Forecast posted April 2021

Methanol is a large market with global demand this year estimated near 90 mln mt, although nameplate capacity is still much greater.  Many plants around the world, and in particular a large number of coal based producers in China run intermittently due to economic, technical or feedstock issues as well as various municipal constraints. At any given time up to 50% of coal based plants could be offline as they are right now. Implied operating rates based upon total nameplate capacity worldwide therefore are deeply misleading as a lot of capacity in places like China are swing producers while others regularly shutdown for economic reasons. On the demand side of the equation MTO related consumption in China continues to drive the push to bring up new production, although much depends upon the relative competitive economics of MTO versus traditional naphtha based olefins production. The North America market remained relatively insular due to intermittent supply disruptions in the last year  but the fact that barge prices didn’t spike following the recent outages in the USG is telling.  With another world scale plant due up by mid-year that paradigm is likely to change.

*Please note forecasts are based on analysis of historical trends and cycles as well as expectations regarding future supply and demand patterns. The data is provided for informational purposes only and Chemical Intelligence does not assume any liability for any decisions attributed to reliance on said information.