Price trends of oil, polymer feedstock and commodity polymers in Asia for the week ended December 21, 2009

21-Dec-09
CRUDE OIL In the week of December 21, 2009, crude oil for January delivery rose to US$73.4 on the Nymex, amid optimism of demand increase as the global economy recovers. Prices are expected to continue north on expectations of reduced inventories on rising fuel demand in the US. Reports expected this week are forecast to show increasing sales of existing and new homes in the country. However, prices are not expected to rise dramatically, because of an oversupply problem. Prices have also been impacted as the Iranian troops occupied an oil field in a disputed border region with Iraq. An OPEC meeting in Luanda, Angola is not expected to change production quotas. NAPHTHA Naphtha prices in Asia have shown a very miniscule dip to levels below US$690/MT in the week of December 21, 2009. Despite healthy oil prices, several bearish influence are at play in the naphtha markets including flat demand at high levels, higher refinery run rates in Japan and large exports from India. ETHYLENE Ethylene prices have moved up to US$1125/MT in Asia in the week of December 21, 2009 in line with healthy crude oil sentiments and limited supplies in the region. Despite yo-yoing oil and naphtha prices in the past few weeks, ethylene prices continue to strengthen in Asia. As compared to prices documented in early part of last month, ethylene prices in Asia rose by almost 200 dollars in December. Restricted supplies in the region are mainly responsible for this rise. Avails in the region have been limited on reduced supplies from Iran, the largest Middle East supplier of ethylene to Asia. Throughout 2009, Iran’s crackers have been running at 50-60% run rates due to lack of gas feedstock and a recent sudden shutdown of Marun Petrochemical’s 1.1 mln tpa cracker. Ethylene exports from Iran have plunged in 2009 to about 450,000 tons from levels less than 700,000 tons in 2008. Also, supplies are limited as Asian markets are yet to feel the impact of the new capacities coming up in the Middle East. PROPYLENE Propylene prices have moved up to US$1110/MT in Asia in the week of December 21, 2009 in line with rising crude oil prices and supply constraints in the region amid rising demand from derivative markets EDC Supply constraints in the region amid steady downstream demand have pushed up EDC prices to US$490/MT in Asia in the week of December 21, 2009. After successful conclusion of deals at these levels, CFR China offers were hiked past US$500/MT as buying intentions were gauged about 10-15 dollars lower. VCM Surging in line with feedstock naphtha and EDC costs amid steady downstream markets, VCM prices spiked past US$775/MT in Asia in the week of December 21, 2009. Most key producers hiked CFR China offers for next month shipment, a few rising as high as 800 dollars. Gauging the markets by buying interest and sellers offers, CFR China January shipment market prices are assessed at US$775/MT. STYRENE MONOMER Robust demand amid buoyant market outlook has propelled Styrene Monomer prices to US$1215/MT in Asia in the week of December 21, 2009. Enthusiastic buying has pushed up January shipment FOB Korea prices past US$1200/MT as feedstock benzene prices soared by over 60 dollars. Benzene for January shipment rose to US$960/MT FOB Korea in line with robust crude oil amid optimistic derivative demand. POLYMERS HDPE HDPE prices dipped to US$1260/MT in Asia in the week of December 21, 2009 amid lackluster demand in the region. Markets were unenthusiastic and very limited deals were concluded in the week. January shipment CFR deals for film grade were concluded at US$1240/MT ffrom the Middle East and about 10-15 dollars lower from South Korea. Offers for film grade as well as injection grades remained at US$1250-1260/MT from various sellers from Asia. Market movement has been slow on preparation of accounts during end of year; and on hand-to-mouth buying as most players in the ASEAN-6 have paused trade on a range of products, including polyolefins. Material movement will increase when trade between the ASEAN-6 nations becomes duty-free with effect from January 1, 2010. Uncertainty over demand ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday in China in mid-February, has led to hesitation from buyers in China. LDPE LDPE prices stabilized at US$1390/MT in Asia in the week of December 21, 2009 on lackluster demand in the region, particularly from China. January shipment CFR China offers have been hiked by about 25-30 dollars to US$1425-1445/MT levels by sellers from South Korea, Malaysia and other Asian players. Weak demand from China has kept buyers bids a tad below the 1400 dollar mark seeing that US deep-sea cargoes were recently traded at US$1375/MT CFR China. Uncertain demand ahead of the lunar New Year break in China in mid-February, has led to reluctance among buyers in China LLDPE Increased offers from sellers have spiked up LLDPE prices past US$1315/MT in Asia in the week of December 21, 2009. January shipment CFR China offers from South Korea were heard at US$1350/MT, while offers from the Middle East were pegged about 25 dollars lower. With effect from January 1, 2010, custom duties for LLDPE trade between China and ASEAN-6 will be abolished. POLYPROPYLENE Polypropylene prices firmed up to US$1195/MT in Asia in the week of December 21, 2009 on increased offers for January shipment. CFR China offers for January shipment for yarn/injection grade from Malaysia and South Korea were heard at US$1225-1235/MT levels, and about 20 dollars higher from Taiwan. CFR China offers for block copolymer grade were heard above US$1300/MT from South Korea. Interestingly, amid higher priced seller’s offers, CFR China cargoes for January shipment from the Middle East were heard at US$1175/MT levels. POLY VINYL CHLORIDE Polyvinyl Chloride prices stabilized at US$945/MT CFR China amid stead offers in Asia in the week of December 21, 2009. CFR China deals have been concluded at US$930-945/MT by producers from Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. Offers have seen a marginal hike after these deal conclusions. POLYSTYRENE Even as input SM prices rise, PS prices have steadied at US$1245/MT in Asia in the week of December 21, 2009, despite limited deal conclusion amid lackluster demand from China. In a bid to recover cost of production in line with rising feedstock costs, January shipment CFR China offers from Asian producers have been hiked past US$1275/MT for GPPS and at US$1375/MT for HIPS. ABS ABS prices edged up to US$1555/MT in Asia in the week of December 21, 2009 in line with rising input costs. After successful conclusion of deals at these levels, selling intentions have risen in a bid to recover cost of production in line with rising feedstock values. January shipment offers have been hiked to US$1585-1615/MT.
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