Polymerupdate global resin pricing, Jan. 12-16: Prices rise in Asia, Europe flat to slightly higher

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January 23, 2009

Polymerupdate reports that linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) prices finished the week in Asia higher, driven by active buying across the region. Demand for agricultural film remained robust in China, lifting prices above $900/tonne CFR China. On Friday, LLDPE offers to China ranged from $930 to $940/tonne CFR. In the South Asian spot market, tight avails drove regional offers of LLDPE up to $950/tonne CFR. A similar story was seen in high-density polyethylene (HDPE), where tight supplies coupled with robust buying interest, especially in China, pushed prices sharply higher. HDPE injection molding grades were seen at $920/tonne CFR Far East, while HDPE film prices were assessed at $900/tonne CFR Far East. In South Asia, HD injection prices were assessed up at $910/tonne CFR, while HD film prices were assessed at $930/tonne CFR.

Propylene prices rose in Asia last week, with FOB Korea prices reported at $600/tonne, while FOB Japan prices were seen at $590/tonne. CFR China and CFR Taiwan prices rose to $660/tonne. In plant news, Vietnam has started test runs on the country’s first propylene plant located at Dung Quat. The plant has an output capacity of 150,000 tonnes/yr. Elsewhere, Pertamina completed an expansion of its propylene plant in Balongan, lifting output by 50,000 tonnes/yr to 250,000 tonnes/yr. Chandra Asri is planning a shutdown of its cracker in February for maintenance, taking propylene capacity of 306,000 tonnes/yr offline for two months. Polymerupdate reports the unit is currently operating at a 70% production rate. In addition, the Philippines’s Petron will restart its 140,000-tonnes/yr propylene plant next month.

Accordingly, a South Korean polypropylene (PP) producer contacted by Polymerupdate is planning a price increase for February. The company does expect activity to slow towards the end of the month when China’s lunar New Year holiday begins, but it believes activity will return strongly enough to support a price hike. The company is considering a general hike of $50/tonne for February.

Increased demand, and rising prices for ethylene, EDC, and VCM feedstocks, triggered gains in polyvinyl chloride (PVC). CFR China prices rose to $660/tonne, with CFR Southeast Asian prices at $650/tonne. In the spot market, PVC offers for February climbed to $680 to $700/tonne CFR China mark, while offers to South Asia for February rose to $710 to $720/tonne CFR.

Polystyrene (PS) also edged higher on the basis of SM prices, to $600/tonne FOB Korea. General-purpose PS prices on a CFR China basis rose to $730/tonne. In Southeast Asia, general-purpose PS prices were assessed at $750/tonne. High-impact PS prices rose to $850/tonne CFR China mark, while Southeast Asian prices were reported at $870/tonne CFR.

In European news, Polymerupdate reports that polyethylene terephthalate (PET) buyers in Europe continue to push for contract price reductions in January. Contract prices for bottle grades were assessed at  €975 to  €995/tonne FD Northwest Europe. PET producers are targeting hikes of euro 20/tonne for January, but buyers reported having achieved reductions of up to euro 25/tonne in their January contracts. In the spot market, bottle-grade PET prices were assessed at €750 to €780/tonne FD Northwest Europe.

General-purpose and natural-grade acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) were flat last week in Europe at €1325/tonne FD Northwest Europe. The outlook for February was not encouraging for the supply side, with ABS sellers accepting that they would have to drop their contract and spot offers for the month. Contract prices of general-purpose PS were unchanged at euro 855/tonne FD Northwest Europe, while high-impact PS contract prices were euro 5/tonne lower at €925/tonne FD Northwest Europe.

In PP, contract prices in Europe were flat last week at €760/tonne Northwest Europe for homopolymer injection grades, while PP copolymer contract prices were assessed at €810/tonne FD Northwest Europe. In the spot market, injection grade prices rose to €650/tonne FD Northwest Europe, while PP copolymer prices also increased, hitting €700/tonne FD Northwest Europe. Part of the increase came from a boost in spot CIF prices of propylene, which hit €400/tonne FD Northwest Europe.

Contract LLDPE prices rose, with butene-grade LLDPE at euro 740 to €750/tonne FD Northwest Europe, up €10/tonne. Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) prices were also inching up in Europe, with general-purpose grades in the contract market ranging from €730 to €740/tonne FD Northwest Europe. Spot markets were assessed at  €710 to €720/tonne FD Northwest Europe.

European PVC suspension-grade contract prices were unchanged at euro 870 to euro 900/tonne FD Northwest Europe, with buyers pushing for reductions, ranging from euro 80 to euro 100/tonne in their January contract settlements. In the spot markets, PVC prices in Europe plunged, dropping to euro 500 to euro 550/tonne FD Northwest Europe, compared to euro 580 to euro 620/tonne a week earlier.—[email protected]

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