Lower feedstock PTA, MEG, PX contracts pull down benchmark PET prices in China

29-Mar-10
In China, domestic benchmark PET prices for April were announced with decreases while market players highlight that overall offer levels are in line with the theoretical costs based on the March feedstock contracts despite spot prices for these feedstocks gaining some lost ground after the second half of last week, as per Chemorbis. A major domestic producer inside China settled PTA, MEG and PX contracts for March with rollovers to decreases. The producer’s PTA contract represents a rollover from February, PX contract is down by CNY150/ton (US$22/ton) and MEG contract indicates an even larger drop of CNY700/ton (US$103/ton) with respect to last month. Now, the producer’s new contract prices stand at US$963/ton for PTA, US$1014/ton for PX and US$936/ton for MEG on import parity basis. After this development, 7 major domestic PET producers revealed their April benchmark prices with decreases from February levels as they had not announced March benchmark prices. New benchmark prices stand at US$1340/ton without VAT for water bottle chip, US$1352/ton without VAT for hot-filling bottle chip and US$1365/ton without VAT for carbonated soft drink chip on FD, cash including VAT basis. These prices are about US$59/ton lower than February levels. However, overall PET prices in the distribution market remained steady on week over week basis for the time, US$1302-1340/ton without VAT on ex-warehouse/FD China, cash including VAT basis. Meanwhile, buyers are continuing to buy at hand to mouth levels despite the fact that most of them have started to run their plants at higher rates in expectation of a recovery in PET demand as the high season for beverage bottles draws near. Plus, tightening credit controls also make buyers cautious on their purchases before they see a real improvement on their end businesses. In the export market, PET prices were reported ten dollar higher at the low end on FOB China basis with respect to last week although sellers complain that there has been a slowdown on their sales after this hike as a result of US$20-30/ton lower buy ideas from overseas customers. Yet, they are resisting lowering prices as they hope to see a pick-up in demand in April. Plus, the fact that spot feedstock prices regained some lost ground in the second half of the week encourages sellers to mull over increases on their offer levels over the near term. In the import market, South Korean PET prices remained stable at last week’s levels on FOB Busan basis as Asian producers feel free from inventory pressure. Therefore, most of them elected to keep their offer levels unchanged despite poor sales. Plus, expectations of better demand in April also influence these producers’ steady stance.
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