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Methanol Price Trend and Forecast
Get the latest insights on price movement and trend analysis of Methanol in different regions across the world (Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa).
Methanol Price Trend for the October-December of 2023
The Asian methanol market experienced mixed market trend during the fourth quarter of the year 2023. Methanol is the key component for making biofuels, and the countries are trying to enhance their methanol blending capacities with fuels in order to reduce their carbon footprints. Because of such crucial applications, methanol is a high-demand compound, and the rapid capacity expansions also tell the same story. The Chinese market experienced a marginal rise as the monthly average spot prices went from around 339 USD/MT in October to around 343 USD/MT in December.
However, the Indian market witnessed some backsliding in methanol prices during the same period as the monthly average prices here went from around 314 USD/MT to about 283 USD/MT from October to December, registering a downfall of about 9%. In India, the bulk purchases by suppliers in the previous months resulted in this price trajectory, but the market sentiments were largely positive throughout the entire period.
The European methanol market was more stable during the given period compared to other major global markets. Methanol price trend exhibited borderline stagnancy as the prices wavered within very closed limits throughout the fourth quarter. These market trend exhibited stability and a balance between the supply and demand dynamics of methanol in European markets during the concerned period.
The North American market trend, however, were very firmly positive throughout the three-month span of Q4’23. High demands from the downstream fuel and solvent industries drove the market sentiments. Antifreeze industries also consumed higher methanol during the peak winter months. So, with hefty demands and constricted supplies at the end, the prices rose throughout the said period for methanol. Overall, positive market trend were observed.
According to Procurement Resource, Methanol markets around the globe project a rising potential going forward. With its applicability, the methanol market is expected to grow splendidly in the coming months.
Methanol Price Trend for the July-September of 2023
In Q3’23, the price trend of methanol inclined as the sufficient supply of product and its stable demand supported the rise in the market momentum. The strong influence of the rising cost of coal and other raw materials supported the rise in the methanol price trend throughout the quarter. In China, the prices stood at approximately 298 USD/MT (Spot, FD) during the first month, from where they grew to 330 USD/MT in September. In addition to this, the increment in the production of many downstream polymer industries also pushed the prices in the northward direction.
In the third quarter, the excess of inventories and fall in the overall momentum of the methanol market pushed its prices into a negative zone. The methanol price trend declined throughout the quarter as the cost of production suffered from a lowering in the prices of feedstock materials. Another cause of concern for the traders was the sluggish movement of the downstream industries and the remarkable fall in their number of offtakes.
In North America, the bearish turn of the methanol prices was the consequence of the weak fundamentals shown by the market. Firstly, the poor performance of the feedstock prices and the decline in the cost of natural gas contributed majorly to the fall in the prices of methanol. In order to maintain the equilibrium between the demand and supply sectors, the manufacturers had to reduce their production outputs, which hampered the overall growth of methanol price trend.
According to Procurement Resource, the price trend of Methanol are estimated to struggle with falling prices of feedstock materials.
Methanol Price Trend for the First Half of 2023
With the opening of Chinese markets after the covid shutdowns, the demand and trading activities increased, causing the price trend to incline during the first half of Q1'23. However, prices soon started declining, and this trend continued throughout the second quarter.
As the cheap imports from the Middle East and Russia continued to arrive at Chinese ports, the upstream cost pressure was reduced, affecting the entire petrochemical industry. The demand kept stagnant throughout the said period. The spot prices of Methanol settled around 295 USD/MT in June '23 in the Chinese domestic market. A similar downward trend was observed in the Indian domestic market, where the methanol prices averaged around 289 USD/MT (CFR, India) in June '23.
The European region showcased high demand for Methanol amid its limited availability and high cost of coal. The soaring demand allowed traders and manufacturers to increase their profit margins. In addition, the export activities also contributed to this price surge in the first quarter. However, the prices stabilized and eventually declined as cheap imports from China found their way to the European markets. The manufacturers were forced to decrease quotations to remain competitive.
The methanol market was influenced by the high momentum in the trade as the demand and supply for the downstream sectors surged in the North American region. The quotation prices of Methanol inclined as the methanol manufacturers were able to hike the prices of their bulk supply. However, the market in the latter months of the first quarter and the second quarter became stagnant as the demand from downstream sectors became flat. With the rise in market uncertainties, consumers' confidence declined in the methanol sector.
