• This week spot earnings are slightly higher as a weaker rand, higher oil prices and refining margins offset lower chemical prices.  Crack spreads remain in low but have been steady in recent weeks.
  • Chemical prices continue to fall in Asia and monomer prices have declined for the sixth week and are now around 20% off the peak.  Polyethylene prices also continue to decline in Asia but prices in the US remain steady and at a significant premium (link).  US ethane prices have risen as gas prices increased to more than $3/MMBtu but frac rates remain relatively steady.

Global chemical news

  • The US Department of Energy has launched an initiative to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% within a decade (link).  A Platts analysis however shows that a significant reduction in the cost of renewable energy is required for green hydrogen to be competitive with fossil fuel derived hydrogen (link).
  • Consumer products giant Unilever plans to begin selling laundry detergent in bottles derived from paper beginning next year.  This is part of Unilever’s commitment to eliminate the use of fossil fuels in its cleaning and laundry products by 2030 (link).