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COVID-19 - News digest as of 01.02.2021

February 01/2021

1. Phillips 66 posts wider-than-expected loss on pandemic hit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Phillips 66 reported a wider-than-expected loss on Friday, as rising oil prices and lower fuel demand hit the US refiner's marketing and specialties business, reported Reuters. While crude prices rallied more than 20% in the last quarter, driven by optimism over the development of COVID-19 vaccines, refiners struggled with uneven demand for fuel and related products as fresh lockdowns due to a resurgence in COVID-19 infections threatened that recovery. Consumption of liquid fuels globally is estimated to have fallen by 9 million barrels per day in 2020, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration. Data also shows that travel on U.S. roads also fell 11% in November from the year-ago period, after a 9% drop in October. Like rival Valero, Phillips 66 also expects COVID-19 vaccination efforts to boost economic recovery.

2. Hexpol profits grow on cost-reduction efforts

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hexpol (Malmo, Sweden), a polymer compounder, says its net profit for the fourth quarter increased 36% year on year (YOY), to 456.0 million Swedish krona (US54.7 million), despite sales declining 9.8% YOY, to SKr3.40 billion, reported Chemweek. Hexpol says that sales were impeded by negative currency effects, but volumes continued to increase during the fourth quarter compared with previous quarters of 2020, as well as compared with the corresponding quarter of 2019. EBIT increased 47% YOY, to SKr622 million supported by the companys efforts to reduce direct and indirect costs during the quarter, Hexpol says. The compounding business of Hexpol, which accounted for 93% of the companys total sales in 2020, posted fourth-quarter revenue down 10% YOY, to SKr3.16 billion, due to negative currency effects and the impact that COVID-19 had on the businesss customers, the company says. However, Hexpol says that during the fourth quarter we saw a clear improvement compared to the previous quarter in demand and increased volumes from especially the automotive industry but also from the building and construction industry. Compounding EBIT increased 47% YOY, to SKr580 million.

3. Crude falls on fears vaccine shortages, uneven rollout may hinder global growth

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures declined in mid-morning trade in Asia Jan. 28, despite a fall in US inventories, as worries over global growth recovery came back to the fore after the International Monetary Fund warned on financial stability risk from vaccine shortages, reported S&P Global. Now At 11:36 am Singapore time (0336 GMT), the ICE Brent March contract was down 27 cents/b (0.48%) from the Jan. 27 settle to USD55.54/b, while the March NYMEX light sweet crude contract dropped 22 cents/b (0.42%) to USD52.63/b.

4. LyondellBasell earnings surge YOY on polyolefin volumes and margins

MOSCOW (MRC) - LyondellBasell (Houston, Texas), one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world, reports fourth-quarter net income of USD855 million, up 40% year-over-year (YOY) from USD612 million on higher polyolefin volumes and margins, reported Chemweek. A USD147 million non-cash, lower-of-cost-or-market (LCM) inventory valuation benefit increased net income by USD119 million, or USD0.36 per share. Sales totaled USD7.937 billion, down 3.0% YOY from USD8.179 billion. Adjusted earnings per share of USD2.19 increased 15% YOY from USD1.91 and beat the consensus of USD1.31 as compiled by Zacks Investment Research. "During the fourth quarter, strong and persistent consumer-driven demand, industry supply constraints and continued recovery in durable goods markets reduced the impact of typical end-of-year slowdowns for our businesses, says CEO Bob Patel. During this period, we operated well and met robust demand for polyolefins used in consumer packaging and healthcare applications. Margins improved for olefins and polyolefins, propylene oxide & derivatives and intermediate chemicals businesses driven by higher demand and tight markets. Rebounding automotive manufacturing drove increased volumes for our advanced polymer solutions businesses. The refining and oxyfuels & related products businesses continued to face headwinds from low global mobility resulting in stagnant demand for transportation fuels."

5. US crude exports jump despite Europe, Asia arbitrage pressure

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Weekly US crude exports jumped 1.1 million b/d to 3.36 million b/d over the week ended on Jan. 22, reported S&P Global with reference to data from the US Energy Information Administration Jan. 27, despite difficult arbitrage economics. The rise took exports to their highest average weekly export level since the week ended on Jan. 1, and kept the four-week moving-average above 3 million b/d. The arbitrage for WTI MEH crude into Rotterdam against local Forties crude fell to a minus 34 cents/b incentive on Jan. 26 and has averaged just a 4 cents/b incentive through the first 26 days on January, according to the S&P Global Platts Crude Arbflow calculator. Through December, by comparison, the arbitrage incentive averaged 57 cents/b, according to Platts Arbflow. Refinery runs and margins are expected to remain weak through 1Q21 in Europe as demand recovery remains slow and product stocks are generally high, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics. Furthermore, Europe could already be facing a "double-dip" recession following the tightening of COVID-19 restrictions. The early release of the euro area composite Purchasing Managers Index was reported at 47.5 for January, implying a more negative outlook from the previous month. Indeed, the euro area composite PMI averaged just 48.1 in 4Q20, showing the depressed outlook held at the end of 2020 was continuing into January 2021.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Asia, Europe, PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, propylene, ethylene, compounding, car components, petrochemistry, Hexpol, LyondellBasell, Phillips 66, Valero, COVID-19, USA.
Category:General News
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