Price trends of oil, polymer feedstock and commodity polymers in Asia for the week ended April 13, 2009

CRUDE OIL Crude oil prices witnessed a very marginal dip of 20-30 cents a barrel in the week of April 13, 2009. Benchmark crude for May delivery that dropped at the beginning of the week, spiked by almost 2 dollars to US$51.4 on the Nymex, while Brent prices spiked to US$53 on the ICE Futures exchange. This sharp rise can be attributed to rising stock markets and buoyant earnings reports that suggest Americans may begin spending more. US banking giant Wells Fargo's projection of US$3 bln profit Q1 of this year sent shares of major banks soaring. This rise came despite recent indications that energy use is way down. Oil and stock markets were closed on Friday for the Easter weekend holiday. NAPHTHA Naphtha prices moved up by a couple of dollars in Asia in the week of April 13, 2009, stabilizing in the range of US$465/MT. Open-spec naphtha for H2 May delivery shuffled to close just above US$465/MT CFR Japan levels. ETHYLENE FOB Korea ethylene prices advanced on buoyant downstream polyethylene markets to US$700/MT in Asia in the week of April 13, 2009. Conclusion of deals at these levels has encouraged sellers to hike offers by 30-40 dollars, but were rebuffed by buyers who have not yet raised intentions beyond last week's levels of US$680. However, as majority of the Middle East plants scheduled to come onstream are being delayed restricting supplies, coupled with buoyant demand in the region, ethylene prices seem poised to linger at healthy levels until June. PROPYLENE Despite robust market outlook on optimistic downstream demand and prices coupled with restricted supplies from producers in the continent, FOB Korea propylene prices in Asia dipped to US$860/MT in the week of April 13, 2009. Though offers have been pegged up at around the 900 dollar mark this week, buyers have shown unwillingness to relent at prices above US$860. Despite factors conducive to price improvement, the price dip has been triggered by the expected arrival of large cargoes from Western producers in USA and Europe. STYRENE MONOMER FOB Styrene Monomer prices have spiked past US$1040/MT in Asia in the week of April 13, 2009, under the threefold influence of rising feedstock benzene values, restricted supplies in the region as well as healthy derivative demand. Feedstock benzene FOB Korea prices have spiked by almost fifty dollars to US$640/MT. VCM At the beginning of the week, markets stayed lackluster in the absence of producer offers for next month, but outlook strengthened along with a sudden hike in May offers for downstream PVC. Under dual influence of rising ethylene prices as well as optimistic derivative PVC markets, VCM prices have moved up to US$590/MT in Asia in the week of April 13, 2009. In fact, producer offers are expected to rise in line with buoyant downstream market sentiments. EDC Perked up ethylene prices as well as restricted supplies in the region have pushed up EDC prices to US$290/MT in Asia in the week of April 13, 2009. In fact, as input costs became more high-priced, few offers spiked up by over 50 dollars, even as most offers lingered around the 300 dollar mark. POLYMERS HDPE As demand in the region continues on the recovery path, May shipment HDPE prices spiked by almost 90 dollars to US$1145/MT in Asia in the week of April 13, 2009. Typical CFR offers from sellers have been increased to US$1175/MT for film grade and about 25-40 dollars higher for yarn grade. Deal conclusion has been at about 20-25 dollars lower than offers quoted. LDPE Very few transactions were concluded for LDPE as the market awaits offers from sellers for next month shipment. Despite lackluster markets, prices have spurted to US$1145/MT in Asia in the week of April 13, 2009 because of increasing feedstock values, restricted supplies in the region and optimistic markets. Few May shipment offers have been indicated around the 1200 dollar mark. LLDPE Successful CFR China deals have been concluded at around the US$1100/MT levels in the week of April 13, 2009 in Asia. May shipment offers have spiked up by an additional 30-45 dollars, with buying intention pegged about 20 dollars lower than offers. POLYPROPYLENE Polypropylene prices have increased to US$1075/MT in Asia in the week of April 13, 2009. Although feedstock propylene prices dropped this week, derivative PP prices have strengthened on the back of steady outlook. The upbeat trend is estimated to continue for the next two months as inventory levels with buyers are low and consumption is on the rise. May shipment offers have spiked past the 1100 dollar level despite weakening of demand from China toward end of week. CFR China offers from South Korean producers were heard at US$1125/MT for yarn grade, while those from Iran were heard traded at US$1050/MT. PVC Most May shipment offers have been hiked, propelling CFR China PVC prices to US$725/MT in Asia in the week of April 13, 2009. The main triggers for this rise have been optimistic market sentiments and steeply rising domestic prices in China. May shipment CFR China offers from Taiwan were heard at US$730/MT, and at US$750 from Japan as well as Thailand. GPPS Stronger feedstock SM values and restricted avails have pushed up GPPS prices to US$1125/MT in Asia in the week of April 13, 2009. Since this is the beginning of the peak demand season for GPPS in Asia, anticipating robust demand, sellers have further hiked CFR China offers to hover around the US$1175/MT level. CFR China HIPS also moved up to US$1250-1290/MT ABS Healthy demand from China along with increasing input costs are exerting pressure on ABS in Asia, pushing May shipment prices up to US$1495/MT in the week of April 13, 2009. Despite increase in offers upto the 1500 dollar level, limited material is being offered. After successful conclusion of deals at these levels, CFR China offers from South Korea are hovering around US$1525-1545/MT and about 40-50 dollars higher from Taiwan.
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