Buying sentiments in Asia’s PET markets dampened by lower crude prices

23-Aug-10
Despite higher feedstock costs, Asian PET buyers appear reluctant to make fresh purchases, preferring to be sidelined from the market, pointing to crude oil prices that have dipped lost over five dollars since the beginning of the month, dipping to below US$74/bbl, as per Chemorbis. In the export market, Korean PET prices are mostly stable at their last week’s levels FOB Busan. However, considering the higher upstream markets, Korean producers are reluctant to offer discounts on their offer levels despite little buying interest, especially at the high end of the range, which is above US$50/ton when compared to the low end. In China’s export market, overall offer levels recorded ten dollar increases at both ends of the ranges on FOB basis. However, buy ideas are standing US$30-60/ton below the current range. Gaining support from the upstream markets, most producers elected to issue US$10-20/ton increases on their offer levels. “We cannot offer much ground on our offer levels as our prices are already too close to the theoretical levels based on the PTA and MEG costs,” they claim. In the feedstock markets, Asian spot PX prices rose by US$12/ton on the week despite lower crude oil and naphtha prices, spot MEG offers gained US$15/ton on the week before hitting three month highs on CFR China basis, spot PTA costs followed an opposite trend and lost US$10/ton to record the lowest level reported during last week on the back of the weak demand. Inside China, the distribution market level rose by CNY50/ton (US$7/ton) at the low end while the high end remained stable. Spot PTA and MEG prices witnessed noticeable increases and gave PET producers an upper hand to insist on their current offer levels. Most producers offering at the low end of the range targeted CNY50-100/ton (US$7-15/ton) increases in a bid obtain healthy margins, while the rest of the sellers seem more adamant about not offering discounts. However, buyers expect to see a change of direction on feedstock costs considering the lower oil prices. Plus, they highlight that the high season for beverages and consequently for PET products is about to fade away despite some sellers’ claim that they see relatively better demand in South Africa and South America due to the warming weather conditions in the Southern Hemisphere. General expectations centre on buyers coming back to the market to replenish their stocks although these buyers anticipate seeing some lower prices, especially at the high end of the ranges.
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