The fall in the production and consumption of soda ash (sodium carbonate) on the American market was precipitated by the declining demand in the consumer industries and exacerbated by the Covid crisis. The cut introduced in 2021 in terms of royalty rates for soda ash production to enable producers to reestablish competitive prices and regain their positions on the export markets.
Increasingly stringent environmental legislation and the emergence of new gigawatt-scale electrolyzers indicate that hydrogen fuel boasts the future potential to develop as a strong competitor to traditional energy resources.
Despite the decline in production of the downstream industries during the period of covid restrictions in the EU, the projected demand for acetone in Europe is to grow steadily over the next 5 years. Even in the face of stricter environmental requirements, acetone remains one of the safest solvents, that could be obtained from renewable sources of raw materials.
Increasing demand for PET packaging and urgent need for eco-friendly refrigerants to become the main drivers of the ethylene glycol market growth.
The use of ethanol as a fuel additive became unprofitable in 2020, which threatens countries' plans to switch to environmentally friendly fuels, but the demand for alcohol-based disinfectants increased significantly.
The NPK fertilizer consumption in the EU in 2020 was approximately equal to the level of 2019, estimated at approx. 12 million tons or approx. $4.9B. Due to the pandemic, imports of fertilizers to the EU countries fell sharply in April-May 2020 but started to recover in July. A new challenge to the fertilizer market may be the introduction of a carbon tax on imported products in the EU countries. Modern plants for the production of ammonia fertilizers, in terms of energy consumption, are close to the theoretical minimum, which makes further improvements difficult and costly. Enterprises will be forced to enter into serious price competition in the struggle for the European sales market.
The use of methanol as an alternative fuel is in line with the new global green agenda and can become a new driver of the methanol market. Maritime and automotive fuels constitute the prospective methanol applications. China is the largest market for imported methanol, with import growth to persist, should more cars work on the methanol fuel.
With the pandemic's impact, it is expected that in 2020, global consumption of ammonia should remain nearly unchanged against 2019. In the medium term, as the global economy gets back to work, the market will start recovering, driven by major fundamentals that existed before the crisis.