Price trends of oil, polymer feedstock and commodity polymers in Asia for the week ended April 14, 2008

CRUDE OIL Crude oil prices have touched record peak levels in New York spiking past US$110 per barrel for the week of April 14, 2008. World oil prices continue to hover around record levels this week on mounting concerns of a weak US dollar and tight supplies. New York's main oil contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May ended the week at US$110 per barrel, after spiking to US$112.21 in intraday trade. Despite USA heading for recession, an upward revision in China's GDP for last year to nearly 12% is helping to keep the global demand outlook for oil fairly positive. NAPHTHA Naphtha prices in Asia spiked by over thirty dollars to US$930/MT in Asia in the week of April 14, 2008 in line with record high crude oil prices. ETHYLENE An ethylene supply shortage in Asia caused by maintenance shutdowns at major producers has caused ethylene prices to spike by over fifty dollars to US$1320/MT in the week of April 14, 2008. Several key plants have been either shut down for annual maintenance or have been running at lower rates due to reduced margins. Operating rates at Taiwan's Formosa no.1 cracker has been brought down to less than 80% capacity caused by mechanical trouble due to a power outage. PROPYLENE Like ethylene, propylene prices have also spiked in Asia in the week of April 14, 2008 due to supply paucity. Prices rose by forty dollars to US$1320/MT as major producers cut down operating rates due to poor profit margins or on account of maintenance shutdowns. VCM Propped by buoyant downstream PVC prices, VCM prices in Asia climbed up in the week of April 14, 2008. VCM prices have move up to US$905/MT as optimistic PVC market outlook is coupled with firm upstream naphtha and EDC prices. Selling intentions is South East Asia have been quoted as high as US$975/MT CFR. EDC As demand from China perks up, EDC prices in Asia climbed past US$445/MT CFR in Asia in the week of April 14, 2008. But the market has remained under control on lack of interest in buying spot EDC cargoes by integrated VCM producers, possessing adequate stockpiles. STYRENE MONOMER Styrene Monomer prices crawled down to US$1425/MT in Asia on increasing pressures to sell; in the week of April 14, 2008, mainly due to subdued demand. Supported by strong crude oil market, feedstock benzene prices rose in the week, however deals were not done very actively as many sellers preferred to wait and watch. POLYMERS HDPE Current gloomy Chinese market outlook, expected to persist in Asia has weakened HDPE prices to US$1620/MT in the week of April 14, 2008. Deals for April shipment from South Korea and SE Asia were concluded at US$1620/MT CFR China for film grades. Offers from Formosa were also lowered by 15-20 dollars CFR China to US$1660/MT levels. Restrained demand from China has however, led to deals being concluded at lower level of US$1650/MT CFR China pressed by subdued demand from Chinese buyers. LDPE Meager transactions have kept LDPE markets down at US$1760/MT in Asia in the week of April 14, 2008. Few fresh offers have been heard as most key suppliers have concluded deals for April shipment. Under pressure from depressed Chinese market demand, April shipment CFR China offers were reduced to about US$1750-1730/MT levels. LLDPE LLDPE markets continue on a subdued note at US$1640/MT in Asia amid weak transactions in the week of April 14, 2008. Cargoes for April shipment from South Korea were sold to SE Asian countries at around US$1670/MT CFR, while CFR China prices this week dipped to US$1630/MT. PP As most deals for April shipment have been concluded, PP prices in Asia persisted at last week's level of US$1550/MT in the week of April 14, 2008. Suppliers from South Korea, India, Taiwan have done deals for PP yarn/injection grades for April shipment at last weeks levels. PVC Awaiting offers for May cargoes, polyvinyl chloride prices in Asia steadied at last weeks' US$1110/MT in the week of April 14, 2008. Most deals for April shipment have been concluded at US$1110-1120/MT CFR CMP. Few offers from Japanese suppliers have been raised by about forty dollars, but have met with buyers' resistance. Buyers are not willing to consent to offers over US$1130/MT CFR CMP. Rising feedstock prices will however, exert pressures on PVC prices, raising them by over thirty dollars next month. GPPS GPPS prices stagnated at US$1465/MT in the week of April 14, 2008 on lackluster demand from China. Buying bids, however, remain pegged atleast twenty dollars lower at US$1450/MT. ABS Persistently high values of feedstock SM, butadiene and ACN have not pressured ABS prices to rise. ABS prices have stagnated at US$1820/MT in Asia in the week of April 14, 2008 because of a lull in demand caused by lackluster buying in China. Producers from South Korea and Taiwan who had pegged offers upto US$1880/MT CFR China for April shipment, have met with resistance from buyers who are unwilling to buy above US$1800/MT.
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