Global p-xylene supply and demand

p-xylene
  • Abstract: The capacity of global it has been steadily increasing in recent years, and the new capacity mainly comes from the Chinese mainland, Vietnam, India, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.
  • In 2020, the global production capacity of it was 64.476 million tons per year, and the output and consumption were basically the same.
  • It is estimated that by 2022, the global production capacity of it will reach about 70.464 million tons per year, while the demand will be about 50.959 million tons.
  • The contradiction of overcapacity, especially in Northeast Asia, will be more prominent. With the substantial improvement of China’s production capacity, the supply pattern of it products in China will change greatly, the proportion of private enterprises will further increase, the imports will continue to decrease, and the competition with foreign products will gradually evolve into the competition between domestic products.
  • It is necessary to speed up technological progress and promote the healthy and steady development of it in China with upstream downstream integrated devices.
  • Key Words: p-xylene (PX); production capacity; output; demand; import; export

World

Supply and Demand

  • In recent years, the production capacity of it has been increasing steadily. The new capacity mainly distributes Asian countries, including China, Vietnam, India, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia in Middle East.
  • In 2020, the global growth rate of it production capacity, production and consumption increased by 27.1%, 11.9% and 10.2%, respectively.
  • The operating rate was 76.2%, 9.8% lower than that in the same period of last year (See Table 1).

Table 1 Global supply and demand of p-xylene in 2020

Region

Capacity, 10 kt/a

Output, 10 kt

Consumption, 10 kt

Africa

0.0

0.0

0.0

Central Europe

40.0

39.4

39.4

CIS

99.1

47.7

26.2

India and Pakistan

556.5

360.2

440.0

Middle East

518.0

354.9

87.6

North America

364.3

227.4

289.6

Northeast Asia

3950.7

3137.0

3592.5

South America

20.5

15.2

36.2

Southeast Asia

703.0

540.8

266.7

Western Europe

195.5

110.2

140.0

Global

6447.6

4912.6

4838.4

  • In 2020, the top 10 it manufacturers in the world had the total capacity of 35838 kt/a, accounting for 55.6% of the total global capacity.
  • In terms of production capacity, Sinopec ranks first in the world and Rongsheng Group and Hengli Group rank second and third, respectively (see Table 2). The global it is mainly used for production of terephthalic acid. The p-xylene consumption in terephthalic acid production accounts for 98.8% of total consumption in 2020.

Tab.2 Global top 10 p-xylene manufacturers and their capacity in 2020

No.

Manufacturer  

Production Capacity, 10 kt/a

Share, %

1

Sinopec

597.5

9.3

2

Rongsheng group

560.0

8.7

3

Hengli Group

450.0

7.0

4

Reliance Industries

428.5

6.6

5

Exxon Mobil Corporation

386.9

5.9

6

PetroChina

265.0

4.1

7

Sk innovation, South Korea

255.0

3.9

8

Saudi Aramco

229.8

3.5

9

ENEOS Corporation

221.1

3.4

10

Formosa Plastics Group

190.0

2.9

 

Other

2863.8

44.4

 

Total

6447.6

100.0

Trade

In 2019, the total international trade volume of p-xylene (HSID6: 290243) was 19.05 billion US dollars, 12.3% lower than that in the same period of last year; the total trade volume was 20007 kt, similar to that in the same period of last year. The average export price of global it was 952.0 US dollars/t in 2019.

Import

In 2019, Mainland and Taiwan of China and Mexico ranked first, second and third in the world in the term of p-xylene import volume, 14978 kt, 1791 kt and 895 kt, accounting for 68.1%, 8.1% and 4.1%, totally 80.3%, of the total global import volume, respectively. See Table 3.

Tab.3 Global top 10 import countries or regions of p-xylene in 2019

No.

Country or region

Import, 10 kt

Share, %

Import value, x 109 USD

Share, %

1

China

1497.8

68.1

139.4

69.4

2

Taiwan, China

179.1

8.1

16.1

8.0

3

Mexico

89.5

4.1

7.0

3.5

4

India

83.9

3.8

7.9

4.0

5

Indonesia

78.9

3.6

6.9

3.4

6

U.S.A

65.2

3.0

4.5

2.2

7

Portugal

39.4

1.8

3.6

1.8

8

Malaysia

34.6

1.6

3.2

1.6

9

Pakistan

31.5

1.4

3.0

1.5

10

Belgium

22.6

1.0

1.7

0.8

 

Other

78.0

3.5

7.6

3.8

 

Global

2200.5

100.0

200.9

100.0

Export

In 2019, South Korea,  Japan and India ranked first, second and third in the world in term of p-xylene export volume, 7033 kt, 3030 kt and 2760 kt, accounting for 35.2%, 15.1% and 13.8%, totally 64.1%, of the total global export volume, respectively. See Table 4.

