Ethylene offer prices rose more than $10/tonne to $650/tonne Northeast Asia due to a spike in downstream polyethylene (PE) prices, according to Polymerupdate. A trader contacted by Polymerupdate said that in spite of the recent increase, ethylene’s fundamentals are not looking particularly bullish, especially considering the “flood” of the chemical from the Middle East expected to hit next month in China and Taiwan. In related plant news, Petrokemya has shut down its 890,000 tonnes/yr high-density/linear low-density PE swing plant in Al Jubail, which will boost ethylene supplies and pressure regional rates. In addition, SHARQ is planning to shut its LLDPE lines at Al Jubail for maintenance, further boosting ethylene availability.
Propylene prices climbed steeply on production issues at China’s Shanghai Secco and Taiwan’s Formosa crackers. FOB Korea propylene prices rose to $720/tonne, while CFR Southeast Asia prices climbed to $840/tonne. CFR China propylene prices were assessed at $785/tonne. Spot propylene offers from South Korea were heard at $730/tonne FOB Yeosu, with some buyers attempting to bid at $715/tonne FOB Korea on the basis of the planned cracker restart at Shanghai Secco, but sellers refused to entertain low bid prices. In Southeast Asia, propylene supplies remained tight although a planned restart at Chandra Asri’s cracker on March 23 was expected to boost Indonesian avails.
Polypropylene (PP) prices jumped on the spike in propylene, strength in crude, and tight availability of select grades in some parts of the region due in part to improved buying in key markets like China. PP raffia and injection grades rose to $890/tonne CFR Far East Asia, with PP film grade prices climbing to $920/tonne CFR. Offers for PP film in South Asia rose above $1000/tonne CFR. In China, local prices raced higher to RMB 7900 to RMB 8000/tonne ex works. Aiding the increase was the fact that Shanghai Secco shut down its cracker as well as its 250,000 tonnes/yr PP line. Petrochina and Sinopec are operating their PP units at reduced rates, further constraining supplies. In addition, there were reports that SABIC would have less spot PP avails for April due to some ongoing troubles at its plants.
Styrene monomer (SM) prices declined, with FOB Korea prices dropping to $840/tonne while CFR China prices fell to $865/tonne CFR. Supplies will improve with plant restarts at Siam SM in Thailand, SMI in Indonesia, Nippon Steel and Asahi Kasei in Japan, and SK Energy in South Korea. Styrindo Mono Indonesia shut its No. 2 SM plant last Tuesday due to a power cut.
Polystyrene (PS) rose, with general-purpose prices hitting $960/tonne CFR China, while high-impact prices rose to $1070/tonne. A steam cracker outage at Shanghai Secco prompted the company to delay its March SM contract supplies, pushing PS higher. Shanghai Secco has 500,000 tonnes/yr SM and 300,000 tonnes/yr PS production. —[email protected]