Polymerupdate global resin pricing: Prices drop in tandem with crude, Asia’s apathy affects European polymer appetites

September 25, 2008

Polymerupdate reports that prices of acrylonitrile butadiense styrene (ABS) continue to drift lower in Asia due to slowing economies worldwide, bearish movements in crude, and falling prices of naphtha, ethylene, benzene, and styrene monomer (SM) feedstock. Prices dropped to the $2040/tonne CFR China with some offers down further to $2030/tonne CFR.

Polymerupdate said an ABS buyer it contacted said that in the current environment, it would not build raw material inventories. Asian prices of polystyrene (PS) also declined on the basis of dips in upstream crude, naphtha, ethylene, benzene, and SM. General-purpose rates dropped about $20/tonne with offers to China down at $1570/tonne CFR. Despite the price fall, buyers in China kept away from purchases, with weak demand expected to continue through September until after the National Day holidays. High-impact prices fell to below $1700/tonne CFR.

Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) prices fell sharply in Asia due to dampened regional demand and falling upstream crude prices. CFR Far East Asia and CFR South East Asia LLDPE was assessed at $1690/tonne. In South Asia, LLDPE offers declined to the $1710 to $1720/tonne CFR. In plant news, SHARQ, continues to run its Al Jubail LLDPE lines at reduced rates, citing technical problems and reduced ethylene supplies. The No. 1 LLDPE line with 375,000 tonnes/yr capacity is operating at 80%, with the No. 2 line—also a 375,000 tonnes/yr capacity—operating at 70%.

Polymerupdate reports that high-density polyethylene (HDPE) prices took a “nosedive” in Asia, describing the future outlook as bleak. Sellers struggled to find buyers despite sharply reduced offers, as injection and blowmolding prices in the Far East and South East Asian plummeted to near $1600/tonne CFR mark. Film prices settled at $1680/tonne CFR. Demand is reportedly very sluggish across Asia, with markets like Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, showing decreased demand due to the holy month of Ramadan.

The buying mood for polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) remained very depressed in Asia, with prices of PP injection and raffia grades declining sharply due to too much supply chasing too little demand. On a CFR Far East Asia basis, injection prices fell to $1580/tonne CFR, with yarn prices at $1590/tonne CFR. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) prices in Asia fell more than $50/tonne, with demand in China described as being at a standstill. PVC offers to China were below $1200/tonne CFR, with some offers at $1150/tonne CFR. In European news, spot prices of HDPE blowmolding and film grades declined, with injection at euro 1390/tonne FD North West Europe, while blowmolding and film prices fell to euro 1340 and euro 1380/tonne FD, respectively.

In contract markets, HD prices ended flat, with suspension grades priced at euro 1520/tonne FD North West Europe. Blowmolding and film contract prices were assessed at euro 1560 and euro 1530/tonne FD North West Europe. PP contract prices in Europe finished flat, with homopolymer injection grade assessed at euro 1345/tonne FD North West Europe.

PP copolymer contract prices were seen at euro 1400/tonne FD North West Europe mark. The spot market was very quiet, with PP homopolymer prices unchanged at euro 1260/tonne FD North West Europe, while PP copolymer prices were assessed at euro 1310/tonne FD North West Europe. In Turkey, Petkim is reported to have dropped its PP prices by $100/tonne, while in plant news, Ineos has brought forward the closure date of its 175,000 tonnes/yr PP plant in Bamble from the end of December to the end of September 2008.

PS contract prices in Europe were flat, with general-purpose grades at euro 1575/tonne FD North West Europe and high-impact contract prices steady at euro 1630/tonne FD North West Europe. In the spot market, general-purpose grades could be bought for euro 1220/tonne FD North West Europe, with high-impact available at euro 1270/tonne FD North West Europe.

ABS prices edged up, with contract prices of general-purpose and natural-grade ABS assessed marginally higher at euro 1900/tonne FD North West Europe. In the spot market, general-purpose and natural-grade ABS prices were flat at euro 1625/tonne FD North West Europe. European PVC processors have united to resist September hikes, according to Polymerupdate, saying falling prices of crude, naphtha, and ethylene, along with weak cues from Asian markets support PVC price drops. PVC suspension-grade contract rates were flat in Europe at euro 1125/tonne FD North West Europe. PVC producers had hoped for euro 20 to 40/tonne hikes, which now appear unachievable.

European LDPE prices declined, with contract prices assessed lower to euro 1565/tonne FD North West Europe. An absence of buyers pressured spot prices downward to euro 1400/tonne FD North West Europe, a fall of euro 50/tonne. In Turkey, local producer Petkim slashed LDPE prices by $80/tonne, with FCA Aliaga prices at $2020/tonne.

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