Polymerupdate global resin pricing: Triple-digit price drops continue in Asia, Europe

By: 
October 30, 2008

Polymerupdate (www.polymerupdate.com) reports that drops in crude and naphtha, which impacted benzene and styrene monomer (SM), pushed acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polystyrene (PS) prices down by $100/tonne on a week-to-week basis. ABS fell to $1700/tonne CFR China, while general-purpose polystyrene (GPPS) prices hit $1190/tonne CFR China.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) prices experienced a “nosedive”, according to Polymerupdate, with rates crashing by more than $150/tonne. Injection and blowmolding grades, on a CFR Far East and CFR South East Asia basis, were assessed at $950/tonne, with film prices reported at $1050/tonne CFR Far East and CFR South East Asia. An HDPE seller contacted by Polymerupdate told the company that Chinese buyers have basically ceased purchasing altogether, with some previously confirmed orders cancelled.

Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) experienced a similar crash, falling $200/tonne week over week. CFR Far East LLDPE prices dropped to $1050/tonne, with CFR South East Asia prices at $1060/tonne, and CFR South Asia prices at $1070/tonne. In related plant news, Polymerupdate learned that Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics was reported to be running its PE units at reduced rates of between 50%-60% capacity.

Asian prices of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) dropped $80/tonne, pushing CFR China prices of suspension-grade PVC to $790/tonne, with CFR South East Asia prices assessed at $800/tonne. Taiyo Vinyl is reported to have reduced runs at its 310,000 tonnes/yr PVC plant at Yokkaichi and its 170,000 tonnes/yr plant at Osaka to 90% rates. Hanwha Chemical, meanwhile, is running its 494,000 tonnes/yr plants at Ulsan and Yeosu at rates between 70% and 80%.

LDPE general purpose prices on a CFR Far East Asia basis were assessed down at the $1200/tonne on Wednesday. CFR South East Asia prices were assessed at the $1210/tonne.

Polypropylene (PP) injection and raffia prices plunged to $915/tonne CFR Far East, with film grades at $945/tonne CFR Far East. Biaxially oriented and block copolymer prices fell to $945/tonne CFR Far East. On a CFR South East Asia basis, raffia and injection dropped to $935/tonne, with film at $975/tonne.

In European news, LDPE spot prices fell to euro 1180 to euro 1190/tonne FD North West Europe. An LDPE seller contacted by Polymerupdate said its customers are buying as needed to replenish inventories, but said most are convinced prices will continue to fall.

LLDPE prices fell by euro 65/tonne from the previous week, with spot prices at euro 1185/ to euro 1195/tonne FD North West Europe. Pointing to the $150/tonne drop in Asia, Polymerupdate says the bottom has yet to be found for LLDPE in Europe.

LDPE contract prices on an FD North West Europe basis at euro 1180 to euro 1190/tonne. FCA Antwerp prices were at euro 1150 to euro 1160/tonne, while LLDPE contract prices reached euro 1185/tonne FD North West Europe, with FCA Antwerp prices down to euro 1155/tonne.

PP contract prices fell and are now off euro 100/tonne since September. Homopolymer prices are below euro 1050/tonne FD North West Europe, with copolymer prices at euro 1100/tonne FD North West Europe. Turkish producer Petkim lowered its PP prices on injection and raffia grades by $140/tonne.

Contract prices of PVC for October in Europe are down euro 50/tonne FD from previous months, but buyers are pushing for further drops, arguing that prices should be reduced by between euro 70/ and euro 80/tonne. General purpose and natural grade contract prices of ABS were unchanged at euro 1895/ to euro 1900/tonne FD north West Europe, but spot prices were flat at euro 1585/tonne FD North West Europe.

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