Asian propylene and styrene costs rise, pull up polymer markets

18-Jul-11
In Asia, spot propylene and styrene monomer prices are above levels reported at the beginning of the month. Higher monomer prices have already caused some upward movements in region’s polymer markets, with PP and PS prices escalating over the past week, as per ChemOrbis. Since the beginning of the month, spot propylene prices have gained US$90/ton FOB Korea basis, rising by US$40/ton in this week alone. These increases were attributed to strong buying interest in the region while some sellers are reportedly reluctant to sell their cargoes in anticipation of further price increases. Domestic homo-PP prices moved up by CNY100/ton (US$15/ton) for raffia and CNY200/ton (US$30/ton) for injection on the low end of the price ranges week over week. Domestic producers issued CNY50-200/ton (US$7-33/ton) increases during this past week, pointing to firmer upstream costs. Domestic producers are feeling free from inventory pressure these days and have stopped offering retroactive discounts on their prices this week. In the import market, PP raffia offers firmed up by US$10-50/ton on a CFR China, subject to 6.5% customs duty, cash basis over the same period. In the styrene market, spot prices on an FOB Korea basis have gained US$90/ton since the beginning of July, similar to the increases seen in the propylene market. Week over week, the increase on styrene costs was relatively modest at US$15/ton. Crude oil prices are still hovering above the US$95/barrel threshold and spot benzene prices are US$90/ton firmer, while CFR Japan based naphtha prices are US$55/ton higher than early July levels. In the PS market, import offer levels gained US$15-50/ton this week for both dutiable and non-dutiable PS origins. However, even after these recent increases import GPPS prices are still trading US$115/ton below producers’ theoretical costs based on spot styrene prices. This suggests that producers will announce further increases on their prices, especially at the low end of the range, in order to recover their margins. In the local market, prices for A-grade PS moved up by CNY200-400/ton (US$31-62/ton) while B-grade materials recorded CNY100-400/ton (US$15-62/ton) increases over the same period. Overall demand has slightly improved following last week’s increases although sellers still complain that their sales have not been as good as they had hoped.
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