• The oil price as well as refining margins retreated this week, pulling Sasol’s spot earnings a little deeper into the red.  The stronger rand contributed to lower earnings but should actually assist FY20 earnings as year-end hedge losses will be lower.
  • Chemical prices continue to rebound in Asia with ethylene up another 10%.  Ethylene is now up 85% since the end of April.  While Asian polyethylene prices moved higher, US export prices remain flat.  US margins continue to move lower as ethane prices increase.

Global chemical news

  • Plastic traders in the US report a significant increase in polyethylene trading and volumes were back up to levels seen in 1Q.  Volumes are higher than a year ago.  Monomer market remain slow (link).
  • Google has published mobility data that shows changes in visits to certain places like grocery stores within a geographic area.  The data is presented on a relative basis and shows that in South Africa, visits to workplaces remain 48% below baseline (before lockdown) and people staying at home is at 26% above baseline.  This could provide insight into fuel demand in the country (link).  The data shows significant increases in visits to retail centres in recent weeks.