratios and price trends globally in the steel and steel raw material markets.

Keeping up: Dynamic markets need dynamic solutions - a case study on Asia ethanol

Published March 2016

A dynamic world has consequences for dynamic markets, and as the US has emerged as the world's biggest producer of ethanol, so the fundamentals of Asia's ethanol markets have altered. That change brings challenges for both the industry and for price reporting. This report explores some of the actions taken to address those challenges and ensure that price reporting is able to instill confidence, while accepting change.

Met coal market shift prompts methodology change

Published March 2016

This paper is designed to provide details and background for methodology changes that will be made on April 1, 2016 for the following Platts coking coal assessments: Hard Coking Coal (Premium Low Vol) FOB Australia (code: PLVHA00); HCC (Peak Downs) FOB Australia (code: HCCGA00).

Methanol battles with cheap oil for olefins production supremacy

Published March 2016

Until recently, methanol held a cost advantage against naphtha for the production of olefins. This advantage quickly evaporated as oil prices sank towards $30/b, potentially leaving billions of investment dollars stranded. The question now is can methanol survive as an alternative feedstock?

Will LPG fuel a petrochemicals renaissance?

Published March 2016

The use of LPG as a feedstock in petrochemicals production is on the rise, as growing supply and falling shipping costs make it an increasingly cost effective feedstock compared to naphtha. Beyond its increasing popularity with crackers, LPG is also being used by propane dehydrogenation plants, a slew of which have started up in China in the past years. Are we about to see an LPG renaissance?

Australian wheat exports still challenging despite shipping slot reform

Published February 2016

Australian wheat exporters have, on paper, still been losing money this harvest in spite of a welcomed reform to the allocation system for shipping slots implemented last year, according to spot transaction data collected by Platts.

Platts decision to change T2 ethanol FOB Rotterdam to reflect Amsterdam and Antwerp loading

Published February 2016

As trade patterns evolve in Europe's key trading hubs, volumes of ethanol in the key port of Rotterdam are augmented by additional volumes in other relevant locations. As such, and after a period of consultation with the industry, Platts has decided to reflect Amsterdam and Antwerp loadings of ethanol in its T2 FOB Rotterdam assessment. This paper outlines the reasons behind the change, how the decision will work and offers example scenarios.

Americas Petrochemical Outlook 2016

Published February 2016

Continued weakness in the global energy complex and shale gas driven expansions in the US appear poised to shape the pricing landscape of key petrochemical markets in the Americas. This outlook report highlights the key themes to look out for in the first half of the year.

US crude exports: Rebalancing the global market

Published February 2016

On Dec. 18, 2015, the US government passed the 2016 spending bill, which included a provision lifting restrictions on crude oil exports, thus ending the quasi ban on US crudes in the global market. In this two-part special report, we will examine current market conditions regarding US crude imports and exports, along with potential export channels and destinations, as the world accommodates yet another oil producer in the marketplace.

A bittersweet '16 for Supramaxes

Published February 2016

While the Atlantic dry bulk Supramax market is in the grip of exceptionally weak freight rates, there are signs of support in 2016. This report takes an in-depth look at what has caused the negative freight environment Supramax owners have been dealing with in the Atlantic since the end of summer 2015, while looking at what loading areas still hold promise of strong flows in 2016, as well as providing analysis of the global Supramax fleet profile and orderbook.

2017: EU sugar odyssey sends exchanges back to the Futures

Published January 2016

With the European sugar market deregulating in 2017, there are many potential consequences for both the EU and global sugar markets. This paper explores the role that Futures might play in helping market participants face the challenges ahead.

European Petrochemical Outlook 2016

Published January 2016

As we enter 2016, two interrelated macroeconomic factors will shape Europe's chemical industry -- China's slowing economy and the length of time crude oil prices remain low. This report includes articles on, the expected outages at crackers, higher benzene demand and lower supply, strong demand indicators for gasoline blending components and the impact of Asian expansions.

Asia Outlook 2016 -- Aromatics and Blendstocks

Published January 2016

What does 2016 hold for Asia's aromatics and blendstocks markets? Tight supply in the paraxylene market is expected, but an oversupply of benzene. Adding uncertainty to the direction of the aromatics markets in H1 2016 will be global economic trends, with many market sources cautiously watching both China and whether crude prices rebound or sink further.

Asia Outlook 2016 -- Olefins and Polymers

Published January 2016

Increased competition among olefins producers trying to hold on to or expand market share amid the increasing oversupply of polymers in China is widely expected in the first half of 2016. How many CTO/MTO and PDH project will survive if naphtha prices remain low? And where will the expected polyethylene and polypropylene exports go?