Tab.4 Global top 10 ten export countries or regions of p-xylene in 2019

No.

Country or region

Export,  10 kt

Share, %

Export value, x 109 USD

Share, %

Average export price, USD/t

1

South Korea

703.3

35.2

62.0

32.6

881.5

2

Japan

303.0

15.1

31.2

16.4

1028.1

3

India

276.0

13.8

25.6

13.4

926.4

4

Singapore

134.2

6.7

11.7

6.2

874.2

5

Saudi Arabia

104.4

5.2

10.0

5.3

962.2

6

Taiwan, China

98.1

4.9

9.1

4.8

928.0

7

U.S.A

81.5

4.1

6.3

3.3

768.8

8

Thailand

66.1

3.3

6.5

3.4

989.9

9

Malaysia

43.5

2.2

3.7

2.0

855.8

10

Netherlands

38.0

1.9

3.6

1.9

946.5

 

Other

152.6

7.6

20.7

10.9

1359.3

 

Global

2000.7

100.0

190.5

100.0

952.0

Supply and demand forecast

  • In the future, the supply of p-xylene will continue to increase, and the new production capacity will mainly distribute in Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Among them, China will be the main driving force for new capacity in the future.
  • It is expected that by 2022, the global p-xylene supply will exceed the demand, especially in Northeast Asia. Japan and South Korea in Northeast Asia will still have a great impact on China’s import market due to their p-xylene capacity advantages (see Table 5).

Tab.5 Global supply and demand situation and forecast of p-xylene from 2018 to 2022

Item

2018

2019

2020

2020(E)

Annual growth, %

Capacity, 10 kt/a

5074.8

5666.1

6447.6

7046.4

8.6

Operating rate, %

86.5

83.6

76.2

72.3

Production, 10 kt

4390.5

4738.6

4912.6

5095.9

3.8

Demand, 10 kt

4390.5

4721.5

4838.

5095.9

3.8

China

Supply and demand

  • In recent years, although China’s p-xylene production capacity has continuously grown, the production capacity changed very little in from 2016 to 2018. However, with the promulgation of policies and start-up of large refining and chemical bases, the p-xylene production capacity increased sharply in 2019.
  • In 2020, the production capacity growth was relatively stable, with a year-on-year increase of 3800 kt/a and year-on-year growth rate of 17.1%, and the p-xylene output reached 18900 kt, with a yearly growth rate of 33.0% (see Table 6).

Tab.6 Capacity and output of p-xylene in China from 2018 to 2020

Year

Capacity, 10 kt/a

Yearly growth, %

Output, 10 kt

Yearly growth, %

Operating rate, %

2020

2606.5

17.1

1890.0

33.0

72.5

2019

2226.5

59.8

14205

50.0

63.8

2018

1393.0

947.0

0.3

68.0

  • As China’s production of p-xylene cannot meet the demand for downstream production of purified terephthalic acid, p-xylene needs to be imported from abroad. Due to the slow growth of China’s p-xylene production capacity, the import volume has continuously increased to a new high in recent years.
  • In 2019, more new p-xylene production capacity was put into operation, and thereby the import volume fell for the first time.
  • In 2020, the p-xylene industry had a high operating rate and the dependence on imports further went down. The import volume was 13860 kt and the import dependence decreased to 42.3% in 2020 (see Table 7).

Tab.7 China’s p-xylene import and export statistics from 2018 to 2020

Year

Import, 10 kt

Yearly growth, %

Amount, x 109 USD

Yearly growth, %

Export, 10 kt

Yearly growth, %

Amount, x 109 USD

Yearly growth, %

Net import, 10 kt

Yearly growth, %

2020

1386.0

-7.5

82.7

-40.7

0.0

0.0

9.5

-38.7

1386.0

-7.5

2019

1498.0

-5.8

139.4

-17.5

0.0

0.0

15.5

-6.6

1498.0

-5.8

2018

1590.0

10.1

169.5

39.7

0.0

16.6

-99.0

1590.0

10.4

  • In terms of apparent consumption, the rapid development of China’s polyester industry has led to a sharp increase in the purified terephthalic acid consumption and thus rapid growth in the p-xylene consumption.
  • With the growth of domestic production from 2016 to 2020, China’s apparent consumption of p-xylene increased steadily to 21500 kt in 2016 and 32760 kt in 2020, with an increase of 11260 kt and growth rate of 52.4% from 2016 to 2020 (see Table 8).

