Ethylene prices were flat in Korea last week at $710/tonne FOB, according to Polymerupdate, and on a broader CFR Northeast Asia basis, ethylene prices declined with Japanese cracker operators scheduled to increase run rates starting next month. The news Japanese petrochemical producers would boost run rates from 85-95% due to higher export demand for downstream products like polyethylene (PE) eased supply concerns in the region. On Friday, April 24 CFR Northeast Asia ethylene prices were at $720/tonne. Ethylene also slipped in Southeast Asia, as news of growing inventories pushed prices down to $710/tonne CFR Southeast Asia. A planned turnaround at Indonesia firm Sulfindo’s 295,000 tonnes/year EDC plant in May further swelled ethylene inventories.
Ethylene buyers bid for cargo at below $710/tonne CFR, with sellers responding by offering cargo at $740/tonne CFR and higher.
Polyethylene (PE) demand growth across Asia prompted producers to plan increased cracker run rates. Polymerupdate reports that Japan in particular plans to boost select naphtha cracker in May with a source telling the firm that Tosoh, Sumitomo Chemical, and Nippon Oil all plan to increase their runs to 100%. Maruzen hiked its cracker run rates to 85%, while Sanyo lifted runs at its cracker in Mizushima to between 85-90%.
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) film prices on a CFR Far East Asia basis registered $1185/tonne, while low-density polyethylene (LDPE) prices hit $1155/tonne CFR Far East Asia. Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) prices were assessed at $1135/tonne CFR Far East Asia.
Polypropylene (PP) prices finished last week up in some parts of Asia, after propylene prices firmed, with FOB Korea reaching $850/tonne. CFR Far East Asia PP injection and raffia rose to $1090/tonne, while PP film hit $1170/tonne CFR Far East Asia. The increases were due in part to supply concerns triggered by news of PP plant turnarounds across China. Sinopec’s Gaungzhou Petrochemicals shutdown its 70,000 tonnes/year PP plant for a turnaround expected to last 25 days, while Qilu shut down its PP plant on April 15 for a month, and Fujian Refining and Petrochemical company closed down its 120,000 tonnes/year PP plant on April 20 for four weeks. A trader contacted by Polymerupdate felt PP prices would likely hold at least until deep sea cargoes begin to arrive in China from Europe and the U.S. by the middle of May.
Styrene monomer (SM) prices continued downward, dropping by about $30/tonne last Wednesday. FOB Korea prices were assessed at $905/tonne, while CFR China prices dipped to $940 to $945/tonne, with 90-day credit terms. By last Thursday, buyer bids for SM were heard at a low of $900/tonne FOB Korea, with sellers keeping their targets at $930-$940/tonne for May.
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) prices dropped with the market speculating that styrenic derivatives were due to adjust downward in Asia in tandem with falling SM feedstock prices and tiring demand. ABS producers kept offers stable at $1500/tonne CFR mark, with traders offering ABS cargoes at $1450 to $1460/tonne CFR. Polymerupdate learned that Chinese distributors are offering ABS cargoes at discounts of $30-$40/tonne, a turnaround from the week prior’s $50/tonne premium. —[email protected]