Price trends of oil, polymer feedstock and commodity polymers in Asia for the week ended February 8, 2010

CRUDE OIL Crude oil prices have fallen to US$71 per barrel in the week of February 8, 2010. After briefly rising above US$77/barrel earlier last week, crude oil futures plunged by over six dollars in just three days, plummeting to their lowest point since December 2009. The contract fell to the lowest settlement since December 15, on weaker US equity markets on higher-than-forecast job losses in USA depressed global stock markets and commodity prices amid a possible sovereign credit crisis in European states of Greece and Spain. NAPHTHA In line with crude oil futures, spot naphtha prices fell by around 15-20 dollars on the final trading day in the week of February 8, 2010 to dip to US$680/ton CFR Japan. Mid week, naphtha prices gained to rise past US$690/MT, but slipped as oil futures plunged. ETHYLENE Ethylene prices have fallen to US$1310/MT in Asia in the week of February 8, 2010 on lackluster demand in the region, particularly from China at the onset of the Lunar New Year Holidays. Spot ethylene prices, which had been tracking a firm trend since mid-January despite sluggish PE demand, fell over the course of the past week as sellers elected to reduce their offer levels in the face of weak demand from key markets such as China and Taiwan. PROPYLENE Propylene prices have fallen to levels just below US$1200/MT in Asia in the week of February 8, 2010 on sluggish demand and bearish outlook from the downstream markets ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays. Spot propylene prices, which had been hovering at high levels since mid-January in defiance of lackluster PP demand began slipping towards their early year levels, shedding about 15 dollars in the week. VCM VCM prices have fallen to US$850/MT in Asia in the week of February 8, 2010 due to lack of buying interest in the region, particularly in China’s domestic PVC market. Key Japanese producers have lowered their February offers by US$20/ton from their initial targets, although buyers are reluctant to buy in anticipation of a further downward price revision and additional discounts. Market sentiment in China’s domestic PVC market is bearish as demand deteriorates due to the pre-holiday drop off. EDC EDC prices have spiked past US$505/MT in Asia in the week of February 8, 2010. Despite falling upstream and downstream costs as well as bearish outlook for the next week, EDC prices have spiked because of very tight supplies in the region. Offers from sellers were heard at a higher level of US$545/MT on reduced supplies of deep-sea cargoes. STYRENE MONOMER Styrene Monomer prices have spiked past US$1300/MT in Asia in the week of February 8, 2010 despite weakening oil and feedstock values. Spot styrene prices have been significantly volatile over the past two weeks- beginning the last week of January at around US$1320/MT FOB Korea, plunged to US$1250/MT in the next week and dipped to US$1240/MT FOB Korea during last week. Despite the continued weakness in China’s demand as the holidays draw ever closer, spot styrene prices have bounced back up in the week of February 8, reported at around US$1320/MT FOB Korea mid week. However, spot styrene prices in Asia also began to show some weakness towards the end of last week, shedding 10-15 dollars per ton as lower crude oil prices and higher than normal inventory levels inside China drove buyers to the sidelines. Feedstock benzene prices have seen a marginal uptrend to US$935/MT POLYMERS HDPE HDPE prices have softened to US$1300/MT in Asia in the week of February 8, 2010 on sluggish demand from China, where the markets are just preparing to go on their Lunar New Year Break. Deals for film grade material were concluded at US$1305/MT from Thailand and Saudi Arabia. Few deals were concluded for cheap cargoes at levels of US41275/MT CFR China LDPE Limited deal conclusion amid bearish market outlook has pulled down LDPE prices to US$1575/MT in Asia in the week of February 8, 2010. Very few offers were heard in the markets as some deep-sea cargoes were traded at US41425/MT CFR China levels. LLDPE Weakening demand amid unenthusiastic market outlook in China has tanked LLDPE prices to US$1415/MT in Asia in the week of February 8, 2010. Buying intention for material from Asia was pegged at the 1400 dollar mark, while deep sea cargoes were dealt at US$1355/MT CFR China. POLYPROPYLENE Polypropylene prices have stagnated at US$1320/MT in the week of February 8, 2010 in Asia. Markets are lackluster as buyers are cutting back their purchases ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays. Few CFR China deals were heard concluded at US$1330-1345/MT levels from South Korea and about 10-15 dollars lower from the Middle East. POLYVINYL CHLORIDE PVC prices have stagnated at US$1015/MT in Asia in the week of February 8, 2010, amid lackluster demand and deteriorating domestic prices in China. The market lacks sellers offers and buying interest as China prepares for its break. PVC demand is expected to recover after the Chinese New Year holiday prompting offers at higher levels amid higher costs and tight supplies. Domestic PVC prices fell by about CNY100-200/MT this week as prices are estimated to follow a downwtrend over the near term as China breaks for its Lunar New Year Holiday. POLYSTYRENE Polystyrene prices that weakened midweek, have recoiled to US$1425/MT in Asia in the week of February 8, 2010 bolstered by high feedstock cost of SM. Though overseas producers met with poor demand and rising sales pressure this week in China, they are generally taking a firm stance on their offers for the present owing to high production costs and limited availability. Very few offers that were heard in the market were pegged at US$1425/MT CFR China. Also, traders are actively bidding for March cargoes, with most players in Asia having shifted their focus to March as few deals are expected to be concluded in the region just a week before the Chinese New Year. ABS ABS prices have steadied at US$1800/MT in Asia in the week of February 8, 2010 as deals fro the month drew to a close. The market awaits offers for March as most sellers prefer to wait in the sidelines to watch feedstock market trends.
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