Recently, the “thousand-yuan processing fee” in the polyester circle has attracted market attention. During the year, it has witnessed both negative values and thousand-yuan processing fees. This change has also given PTA manufacturers a chance to breathe. The reporter learned that since September, PTA processing fees have repeatedly reached new highs during the year, with the highest rising to 1,072 yuan/ton. Although it subsequently fell back, it still remains above 700 yuan/ton, which is at the high level during the year and is among the processing costs of the PTA industry. above. The current processing fees are a guaranteed profit for enterprises, so it is natural for enterprises to increase production capacity at full capacity. However, in the face of such high processing fees, the load of the PTA device still remains at a low level, and has even dropped slightly in recent days. Why does the market show this phenomenon? What kind of problems does this reflect?
The highest price rose to 1,000 yuan/ton, and the PTA processing fee was the highest level in the year.
Figure 1 PTA processing difference and operating load Image source: Huarui Information
PTA processing fees have continued to strengthen recently, rising from negative values during the year to a maximum of over 1,000 yuan/ton.
In this regard, Huarui Information senior analyst Shen Yinjiao explained that the main reason for the increase in PTA processing fees, in addition to the improvement in polyester production and sales and the phased increase in load, is that the PTA operating rate has remained at a sustained low level since late July. The intensity of storage has increased. In August, PTA destocked 240,000 tons. In September, the destocking is expected to be above 300,000 tons. Moreover, the liquidity of the PTA spot market continues to be tight, driving the PTA spot basis to rise to thousands of yuan.
The changes in PTA processing fees this year have attracted much attention from the market, especially since there have been many negative processing fees that have been around for a long time during the year. According to Pang Chunyan, senior analyst at SDIC Essence Futures, the negative value of PTA processing fees appeared in the first half of the year, both in March and June, mainly due to the strong upstream raw materials, and the prices of crude oil, naphtha and PX took turns to explode, but Consumption continues to be weak and cost transmission is blocked, causing PTA processing fees to be squeezed.
“Since late July, PTA processing fees have rebounded from below 300 yuan/ton, reaching a maximum of more than 1,000 yuan/ton in early September, mainly due to firm prices due to tight spot prices.” In her view, changes in PTA processing fees mainly reflect Based on the supply and demand pattern of the spot market, high processing fees often mean tight spot supply, while low processing fees often mean ample spot supply.
In Pang Chunyan’s view, the PTA processing fee only reflects the gross profit that can be obtained from PTA production at the current PX price. However, there is a time difference of about half a month between the actual overseas procurement of PX and the entry into the factory to enter the production process. At the same time, if there is inventory There is also a difference between the price of raw materials purchased in stock and the current price of raw materials in some factories. In fact, the operating conditions of different manufacturers are different. “Overall, the industry’s profits are low at first and then high, and different companies benefit to different degrees.” Pang Chunyan said.
“For the polyester industry chain, the restoration of processing fees usually indicates that the PTA supply and demand pattern has improved and is in the destocking channel.” Liu Siqi, an analyst at Zijin Tianfeng Futures, said that overall, the current PTA processing fees are at a relatively high level for the same period in previous years. Calculated based on a processing fee of around 700-800, domestic PTA factories are basically in a profitable state.
Profitable and profitable, PTA load still does not increase
During the interview, the reporter learned that in the face of such high processing fees, the increased burden on the PTA device seems to be a matter of course. However, the current PTA factory is unable to cope with the burden of the equipment, mainly due to the lack of PX.
According to Shen Yinjiao, the progress of PX production this year has been relatively slow. Except for a 900,000-ton PX device of Jiujiang Petrochemical, which was put into operation in June, PX devices such as Shenghong and Shandong Fuhai are expected to be put into production in the fourth quarter. The contribution of new devices to the increase of PX lower. Affected by factors such as the overall efficiency of the refinery and unplanned maintenance of the equipment, the operating rate of PX is not high, and the domestic operating rate mostly fluctuates around 70%-80%. In addition, PX imports this year also shrank significantly, from 1.2 million tons in January to 615,000 tons in July. Therefore, since the beginning of the year, PX supply and demand have mostly been in the destocking stage (except in March), and many PTA factories’ raw material inventories have dropped significantly.
Figure 2 PX de-banking range Image source: Huarui Information
In the short term, weather factors, dock operations, and ship docking will all have a certain impact. Under the current low PX inventory, once the storage is delayed, the raw material inventory will become increasingly tight. “Judging from the current tracking of PTA devices, there are indeed some devices that are operating with reduced load.” Shen Yinjiao said that currently, the overall operating load of PTA is below 70%.
Figure 3 Part of the PTA device dynamics
According to Zhu Lihang, an analyst at Zheshang Futures, all existing PTA devices are currently very profitable, especially during the large-scale production cycle. It can be said to be very rare to have such high processing fees, but the impactDue to the previous strong economic impact of oil adjustment, the supply side of aromatics has never really returned. “The PX load in China, including other Asian countries, is not very high, and the previous imports from Europe and the United States have not fully recovered in terms of logistics, resulting in an actual shortage of PX supply and limiting the load level of PTA.”
PTA may face pressure from processing fee compression
“As long as the problem of the PX supply side can be effectively solved, the subsequent PTA supply side will be sufficient.” Zhu Lihang said that with the end of the aromatics oil adjustment logic, the load of the existing PX devices is slowly increasing, and the price gap between the United States and Asia will be restored. Imports from Europe and the United States will also gradually pick up. At present, the new PX devices of Shenghong and Shandong Weilian Chemical are expected to be put into operation in October. By then, as the production capacity of the new devices is realized, the return of PX supply will accelerate, which is expected to alleviate the tight raw material situation of PTA factories. “On this basis, there is a high probability that PX supply will return. As long as this problem is solved, the load of subsequent PTA factories will be increased, and high processing fees will be unsustainable.” Zhu Lihang said.
In Liu Siqi’s view, PTA’s high processing fees depend on the tight supply of raw materials. In the short term, the maintenance volume of domestic PX devices remains high, and the return of imports is slow. Before the new PX device is put into production in September and October, the supply will continue to remain tight, and the PTA device will start construction. The recovery is slow, PTA supply and demand are tight, and high processing fees can be maintained in the short term.
Shen Yinjiao believes that short-term PTA supply and demand are still in a state of destocking. However, with the completion of warehouse receipt delivery and spot liquidity improving, the support for processing fees may not be as strong as in the previous period, but it will still remain at a relatively high level during the year.
“In the context of overcapacity in PTA, it is also a helpless move for companies to maintain low operating rates. PTA production will accelerate again starting in the fourth quarter. By then, optimization in the industry will continue, and some devices with weak competitiveness or lack of industrial supporting equipment may They are gradually withdrawing from the market.” Shen Yinjiao said.
Liu Siqi said that the follow-up market needs to pay attention to the load increase after PX profit restoration and the progress of new equipment being put into production. Only when the raw material shortage problem of PTA suppliers is alleviated will PTA’s operating rate gradually increase. After PX and PTA new equipment are put into production, PTA may face processing fees. Compressed pressure.