Price trends of oil, polymer feedstock and commodity polymers in Asia for the week of August 11, 2008

CRUDE OIL On Friday, crude oil prices plunged to hover above US$115 - their lowest since May 2 as the US dollar strengthened further, affecting demand for commodities. However, on the morning of August 11, 2008, oil prices spiked by a dollar. Possible supply disruptions anticipated by escalating tensions between Georgia and Russia caused the spike. As exports have been halted via two Georgian ports due to the fighting, supply concerns have been fueled. Though Georgia is not an oil producer, its importance is maintained as it is a key transit point for crude and gas exports from Azerbaijan to markets in Europe. NAPHTHA Naphtha prices have witnessed a more than forty dollar plunge in line with falling crude oil values. In the week of August 11, 2008, naphtha prices continued to head south in Asia. Open spec H2 naphtha for September delivery closed at US$1018/MT CNF Japan. ETHYLENE Ethylene prices have plunged by almost fifty dollars to US$1440/MT in Asia in the week of August 11, 2008. Persistent lackluster demand from downstream users has continued to dampen sentiments in the ethylene markets of Asia. Downcast end user demand has pressured sellers to down adjust ethylene CFR Asia offers below the 1500 dollar mark. However, demand is not expected to pick up even at these reduced rates; as saddled with large stock piles, buyers intentions have already dipped further by over hundred dollars. Most buyers prefer to wait in the sidelines in anticipation of price corrections as downstream demand and prices continue to soften. PROPYLENE Persistently weak demand has pushed propylene prices down to US$1580/MT in Asia in the week of August 11, 2008. Most buyers are not keen to rebuild stocks at this juncture when prices seem to be weakening further, hence demand continues to be lackluster. VCM As upstream oil and naphtha prices continue to tumble, and demand from downstream PVC manufacturers in China continues to be feeble, VCM prices have dipped sharply to US$950/MT in Asia in the week of August 11, 2008. Movement in China's PVC market continues to be listless as buyers have pegged their intent below sellers lowered offers. EDC Waning feedstock ethylene and naphtha prices coupled with deteriorating downstream VCM and PVC markets, has kept EDC prices lower at US$505/MT in Asia in the week of August 11, 2008. Most buyers in China are not in a hurry to buy, and prefer to wait and watch for a further price correction as feedstock prices continue to tumble, hence their intent continues to be pegged below the 500 dollar mark. Very few spot offers have been heard. Styrene Monomer Styrene Monomer prices have idled at US$1510/MT in Asia in the week of August 11, 2008. Market sentiments are being perceived as muted, pushing prices down by about five dollars. Lifeless activities are keeping sentiments depressed and September shipment deals were heard concluded at US$1505/MT FOB Korea. Meanwhile, feedstock benzene prices have nose-dived to US$1200/MT in Asia in line with upstream values. POLYMERS HDPE HDPE prices in Asia have been slashed down by almost fifty dollars to US$1765/MT in the week of August 11, 2008. As the Beijing Olympics started this week, demand from China was extremely dull, pressing down prices below US$1800 level. As the prices dip to below US$1800/MT CFR China, and demand from China continues to be lackluster, sellers are trying to divert cargoes to countries with better price realization- those in Latin America, Africa and Europe. Few CFR China deals were concluded for film grade material at around US$1750, while buyers showed a low key interest in injection/blow molding grade material at the US$1700 mark. LDPE LDPE prices dipped to US$1940/MT in Asia in the week of August 11, 2008. As both buyers and sellers have adopted a wait and watch policy, LDPE market outlook continues to be restrained on muted transactions. August shipment offers from the Middle East were heard at a subdued US$1930/MT CFR China, but typical offers in Asia continued to hover at least at least thirty dollars higher. As feedstock naphtha and ethylene prices continue to head south, market is quiet in expectation of further price drop. LLDPE LLDPE prices have dipped to US$1840/MT in Asia in the week of August 11, 2008. As feedstock prices continue to decline, market sentiments weakened in anticipation of further price correction. Buyers preferred to wait and watch and sellers also continued in the sidelines. CFR China offers from South Korea and Taiwan have moved up marginally to above US$1850/MT, but have met with reluctance from most Chinese buyers who prefer to wait in the sidelines for a price revision. PP Polypropylene prices in Asia have seen a forty dollar down-adjustment to US$1910/MT in the week of August 11, 2008. Market outlook continues to be gloomy as domestic prices in China were slashed, leading to restrained demand from Asia's largest consumer. Key producers have cut August offers to US$1950/MT CFR China, while deals were concluded about forty dollars lower. As concerns of a further price drop loom large, few traders have cleared up cargoes as low as US$1850/MT CFR China. Recent developments have, however, not enforced a very steep cut as most suppliers seem reluctant to reconcile CFR offers below the 1900 dollar mark. PVC As demand from China continues to slacken, PVC prices fell to US$1290/MT in the week of August 11, 2008. Unenthusiastic demand from China has kept the market outlook gloomy, compelling most Asian suppliers to settle deals between US$1260 and US$1320, despite offer price for August ranging upto US$1360/MT CFR China. August offers for ethylene based PVC from China ranged at US$1280/MT, but deals were concluded about ten to twenty dollars lower. GPPS Declining SM and benzene prices have pressured a forty dollar dip in GPPS prices. GPPS prices plunged to US$1685/MT in Asia in the week of August 11, 2008 on restrained demand as downstream users wait for a further price correction in line with sinking input costs. Most suppliers have lowered CFR China offers to US$1710/MT. However, offers were further corrected by 10-15 dollars on restrained buyer's bids. ABS ABS prices in Asia dropped to US$2150/MT in the week of August 11, 2008. Most domestic producers in China have further lowered their offers- this has kept demand from China muted. Even as most key suppliers from South Korea seem disinclined to bring down offers below last week's 2200 mark, few CFR China deals were heard at lows of US$2130/MT.
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