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COVID-19 - News digest as of 01.03.2021

March 01/2021

1. Chinese refiners cool on crude purchases as oil futures rally

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China"s crude oil imports are set to slow in the second quarter after Brent prices hit a 13-month high, cooling demand and capping refiners" margins as they prepare to shut for planned maintenance, industry sources and analysts said, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing. Expectations of a recovery in global fuel demand and tighter oil supplies from Saudi Arabia and the United States pushed front-month Brent futures to their highest since January 2020 this week, up around 30% from January. Chinese independent refiners, who account for a fifth of the country"s import demand, have become reluctant to buy cargoes as they enter a low-demand season, while domestic margins have yet to catch up with strong gains in international prices, the sources said.

2. Oil firm delays integrated complex restart, sees challenging year

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Malaysia"s Petronas delayed the launch of its Pengerang Integrated Complex until the second half of the year from the first, but dismissed rumours partner Saudi Aramco was looking to exit the USD27 billion project, said Hydrocarbonprocessing. The state oil firm Petronas said it faced another challenging year after booking a 1.1 billion ringgit (USD272 million) loss for the final quarter of 2020, its third quarterly loss in a row though higher prices and demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) helped. The world"s fourth-biggest LNG exporter had earned a profit of 4.1 billion for the October-December quarter a year earlier. "The outlook remains challenging with modest recovery in demand and oil prices, as the COVID-19 impact still continues with the emergence of new surges in cases," Petronas CEO Tengku Muhammad Taufik Tengku Aziz said.

3. Tronox income up on higher TiO2, zircon volumes

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Tronox (Stamford, Connecticut) reports fourth-quarter adjusted net income of USD28 million, up 47% year-over-year (YOY) from USD19 million, driven by higher titanium dioxide (TiO2) and zircon volumes, according to Chemweek. Adjusted earnings per share came to USD0.19, missing the consensus estimate of USD0.26 as compiled by Zacks Investment Research. Net income from continuing operations totaled USD57 million, up from USD1 million in the year-ago quarter. Sales totaled USD783 million, up 13% YOY from USD693 million. TiO2 revenues totaled USD587 million, up 8% YOY on an 8% increase in volume. �TiO2 sales volumes increased globally year-over-year (YOY), led by South and Central America, followed by North America and Europe, Middle East, and Africa,� says the company. Zircon revenues totaled USD94 million, up 32% YOY as a 48% increase in volume, mainly on demand recovery in China, offset a 10% decline in price. Revenues from feedstock and other products totaled USD94 million, up 31% YOY.

4. Orbia earnings triple YOY on strong PVC, construction

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Orbia Advance (Mexico City, Mexico) reports fourth-quarter net income of USD98 million, up 227% year-over-year (YOY) from USD30 million, said Chemweek. Revenue totaled USD1.742 billion, up 6% YOY from USD1.636 billion, mainly driven by higher sales in polymer solutions, building and infrastructure, and data communications, says the company. EBITDA increased 30% YOY to USD383 million, driven largely by higher prices of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and specialty products in the polymer solutions segment and favorable market conditions in building and infrastructure. Assuming no significant unexpected disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Orbia expects EBITDA to increase by 4-7% in 2021, driven by economic recovery.

5. Crude slides on stronger dollar; market eyes OPEC+ supply boost

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures finished the week sharply lower as a stronger dollar and expectations of rising global supply continued to pull prices off 13-month highs seen earlier last week, reported S&P Global. NYMEX April WTI settled USD2.03 lower at USD61.50/b and ICE April Brent declined 75 cents to USD66.13/b. Notably the Feb. 26 session was the last day of trading for the April Brent contract, and its prompt expiry may explain why it showed a relatively modest 1% decline compared with front-month WTI, which slid more than 3% in the session. The second-month Brent contract settled down around 2.6% on the day.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Europe, North America, PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, propylene, ethylene, gas processing, petrochemistry, Orbia Advance, Petronas, COVID-19, China, Malaysia, USA.
Category:General News
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