A boost in buying activity in China and stronger upstream ethylene prices lifted low-density polyethylene (LDPE) prices higher in Asia this week, according to Polymerupdate. Chinese processors looked to replenish inventories before the start of the lunar holiday on Jan. 26. On that basis, CFR Far East Asia prices for LDPE rose to $870/tonne.
Growing, seasonal demand for agricultural film products in Asian markets like China and India also pushed linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) prices higher, with CFR Far East and South East Asia LLDPE assessed at $880/tonne. Offers for February edged past the $900/tonne mark, with sellers targeting price offers to India at $930/tonne CFR.
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) prices also climbed in Asia. Prices for injection grades rose to $860/tonne CFR Far East Asia, while prices for HDPE film climbed to $870/tonne CFR. Price offers for February were at $900/tonne CFR, although Polymerupdate reports that buyers had doubts if post Chinese lunar holiday buying interest would support the up adjusted offer rates.
Industry players contacted by Polymerupdate who are involved in the polypropylene (PP) flatly admitted to “confusion” regarding their market. One processor noted that his inventory was low, leaving the company operating on a “hand-to-mouth basis”. The processor said there is willingness to build PP inventories, but that’s overridden by high premiums and rising polymer prices in domestic markets, which are in opposition to movements seen elsewhere in Asia.
Polystyrene (PS) prices edged up in Asia on gains in upstream styrene monomer. General-purpose prices were assessed at $720/tonne CFR China mark, while CFR South East Asia prices of general-purpose grades rose to $750/tonne CFR. High-impact prices on a CFR China basis were assessed higher at $840/tonne, while CFR South East Asia prices dropped to $870/tonne.
In Europe, ethylene prices inched higher, gaining in response to greater demand, with spot CIF prices on a North West Europe basis rising to $560/tonne FD on Friday. Propylene prices also edged higher in Europe, with polymer-grade propylene at euro 410/tonne FD North West Europe. In Europe’s contract markets, LLDPE prices this week finished lower, with butene-based LLDPE contract prices assessed down at euro 730/tonne to euro 740/tonne FD North West Europe. LDPE prices were also down, with general-purpose LDPE contract prices dropping to euro 720 to euro 730/tonne FD North West Europe. In PP, some demand for January was seen lifting last week, as low inventories prompted many converters to replenish stocks. In the contract market, PP injection grades were flat at euro 760/tonne FD North West Europe, with PP copolymer also unchanged at euro 810/tonne FD North West Europe. In the spot market, marginal gains were recorded, with injection-grade PP up to euro 610/tonne while copolymer prices rose to euro 660/tonne FD North West Europe.
In polyvinyl chloride (PVC), suspension-grade contract prices were assessed stable to higher at euro 870 to euro 900/tonne FD North West Europe. Polymerupdate does feel that the scales remained tipped in the buyers favor as regional demand hasn’t shown any momentum in the New Year. In the spot market, PVC suspension-grade prices were reported at euro 580 to euro 620/tonne FD north West Europe.
In spite of improved demand, PS prices in Europe fell last week, with general-purpose grades at euro 855/tonne FD North West Europe and high impact setline to euro 930/tonne FD North West Europe. In the spot markets, general-purpose prices were assessed at euro 770/tonne FD North West Europe, while high-impact prices were seen at euro 830/tonne FD North West Europe. Polymerupdate described acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) prices as “tanking”, with general purpose and natural grade ABS spot prices were assessed down this week at euro 850/tonne FD North West Europe. In the contract markets, ABS prices were assessed down at euro 1325/tonne FD North West Europe.—[email protected]