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.
Japan's oil and LNG price evolution: On the path to transparency
Updated 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.
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.
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.
North Sea Brexit special report
Published July 2016 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
New Crudes, New Markets
Updated March 2013 (first published February 2012)
The US crude oil market is on the verge of enormous change. Extensive exploration and production activity in new various crude oil shale plays such as Eagle Ford and Bakken promise to boost domestic crude output for these new light sweet crudes.
Russia Crude Production and Export
Published June 2011
Russia remains the largest crude oil producer in the world with 10.17 million b/d production in the first quarter of 2011, which is 1.2 percent higher compared to Q1 2010. This paper shows the trends and changes in Russian crude oil exports to the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, as well as Europe and Asia. The paper also analyzes export supplies to consumers in Asia through Kozmino and the beginning of pipeline deliveries to China in 2011 that highlighted global diversification of Russian crude oil exports.
Russian Crude Oil Exports to the Pacific Basin- An ESPO Update
Published February 2011
Platts editors provide ESPO data for the beginning of regular exports of crude to China. Exports are now around 600,000 barrels/day, marking the end of the first phase of the multi-billion dollar project. ESPO has become more widely accepted by Asian and U.S. refiners, leading to its rise in market value. Looking ahead, production and deliveries will continue growing as more fields are brought on stream.
The Structure of Global Oil Markets
Published June 2010
Platts editors explain the structure of global oil markets, in addition to the different types of oil and their classifications. Learn how physical oil and oil derivatives are bought and sold, with discussions of floating price deals, hedging, and selling long and short.
Russian Crude Oil Exports to the Pacific Basin- ESPO Starts Flowing
Published May 2010
Read about the launch of Platts’ crude oil price assessments for Russia’s ESPO (Eastern Siberian Pipeline Ocean). Included in this report are price histories of the ESPO loading program and related production and specification data.
Russian Crude Oil Exports to the Far East - ESPO Starts Flowing
Published February 2010
ESPO (Eastern Siberian Pipeline Ocean), the new Russian crude oil which recently started to flow out of the Russian port of Kozmino, has been delivered into Asian and U.S. markets. Platts launched crude oil price assessments for Russia’s ESPO—starting with a Singapore close followed by a London close assessment—which provide transparent prices for this oil stream. The start of ESPO crude exports will be a major step for Russia’s oil export infrastructure, which has heavily focused on moving oil west toward Europe.
New World, Old Thinking
Published June 2009
Platts examines the notion that despite surviving one oil price spike, another looms. Insufficient investment, a forecast resumption in oil demand and rapid depletion point to a new supply crunch. In fact, the high-price paradigm governing oil commodity markets since 2002 has risen from the ashes of recession and been reinstated.
Hedging in Oil Markets - Challenges in 2009 and Beyond
Published March 2009
Platts discusses the changing outlook for hedgers over the past two years. The report focuses on how companies are responding to this tougher environment so they may continue to effectively manage their exposure to price risk and their counterparties.
Diesel Dominance and Demand Destruction
Published January 2009
An unprecedented rise in the price of diesel fuel—not speculation, geopolitics or the dollar—is dragging up the price of crude oil in its wake. Our editors explain how demand destruction, along with changes in the output mix at refineries, sent crude oil on its downward ride. Then, we take a peak under the hood of the world oil market to determine if these pressures are dissipating.
China Comes of Age but Faces Growing Pains
Published September 2008
Platts editors discuss China’s growing role in the global marketplace and the responsibilities this entails. Included is an in-depth discussion of China’s energy bureaucracy and the pollution bottleneck that poses a threat to the country’s healthy pace of growth.
US LNG vs pipeline gas: European market share war?
Published November 2016
With the first LNG cargoes having arrived in Europe, S&P Global Platts looks at how the traditional suppliers to Europe are reacting.
European Gas Daily: Platts guide to EU-Russian energy relations
This guide looks at relations between the EU and Russia in different energy-related areas, and gives an overall assessment of the relationship.
Platts guide to Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipeline projects
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.
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.
