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COVID-19 - News digest as of 02.11.2020

November 02/2020

1. Reliance reports YOY fall in petchem profit, revenue; sequential improvement

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Reliance Industries says that EBDITA dropped 33% year on year (YOY) at its petrochemicals business to 59.64 billion Indian rupees (USD802.79 million) in the fiscal second quarter ended 30 September. Quarterly sales for this sector were Rs296.6 billion, down 23% YOY, said Chemweek. The company says, however, that compared with the preceding quarter, prices of polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) strengthened by 13%, 17%, and 25%, respectively, due to tight supply with regional turnarounds and an improvement in demand. With increased feedstock prices, para-xylene (p-xylene) prices firmed 10% quarter on quarter (QOQ) and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and ethylene glycol prices increased by 4% and 10%, respectively. Naphtha prices increased by 56% QOQ because of healthy demand. Reliance says that its steam-cracker margins improved QOQ due to the feedstock mix and favorable economics for ethane cracking. Its crackers operated at near 100% utilization during the quarter. The company recorded higher QOQ production volume and higher volume placement in the domestic market. "Domestic demand has sharply recovered across our oil-to-chemicals business and is now near pre-COVID levels for most products, says Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director at Reliance.

2. LyondellBasell earnings lower on weak margins as volumes recover

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell Industries posted third-quarter net income of USD114 million compared with USD965 million in the year-ago quarter. The combination of an impairment charge on its Houston refinery and an inventory valuation benefit overall reduced net income by USD313 million. Net sales of USD6.8 billion were down 23% year-on-year (YOY), said Chemweek. Volumes recovered to prior-year levels, led by continued growth in polyethylene (PE), but pricing and margin was lower. Reported adjusted earnings of USD1.27/share were down 55% YOY but 17 cts/share above consensus estimates as reported by Zacks Investment Research. "Demand for LyondellBasell products improved with increasing global economic activity, said Bob Patel, LyondellBasell CEO. Our year-over-year results reflect strong global volumes while margins are still recovering. Sequentially, third-quarter volumes and margins rebounded for most of our businesses. Strong demand for polyethylene in North America and Asia and hurricane-related production constraints on the U.S. Gulf Coast led to tight markets that drove USD420/ton of North American PE contract pricing improvement since June."

3. AdvanSix swings to loss on lower prices, but nylon volume rebounds

MOSCOW (MRC0 -- AdvanSix today reported a third-quarter net loss of about USD700,000, compared with a net profit of USD7.9 million in the year-ago quarter. Net sales fell 9% year on year (YOY), to USD281.9 million, reported Chemweek. Adjusted earnings amounted to a 2 cents/share loss, ahead of analysts consensus estimate of a 5 cents/share loss, as reported by Refinitiv (New York, New York). Volumes increased 5% YOY, but this was more than offset by a 13% decline in volumes. Our diverse product portfolio and global low-cost position continue to serve us well as we navigate through the current environment, says Erin Kane, president and CEO of AdvanSix. We have seen nylon volume returning to pre-COVID(-19) levels and we continue to optimize our mix across end uses, applications and geographies through the recovery. The performance of the remainder of our portfolio, including ammonium sulfate, acetone and other high-value intermediates, remains resilient complementing ongoing benefits from our focused cost management and high-return capital investments."

4. Crude weakest since June amid coronavirus-dimmed demand outlooks

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil prices settled at the lowest level since early June on Oct. 29 as demand outlooks dimmed in the face of rising coronavirus cases that have sparked broad lockdowns in Europe, reported S&P Global. NYMEX December WTI settled USD1.22 lower at USD36.17/b, and ICE December Brent was down USD1.47 at USD37.65/b. Energy prices turned sharply lower in overnight trading after France and Germany both announced nationwide lockdowns on Oct. 28 in a bid to stem a rising tide of new infections, stoking concerns that more restrictions could be coming to areas with similar coronavirus trajectories. In the US, the seven-day moving average of new coronavirus infections climbed to a fresh all-time high 74,096 on Oct. 28, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project.

5. LyondellBasell gets to buy from Sasol 50% of cracker, two PE plants at two-thirds of value

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell left aside the financial caution it adhered to since the start of the pandemic to seize an opportunity provided by deteriorated market conditions to buy for two-thirds of the estimated real value a 50% stake in an ethane cracker and two polyethylene (PE) plants in Louisiana from Sasol, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing. The purchase includes half of Sasols 1.5 MM ton/year ethane cracker and 0.9 MM ton/year low density (LDPE) and linear-low density (LLDPE) polyethylene (PE) plants. The assets were part of a Sasol expansion at Lake Charles marked by delays and cost overruns. LyondellBassel will now run the assets and market all products on behalf of both partners.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Europe, PP, PE, LLDPE, crude and gaz condensate, propylene, LDPE, ethylene, petrochemistry, AdvanSix, LyondellBasell, Reliance Industries, Sasol, COVID-19, India, USA.
Category:General News
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