According to Procurement Resource, the price trend for Methanol are estimated to oscillate in the upcoming months as demand from the end-user industries is expected to fluctuate, given the volatility in the global market.
Methanol Price Trend for the Second Half of 2022
The third and fourth quarters of 2022 witnessed an oscillating trend in the prices of methanol. The prices were most affected by the fluctuating demand from the acetic acid market along with the rise in the production rates of the commodity. The prices, however, stabilized during October only to decline in the subsequent months. The declining prices, weak demand from the domestic region, oversupply of the product, and meek future scope led to the downward trajectory in the price trend for methanol.
A drastic fall in prices was observed in the third quarter of 2022 in the European region. The prices stumbled as the producers struggled to find an alternative fuel as the market for natural gas remained uncertain. For a short period, the prices recovered due to the limited supply of products in the region. The fourth quarter witnessed low demand and high inventory rates along with weak economic conditions which aided the declining methanol prices in the region.
The rising fuel prices and slow export of the commodity led to weak market conditions in the North American region. The prices also were severely affected by the uncertainties in the costs of energy production and restricted purchasing by the buyers. The rise in inventory levels due to sluggish demand and overall slow market dynamics resulting in low levels of inquiries from naphtha and related industries fueled the declining trajectory of methanol prices.
According to Procurement Resource, the price trend for methanol are estimated to surge in the upcoming quarter as the demand from end-user industries is expected to rise and the global economic market conditions are expected to improve.
For the Second Quarter of 2022
Throughout the second quarter, the Chinese methanol market remained sluggish and fluctuating. Owing to the rising global oil prices, the Asian petrochemical industry suffered, driving the prices of downstream chemicals. The weakened market sentiment due to the wait-and-see attitude of the buyers amid the increasing interest rates and speculation of potential recession provided the extra nudge for price trend to remain on the lower side of the scale.
The contract prices of methanol for North East Asia and South East Asia went from 400 USD/MT in April 2022 to 362 USD/MT in June 2022. The spot prices of CFR China Main Ports went from 380 USD/MT in April 2022 to 345 USD/MT in June 2022.
During the period, the methanol industry operating costs improved slightly due to increased production from Iran; however, soon, the relief fell short due to an unplanned plant turnaround in Europe amid the surging energy costs. Due to the solid downstream demand, the methanol prices remained strong across the European market.
The contract price of the chemical FOB Rotterdam T2 went from 593 USD/MT in April 2022 to 583 USD/MT in June 2022. Methanol spot prices went from 396 USD/MT in April 2022 to 392 USD/MT in June 2022 FOB Rotterdam T2 after witnessing a slight slump in May spot prices, i.e., 378 USD/MT.
The price trend for methanol remained firm in the US domestic market because of the strong market sentiment and surging prices of energy. The contract price of the chemical averaged 610 USD/MT FOB US Gulf Coast in June 2022, whereas the FOB USGS spot price averaged 357 USD/MT.
According to Procurement Resource, Methanol prices might see a see-saw trend. Initially, the prices are projected to go southwards amidst higher natural gas prices, killing the end-user demand. However, the prices might see a resurrection if the manufacturers could hop on different sources. Also, once the stockpile picks up consumption, prices might see an upward trend later. Overall, the price trend for Methanol is expected to totter.
For the First Quarter of 2022
The market in China was weak in the beginning of the year 2022 with methanol prices close to 2395 RMB/MT. However, the prices witnessed an upward trend by the end of January rising gradually to above 2670 RMB/MT. This upward trend in methanol prices continued in February and prices reached to 2762 RMB/MT. This was followed by a sharp decline in prices by the month end which observed prices to drop below 2670 RMB/MT.
In March 2022, the industrial methanol prices gained momentum and began to rise steadily. Within the first two weeks of the month, the prices soared above 3129 RMB/MT. The prices came down for a short while in the following days, dropping close to 2762 RMB/MT but again picked up pace within a few days and remained above 3000 RMB/MT till the end of the quarter.
For the Fourth Quarter of 2021
In India, peak demand for methanol was noted in this quarter, when prices soared to 652 USD/MT ex-Delhi NCR. Methanol prices had started to fall in most parts of Asia since then. Feedstock with low value Natural gas had kept the prices in the region under pressure. The chemical is primarily imported from the Middle East in India, and traders had noticed a sharp drop in its offers as its major manufacturers continued to implement negative price revisions in line with feedstock values.