Automotive acceleration fails to boost secondary aluminum prices in the US, Mexico

Published January 2016

The renaissance of the US automotive sector has provided a much-needed boost for the metals industry in the region. But with new environmental requirements for vehicles coming into force and demand for aluminum alloys initially rising, the industry's hope for a corresponding price increase has been offset by a plunge in London Metal Exchange aluminum values. Parallel to this, a booming automotive market in Mexico is dictating that it have its own regional pricing, with both nations on either side of the border competing for an increasingly limited scrap supply. After consultation with the industry, Platts is launching four new scrap assessments for the Mexican aluminum market. This special report also looks at the prospects for "closed-loop manufacturing" in the aluminum sector, as well as the general outlook for scrap markets. While Ford has chosen closed-loop, other automakers and stampers are not necessarily making that investment, resulting in more 5000 and 6000 series scrap in the spot market. Platts has responded to need for transparency in that market by adding a new price for 6022 auto sheet scrap in the US.

European propylene -- Under pressure from imports on a bearish globe

Published January 2016

The European propylene market has been characterized by supply length in recent months. In addition, supply had been driven by an increase in imports. The question most widely heard in propylene markets now is: How much longer are these supply heavy fundamentals expected to remain?

Who will feed China’s hunger for PX?

Published January 2016

Who will quench China's increasing thirst for paraxylene as its domestic purified terephthalic acid (PTA) industry grows? This Special Report discusses the state of the global PX and PTA markets.

Europe PET -- The impact of changes in supply dynamics in 2016

Published January 2016

This report looks at new PET capacity in and around Europe, as well as imports, duties and the fluctuations in the euro exchange rate. Price trends in both the virgin and recycled bottle-grade PET markets are also explored, along with key factors expected to influence PET prices in 2016.

Entering an oversupply era -- Deteriorating margins for Asian propylene

Published November 2015

The increase in propylene production capacity in Asia this year is expected to put weight on the market in 2016, with the startup of a new PDH plant in Ulsan in H1 2016 expected to tip the balance toward a supply glut.

All Eyes on Latin America

Published November 2015

A new crude reality, declining economic conditions and slumping currencies hit regional polymer markets hard in 2015. This Special Report explores the 5 key issues to track in Latin America in 2016.

Is the party over for Asian styrene monomer in H2 2015?

Published November 2015

The massive turnaround season in Asia and the Middle East, surprisingly, has very little impact on regional SM prices in the second half of the year and the expected pick-up in seasonal demand in the third quarter ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays failed to materialize.

European jet fuel: turbulence ahead?

Published October 2015

The price of jet fuel in the past year has followed the price of crude oil down. Jet fuel is now 35% cheaper in euro terms than it was this time last year. Are European airlines able to benefit from the jet fuel price plunge, or are there other factors at play that prevent airlines from making the most of cheaper fuel?

Contraction of Europe's PVC market

Published October 2015

As Europe's polyvinyl chloride market undergoes unprecedented consolidation, several challenges remain for those that will continue to supply Europe's construction and packaging industries with PVC.

What does Q4 hold for olefins, polymers, and aromatics producers?

Published October 2015

European producers have been celebrating a year of record profitability. But are falling costs and record profits here to stay? And can Europe now compete with the rest of the world? This Special Report looks at the key challenges faced by Europe’s petrochemical producers.

Will Asia's ethylene market continue to see strength into 2016?

Published October 2015

This exclusive Platts Special Report explores how low cost feedstocks are keeping ethylene margins positive, while profitability in derivatives production is pushing up spot ethylene demand. So what has been driving the Asian ethylene market? And will this trend continue in 2016 and beyond?

Asian petrochemicals markets: An outlook for H2 2015

Published August 2015

Markets have gone through considerable turbulence in the past six months following movements in crude oil prices and the ongoing macroeconomic issues in Europe. How does that affect the outlook for the second half of 2015 in Asia?

US benzene: The search for a new normal

Published July 2015

US benzene prices have defied expectations by hovering in the $2/gal range. This is only two years after many wondered if $6/gal benzene would be the new normal on expectations of tighter benzene supply. What has that meant for benzene and styrene pricing in the first half of 2015? And what can we expect to happen during the second half of the year?

Is 'styrene monomer party' over or is round two set to begin?

Published June 2015

Asian styrene monomer has led a surge in the entire aromatics market in the first half of 2015, hinging on China's appetite for petrochemicals for its manufacturing sectors. But as Chinese demand softens, styrene prices have begun to lose steam. Is the SM party coming to end? Or are we about to see further resurgence?

Have EU protectionist measures worked?

Published May 2015

The EU has become increasingly self-sufficient in polyethylene over the past 18 months. Has this been a consequence of temporary factors such as currency depreciation and cheaper feedstock? Or is the EU’s revised import duty system having a more significant impact?

