As the first country to be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, China’s leading position in the global methanol market looked at risk in 2020. But its early and rapid recovery led to China importing a record 13 million tonnes in the year, up by 20% on the 2019 level. The burgeoning downstream methanol-to-olefins sector remained critical to demand strength. In fact, the pandemic even helped boost demand for some olefins derivatives with the sudden, increased need to produce medical supplies, food packaging and single-use plastics. Similarly, weak demand in countries unable to recover so quickly amid ongoing waves of infection forced methanol cargoes to flow to China. Seemingly unscathed by the events of 2020, China has reasserted its importance in the global methanol market and looks set to maintain this position in the near term.