Price trends of oil, polymer feedstock and commodity polymers in Asia for the week ended May 17, 2010

CRUDE OIL Oil prices have ended the week of May 17, 2010 at levels near US$70 per barrel in Asia. Growing concerns that the financial crisis in Europe could weaken global economic recovery and demand for crude oil has tanked crude oil by about 20% this month after peaking to an 18-month high of US$87.15 on May 3. The market is abound with fears that deep government spending cuts in Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal to fend off a debt default will hurt economic growth in Europe. NAPHTHA In line with falling crude values, naphtha prices have shown a downtrend in Asia in the week of May 17, 2010, falling by about 10-12 dollars. Open-spec naphtha for June delivery settled at US$735/MT CFR Japan ETHYLENE Ethylene prices have dipped to US$1215/MT in Asia in the week of May 17, 2010, amid falling upstream costs and deteriorating downstream demand. Buyers prefer to wait in the sidelines in anticipation of a further price correction as oil prices continue to drop. PROPYLENE Lackluster buying amid plunging oil values has pulled down propylene prices to US$1275/MT in Asia in the week of May 17, 2010. Propylene imports are coming to a standstill because the sharp fall in prices has led to uncertainty about a further fall in prices. Chinese converters prefer to wait on the sidelines amid concerns that propylene prices may weaken further, and also due to the availability of competitively priced domestic material. EDC EDC prices have steadied at US$545/MT in Asia in the week of May 17, 2010. Prices have been impacted by restricted avails in the region despite plummeting crude oil values. VCM Reduced offers from sellers have resulted in lack of conclusion of a substantial number of deals. As a result, VCM prices have steadied at US$860/MT in Asia in the week of May 17, 2010. STYRENE MONOMER Styrene Monomer prices have tumbled to US$1230/MT in Asia in the week of May 17, 2010 on falling crude and benzene values amid dull demand from derivative POLYMERS Amid falling crude oil prices, Asian petrochemical prices have plunged partly due to destocking activities. The declines are likely to continue due to high inventory levels amid lacklustre market sentiment. The plunge in the euro has impacted global polymer markets this week. Concerns are mounting over Europe's debt crisis that has resulted in austerity measures, which could continue, threatening to restrict exports from Asia to Europe. Europe's financial problems could restrict finished product orders for goods produced in China and Southeast Asia for packaging, automotive, building and construction materials, toy and electrical appliances. This outlook, amid plunging crude oil prices, has pushed buyers to the sidelines in Asia. HDPE HDPE prices have slipped to US$1260/MT in Asia in the week of May 17, 2010 on pessimistic buying sentiments in China amid falling domestic prices. Buyers prefer to wait in the sidelines amid destocking. LDPE LDPE prices have descended to US$1465/MT in Asia in the week of May 17, 2010 due to lack of sellers offers amid dull buying interest. LLDPE LLDPE prices have fallen to US$1325/MT in Asia in the week of May 17, 2010 amid pessimistic market sentiments and outlook. The market awaits seller's offers that have been delayed to due dull buying interest in the region, particularly from China. POLYPROPYLENE Polypropylene prices have steadied at US$1365/MT in Asia in the week of May 17, 2010. The market awaits offers for June amid falling upstream costs. POLYVINYL CHLORIDE Amid sluggish markets, polyvinyl chloride prices have not moved from last week's US$1020/MT in Asia in the week of May 17, 2010. Markets await substantial deal conclusion as buyers prefer to wait and watch. POLYSTYRENE Polystyrene prices are showing a downward trend in Asia on the back of reduced demand from China and fall in oil prices. GPPS and HIPS prices recorded $10-30/ton decreases in China compared to the first week of the month. PS prices could fall further if demand does not pick up and oil continues to decline. In the week of May 17, 2010, offers for GPPS were heard above US$1400/MT CFR China levels, whereas buying interest was about 50-60 dollars lower. HIPS market prices were evaluated at levels of US$1500/MT CFR China. ABS ABS prices have declined to US$1955/MT in Asia in the week of May 17, 2010. Despite raised offers, buying interest has deteriorated with plummeting crude oil values.
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