Crude volatility flows into petrochemical markets

Published March 2015

For two years, US polyethylene prices climbed higher and higher, with feedstock prices having little-to-no impact on domestic polyethylene contracts. How times have changed in a world where oil prices have shed roughly half of their value since June 2014.

Connecting the dots: As volatility in energy spikes, the North American resins industry could be in for a bumpy ride

Published March 2015

A clear understanding of the link between crude and petrochemical pricing has never been more imperative. This report examines the relationship between crude and petrochemicals and its impact downstream.

Asia Petrochemical Outlook 2015

Published March 2015

Platts petrochemical editors provide insight into market expectations for the Asia Pacific petrochemical industry in 2015. The report looks at how Asian aromatics, olefins and polymers will fare in the year ahead, as well providing a detailed assessment of events that shaped the markets in 2014.

America's polyethylene prices trend lower to open 2015

Published February 2015

This report takes a look at the Americas PE market and explores how: global resin prices are linked to movement in oil prices, US and Latin American demand is expected to rise and how US PE exports could become more competitive.

Petrochemicals and the slump in crude oil prices: Winners and losers

Published February 2015

This report looks at the short term "winner and losers" in the global petrochemical industry, in light of the recent oil price slump.

European Petrochemicals Outlook 2015

Published February 2015

Platts petrochemical editors provide insight into market expectations for the European petrochemical industry in 2015, as well a detailed assessment of events that shaped the markets last year.

Identifying price trends in the Turkey region long steel sector

Published October 2014

This introduces new Platts analysis in identifying price trends and price direction signals in the Turkish rebar, billet and scrap markets. The Platts Turkey ARC Steel Tracker (Turkey ARC ) has been designed to analyze price relationships of inputs and outputs to regional electric arc furnaces and rolling mills, and the suitability of this model and scope for its data is examined.

Metallurgical coal markets to remain China-centric

Published September 2014

It’s no surprise that shorter-term pricing and China’s emergence as a large coal importer have occurred at the same time. These can be seen as mutually reinforcing trends.

India to outweigh Chinese polyolefin demand growth over the next ten years

Published September 2014

China is the largest polyolefin market in Asia and has seen the strongest growth in terms of demand for the last few years. This special report compares the Chinese and Indian markets and discusses various developments taking place within the petrochemical sector in both countries.

FOB Singapore Beyond Singapore -- Toward FOB Straits

Published August 2014

For the Singapore market to continue to grow, it will require access to greater infrastructure, and given the paucity of available land in the city-state it stands to reason that this will most likely come through crossborder developments.

Production restarts threaten to spoil bumper year for Europe's crackers

Published August 2014

After years of bad news and rationalizations, olefin and polyolefin produces have experienced 6 months of improved margins and higher run rates. This special report looks at the reason for this and contextualizes it within an increasingly competitive global environment.

Implications of the partial lifting of sanctions in Iran

Published August 2014

The lifting of UN sanctions in Iran will provide a boost to a number of the country's industries - including gold and precious metals, the auto sector and Iran's petrochemical exports. The focus of this paper is to look at the impact it may have on Iran's ethylene/polyethylene industry, which has suffered following the recent embargoes.

UCOME and TME pricing: Why Platts clarified its approach to UCOME prices and discontinued TME prices

Published August 2014

Platts’ view is that the UCOME and TME market is better served through full and transparent publication of all discrete pricing information, rather than through a single-point assessment of value at this time.

Glycerine pricing: Why Platts discontinued publication of Glycerine prices

Published August 2014

Platts discontinued the assessments, but not the coverage of the glycerine market, effective July 24, 2014. Platts has observed that the number of pricing indications that exist for the glycerine market is limited by the size and nature of this market. The market is very fragmented from a quality and end-use perspective.

Bakken: The King in the North

Published May 2014

Platts launched on April 22 a new Bakken crude oil assessment representing the light sweet crude traded close to the wellhead at North Dakota terminals in the Williston Basin with the capacity to move crude by rail or by pipeline. Rail loadings in 2014 moved 70% of total Bakken production at 1 million b/d. Pipelines will continue to play an important role due to several projects coming online by 2016.

Easing Iran sanctions sparks hopes for petchems exports, but hurdles remain

Published March 2014

The relaxation of Iran's nuclear-related sanctions has raised hopes that petrochemical players around the world may once again have access to one of the largest global producer's material. But the practical and political realities will make it difficult for these players to reap benefits, even in the longer term.

Winter 2013-14: European gas industry poised for another upheaval?

Published December 2013

Is the European gas industry poised for another upheaval? The European gas market faced some local supply/demand challenges during the past two winters, and 2013 in particular has been an exciting year.



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