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PVC steady; PE, PP, PS, and ABS up in Asia

Polypropylene (PP) prices climbed in Asia last week, rising on strength in upstream propylene, according to Polymerupdate. A series of planned regional plant turnarounds helped the buying mood lift as players anticipated a market environment in which product supplies would tighten, with high naphtha costs helping support the increase. On Friday, March 9, propylene prices were assessed up at $1370/tonne FOB Korea in the feedstock markets.

Polypropylene (PP) prices climbed in Asia last week, rising on strength in upstream propylene, according to Polymerupdate. A series of planned regional plant turnarounds helped the buying mood lift as players anticipated a market environment in which product supplies would tighten, with high naphtha costs helping support the increase. On Friday, March 9, propylene prices were assessed up at $1370/tonne FOB Korea in the feedstock markets. PP raffia prices rose to $1425/tonne CFR Far East Asia, while CFR South East Asia prices were assessed at $1440/tonne. PP injection molding prices were assessed up at $1415 to $1420/tonne CFR Far East Asia while CFR South East Asia prices were assessed at $1440/tonne. Block copolymer prices came in at $1460/tonne CFR Far East Asia and $1470/tonne CFR South East Asia. In China, local prices of PP raffia were at Yuan 10850 to Yuan 10900/tonne ex works. In India, Reliance Industries announced a price increase in its PP prices on March 7. Local rates were hiked by Rs 2/kg basic with effect from March 8.

Polyethylene (PE) rose in Asia last week, with high-density (HDPE) moving higher at the start of the region's cracker turnaround season. Despite relatively quiet trade action seen by Polymerupdate, sellers were able to steer prices higher, citing strength in upstream ethylene costs. HDPE injection molding prices were assessed at $1390/tonne CFR Far East Asia, while CFR South East Asia prices hit $1420/tonne. CFR Far East Asia prices of HDPE film were assessed up at $1400/tonne, while CFR South East Asia prices were assessed at $1420/tonne. In China, HDPE film prices were at Yuan 10850/tonne ex works.

Asian low-density (LDPE) prices leapt higher supported by strength in upstream ethylene. CFR Far East Asia prices on Friday were assessed up at $1395/tonne, while CFR South East Asia prices rose to $1420/tonne. In China, Sinopec hiked its ex works price of LDPE in East China by Yuan 100/tonne last week while in India, Reliance Industries announced an increase in its LDPE rates by Rs 2/kg basic, effective March 8.Tosoh of Japan is reported to have hiked its LDPE price by Yen 25/kg while Sumitomo announced an increase of Yuan 20/kg.

An LDPE seller told Polymerupdate that the price gains would have been steeper if not for the weak play in global energy rates early last week. "This resulted in softer naphtha rates which in turn dampened buying sentiments in the region," the seller told Polymerupdate. "However, with the cracker shutdown season well underway, we expect to see the market mood lift going forward as product availability is expected to tighten."

Linear low-density (LLDPE) prices in Asia marched higher as strength in feedstock ethylene prices supported a rise. Ethylene rates last week were at $1300/tonne CFR North East Asia, up $20/tonne on the week. On Friday, LLDPE prices in Asia were assessed at $1330/tonne CFR Far East Asia mark. CFR South East Asia prices were assessed at $1360/tonne while CFR South Asia prices were at $1440/tonne to $1450/tonne. In China, Sinopec announced an upward revision in its LLDPE prices on March 6 of Yuan 300/tonne in East China with revised rates up at Yuan 10450/tonne mark. Indian petrochemical major Reliance Industries increased its prices of LLDPE by Rs 2/kg basic on March 7, effective March 8.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) prices were mostly stable last week in Asia, with only South East Asian prices gaining on the back of reports of tight product availability. Domestic prices in India and China were also seen lifting. In South East Asia, PVC prices were up marginally to $1025/tonne CFR. CFR China prices of PVC were assessed stable at $1010/tonne, while CFR India prices were assessed at $1050/tonne CFR mark. In the domestic markets of India, Reliance announced a price increase of Rs 1.50/kg basic in its prices of PVC, effective March 8, 2012. The price increase was attributed to the recent slump in the value of the Indian rupee against the U.S. dollar. The domestic currency on March 6, slumped to six-week low of 50.39 on hefty demand for the U.S. dollar. In China, domestic prices of ethylene-based PVC were up at Yuan 6850/tonne mid week. Meanwhile fresh offers were awaited for the month of April. For China, price offers were expected at $1030/tonne CFR although Chinese processors contacted by Polymerupdate said that they were prepared to resist these hikes owing to weaker demand trends and softer crude and naphtha values.

Polystyrene (PS) prices marched higher in Asia last week, and even though feedstock styrene monomer (SM) prices slipped, prices on the week were pegged firmer and this helped support the price gains in PS. CFR China prices of SM were assessed at $1490/tonne on March 7. General-purpose PS prices were assessed up at $1590/tonne CFR China while CFR South East Asia prices were assessed up at $1600/tonne. High-impact PS prices were assessed up at $1800/tonne CFR China, a week-on-week climb of more than $20/tonne. Offers in China were heard at $1820/tonne CFR, with CFR South East Asia prices were assessed up at $1810/tonne. EPS prices rose to $1665/tonne FOB North East Asia for general-purpose grades, while for fire retardant grades, offers were heard firm at $1800/tonne FOB.

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) prices edged up last week in Asia, prompted by firm acrylonitrile (ACN) and SM costs, as well as reports that ABS makers had nearly completed their March target quotas. On March 7, CFR China ABS prices were assessed up at $2170 to $2180/tonne with offers heard at $2200 to $2250/tonne CFR China. CFR South East Asia ABS prices were assessed at $2180 to $2190/tonne. An ABS seller told Polymerupdate on March 8 that the buying momentum in Asia's ABS markets has slowed. "The fall in energy prices early week coupled with last week's tumble in butadiene rates has prompted caution among many of our clients," the seller said. "They are hesitating to commit for April parcels and prefer to wait and watch how the markets behave hereon."

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