While a downtrend in methanol spot prices in both Europe and Asia has impacted market sentiment in the final quarter of 2018, 2019 is expected to be a good year for the methanol market, according to Proman CEO David Cassidy.
According to Platts data, methanol spot prices in Asia have declined significantly this month, with the CFR China market last assessed at $290/mt Friday, down from $387/mt at the beginning of November.
Cassidy said that despite political uncertainty and ongoing issues including Brexit and its impact on the UK pound, overall confidence in the methanol market remains strong.
Global methanol capacity has increased with new plants coming online this year, but market participants expect global demand from both traditional and energy applications to grow 3-4% year on year.
In the Asian market, industry sources earlier predicted China's Connell Chemical's methanol-to-olefins unit, based in the Northeast province of Jilin, had plans to begin operations in early 2019. The 300,000 mt/year MTO is expected to consume 1 million mt/year of methanol.