The North American Gas Value Chain:
Developments and Opportunities
Published September 2012
The exploration and proliferation of shale gas deposits in North America have changed the face of regional natural gas and natural gas liquids industries. The groundswell in domestic onshore supplies has reversed typical supply flows in the US. The shifting ground has extended further down the supply chain as well to natural gas liquids, as those margins are driving the development in US shale plays such as Marcellus, Bakken and Eagle Ford. This proliferation in liquids promises to shift the US petrochemical industry into a new “golden age,” as supply growth throughout the gas value chain promises plentiful feedstock supply for the downstream industry. In this special report, Platts reviews the shifting ground in these key US markets along the value chain – natural gas, natural gas liquids, olefins, and polymers – in an examination of supply and demand forecasts and unprecedented growth in infrastructure projects in each of these market segments.
Japan's Disasters and the Outlook for Gas
Published March 2011
William Powell, Editor, Platts International Gas Report, discusses how Japan's natural disasters demonstrate the closeness of bonds between different sources of energy and regions that are far apart.
Changing Natural Gas Markets
Platts editors discuss the visible cracks in the brittle plates that underpin today’s natural gas industry. The authors point to changes in the global gas balance and the difficulty in returning to the status quo. Also included is a global overview of key countries in this changing marketplace.
The Center Cannot Hold ... Change in the Asia-Pacific Spot LNG Market
During the past two years, most of the companies paying the highest and lowest prices for spot LNG cargoes have come from India and China. With the addition of brokers, banks and a more diverse range of buyers and sellers, Platts editors discuss how the spot LNG market is seeing the start of a profound shift. Increasing liquidity and the rising number of market participants have helped increase transparency, giving the market more confidence in price levels.
A Change of Course for LNG
Published February 2009
William Powell, Editor, International Gas Report, discusses global gas markets as they try to adapt to a new era of highly volatile oil prices, growing LNG supply and technological innovation. Powell illustrates that LNG sellers and buyers are going to have to cope with a changing landscape that can be attributed to major events in Asia.
Uncharted Waters Ahead: Volatile Unknowns in the LNG Market
Published October 2008
In this paper, Platts editors discuss the popularity of the LNG market resulting from new, cost-effective technologies. Despite this popularity, serious uncertainties remain: delayed LNG projects; engineering unknowns; labor shortages/rising material costs; increasing U.S. natural gas supply; and a volatile trading market.
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.
Hinkley Point C: The journey to final approval
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.
Hinkley Point C: The long march to FID
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.
Flexibility, optionality and the challenge facing Europe's power utilities
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.
Renewable Energy Certificates
Published April 2012
If you’re a buyer, seller, intermediary, or state regulator in the US power markets, you know that renewable energy certificates (RECs) have become an essential piece of the US renewable energy industry. Learn more about the REC markets and how market participants can use an independent source of REC pricing data by reading our latest special report.
Japan: Coming to Terms with the Power Crisis
Published April 2011
This report is part of Platts’ ongoing coverage of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that hit northeast Japan on March 11. Drawing on reports by dozens of Platts journalists around the globe, editor Martin Daniel details the profound impact on the global electricity business and commodity markets.
Platts Guide to the UK Program for New Nuclear Power
This insightful guide to the UK program for new nuclear power was developed by David Stellfox, European Editor, Platts Nuclear, to help readers navigate the sea of acronyms and the processes in progress, and to provide the status of the major strains of the programs and activities.
What Next for Asian Power Generators
Published May 2009
The global economic crisis has affected electricity generators worldwide, with no country suffering more than Asia. The robust, often double-digit growth in power consumption that had been the norm for almost a decade was replaced toward the end of 2008 by a sudden contraction in demand throughout much of Asia. This report touches on the 1997 Asian financial crisis and its enduring aftermath.
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.
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.
The Rise of Futures in International Coal Markets - The Asian Challenge
Published July 2009
This paper discusses the growth of trading volumes of coal futures, despite the credit crisis over the past few years and the reduction in volumes traded in OTC markets. The 2008 rush to credit saw the European coal trading community come to grips with this useful risk management tool, but it still remains to be seen whether their Asia-Pacific counterparts will follow suit.
Platts Dry Bulk Market Survey
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.
The IMO's 2020 global sulfur cap: what a 2020 sulfur-constrained world means for shipping lines, refineries and bunker suppliers
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?
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.
A bittersweet '16 for Supramaxes
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.
Latin America’s petrochemical dilemma
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?
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?
What’s behind high ethylene margins in Europe and Asia?
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.
Tail wagging the dog: Is China's MTO the driving force behind methanol pricing?
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.
A failed coup in Turkey could lead to drastic plastic concerns
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.
Crack shot: Beleaguered blenders eye gasoline crack recovery
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.