Tab.8 Statistics of apparent consumption of p-xylene in China from 2018 to 2020

time

Output, 10 kt

Import, 10 kt

Export, 10 kt

Apparent consumption, 10 kt

Self-supply rate, %

2020

1890.0

1386.0

0.0

3276.0

57.7

2019

1420.5

1498.0

0.0

2918.0

48.7

2018

947.0

1590.0

0.0

2537.0

37.3

Main Producers

  • In recent years, the rapid development of China’s polyester industry has driven the continuous growth of China’s p-xylene production capacity. East China has 6 p-xylene producers with total production capacity of 8500 kt/a and ranks first. Northeast China has only three producers with total production capacity as high as 6900 kt/a and ranks second;
  • South China and North China ranks third and fourth, respectively. The downstream PTA producers are also concentrated in East China, South China and Northeast China (see table 9).
  • At present, most p-xylene producers have aromatics complex, and some have a complete industry chain of oil refining → aromatics → p-xylene → purified terephthalic acid → polyester. In the future, this integrated refining and chemical plant will have an absolute competitive advantage.

Tab.9 Main production enterprises of p-xylene in China in 2020

Enterprise

Capacity, 10 kt/a

Plant location

Sinopec Tianjin Petrochemical Company

38.0

Tianjin

Sinopec Luoyang Petrochemical Company

22.5

Luoyang, Henan

Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co., Ltd

85.0

Shanghai

Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical Company

85.0

Nanjing, Jiangsu

Sinopec Qilu Petrochemical Company

10.0

Zibo, Shandong

Sinopec Zhenhai Refining and Chemical Company

60.0

Ningbo, Zhejiang

Sinopec Jinling Petrochemical Company

60.0

Nanjing, Jiangsu

Sinopec Fujian Refining & Chemical Co., Ltd

77.0

Quanzhou, Fujian

Sinopec Hainan refining and chemical company

160.0

Hainan Haikou

PetroChina Liaoyang Petrochemical Company

100.0

Liaoyang, Liaoning

PetroChina Urumqi Petrochemical Company

100.0

Urumqi, Xinjiang

PetroChina Sichuan Petrochemical Co., Ltd

65.0

Pengzhou, Sichuan

Qingdao Lidong Chemical Co., Ltd

100.0

Qingdao, Shandong

Dalian Fujia Dahua Petrochemical Co., Ltd

140.0

Dalian, Liaoning

CNOOC Huizhou Refining & Chemical Co., Ltd

94.0

Guangzhou Huizhou

Fujian fuhaichuang Petrochemical Co., Ltd

160.0

Zhangzhou, Fujian

Ningbo Zhongjin Petrochemical Company

160.0

Ningbo, Zhejiang

Hengli Petrochemical

450.0

Dalian, Liaoning

Zhejiang Petrochemical Co., Ltd

400.0

Zhoushan, Zhejiang

Sinochem Hongrun Petrochemical Co., Ltd

60.0

Weifang, Shandong

Dongying Weilian Chemical Co., Ltd

100.0

Dongying, Shandong

Sinochem Quanzhou Petrochemical Co., Ltd

80.0

Quanzhou, Fujian

Total

2606.5

 

Import and Export

  • The p-xylene is mainly imported by means of general trade and feeding processing trade. In 2020, China’s import of p-xylene by general trade, feeding processing trade and inbound and
  • outbound goods in bonded warehouses reached 12079 kt, 1400 kt and 380 kt, accounting for 87.1%, 10.1% and 2.8% of the total import volume, respectively, indicating that China’s p-xylene import mainly meets domestic demand. See Table 10.

Table 10 Statistics of China’s p-xylene import sources from 2019 to 2020

Trade mode

2020

2019

Import, 10 kt

Share, %

Import, 10 kt

Share, %

General trade

1207.9

87.1

1283.1

85.7

Import processing trade

140.0

10.1

156.0

10.4

Inbound and outbound goods

in bonded warehouse

38.1

2.8

58.7

3.9

  • According to the statistics of import sources, the p-xylene imported by China in 2020 mainly came from South Korea, Japan, India and other countries and regions mainly because Japan and South Korea have strong p-xylene production capacity and geographical advantages.
  • Among them, the total p-xylene import from South Korea is the largest, 5091 kt, accounting for 36.7% of the total import, followed by Japan and India. The total p-xylene import from these three countries accounts for 58.4% of the total import (see Table 11).

