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Insight | Time: Oct 15 2021 11:32AM
PX-naphtha spread widens on rising PTA operating rate
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China PX supply available was ample with inventory rising after the holiday in the beginning of Oct. PX-naphtha spread was under pressure, hitting this year’s low point. However, with crude oil price staying firm at historical high, PX price got supported, rising 6% from the beginning of Oct to $934/mt CFR as of Sep 13.


Due to low PX-naphtha spread, some plants outside China either cut operating rates or shut for maintenance. Japan’s ENEOS cut the operating rate of its PX unit by 10% on Oct, and its 680kt/yr PX plant at Kashima remained shut which was shut on Sep 8 after fire. South Korea’s GS shut its 400kt/yr PX plant on Oct 7 for 45-day maintenance. Taiwan’s FCFC shut its 950kt/yr PX plant on Oct 12 for 3-week maintenance. South Korea’s Lotte shut its 500kt/yr PX plant on Oct 12 for 35-day maintenance. In addition, NSRP’s 700kt/yr PX plant in Vietnam was shut unexpectedly and was poised to restart on Oct 18.


The rapid squeeze in PX margin was mainly caused by disruptions of China domestic PTA plants. Due to dual controls policy and unexpected issues, PTA plant operating rate declined sharply by 14.1 percentage points from end-Sep to 58.9% on Oct 9. Billion cut the operating rate of its 2.5 million mt/yr PTA plant to 50% on Sep 19, and was expected to recover in mid-Oct. Fuhua reduced PTA operating rate by 20% to 70% on Sep 30 and had recovered to 90%. Hengli shut its 2.5 million mt/yr PTA plant on Oct 8 for maintenance lasting 2 weeks. Yisheng Dalian shut its PTA plants with capacity of 6 million mt/yr on Oct 8 for 4 days. Jiaxing (Tongkun) shut its 1.5 million mt/yr PTA plant on Oct 9 temporarily. In addition, Honggang (Shenhong) shut its two PTA lines with combined capacity of 4 million mt/yr on Sep 14 and Sep 15 respectively.


Currently, yuan PTA processing spread hovers high, incentivizing producers to keep high operating rates. Some previously-shut plants have also restarted. Yisheng Dalian is ramping up the operating rates of its PTA plants. Honggang’s second PTA line is expected to resume production on Oct 14, and Billion’s 2.5 million mt/yr PTA plant will also raise operating rate. In addition, Sinopec Yangzi restarted its 600kt/yr PTA plant on Oct 9 and resumed production on Oct 11. Sichuan Energy Investment restarted its 1 million mt/yr PTA plant on Oct 9 and resumed production on Oct 12.


In the short term, PTA plant operating rate is expected to recover to around 80% in China. With PX demand and supply improving, PX-naphtha spread is expected to widen gradually. However, compared to PTA, PX inventory is still high. PX-naphtha is anticipated to hover in the range of $180-200/mt in the short term.

[RISK DISCLAIMER] All opinions, news, analysis, prices or other information contained on this report is provided by analyst of Zhejiang Huarui Information Consulting Co., Ltd (CCFGroup) as general market commentary and does not constitute investment advice. CCFGroup will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to, any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information.
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