For the First Quarter of 2022
During the first half of the quarter, methyl alcohol prices in China remained on the higher end due to robust market sentiment and limited product availability. In the second part of the quarter, however, prices declined due to fewer storage alternatives; its inventories remained high in East China since cargoes are often employed for position-taking on futures markets and are only seldom delivered. Ample demand for oil storage reduced the availability of the chemical. Methyl alcohol prices in the provincial market were depressed by adequate supply and weak demand. On the premise of a fresh Iranian methyl alcohol supply in March and stronger nearby productions, market mood in China softened as natural gas cutbacks in China's southwest relaxed with the onset of warmer weather. Comparing the first quarter of 2022 with the previous quarter, a decline of 13.6% in the price was noted.
In this quarter, methyl alcohol prices increased with each succeeding month, and the Russia-Ukraine war kept prices high. Following Moscow's activity in eastern Ukraine this quarter, Germany paused the certification process for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline due to an increase in seasonal demand, an increase in the cost of scrap metal, and a worry that energy prices will continue to rise. However, methyl alcohol prices decreased during the final week of March as demand from gasoline blending decreased somewhat, resulting in a little decrease in methyl alcohol pricing. At the conclusion of the quarter, the price of the chemical Germany was reported to be 580 USD/MT FD Hamburg. In comparison to the fourth quarter of 2021, methyl alcohol prices increased by 4.4% during this period.
In January, the price of the chemical was 616 USD/MT Ex-Louisiana, which was supported by the scarcity of natural gas in the U.S. market and the high demand throughout the cold winter. The price reached a new high of 660 USD/MT at the conclusion of the quarter due to a supply deficit and a decrease in production rates from the main producers. The expansion of the government's use of methane to prevent environmental pollution, along with increased demand for methyl alcohol from a variety of end-user businesses, accelerated the cost. This quarter, methyl alcohol prices in the United States increased by 3.3% compared to Q4 2021.
For the Fourth Quarter of 2021
This quarter's highest demand for the chemical in India occurred on October 15, when prices increased to 652 USD/MT ex-Delhi NCR. Since then, prices across the majority of Asia declined. Prices in the region have been under pressure as a result of the low cost of feedstock natural gas. As it is mostly imported in India from the Middle East, traders witnessed a steep decline in its offers as its major producers continued to apply a negative price adjustment in accordance with feedstock values. Ex-works Mumbai prices increased to 418 USD/MT on the 28th of December 2021, demonstrating an increasing trend in the pricing during the last week of December. Several Asian producers raised their pricing in response to robust demand from downstream industries. Enhanced trade operations throughout the Asian market have also contributed to India's upward pricing trend.
In the fourth quarter, methyl alcohol prices in Germany rose to a range of 575 USD/MT to 604 USD/MT CFR Hamburg till October 22. Strong demand persisted for its downstream MTBE and acetic acid. As domestic output has been insufficient to meet demand, a quick increase in freight costs has further constrained imports. In November, prices began to decrease, falling to 550 USD/MT CFR Hamburg on November 26. This tendency is the result of a surplus of Methyl Alcohol production in the region and a poor downstream market. In December, the European contract price was set at $556 USD/MT, but spot prices in Rotterdam ended more than 5 percent higher, indicating upward momentum.
In the fourth quarter, methyl alcohol prices are anticipated to increase due to rising demand in the downstream sector. Fears that a new COVID-19 type had been found in Southern Africa caused widespread market concern in the month of November. The most recent price of 645 USD/MT ex-works Louisiana for the chemical was published on November 19th. This is a somewhat high price. Towards the conclusion of Q4 2021, the vehicle industry's methyl alcohol consumption was projected to be on the higher side. The sales income of the two main marketers of the chemical in the United States, Methanex and Southern Chemical, increased as its demand as a fuel increased.