NWE petrochemicals industry faces choppy waters post-Brexit
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
US methanol – bracing for growing pains amid unprecedented expansion
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.
Chinese ethylene demand and the fortunes of global methanol -- a window for Europe?
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?
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.
China's polypropylene importers battle for survival as domestic supply balloons
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.
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?
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?
Americas Petrochemical Outlook 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.
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
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
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?
European propylene -- Under pressure from imports on a bearish globe
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?
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
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
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?
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.
Contraction of Europe's PVC market
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?
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?
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
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
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
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
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.
India to outweigh Chinese polyolefin demand growth over the next ten years
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.
Production restarts threaten to spoil bumper year for Europe's crackers
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
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.
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.
The shale revolution and its impacts on aromatics supply, pricing and trade flows
Published November 2013
The shale revolution in North America has seen steam cracker operators scramble to capitalise on cheap feedstocks particularly ethane. This on-going shift to lighter feed slates has however impacted on the heavier co-products such as propylene, butadiene and aromatics.
A Lighter Shade of Shale
Published March 2013
The shale gas and shale oil revolution in the US has certainly been a boon to some segments of the US petrochemical industry. But what about the impact on the aromatics markets?
What's Blocking Global Aromatics Flow
Published February 2013
The utilization of shale gas as a feedstock has increase dramatically. But given the lower aromatics yield from gas based feedstock when compared with its crude counterpart this could have an adverse impact on aromatics output in Asia.
Time to get cracking
Published January 2013
The US ethylene industry is itching to cash in on the shale gas advantage. Could this be a year of big decisions for companies considering world-scale ethylene expansion? Billions of dollars are stake and time is of the essence.
US Renaissance May Change the World
Published Winter 2012-2013
The US ‘shale gale’ and newfound abundance of NGLs is touted as the game-changer for its petrochemicals industry. But what does it mean for Asia and the Middle East?
Can shale gale save the naphtha crackers?
According to a report from Platts unit Bentek, over the five-year period to 2016, the development of shale gas exploration in the United States is expected to increase natural gas liquids production by more than 40%. Jim Foster examines the how the changing dynamics of NGL product might play out for naphtha crackers.
Polymer End-User Demand in a Fragile Eurozone
Published Autumn 2012
The European polymers market has been on a rollercoaster ride over the past few years. Since the 2008-09 financial crisis, volatility has become the norm rather than the exception in these markets as consumer sentiment and spending turned increasingly sensitive to the state of the global economy.
End of the Line?
Published Spring 2012
The recent expiration of a key US import tariff on ethanol threatens to put biofuel processors in the Caribbean and Central America out of business as Brazilian product bypasses the region.
The US has rejected palm oil as unacceptable for biofuel production. But Southeast Asia countries – the major producers – are furious and ready to fight back.
Butadiene - Defying The Odds To Hit New Heights
Platts petrochemical editors take an in depth look at the factors driving the global butadiene market and ask whether previous levels of strong pricing can continue in 2012.
Lighter feeds in US steam crackers brings new attitude toward on-purpose butadiene, propylene prospects
Published September 2011
In this special report, Platts editors look at how inexpensive NGLs are pushing heaving naphtha feedstocks to the side and some in the markets are touting these developments as a renaissance for the US petrochemical industry.
India: Changing Landscape in the Polymer Markets
In this special report, Platts editors explore the landscape and outlook in India for the two major polymer markets—polypropylene and polyethylene—in 2010 through 2015. The report incorporates the viewpoints of the producing sector, trading community and end-user group: OPaL, Lila Polymers and Supreme Industries.
Economic Stimulus and the Petrochemical Sector
This paper discusses the challenges facing the petrochemical sector and how the overall result of the economic downturn could actually fast track the restructuring that was already in progress. Platts explains how this could result in a fitter, stronger sector ready to benefit from an upturn.
Surging coking coal costs a boon for scrap prices?
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
This report provides a market overview on the non-ferrous metals market.
GCC's value-add push changes landscape across hydrocarbons, metals
In this special report, Platts commodity specialists look at the GCC's uneven success at moving local production downstream in hydrocarbons and industrial metals.
Iron ore market turns attention to benchmark-brand relationship
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
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
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.
Middle East gas trends increase regional LNG, DRI steel costs
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.
TSI Market Watch: Ferrous scrap adapting to change
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?
TSI Market Watch: Asian finished steel indexing
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.
Sentiment bleak as Chinese mills face tough second half of 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
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
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
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.
