South China Methanol Inventory Analysis

May 22, 2018

Methanol prices at East China and South China ports kept moving up since mid-April 2018.

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According to JLC data, on May 17th, the methanol price at East China ports and South China ports rose to CNY 3,380-3,500/mt and CNY 3,520-3,530/mt, respectively, up by CNY 340/mt and CNY 500/mt from mid-April, respectively. The reason for the price rise lied in centralized overseas unit overhauls. Following this, some CTO projects around East China and South China ports took maintenance amid supply shortage and high methanol price.

The import volume of methanol decreased to a large extent, followed by lower inventory level at ports. Up to May 17th, the methanol inventory volume at East China ports declined to 218,700 mt, down 100 mt MoM. That at South China ports stood at 67,900mt. The tradable methanol volume at East China and South China ports declined from 130,000mt to 70,000mt-80,000mt during this period.

Taking the South China ports as an example, most imported goods flew into South China ports around mid-May with total import volume estimated at 60,000mt-65,000mt. According to JLC data, 55,800mt methanol had arrived at South China ports, with 55% resources flowing into Guangdong and others into Fujian. There will be another 5,000mt-10,000mt methanol to arrive at South China ports before the end of May.

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Meanwhile, the 1.4 million mt/yr methanol unit in Hainan plans to take maintenance in recent days.

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Thus, tradable methanol goods will still be limited in May.

It is worth to mention that downstream users in the inland market start to hold resistant sentiment towards the high-priced methanol resources, followed by slow trading pace and lower mainstream trading prices in Shandong and Henan.

Up to May 21st, methanol price in East China declined by CNY 60-100/mt to CNY 3,240-3,350/mt. That in South China sustained at CNY 3,490-3,500/mt.