April 16, 2008
Polymerupdate reports that low-density polyethylene (LDPE) sellers kept their target prices for spot cargoes firm, citing tight regional supplies and surging crude and naphtha prices. Increases in ethylene prices could push LDPE prices from $1770/tonne to $1780/tonne CFR China. In polypropylene (PP), offers to China for injection and raffia grades were up to $1560/tonne CFR levels, while offers to South East Asia were at the $1580/tonne CFR. CFR South Asia offers from South Korea were at $1600/tonne CFR with, PP film offers about $10/tonne higher.
In Asian plant news, Iran’s Laleh Petrochemicals is due to launch its 300,000 tonnes/yr LDPE facility located in Bandar Imam Khomeini. The unit is supported by Marun Petrochemical’s 1.1 million mt/annum ethane-fed steam cracker. In response to the market, Hong Kong Petrochemical announced plans to bring offstream its (high-impact polystyrene) HIPS line. The company operates a GPPS and HIPS line with production capacities of 70,000 tonnes/yr each. The plants are located at Yuen Long Industrial Estate in Hong Kong. The GPPS line is currently operating at 80%, while the HIPS line is at 70 to 80%. Elsewhere, operations at Haldia’s petrochemical complex are returning to normal after an emergency shutdown on March 30. Haldia has a linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant with a production capacity of 260,000 tonnes/yr and a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plant with production capacity of 300,000 tonnes/yr. Polypropylene (PP) nameplate capacity is 300,000 tonnes/yr. The steam cracker at the complex has ethylene production capacity of 520,000 tonnes/yr, with propylene production capacity of 270,000 tonnes/yr.
In Saudi Arabia, SHARQ plans to shut down one of its LLDPE lines on April 20. The 375,000 tonnes/yr plant has been battling mechanical troubles since last month and these need to be looked at. The outage is accompanied by a scheduled maintenance shutdown at Hanwha Chemicals 355,000 tonnes/yr LLDPE unit located in Yeosu, South Korea.
In polypropylene (PP), new production is expected from Formosa Plastics 450,000 tonnes/yr PP plant in Ningbo, China, as well as Reliance Industries Ltd.’s 900,000 tonnes/yr PP unit in Jamnagar and NatPet’s 420,000 tonnes/yr PP facility in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia.
In European plant news, two PE plants operated by Polimeri Europa at Dunkirk, France were restarted, but since they were offstream for some time, they haven’t yet commenced production rates at full levels and are operating at 80% capacity. The LDPE plant has production capacity of 180,000 tonnes/yr, with the LLDPE unit at 125,000 tonnes/yr.
In pricing, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) contract prices in Europe for general purpose and natural grades ended steady at euro 1700/tonne FD North West Europe, with spot markets at euro 1325/tonne.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) suspension-grade contract prices were unchanged at euro 1035/tonne FD North West Europe, with producers targeting April hikes. Butane-grade LLDPE spot prices were slipping, while contract prices quoted steady at euro 1285/tonne FD North West Europe. Spot market prices were down to euro 1180 to euro 1190/tonne FD North West Europe. LDPE general-purpose grade contract prices in Europe also declined, with FD Germany, Italy, and France at euro 1335/tonne. FD spot prices were also down to euro 1250/tonne.
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