Ethylene prices in Asia are showing convincing signs of strength according to Polymerupdate, with CFR Northeast Asia prices touching $710/tonne. CFR Southeast Asia ethylene prices were reported at $700/tonne, while FOB Korea was $720/tonne. An ethylene trader contacted by Polymerupdate said that bullish downstream polyethylene (PE) prices and limited avails are helping keep the pricing undertone in ethylene firm. Korean supplies are tight due to an unexpected shutdown at YNCC’s No. 1 steam cracker. The 857,000-tonnes/yr unit was shutdown and on Thursday, costing the supply stream 5000 tonnes of ethylene. YNCC will now shutdown its No. 2, 550,000-tonnes/yr steam cracker for maintenance in June.
Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) continued to quote firm across Asia, supported by strength in crude, naphtha, and ethylene feedstock. A trader told Polymerupdate that supplies are improving with the restart of QAPCO’s Mesaieed 400,000-tonnes/yr LDPE plant. An unexpected outage there eventually spanned a fortnight. Polymerupdate reports that LDPE deals to China are being completed at $1210/tonne CFR, while in Southeast Asia, LDPE transactions have been sealed at $1220 to $1230/tonne CFR.
Propylene prices inched higher on the back of gains in polypropylene (PP). FOB Korea propylene prices rose to $810/tonne, while CFR China and Taiwan prices were assessed at $850/tonne. In related plant news, Japan's Mitsubishi Chemical took its Mizushima steam cracker down last Tuesday for maintenance, with the outage expected to last 55 days. ExxonMobil will also shut down its Singapore propylene plant for two months for maintenance. The plant has a total capacity of 435,000 tonnes/yr. Shanghai Secco has also announced that it will shut down its steam cracker in China for expansion and maintenance.
Polypropylene (PP) raffia and injection grades rose to $1085 to $1095/tonne CFR Far East Asia, while CFR Southeast Asia prices reached from $1105 to $1115/tonne. PP film prices were assessed at $1170/tonne CFR Far East Asia, while CFR Southeast Asia PP film prices were $1200/tonne and higher. A PP trader reached by Polymerupdate said PP prices could have recorded a steeper climb, if not for India’s Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) testing the markets from its new Jamnagar plant.
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) rose across Asia, with CFR China and Southeast Asia assessed at $1345 to $1355/tonne. For June, ABS sellers were targeting offers to China at $1350 to $1370/tonne, but several buyers were reluctant to accept higher prices, citing softer regional demand in the home-appliance sector through the second quarter, coupled with continuing uncertainties about the global economy. In spite of this, an ABS seller told Polymerupdate that Chinese ABS buying volumes were improving. According to customs data, March ABS imports totaled 189,518 tonnes, up 6.3% year over year. In February, imports hit 158,159 tonnes, up from 106,400 tonnes in January. China’s domestic ABS producers responded by lifting their prices last week by RMB500. In plant news, Toray Malaysia’s ABS plant was operating at 100% following an early May restart on completion of maintenance. —[email protected]