Ethylene prices rose last week in Asia, according to Polymerupdate, with CFR Northeast Asia prices hitting $760/tonne, CFR Southeast Asia prices rising to $690/tonne, and FOB Korea prices reaching $710/tonne. Demand in the downstream polyethylene (PE) and styrene monomer (SM) markets remained robust although the pace of buying showed some early signs of fatigue. Start-up of PetroRabigh’s new Saudi Arabian PE complex raised concerns about oversupplies. In Iran, Marun Petrochemical’s 411,000 tonnes/year cracker at Bandar Imam remained shut, while its 1.1 million tonnes/yr cracker recently restarted. In spite of this, Polymerupdate reports that ethylene cargo loadings from Iran had been delayed with some cancelled so that spot avails of ethylene remained tight. Given the environment, news that ExxonMobil was planning to shut its 900,000 tonnes/year ethylene cracker next month for a turnaround added to bullish pricing.
Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) prices finished up in Asia, climbing $65 to $70/tonne on higher upstream ethylene prices and active buying. CFR Far East Asia LLDPE prices were assessed at $1115/tonne on Friday, while CFR Southeast Asia and South Asia prices rose to $1115/tonne. A South Asian trader contacted by Polymerupdate said regional demand has kept pace with the sharp price gains but there are questions about how long the rally can last, especially as new Mid East plants ready to flood Asia with resin.
Propylene prices dropped in parts of Asia last week by between $30 to $35/tonne after rising for nearly seven weeks. On Friday, FOB Korea prices of propylene fell to $865/tonne, while FOB Japan prices were assessed at $855/tonne. CFR China and Taiwan prices fell to $920/tonne. In plant news, the Philippines operation Petron is reported to have restarted its propylene plant after it went offline for four months following an explosion last September.
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) film prices rose last Wednesday to $1160/tonne CFR Far East Asia, while low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film climbed to $1120/tonne CFR Far East Asia, with LLDPE film prices assessed higher at $1120/tonne CFR Asia. Offers went higher yet on Thursday, fueled by strength in upstream ethylene; gains in crude and naphtha; and strong regional buying interest.
Polypropylene (PP) prices also gained in Asia with raffia and injection grades hitting $1080/tonne CFR Far East Asia. Last Thursday, offers were pegged at above $1100/tonne CFR.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) suspension-grade prices rose to $700/tonne CFR China and CFR Southeast Asia. Offers to India were higher at $750/tonne CFR and above, and local demand was seen climbing. Polymerupdate reports that domestic producers in India hiked PVC prices with rates up Rs 2/kg basic effective April 9.
Polystyrene (PS) prices increased on the back of a rally in SM prices, with general-purpose PS hitting $1125/tonne CFR China and CFR Southeast Asia. High-impact prices rose to $1270/tonne CFR China and CFR Southeast Asia—a spike of more than $50/tonne week on week. Last Friday, high-impact offers climbed above $1300/tonne CIF China with general-purpose PS ranging from $1150 to $1160/tonne CIF China. —[email protected]