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COVID-19 - News digest as of 15.03.2021

March 15/2021

1. Hexion loss narrows on higher sales, improving volumes

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hexion has reported a fourth-quarter net loss that narrowed to USD35 million, from USD46 million in the year-ago period. Net sales grew 4.0% year on year (YOY), to USD655 million, reported Chemweek. Segment EBITDA was up 39.6% YOY, to USD74 million. Volumes were up, led by increases in formaldehyde, and specialty epoxy and epoxy resins, while pricing cut into sales figures due to higher raw material costs. In the fourth quarter of 2020, our Adhesives segment reflected continued strength in North America residential construction and gains in our global formaldehyde business, says Hexion chairman and CEO Craig Rogerson. Segment EBITDA in our coatings and composites segment increased more than 100% year over year owing to strong results in specialty epoxy from wind energy demand and versatic acids and derivatives due to increasing demand in architectural coatings, as well as improved results in our base epoxy resins.

2. Lenzing swings to loss as pandemic pressures textile fiber prices

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Fibers producer Lenzing swung to a net loss of EUR10.6 million (USD12.7 million) in 2020 from a net profit of EUR114.9 million the year before, on sales of EUR1.6 billion, down 22.4%, said Chemweek. EBITDA fell 39.9% to EUR196.6 million. The EBITDA margin decreased from 15.5% to 12.0%. Fourth-quarter figures have not been disclosed. The immediate effect of the pandemic on Lenzings business was to increase pressure on prices and volumes in the textile fiber segment, in particular in the second quarter of 2020. There was a recovery of demand in the second half of the year, primarily for wood-based specialty fibers including Tencel, which had a positive impact on revenue and earnings, but could not compensate for losses, Lenzing says. Lenzing says it responded to the tough market environment caused by COVID-19 by implementing a package of measures and says it remains on track in terms of its strategy. The company adjusted production volumes. It also intensified measures for structural earnings improvement to mitigate the effect of the pressure on fiber prices and demand, and reduced its operating costs.

3. Asia distillates-jet fuel refining margins post third straight weekly drop

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Asian jet fuel refining margins dropped on Friday, posting their third consecutive weekly decline, weighed down by persistent weakness in aviation demand, reported Reuters. Refining profit margins, also known as cracks, for jet fuel were at USD3.53 per barrel over Dubai crude during Asian trading hours, 7 cents lower from Thursday. The jet fuel cracks have dropped 13% this week, and remained nearly 70% lower than their five-year seasonal average for this time of the year, Refinitiv Eikon data showed. Prolonged international travel restrictions and sluggish pace of vaccinations in several markets have impacted the aviation demand recovery, while the recent strength in feedstock crude prices have hurt the refining margins, trade sources said.

4. Global oil inventories to become tight by mid-2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Global refineries will increase crude processing sharply over the next six months to stabilise stocks of fuels such as gasoline and diesel even if substantial coronavirus controls remain on travel and service sector businesses, said Hydrocarbonprocessing. The prospective rise in processing and consequent draw down in crude inventories in the second and especially third quarters is what has been boosting futures prices and causing calendar spreads to tighten. The oil markets rapid evolution from a massive production surplus last year to deficit has been most evident in the United States, where reliable data on stocks is published weekly by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

5. Record high pump prices hit Indian gasoline, gasoil sales in Feb

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indian state refiners' gasoline sales in the first two weeks of February fell below pre-pandemic levels, the first decline in about six months, preliminary industry data showed, as record high retail prices hit consumption, reported Reuters. Diesel sales, which are related closely to economic growth and account for about 40% of overall refined fuel sales in India, fell by 8.6% in the first half of February, the largest decline since August last year, the data showed. Gasoline and gasoil prices in India have risen to a record high, mirroring global markets. Taxes account for about 61% of retail gasoline prices and about 56% of diesel prices.

6. Crude oil futures rise on bullish fundamentals amid lack of fresh cues

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures rose during the mid-morning trade in Asia March 15, as the market fell back on bullish macro fundamentals amid an absence of fresh cues, reported S&P Global. At 10:21 am Singapore time (0221 GMT), the ICE Brent May contract was up 68 cents/b (0.98%) from the March 12 settle to USD69.90/b, while the April NYMEX light sweet crude contract also gained 68 cents/b (1.04%) to USD66.29/b. Market analysts noted a lack of new drivers in the market this morning, adding that the rise in price is the result of the market buying into the narrative that an improved economic climate will push up oil demand.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Asia, Europe, crude and gaz condensate, fibers/filaments, coatings, petrochemistry, adhesives, paints and coatings, Hexion, COVID-19, India, USA.
Category:General News
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