For First, Second and Third Quarters of 2021
The Asian supply remained constrained during the whole first quarter of 2021, and prices stayed elevated in January and February before declining towards the conclusion of the quarter. Next quarter, the Asian market recorded a positive attitude, bolstered by sustained demand from downstream industries and constrained supply activity. In China, prices continued to fluctuate during the majority of the second quarter, as demand and supply fundamentals remained uncertain. In June 2021, the price of the chemical in India fluctuated between 412 USD/MT and 440 USD/MT. Prices increased during the third quarter, followed by stable demand from downstream sectors amid tight supply conditions. The growing momentum of methyl alcohol in Asia hit a new peak during the last week of September, with China and India providing the majority of the impetus. In India, methyl alcohol prices continued to rise in Q3 due to the product's restricted availability on the local market, particularly in Northeast Asia. During the third quarter, the price in India rose somewhat from 422 USD/MT to 449 USD/MT.
In Europe, supplies remained constrained despite mild domestic demand. Due to several plant outages across North America, imports of the chemical were extremely limited. Despite the significant import demand from a number of Asian nations, the local price surged during the first part of the quarter, only to decline as the supply began to recover.
In the second quarter of 2021, the demand for the chemical in Europe remained high, supported by robust demand from downstream industries and limited import supplies. In May, the port of Rotterdam performed the world's first methyl alcohol barge bunkering in order to determine the viability of its barge-to-ship delivery, and the results were highly favorable to the industry. Demand for derivatives such as MTBE and Acetic Acid remained robust, but supply remained constrained. Imports from the United States were constrained since major manufacturer YCI did not begin production of the chemical during the quarter. In addition, OCIS's facility in the Netherlands was operating at half capacity. In September, the price jumped to 475 USD/MT CFR Hamburg.
In the midst of a supply deficit, prices in North America followed an upward trend during first quarter, supported by robust demand from downstream markets. During this quarter, the average price of the chemical in the United States went from 405 USD/MT to 488 USD/MT. In addition, the demand for methyl alcohol as an alternative fuel increased on the worldwide market, with a significant manufacturer announcing expansion plans in response to the strong increase in demand. In the North American area during the third quarter of 2021, the general price expectation for the chemical rose significantly. Hurricane Ida, which made landfall in Louisiana on August 29th, caused the shutdown of leading industrial plants, including Methanex's Geismar plants with a capacity of 1 million metric tons per year and YCI's St. James Methyl Alcohol facility with a capacity of 1.7 million metric tons per year. The shutdown of Methanex's Geismar facility for the most of September led to a tight supply during the quarter. Spot prices as of the first week of October were 610 USD/MT ex-works Louisiana, representing an increase of 12.5% from the end of August.
For the Year 2020
The Asian market remained clouded with uncertainty as Middle Eastern supplies decreased. Despite the lifting of lockdown restrictions in many economies at the end of Q2 2020, export volumes to Southeast Asia continued to suffer from the pandemic. Sluggish demand from the downstream formaldehyde and solvent industries, which account for the vast bulk of regional demand, led to the accumulation of stockpiles at the ports in India, Thailand, and Singapore. Spot prices in China reached all-time lows during the month of June as a result of abundant import cargoes significantly compressing margins.
The impact of coronavirus on the Q2 demand expectation for the North American methyl alcohol market was primarily driven by deteriorating market dynamics in the United States. As the United States continued to dominate the globe in terms of infection rates, spot prices on the US Gulf Coast fell to levels not seen in nearly four years. While downstream demand remained roughly around April levels, reduced gasoline blending owing to weaker demand fundamentals contributed to the price decline. Several US companies, like Celanese and LyondellBasell, reduced their annual capex estimates and postponed tentative facility expansions as a result of the impact of continuing Methyl Alcohol market sluggishness.
Procurement Resource provides latest prices of Methyl Alcohol. 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.
Procurement Resource provides prices of Methyl Alcohol for several regions around the globe, which are as follows:
About Methyl Alcohol
Methyl alcohol, commonly known as Methanol, is the simplest alcohol. It's a flammable, light, volatile, colorless liquid with a pronounced alcoholic odor comparable to ethanol (potable alcohol). Methanol, a polar solvent, was once known as wood alcohol because it was primarily created through destructive distillation of wood. It is now mostly made industrially by hydrogenating carbon monoxide. A methyl group is connected to a polar hydroxyl group in methanol.
The synthesis gas contains carbon monoxide and hydrogen, which combines with a catalyst (usually a combination of copper and zinc oxides supported on alumina) to produce methyl alcohol as the end product.
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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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