Polymerupdate Asian resin pricing, March 30-April 3: Stronger demand lifts PE, PP

April 08, 2009

Ethylene prices in Asia bolted higher, rising on increased demand in downstream polyethylene (PE) prices, according to Polymerupdate. CFR Northeast Asia prices of ethylene rose to $750/tonne, while CFR Southeast Asia prices hit $660/tonne CFR, with FOB Korea prices assessed at $690/tonne. An ethylene seller contacted by Polymerupdate said there had been gains in all derivative sectors, with the spike in PE the sharpest. In plant news, Iran restarted a troubled 1.1-million-tonnes/yr cracker owned by Marun Petrochemical.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) prices lifted higher as well, gaining on strength in upstream crude, naphtha, and ethylene feedstock prices as well as robust buying trends in the region. Chinese producers responded to limited product availability by sharply increasing their offer prices with film and raffia grade from Sinopec up by RMB 900/tonne to RMB 10,600/tonne ex factory. In the rest of Asia, HDPE yarn prices were assessed at $1080/tonne CFR Far East and $1070/tonne CFR Southeast Asia, while HDPE film prices were assessed at $1060/tonne CFR Far East and $1040/tonne CFR Southeast Asia.

Propylene prices continued to show signs of strength, with FOB Korea rates at $840/tonne, and moving higher through the week. FOB Korea prices inched up to $895/tonne FOB Korea by the end of the week, while CFR Taiwan prices climbed to $955/tonne. CFR Southeast Asia prices settled at $995/tonne CFR. The steep climb in propylene was partly fueled by gains recorded in downstream product prices, especially polypropylene and acrylonitrile, but was primarily driven by production troubles at Petron, Formosa, Pertamina, and select Chinese plants. Last week, Pertamina idled its propylene unit in West Java due to some mechanical issues. CPC of Taiwan shut down one of its steam crackers, and China’s Sinopec Qilu and Secco will shut their steam crackers for maintenance in April and May.

Polypropylene (PP) injection and raffia prices on a CFR Far East Asia basis were assessed at $1010/tonne at the start of last week, rising to $1030 to $1050/tonne CFR Far East Asia by the middle of the week, before finishing at $1080/tonne CFR Far East Asia. PP film prices were up to $1120 to $1130/tonne CFR South Asia basis.

Polystyrene (PS) prices rallied last week in Asia as tight availability in China prompted sellers to hike their prices of general-purpose and high-impact grades. Steep gains in styrene monomer feedstock rates further fuelled regional PS prices, with buyers in some parts of the region outnumbering sellers. CFR China general-purpose prices rose to $1080/tonne, with CFR Southeast Asia prices at $1105/tonne. High-impact prices were assessed at $1210/tonne CFR China, while CFR Southeast Asia prices hit $1205/tonne.

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene
(ABS) prices in Asia also jumped $100/tonne last week, with CFR China ABS prices reaching $1410/tonne, while CFR Southeast Asia prices were assessed at $1420/tonne. Taiwanese producers are reported to have lifted their April offers to $1450/tonne CIF China, with some sellers even attempting $1500/tonne. In China, local producers are reported to have increased their ex warehouse ABS prices to between RMB 12,500 and RMB 13,000/tonne. In plant news, Japan’s Toray Plastics planned to take its 110,000/yr ABS plant in Malaysia offline for an annual turnaround beginning in mid April. [email protected]

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