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Polyolefins, styrenics, PVC: no matter what you needed, it cost more

Processors across Asia and India saw the cost of their plastics rise last week, according to plastics pricing service Polymerupdate. Here is a look at plastics pricing developments for selected materials in Asia in the past week. The common denominator? Prices moved up.

The report starts with high-density polyethylene, prices of which Polymerupdate says moved higher across Asia. A combination of triggers were responsible for the price spike including improved regional buying trends, low inventories with producers, an anticipated hike in ethylene feedstock rates owing to planned cracker shutdowns and a rise in prices of other PE grades.

HDPE injection and HDPE film grade materials' prices were at $1405/tonne CFR Far East Asia levels while CFR South East Asia prices of HDPE injection and HDPE film grade plastic were at $1410/tonne levels. HDPE film offers to India from SABIC were up at $1450/tonne CFR for August cargoes. In China, domestic prices of HDPE film grade materials were at RMB12300/tonne ex works.

Prices for low-density PE also moved higher, according to Polymerupdate, lifted by regional buying trends, firmer upstream ethylene values, tight regional availability and gains recorded in prices of other PE grades. General purpose LDPE prices were at $1570/tonne CFR Far East Asia while CFR South East Asia prices were at $1590/tonne levels. In India LDPE offers climbed to $1620/tonne CFR for August deliveries. In China prices were at RMB1300/tonne - RMB13150/tonne ex works.

Buyers and sellers who spoke with Polymerupdate had a bullish outlook for prices of both materials throughout August. Linear low-density PE prices also moved higher the past week in Asia. Prices firmed as demand improved. Planned cracker shutdowns prompted concerns of a spike in ethylene feedstock rates while an unplanned shutdown of an LLDPE plant at Formosa Plastics' facility in Mailiao, Taiwan further contributed toward the increase in spot LLDPE prices.

CFR Far East Asia prices of LLDPE were at $1375/tonne levels while CFR South East Asia prices were at $1390/tonne levels. Offers to India from SABIC were firm at $1440/tonne CFR. In China, ex works prices were at RMB11000/tonne levels.

An LLDPE processor contacted by Polymerupdate commented, "We have covered our requirements for August and are now uncertain about what we should do for September. Though there are PE buyer factions who are bullish given the regional plant outages and strong demand trends, there are those who believe that the recent price rebound has been too steep and too swift. In their opinion, the rising trend could slow down next month due to the active buying seen in markets like China and on account of the start of the holy month of Ramadan in Muslim countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia."

According to the pricing service, prices for polypropylene (PP) galloped higher in Asia last week. Several factors, but especially firmer feedstock propylene prices and tightening regional availability, were listed by analysts as responsible for the increase. Stronger demand, especially in Asia's key markets of China and India, also supported higher spot PP rates in the region.

PP injection and PP raffia prices were at $1565/tonne CFR Far East Asia levels. PP copolymer prices were at $1575/tonne CFR Far East Asia levels. CFR South East Asia prices of PP injection and PP raffia were at $1580/tonne levels. PP film prices were at $1580/tonne CFR Far East Asia levels while CFR South East Asia prices of PP film were at $1600/tonne levels.

PP injection deals into India were heard of at $1560/tonne CFR levels while PP film deals were heard done at the $1580/tonne CFR mark. August offers to India were higher.

In China, local prices of PP injection and PP raffia were at the RMB12500/tonne ex works mark.

Polystyrene (PS) prices moved sharply higher across Asia. Bullish upstream styrene monomer (SM) costs supported sellers seeking to revise higher their offer rates. Also guiding rates higher was tightness in regional availability coupled with an improvement in demand. GPPS prices were at the $1590/tonne CFR China mark with offers heard higher at $1600/tonne CFR China levels. CFR South East Asia prices of GPPS were at $1610/tonne levels with August offers at the $1660/tonne CFR mark.

In China, where buying had improved a bit this week, local prices were up at RMB12400/tonne levels.

HIPS prices, meanwhile, were at $1790/tonne CFR China levels. Offers to China were above the $1800/tonne CFR mark. CFR South East Asia prices were at $1810/tonne levels. Offers to India were heard high at the $1850/tonne CFR mark from sellers in Taiwan and South Korea.

In China, domestic prices of HIPS were up at RMB14000/tonne levels.

Based on the PS movement, it's little surprise that ABS prices also moved higher this week in Asia. A steep spike in SM feedstock costs overshadowed the drop in upstream ACN prices and pushed spot rates of ABS higher. Also bullish for prices were reports of run rate reductions in the region, which prompted concerns about a possible supply tightness going forward. ABS injection prices were at the $2220/tonne CFR China mark, a week-on-week rise of $50/tonne. CFR South East Asia prices were at $2240/tonne levels with August offers pegged higher, above the $2260/tonne mark. August offers to India from Taiwan are firm at the $2300/tonne CFR mark. In China, local ABS rates were at RMB17150/tonne - RMB17200/tonne levels. Sellers polled confirmed that the domestic buying mood had improved.

PVC prices also moved up. In India, deals were heard sealed by Formosa at the $1150/tonne CFR mark. South Korea's LG did not have any more PVC offers for August as it had completed its allocated quantities for India for the month. LG is reported to have sold its PVC at levels ranging from $1140/tonne to $1160/tonne CFR.

CFR China prices for suspension grade PVC were $1125/tonne while CFR South East Asia prices were at $1130/tonne levels.

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