Table 11 Statistics of China’s p-xylene import sources from 2019 to 2020

Import

Source

2020

2019

Import, 10 kt

Share, %

Import, 10 kt

Share, %

the republic of South Korea

509.1

36.7

604.1

40.3

Japan

172.7

12.5

209.7

14.0

India

128.0

9.2

127.5

8.5

Taiwan Province

105.1

7.6

99.6

6.6

Thailand

58.0

4.2

59.8

4.0

other

413.2

29.8

397.1

26.5

  • In 2020, China had small p-xylene export of only 45.6 t, basically by general trade, mainly to Malaysia and Vietnam, accounting for 95.2% of the total export volume.
  • 2.4 Consumption
  • In China, 99.2% p-xylene is used for production of terephthalic acid and dimethyl terephthalate, and then polyester, and the remaining 0.8% is used for production of pharmaceutical intermediates (dimethyl terephthalate) and coatings.
  • In recent years, the consumption of purified terephthalic acid has increased, and the development industrial has made rapid progress. Limited by environmental protection, etc.,
  • the p-xylene consumption in the field of pesticide and medicine remains unchanged, so the pharmaceutical intermediate enterprises can only maintain the current situation.

Price

  • In 2020, the overall p-xylene price fluctuated at a low level after a sharp decline. Affected by the plummeted crude oil prices and novel coronavirus pneumonia, the p-xylene price continued to decline.
  • The market price in April dropped to the lowest level in recent decade. With the slow recovery of terminal demand, the p-xylene price remained stable.
  • However, under the background of high inventory, the price rebound power was insufficient, and the market was insufficient the second half of 2020.
  • The highest price was 6900 Yuan/t in January and the lowest price was 3820 Yuan/t in April, In 2020, with the maximum fluctuation price difference of 3080 Yuan/t (see Fig. 1)
p-xylene

Supply Forecast

  • The supply of p-xylene in China has steadily grown. The p-xylene and purified terephthalic acid produced by large-scale producers are captive and thereby the supply remains stable.
  • In the future, there will be many new p-xylene production capacity and new downstream purified terephthalic acid plants, so there is still a supply gap for p-xylene.
  • With the increase of production, the import volume will continue to shrink in the future.
  • It is estimated that China’s p-xylene production capacity will be about 3.5 million t/a in 2021; few new p-xylene plants will be put into operation in 2022, so the supply growth will slow down. The production capacity is expected to reach 3.8 million t/a (see table 12).

Tab.12 Forecast of p-xylene production capacity growth in China

Year

2013

2017

2018

2019

2020

2022 (E)

Capacity, 10 kt/a

1061.0

1393.0

1393.0

2226.5

2606.5

3800.0

Average annual growth, %

7.0 (2013-2017)

 

28.5 (2018-2022)

Demand forecast

  • In 2020, the new plants with total production capacity of 8400 kt/a purified terephthalic acid have been put into operation in China.
  • In recent years, China’s purified terephthalic acid industry has experienced a period of overcapacity and a period of reshuffle and de capacity, and the change of supply pattern has a great impact on the market.
  • According to statistics, the new plants with total capacity of 1.65 million kt/a purified terephthalic acid will be put into operation in 2021.
  • If these plants are put into operation as scheduled, the total capacity is expected to reach 77.555 million t/a, with a year-on-year growth rate of 27.0%; the year-on-year growth rate in 2022 is expected to be 11.2%.
  • Based on 1 t of purified terephthalic acid produced from 0.655 t of p-xylene, the apparent consumption of p-xylene will increase by 23.72 million ton in 2022 (see table 13).

Tab.13 growth forecast of apparent consumption of p-xylene in China

Year

2013

2017

2018

2019

2020

2022 (E)

Capacity, 10 kt/a

1637.0

2484.0

2537.0

2918.0

3276.0

5648.0

Average annual growth, %

11.0 (2013-2017)

22.1 (2018-2022)

Conclusions and Suggestions

  • In the future, the global p-xylene capacity will be surplus, especially in Northeast Asia.  
  • With the substantial improvement of China’s supply capacity, the supply pattern of p-xylene products in China will change greatly, the proportion of private enterprises will further increase, the import volume will continue to decrease, and the competition with foreign products will gradually evolve into competition between domestic products.
  • It is the main direction for promotion of the healthy and steady development of p-xylene in China in the future to accelerate technological progress,
  • continuously improve the utilization rate of devices, eliminate out-of-date production capacity, make reasonable planning and improve production environment, research and develop new processes, and build upstream and downstream supporting integrated plants.
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