The pricing trend of methanol showed an upward trajectory during the last week of December as Ex-works Mumbai prices rose to 418 USD/MT on December 28th, 2021. Due to significant demand from downstream industries, several Asian producers raised their prices. Increased natural gas pricing and usage had a favourable impact on the price fluctuations of methanol in the country. Improved trading activity in the Asian market had also helped the Indian pricing trend.
Methanol prices were rising in Q4 due to increased demand in the downstream industry. Fears about a new COVID-19 subtype discovered in Southern Africa sparked market volatility in November, sending stocks soaring across the board. Prices had risen, with an Ex-Works Louisiana price of 645 USD/MT published on November 19th. The usage of the chemical in the vehicle sector was expected to increase towards the end of Q4 2021. As its demand as a fuel increased, so did the sales revenue of the two major US Methanol marketers, Methanex and Southern Chemical.
Prices in Germany were seen to be increasing in Q4 till the 22nd of October, with a price range of 575 USD/MT to 604 USD/MT CFR Hamburg. The company's downstream MTBE and Acetic Acid products remained in high demand. Because domestic output was insufficient to meet demand, imports were further hampered by significant increases in freight costs.
Methanol prices began to fall in November, and on November 26, they fell to 550 USD/MT CFR Hamburg. This trend was caused by excess methanol production in the region combined with a weak downstream demand. The price momentum was evident in December, when European contract prices were negotiated at 556 USD/MT, with spot prices in Rotterdam finishing more than 5% higher.
In the last quarter, the market recorded the lowest price in Mexico on December 7, 280 USD/MT. The Brazilian market remained at 210 USD/MT.
For First, Second and Third Quarters of 2021
Throughout the first quarter of 2021, Asian supply was constrained, and prices were first increased in January and February before falling until the conclusion of the quarter. The shift in costs was caused by a number of factors, one of which was the Chinese Lunar Holidays, which impacted overall production in the country, resulting in lower inventory levels and shortages around the region. Another factor was the rise in European methanol prices, which in February were close to 430 USD/MT. Furthermore, Methanex, a global producer, announced the closure of its Waitara Valley production facility in New Zealand, citing commercial losses as the reason for the shutdown.
During the third quarter, methanol prices in the Asia Pacific region rose, followed by stable offtakes from downstream sectors despite tight supply conditions. Methanol's increasing trend in Asia reached a new high in the last week of September, with China and India providing the majority of the driving force. Furthermore, because the chemical is mostly produced in China via the coal route, steady increases in coal costs since the beginning of Q3 had put upward pressure on its fundamentals in the regional market.
Participants procured the cargoes from the Middle East during the local scarcity, resulting in a large increase in methanol prices in the country. Prices in India continued to rise in Q3 due to restricted availability of the product in the local market, primarily in Northeast Asia. They increased little in the third quarter, rising from 422 USD/MT to 449 USD/MT.
Methanol supply in Europe remained limited, despite mild demand from the domestic market. Due to many plant failures across North America, imports were kept to a bare minimum in the region. Because of the high import demand from various Asian nations, the local price surged in the first part of the quarter, but then began to decline as supply began to improve.
Demand stayed high in Q3 of 2021, owing to a scarcity of raw materials and restricted local production. Imports from the United States were limited since a key plant, YCI, did not begin manufacturing methanol until the third quarter. Furthermore, OCIS's plant in the Netherlands was operating at full capacity. In September, prices jumped to 475 USD/MT CFR Hamburg. The pricing was projected to grow even more in Q4 as a result of restricted international imports and rising demand. Several participants, however, believed that rising imports from the United States would help to stabilise supplies.
Due to a winter storm that swept through the Gulf of Mexico, North America had a major shortage of methanol and numerous other chemicals. Production in Texas was completely halted, while some plants in Louisiana were forced to shut down. The storm interrupted close to 90% of North America's total methanol production in mid-April, according to estimates.
Furthermore, due to several facility closures, imports from South America remained low. Mitsubishi's Metanol de Oriente plant in Venezuela, which has a capacity of 750,000 MT per year, had a turnaround in January. In addition, Methanex decided to keep its factory in Trinidad, which had a production capacity of 600,000 MT, shut down indefinitely. Contract price finalised by Methanex Corp., extended strong gains.
