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July 1, 2008

3 Min Read
Global resin pricing report and plant news from Polymerupdate

Polymerupdate (www.polymerupdate.com) is reporting that Asian propylene prices have fallen on the basis of a decline in crude prices, a drop in Asian naphtha with August rates at $1180/tonne CFR, and reports of softening polypropylene (PP) prices in the Chinese market. One PP producer reached by Polymerupdate plans to lift prices, however, citing high upstream propylene costs, low PP inventory, and a planned shutdown. End July deliveries for domestic PP offers will be raised by $20/tonne.

Styrene monomer’s (SM) contract price has been hiked from June levels, with July at $1700/tonne CFR China on 30-day L/C terms. June nominated contract prices for SM were at $1570/tonne CFR China. The $130/tonne increase announced by Nihon Oxirane was reportedly prompted by high upstream costs of naphtha and benzene. Since early April, the Japanese chemical company slashed run rates at its 420,000 tonnes/yr SM plant at Chiba by 10% due to poor margins.

Benzene prices on Monday firmed in Asia, with FOB Korea prices assessed above $1310/tonne. The move was supported by news that benzene prices in Europe also edged up, although Polymerupdate reports that many Asian players have refused to hike their bids, citing weaker overnight aromatics prices in the U.S.

Polystyrene (PS) prices were higher with general-purpose grades at $1775/tonne CFR China and high impact at $1865/tonne CFR China. Producers have lifted offers in a bid to further improve margins. Despite the fact that SM feedstock prices have declined, Polymerupdate reports that PS makers insist their margins are still not good enough.

In Asian plant news, Tri Polyta shut down a polypropylene (PP) plant in Cilegon, Banten, with the outage expected to last three days. The site had a production capacity of 360,000 tonnes/yr. Elsewhere, Dalian Petrochemical started up its new aromatics unit located in Dalian in the Liaoning Province. Benzene production capacity at the new plant stands at 220,000 tonnes/yr.

In European pricing news, SM finished down with FOB Rotterdam prices at euro 1615/tonne. A $50/tonne drop in benzene dragged prices of SM in the region lower. In spite of this, PS prices firmed in Europe, with general purpose up to euro 1475/tonne FD North West Europe and high impact to euro 1525/tonne FD North West Europe. In the spot markets, general purpose was flat at euro 1220/tonne FD, while high impact inched up to finish at euro 1260/tonne FD North West Europe. In related plant news, Polymerupdate reports that Polimeri was believed to be operating its PS plants located at Feluy and at Mantova at reduced rates.

Contract prices of PP were unchanged at euro 1220/tonne FD North West Europe for homopolymer grades while copolymer grade contract prices were assessed at euro 1275/tonne FD North West Europe. Spot prices of PP rallied, however, with homopolymer at euro 1180/tonne FD North West Europe and copolymer prices at euro 1230/tonne FD North West Europe. Polymerupdate believes that gains have not come from a sudden spike in European demand, but because many European PP cargoes are heading to Asia, North Africa, and Turkey. Spot prices for injection-grade PP to Turkey climbed to $1820/tonne FD North West Europe.

General-purpose low-density polyethylene (LDPE) prices were flat at euro 1360/tonne FD North West Europe. In the spot market, prices edged higher with FD North West Europe at euro 1290/tonne. Converters have reported settling their June contracts at plus euro 60/tonne from last month’s levels, with others telling Polymerupdate that their suppliers are insisting on a hike of euro 100/tonne.

Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) contract prices in Europe firmed last week, with butene-grade LLDPE contract prices up to euro 1330/tonne FD North West Europe. Spot prices also rose to euro 1280/tonne FD North West Europe.

Polymerupdate says that polyvinyl chloride (PVC) makers in Europe that were hoping to achieve a June contract price hike of between euro 30 to euro 50/tonne were less confident on the basis of a visible slowdown in regional demand. PVC suspension-grade contract prices were flat at euro 1020/tonne FD North West Europe.

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