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Polymerupdate global resin pricing: post-Olympic malaise continues; Asian, European PP plummets, PE lags

Polymerupdate (http://www.polymerupdate.com) reports that polypropylene (PP) prices dropped in Asia, with CFR Far East Asia and CFR South East Asia raffia and injection prices assessed at $1650/tonne CFR, while film prices were at $1690/tonne CFR. Raffia and injection prices in South Asia fell to $1720/tonne CFR, while film prices were assessed at $1740/tonne CFR. In China, post-Olympic PP buying failed to show signs of a recovery, which Polymerupdate reports triggered panic among some sellers who slashed offers.

Polymerupdate (http://www.polymerupdate.com) reports that polypropylene (PP) prices dropped in Asia, with CFR Far East Asia and CFR South East Asia raffia and injection prices assessed at $1650/tonne CFR, while film prices were at $1690/tonne CFR. Raffia and injection prices in South Asia fell to $1720/tonne CFR, while film prices were assessed at $1740/tonne CFR. In China, post-Olympic PP buying failed to show signs of a recovery, which Polymerupdate reports triggered panic among some sellers who slashed offers. In the spot market, bids for injection and raffia PP from China were down to $1630/tonne to $1640/tonne CFR. Offers from the Middle East fell to $1650/tonne CFR China. Upstream, propylene feedstock prices finished higher in Asia last week, and in plant news, Formosa Plastics kept run rates at its Ningbo PP plant at 55%, due to soft demand and high inventories. The plant’s output capacity is 450,000 tonnes/yr.

In high-density polyethylene (HDPE), Polymerupdate is forecasting a recovery, although prices in the last week drifted lower, with injection and blowmolding prices in South Asia assessed at $1700/tonne CFR, while film was reported at $1750/tonne CFR. A large South Korean PE manufacturer told Polymerupdate team that September offers for HDPE film to China were sharply lowered, but the company is still unable to match offers from other sellers seen at $1730/tonne CFR China. Some HDPE injection offers to China are down to the $1650 to $1660/tonne CFR. Looking forward, the producer said “there are no signs of prices bottoming out anytime soon.”

In spite of tight availability in the region, Asian low-density polyethylene (LDPE) prices across declined with slack demand. Post-Olympic buying in China failed to show any signs of lifting, while falling upstream crude and naphtha values pushed buyers to stall for further decreases. Although some producers held to LDPE offers at $1900/tonne CFR, others lowered them to the $1850/tonne CFR mark.

Asian polystyrene (PS) prices lowered on falling styrene monomer (SM) numbers, pushing general-purpose PS down by $30/tonne CFR China. GPPS offers to China fell to $1620 to $1630/tonne CFR. Bids were lower still at $1580/tonne CFR. In high-impact PS, prices ranged from $1740 to $1760/tonne CFR China.

Asian polyvinyl chloride (PVC) prices also dropped sharply, with negative sentiment again fueled by a post-Olympic malaise. Spot offers for PVC fell to $1200/tonne CFR, and despite the $40 to $50/tonne price fall, PVC buying interest remained lackluster. The market is expected to remain slow, especially given the start of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan expected to slow activity in countries/regions like Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, the Middle East.

In European news, spot LLDPE prices fell across Europe, with butene-grade LLDPE down to euro 1460/tonne FD North West Europe, a euro 30/tonne decline. In the face of sluggish demand, traders unwound positions and reduced rates. In the contract markets, European LDPE prices held stable at euro 1560/tonne FD North West Europe. Despite the market conditions, Polymerupdate reports that several producers are targeting hikes for September owing to lost margins, with SABIC announcing an increase of euro 30/tonne for September offers, and Ineos announcing a euro 50/tonne hike.

LDPE general-purpose contract prices fell to euro 1580/tonne FD North West Europe. In the spot market, LDPE prices decreased euro 40/tonne, falling to $1450/tonne FD North West Europe. Polymerupdate says that at the euro 1450/tonne FD level, some buying interest did become evident, but not enough to convince players that LDPE prices would not decline further. Turkish producer Petkim lowered its LDPE rates to euro 1450/tonne FD for select grades.

Spot PP prices in Europe also declined, with homopolymer injection grades assessed at the euro 1345/tonne FD North West Europe, while copolymer prices were seen at euro 1400/tonne FD North West Europe. Ineos announced a hike of euro 50/tonne in all its September contracts, but not all producers are thought to be targeting increases. In the spot markets, PP prices also slipped, with homopolymer grades at euro 1260/tonne FD North West Europe, and copolymer prices down to euro 1310/tonne FD North West Europe.

PVC buyers in Europe appear prepared to resist price hikes, with suspension-grade contract prices unchanged from the week before at euro 1125/tonne FD North West Europe. For September, European producers are seeking hikes ranging from euro 40 to more than euro 50/tonne, based on a euro 190/tonne gain in third-quarter ethylene contract prices, coupled with margin losses in the first two quarters.

PS contract prices were unchanged, with GPPS prices flat at euro 1575/tonne FD North West Europe, and HIPS unchanged at euro 1630/tonne FD North West Europe Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) contract prices were at euro 1895/tonne FD North West Europe—an increase of more than euro 50/tonne from July settlements. ABS producers are targeting further hikes for September, on the basis of gains in prices of upstream acrylonitrile (ACN), butadiene, and SM feedstock. Dow announced a hike of euro 50/tonne effective Sept. 1, 2008, or as contract terms allowed, in its Magnum ABS. In the spot market, ABS prices drifted lower, with natural and general-purpose grades at the euro 1620 to euro 1625/tonne.

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