During Q3 2021, the overall pricing outlook for methanol increased significantly in the North American region. Hurricane Ida, which made landfall on August 29th in Louisiana, caused the shutdown of leading industrial plants including Methanex's Geismar plants with a capacity of 1 MMT/year and YCI's St. James Methanol facility with a capacity of 1.7 MMT/year. Methanex's Geismar plant was shut down for the majority of September, resulting in a tight supply during the quarter. Spot prices in the first week of October were 610 USD/MT Ex-Works Louisiana, up 12.5% from the end of August.
Brazil's price remained the same at 210 USD/MT in 2021. Methanol prices in Mexico were highly volatile, with an overall increase. In Mexico, prices rose from 330 USD/MT to 370 USD/MT, with the lowest price recorded at 280 USD/MT on December 7th, then remaining stable at 370 USD/MT. The Mexican market was highly affected by the American methanol market.
For the Year 2020
Despite reduced Middle Eastern supply, the Asian market remained volatile. Despite the lifting of lockdown restrictions in various economies at the end of Q2 2020, export volumes to Southeast Asia remained affected by the pandemic.
Slowing demand from the downstream formaldehyde and solvent sectors, which account for the majority of regional demand, resulted in rising stockpiles at Indian, Thai, and Singapore ports. Spot prices in China hit new lows in June, owing to a surge in imported cargoes that pushed margins further lower. Although the country appeared to be recovering from the effects of the pandemic, downstream demand has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. In December, price in Asia was recorded at 350 USD/MT.
The price in 2020 in Germany was estimated at 240 USD/MT in January and 260 USD/MT in December. The lowest price was recorded in August, at 276 USD/MT. It was because of the overall demand in the market for industries like downstream formaldehyde and solvent sectors during covid restrictions. Overall, the market lost value compared to the previous year.
Coronavirus harmed the North American Methanol industry's Q2 demand outlook, which was mostly influenced by weakening dynamics in the US market. Prices on the US Gulf Coast fell to nearly four-year lows, as the country continued to lead the globe in terms of infection rates.
While downstream demand remained basically unchanged from April, reduced gasoline blending due to weaker demand fundamentals worsened the price decline. Several US companies, like as Celanese and LyondellBasell, had lowered their annual capex plans and postponed their tentative plant expansions as a result of the continuing market dullness.
In 2020, Brazilian methanol prices were unstable from January to June, fluctuating between 260 USD/MT and 285 USD/MT, following which they remained stable from June to December at 210 USD/MT. It was due to market dullness seen in the American methanol industry due to COVID.
Procurement Resource provides latest prices of Methanol. Each price database is tied to a user-friendly graphing tool dating back to 2014, which provides a range of functionalities: configuration of price series over user defined time period; comparison of product movements across countries; customisation of price currencies and unit; extraction of price data as excel files to be used offline.
Methanol, a polar solvent, is a colourless, reasonably volatile liquid. It has a faintly sweet pungent odour like that of ethyl alcohol. It can be thoroughly dissolved in water. The vapours of Methanol are slightly heavier than air.
|Antifreeze agent, Solvent, Fuel, Denaturant for Ethanol, Biodiesel
|67-56-1, Methyl alcohol, Methyl alcohol, Wood alcohol, Wood spirit
|Zagros Petrochemical Co., Sichuan Lutianhua Co., Ltd., Methanex Corporation, Ar-Razi Saudi Methanol Co. (SABIC), Yankuang Group, Proman AG
|Asia Pacific: China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Iran, Thailand, South Korea, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Nepal, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, UAE, Israel, Hongkong, Singapore, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Australia, and New Zealand
Europe: Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Russia, Turkey, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Ireland Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Romania, Finland, Czech Republic, Portugal and Greece
North America: United States and Canada
Latin America: Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Columbia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru
Africa: South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco
|US$ (Data can also be provided in local currency)
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The production process of Methanol starts from syn gas. The process requires proper conditions such as high pressure and moderate temperatures where carbon monoxide and hydrogen react over a catalyst such as a mixture of copper and zinc oxides to produce methanol.
The displayed pricing data is derived through weighted average purchase price, including contract and spot transactions at the specified locations unless otherwise stated. The information provided comes from the compilation and processing of commercial data officially reported for each nation (i.e. government agencies, external trade bodies, and industry publications).
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