Platts downgrades global steel output forecast
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 scrap derivatives: ready for take off
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
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.
Forward curve comes to the fore in iron ore markets
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
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
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.
Platts steel mill economics global spreads
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.
Met coal market shift prompts methodology change
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).
Automotive acceleration fails to boost secondary aluminum prices in the US, Mexico
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.
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.
World Steel Market Outlook 2013: What’s the outlook for 2013? Top steel executives from around the world give their views.
Platts Insight is a series of special feature reports, covering important events and issues in the steel industry which warrant further information and interpretation. This issue focuses on the outlook for the world steel market outlook in 2013 – with top executives from around the world giving their views.
What hurdles need to be overcome for India to achieve second top steel producing status?
Published December 2012
Platts Insight is a series of special feature reports, covering important events and issues in the steel industry which warrant further information and interpretation. This issue focuses on the problems facing India’s rise to second largest steel producer status.
Monthly Steel Review: Producers begin pushing for higher prices, but markets outside US may struggle to accept
Published November 2012
The Platts monthly Global Market Outlook (GMO) reviews market activity around the world, and offers a forward view of steel and raw material prices, supply and demand in each region. This month looks at the battle between producers and buyers across US, Europe and Asian markets , and looks at likely market scenarios for the coming months.
Monthly Steel Review: Asian and US demand look likely to improve – but European markets appear subdued
Published October 2012
The Platts monthly Global Market Outlook (GMO) reviews market activity around the world, and offers a forward view of steel and raw material prices, supply and demand in each region. This month compares Asian and US steel demand with European markets, and looks at likely market scenarios for the coming months.
Billet markets feel the squeeze: Trading and market dynamics from key regions across the globe.
Platts Insight is a series of special feature reports, covering important events and issues in the steel industry which warrant further information and interpretation. This issue explores the different market dynamics around the world with a focus on steel billet, and how trading conditions are varying.
Tackling Europe’s steel capacity issue: With low European steel demand throughout 2012, how will the steel industry deal with the capacity surfeit?
Platts Insight is a series of special feature reports, covering important events and issues in the steel industry which warrant further information and interpretation. This issue focuses on the low demand for steel in Europe throughout 2012 and suggests ways in which the steel industry might deal with the capacity surplus.
Automated Price Feeds for the Metals Sector
The world of metals pricing is changing. Where only a couple of years ago nearly all pricing arrangements were bilaterally negotiated deals for long-term contracts, today volatility and market uncertainty have driven participants to adopt shorter term pricing arrangements. 'Automated Price Feeds for the Metals Sector', written by Managing Director of The Steel Index, Steve Randall, discusses the 3 principal reasons why automating your price feeds can be hugely beneficial for your front, mid and back offices in today’s increasingly volatile environment.
Automotive markets: How Western steelmakers are dealing with differing automotive market conditions
Platts Insight is a series of special feature reports, covering important events and issues in the steel industry which warrant further information and interpretation. This issue focuses on the changing climate of the automotive market and highlights the ways Western steelmakers are adapting to these new market conditions.
The aluminum alloy market – strong but beset with uncertainty
Published Winter 2011/2012
Prices for major secondary aluminum grades in Asia, Europe and North America surged at the beginning of the third quarter of 2011 as the global automotive industry recovered from the devastating Japanese natural disasters in March. As a major consumer of secondary aluminium alloys this industry is especially vulnerable to the economic saga of Europe and North America. This report examines in detail activity throughout the sector and beyond and helps bring focus to the outlook of Q1 2012.
Feeding Frenzies and Famines: China and No. 2 Copper Scrap
This paper discusses how No. 2 copper scrap has become a hot commodity, leaving recyclers and traders worried about covering their orders. Through data and in-depth analysis, Platts proves there’s little sign the supply/demand balance will improve anytime soon.
Anatomy of a price spike: Sugar's big move laid bare
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.
The China corn problem: What will the country do with its strategic reserves?
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.
India and the potential for growth
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.
Cuba holds lion's share of Latin American growth potential
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.
Kingsman sugar editorial: Will they/won’t they? Has the EC signed off EU sugar with a whimper?
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.
Fragmented European biofuel markets: The challenges and opportunities ahead
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.
Keeping up: Dynamic markets need dynamic solutions - a case study on Asia ethanol
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.
Australian wheat exports still challenging despite shipping slot reform
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
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.
2017: EU sugar odyssey sends exchanges back to the Futures
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.