Price trends of oil, polymer feedstock and commodity polymers in Asia for the week ended April 28, 2008

CRUDE OIL Crude oil prices have risen to US$118 per barrel in New York for the week of April 28, 2008. Prices moved up by around two dollars on news of production cut in Nigeria and reports that US military personnel aboard a cargo ship traveling into the Persian Gulf fired nearly a dozen warning shots at Iranian speed-boats. NAPHTHA Naphtha prices in Asia continue moving up to US$960/MT in Asia in the week of April 28, 2008. Naphtha values are rising in line with strong crude oil market and growing demand from end-users. ETHYLENE Persistent restricted supplies have kept ethylene markets of Asia robust at US$1400/MT in the week of April 28, 2008. PROPYLENE Propylene markets have gained in strength as persistent restricted supplies continue to push prices up to US$1340/MT in Asia in the week of April 28, 2008. Propylene prices are estimated to continue in their march upwards in May as limited availabilities continue across the region. VCM VCM prices rose by over twenty dollars to US$955/MT in Asia in the week of April 28, 2008. The uptrend in price was sustained by stronger upstream ethylene costs, and rising prices of downstream PVC coupled with restricted availabilities. Bullish market sentiments prevail on restricted supplies in Asia as two Japanese producers are scheduled to shut down a 550000 tpa and 400000 tpa VCM plants in May for annual turnaround. Downstream PVC prices that continue at record highs and upstream ethylene costs that have spiked by over fifty dollar this week will exert pressures on VCM prices in May. EDC Stability reigned in the EDC markets of Asia in the week of April 28, 2008, as prices remained at US$445/MT on lack of movement in the markets. Rising feedstock ethylene costs have prompted suppliers to mull a price hike for May. However, any attempt at a price hike is being thwarted by the end-users who have a healthy level of stocks for May production. Replenishing stocks is not a priority with several processors, hence very few deals were concluded. STYRENE MONOMER Styrene Monomer prices in Asia dipped to US$1420/MT in the week of April 28, 2008 as market outlook simmered down. Feedstock benzene prices have moved up by almost fifteen dollars in line with strong crude oil prices. POLYMERS HDPE As buying picked up in China, HDPE prices in Asia moved up to US$1620/MT in the week of April 28, 2008. Asian HDPE market sentiments strengthened as buying sentiments from China improved along with rising crude oil market. Supply from China is expected to be hit ahead of the Olympic Games, causing domestic prices in China to recoil. LDPE Stringent supplies have spiked LDPE prices to US$1780/MT in Asia in the week of April 28, 2008. Sellers from South East Asia as well as Middle East have quoted May offers at highs of US$1800/MT CFR China on the back of limited supply. LLDPE LLDPE prices have moved up along with Chinese demand to US$1645/MT in Asia in the week of April 28, 2008. Cargoes for May shipment from SE Asia and Japan traded at these levels. May offers from Taiwan at above US$1650/MT, however, met with resistance from the buyers. PP Rising prices of feedstock propylene have kept polypropylene prices in Asia at US$1580/MT in the week of April 28, 2008. Rising prices have been coupled with restricted supplies. PVC Stable demand from China has pushed PVC prices up to US$1170/MT in Asia in the week of April 28, 2008. Demand from China for imported PVC has been rising as the buyers continue to face higher domestic prices on account of rising feedstock costs. As FOB deals for non-Asian countries have been concluded at higher prices, offers from South Korea and Japan have witnessed an almost fifty dollar hike this week. GPPS As demand from China picked up, GPPS prices rose to US$1500/MT in Asia in the week of April 28, 2008. Cargoes from Taiwan and South Korea for April-end shipment were at US$1500/MT CFR China. ABS Improving demand from China has caused ABS prices to spike to US$1860/MT in Asia in the week of April 28, 2008. Improving markets have also been coupled with robust feedstock prices.
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