Polymerupdate Asian resin pricing, April 13-17: Prices retreat after weeks of gains

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April 22, 2009

Ethylene prices finished flat in Asia last week, with CFR Northeast Asia and CFR Southeast Asia prices at $740 to $750/tonne and $670 to $680/tonne, respectively, according to Polymerupdate. Buying interest in both regions retreated as users and traders withdrew inquiries and monitored market movement from a distance. Market watchers’ primary concern is the downstream polyethylene market.

Polyethylene (PE) prices across Asia dropped, with high-density PE (HDPE) film assessed at $1135 to $1145/tonne CFR Far East Asia. Low-density PE (LDPE) and linear low-density PE (LLDPE) were assessed at $1100 to $1110/tonne CFR Far East Asia. Most buyers contacted by Polymerupdate felt prices would continue to drop, believing they had rallied too rapidly and too steeply.

Propylene prices rose last Friday, gaining $20/tonne over Thursday’s levels. For the week however, propylene did finish lower, with FOB Korea assessed at $850/tonne, and CFR China and CFR Southeast Asia settling at $895/tonne. The move on Friday was precipitated by reports that Taiwanese major Formosa was likely to delay shipments from Mailiao by a fortnight due to production issues at two of its six propylene manufacturing facilities.

Polypropylene (PP) injection and raffia prices fell last week to $1055 to $1060/tonne CFR Far East Asia. The start up of PetroRabigh’s 700,000 tonnes/yr PP and 400,000 tonnes/yr propylene oxide plants were expected to pressure Asian PP and PO prices.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) prices in Asia firmed this week as demand continued to improve across the region. In China, buying interest increased for imported cargoes, allowing sellers to raise May delivery target offers to near $730/tonne CFR China main port. Trader offers for ethylene-based PVC cargoes ranged between RMB 6500 and RMB 6600/tonne. RMB 6600/tonne translates into an import parity rate above $760/tonne CFR.

Polystyrene (PS) prices in Asia fell last week, as buying activity slowed and processors tracking styrene monomer’s (SM) movements believed prices had run their upward course. May general-purpose PS (GPPS) offers to China at $1200/tonne CFR were countered with bids at $1100/tonne CFR. Producers responded to the low bids by threatening to cut output. GPPS CFR China and CFR Southeast Asia prices were assessed at $1120/tonne, with high-impact PS prices registering $1265 to $1275/tonne CFR China and CFR Southeast Asia.

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) prices in Asia finished flat, after registering steep gains over the last six weeks. CFR China and CFR Southeast Asia ABS prices were assessed at $1490 to $1500/tonne, with sellers targeting offers to China at $1550/tonne CFR and higher. A Taiwanese ABS producer contacted by Polymerupdate said his company isn’t concerned with the current buying slowdown in ABS since its inventory isn’t currently high. [email protected]

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