Egyptian EPC’s hike opens arbitrage window for American PVC cargoes

18-Aug-11
Egypt's domestic petrochem maker - EPC announced EGP250/ton ($42/ton) increases on PVC k67-68 and 70 offers at the beginning of this week, as per ChemOrbis. The increase decision was not surprising given the fact that the producer’s previous prices were trading US$40-60/ton below the distribution market. According to a company source, EPC holds sufficient supply levels to meet the market’s needs. “We raised our prices as we had been seeing healthy demand at our former offer levels,” he further added. Following their hike decision, EPC’s prices are now within the distribution market range, which remained mostly stable from last week so far although some players claimed that the low end of the distributors’ prices are becoming scarce as the week proceeds. Despite the increase, the producer’s new prices continue to stand closer to the lower end of the locally held range and pose as a competitive choice in terms of local market options. However, in the import PVC market, which is dominated by US origins, offer levels indicate decreases of US$20-49/ton on a week over week basis. This softening is mostly down to the lack of buying interest during the traditionally slow month of Ramadan, according to a buyer who purchased at the low end of the overall import range. Plus, the volatility in the upstream markets also caused players to adopt a rather cautious attitude towards imports while they complained about their slow end businesses. This cautious attitude towards imports could change with the wider gap between EPC’s prices and US imports. Import offers are now the most competitive purchase choice in Egypt’s PVC market as there is a wider gap between local and import prices. American PVC offers are US$56-88/ton lower when compared to the local producer EPC’s prices while they are US$66-82/ton below the distributors’ prices even after adding an estimated US$30/ton for clearing and handling charges on the imports.
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