Price trends of oil, polymer feedstock and commodity polymers in Asia for the week of January 12, 2009

14-Jan-09
CRUDE OIL In the week January 12, 2009, data pointing to weaker economies continued to indicate eroding demand, plunging crude oil prices to US$40/barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Despite the latest OPEC production cut that came into effect on the first day of the year, crude oil prices have dipped, and so have heating oil prices to US$1.488/gallon. A US government report has reported a larger than expected increase in supplies of crude oil, gasoline and distillate fuel indicating falling consumption. NAPHTHA Notwithstanding falling crude oil prices, naphtha prices have spiked by over fifty dollars in Asia in the week January 12, 2009. The improvement in naphtha prices has been triggered mainly by advancing downstream demand. Active buying was seen in the region as users build up stockpiles. Open-spec naphtha for H2-February delivery climbed to US$360/MT CNF Japan. ETHYLENE The market has witnessed a price hike to the levels of US$595/MT on weaker supplies amid strengthening downstream PE market. Ethylene prices in Asia have seen a healthy spike in the week of January 12, 2009. Key producers in Japan and Taiwan have shuttered their plants unexpectedly, affecting supplies. Mitsubishi's 450,000 tpa naphtha cracker and Taiwan's Formosa's No 1 cracker have seen sudden outages in the past few weeks. CFR FE buying intentions for next month were assessed hovering above US$600/MT in response to seller's offers about 30-40 dollars higher. PROPYLENE Restricted supplies in the region coupled with recovering downstream demand has propelled propylene prices in Asia to US$575/MT in the week of January 12, 2009. Strengthening demand from Chinese downstream industry has moved up sellers offers past US$600/MT FOB Korea. Mitsubishi's 450,000 tpa naphtha cracker and Taiwan's Formosa's No 1 cracker have seen sudden outages in the past few weeks, affecting supplies in the region. VCM CFR China VCM prices for February shipment have risen in Asia to US$510/MT in the week of January 12, 2009, as downstream markets firm up and feedstock costs rise. After successful conclusion of deals at US$500, sellers have hiked offers by an additional twenty dollars. EDC EDC prices have risen to US$125/MT this week. As downstream markets firm up and feedstock costs rise, sellers have hiked offers to US$150-180/MT in Asia in the week of January 12, 2009. Buying intentions continue to be at US$120 levels. STYRENE MONOMER As demand from China improved, February shipment Styrene Monomer prices have climbed up to US$590/MT in Asia in the week of January 12, 2009. As demand perked up, feedstock benzene prices have also increased to US$335/MT FOB Korea for February shipment. POLYMERS HDPE Propped by recovering demand in China, HDPE prices in Asia have moved up to US$885/MT in the week of January 12, 2009. After successful conclusion of deals at these levels, offers from Asian sellers have increased by 30-40 dollars for film grade. CFR China offers for February shipment for injection grade from India were heard at US$885/MT and from USA at about ten dollars lower. LDPE LDPE prices in Asia have moved up to US$925/MT for February offers in the week of January 12, 2009, as demand from China picks up on robust buying, as well as on increased feedstock ethylene values. The advent of the approaching Lunar New Year holidays, when all businesses in China take about a week off, may dampen market outlook in the next few weeks. LLDPE LLDPE prices have risen to US$875/MT in Asia on improved demand from China and increasing feedstock ethylene values. February shipment offers seem to be moving ahead by about 30-40 dollars more, as, with the waning of the winters, agricultural demand in China is perking up. POLYPROPYLENE Conclusion of deals for material for January shipment has kept the markets for polypropylene inactive, stagnating CFR China prices at US$785/MT in Asia in the week of January 12, 2009. After successful conclusion of deals at these levels, sellers hiked CFR China offers to US$800/MT, but have limited material to offer. PVC PolyVinyl Chloride prices have risen to US$625/MT in Asia in the week of January 12, 2009, on rising input costs. Limited number of deals were concluded as buyers were unwilling to accept higher offers quoted by producers. Japanese and Thai producers have hiked CFR China February shipment offers to around US$700, while those from Formosa were heard at US$670, from LG Chem and Hanwha Chemical at US$685. GPPS GPPS prices have increased on rising feedstock costs, despite an absence of robust demand as buyers from China abstain from stockpiling ahead of the Lunar New Year Holidays. CFR China sellers offers have been heard at US$740/MT for GPPS, and at US$870/MT for HIPS in Asia in the week of January 12, 2009. ABS Weak downstream demand and falling feedstock butadiene prices have driven ABS prices down by over fifty dollars to US$995/MT in the week of January 12, 2009. Even as prices tumbled, several players from China refrained from buying and preferred to wait and watch for further market movement.
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