Price trends of oil, polymer feedstock and commodity polymers in Asia for the week ended March 23, 2009

24-Mar-09
CRUDE OIL US light, sweet crude prices that surged by 7% on Thursday, saw a marginal dip to end the week of March 23, 2009 at US$51. The dip was triggered by yo-yoing stock markets and expiry of April contract. Oil prices that rose on Thursday after the Fed announced its plan to buy long-term government debt and the dollar tumbled in value, dipped as US stocks were hardly altered on the subsequent day after the lukewarm debut of a Federal Reserve measure to revive lending. The dollar climbed against the euro, making commodities less appealing. US crude inventories have enlarged as energy demand continues to be weak. In fact, few analysts cautioned that it may be difficult for oil prices to sustain the recent rally. NAPHTHA Naphtha prices have moved up in tandem with rising crude values to US$435/MT in Asia in the week of March 23, 2009. ETHYLENE Strengthening derivative polyethylene markets triggered an improvement in feedstock ethylene values. Rising by about ten dollars, FOB Korea ethylene prices stood at US$610/MT in Asia in the week of March 23, 2009. Sellers have hiked offers to US$650/MT levels, but have met with limited success. Buying intentions continue to be pegged around the US$600/MT mark on news of likely arrival of cheaper cargoes from the Middle East. PROPYLENE Propylene prices in Asia have intensified to US$710/MT FOB Korea as Chinese demand strengthens in the week of March 23, 2009. The unplanned outage at Shanghai SECCO's 900,000 tpa naphtha cracker has created supply issue, pushing up April shipment offers to US$720/MT. STYRENE MONOMER Styrene Monomer prices have inched down to US$845/MT in Asia in the week of March 23, 2009 on weakening demand from China. Not much movement was seen in the markets as the buyers prefer to wait in the sidelines. Feedstock benzene values have climbed up to US$465/MT due to supply problems. Most Chinese producers prefer to concentrate on supply to contractual users, Exxon Mobil has brought down some plants at Jurong for 6 week turnarounds, which could include the 190,000 tpa benzene plant, while India's Haldia plans a 2 month maintenance turnaround at its 120,000 tpa plant from next month. VCM Lowered April offers by major producers and declining derivative PVC demand in Asia have pushed down April VCM offers to US$570/MT in the week of March 23, 2009. CFR China deals were heard concluded at US$550-570/MT, encountered by buying intentions below US$550/MT. As anticipated last week, prices have slipped in line with falling prices of derivative PVC. EDC EDC prices have had a sudden upward movement to US$245/MT in Asia in the week of March 23, 2009. This spurt can be attributed to openness on part of the buyers to accept higher value offers from sellers who are currently facing supply paucity. CFR Asia Offers are pegged at US$265-295/MT with successful conclusion of deals at US$250/MT. POLYMERS HDPE The impact of Shanghai SECCO's unplanned shutdown at it's 900,000 tpa naphtha cracker due to mechanical glitches is beginning to be felt in downstream markets this week. A shortfall of feedstock ethylene has led to a sudden outage of Shanghai SECCO's 650,000 tpa HDPE plant, propelling Asian HDPE prices to US$955/MT in the week of March 23, 2009. LDPE LDPE prices have shown a marginal upward movement to US$985/MT in Asia in the week of March 23, 2009. Prices have risen in tandem with the general polyolefin market movement. However, markets remained lackluster amid scarce offers for April shipment. Offers from South Korea ranged at the thousand dollar mark, while those from the Middle East and South East Asia ranged about 10-15 dollars lower. LLDPE LLDPE prices have inched higher to US$995/MT in Asia in the week of March 23, 2009, moving in sync with escalating polyolefin prices. The price hike, however, has been controlled as a result of lifeless markets triggered by limited offers. Offers for April shipment pegged at above US$980/MT CFR Asia were successfully converted to concluded deals at these levels. POLYPROPYLENE As propylene prices intensify amid restricted avails, polypropylene prices have increased to US$895/MT in Asia in the week of March 23, 2009. Typical offers from South Korea and India have crossed the 900 dollar mark after the successful conclusion of deals at US$885/MT last week. POLYVINYL CHLORIDE Even as sellers have started offering CFR China cargoes for April, polyvinyl chloride market persisted at US$675/MT in Asia in the week of March 23, 2009. April shipment deals by sellers from South Korea were concluded at US$685/MT CFR China, at US$655/MT CFR CMP from Taiwan and about 20-30 dollars lower from US for CFR CMP deals. GPPS Last week's fifty dollar jump in input Styrene Monomer costs have taken their toll on GPPS prices this week, propelling them to US$955/MT in Asia in the week of March 23, 2009. Buoyant feedstock markets have urged sellers to increase April shipment offers, while a few have put notional offers on hold as feedstock SM costs continue to range above US$800/MT. ABS ABS prices have increased in sync with rising feedstock values to US$1205/MT in Asia in the week of March 23, 2009. April shipment offers from Taiwan and South Korea have bolstered to US$1200-1215/MT levels.
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