Price trends of oil, polymer feedstock and commodity polymers in Asia for the week ended June 8, 2009

CRUDE OIL At the end of the week of June 8, 2009, crude futures have retreated to US$68, after surging past US$70 midweek- to 6 month highs after release of a report indicating better-than-expected improvement in US jobs scenario. The latest employment report is an indication of the improving health of the US economy. The loss of jobs in May was the fewest since last September, resulting in the dollar gaining strength. The euro lost 1.4% against the dollar, the pound 1%, and the dollar rose 1.8% against the Japanese yen. The stronger US dollar has also contributed to oil's retreat, as when the dollar strengthens, oil becomes more expensive in other currencies. Goldman Sachs, in its latest report, has raised its 3-month price target for crude oil to US$75 from US$52. NAPHTHA Naphtha prices have risen to US$580/MT in Asia in the week of June 8, 2009, rising in line with surging crude values. Open-spec naphtha for H2 July delivery ended at US$580/MT. ETHYLENE Despite an uptrend in naphtha costs, ethylene price increase in Asia has been relatively lower. Ethylene prices in Asia have risen to US$785/MT in the week of June 8, 2009, along with increased input costs as well as rising derivative markets. Though polyethylene markets have moved up marginally, seller’s offers increased by almost 40-50 dollars to a minimum of US$850/MT CFR, while buying intentions increased to the 800 dollar mark for July. PROPYLENE Rising crude and naphtha values have pushed up FOB Korea propylene prices in Asia to US$800/MT in the week of June 8, 2009. Despite an uptrend in naphtha costs, ethylene/propylene price increase in Asia has been relatively lower, with continued poor margins for derivatives. This scenario corresponds with anticipated influx of new capacities from Middle East and Asia, increasing pressure from the demand side on integrated cracker operators. This has exerted pressure on Asian naphtha cracker operators to cut production rates. Supplies are anticipated to tighten this month, pushing up July shipment offers to US$850/MT CFR China. Buying intentions are pegged about twenty dollars lower. STYRENE MONOMER Intensifying downstream demand has propelled styrene monomer prices to US$985/MT in Asia in the week of June 8, 2009. FOB Korea buying intentions have strengthened to US$975/MT, even as few deals were concluded about 10 dollars higher. Most sellers seem unwilling to quote offers for next month shipment as benzene market continues to be buoyant in line with rising crude oil values. July shipment prices increased to hover around US$690/MT FOB Korea. VCM VCM prices have risen to US$675/MT in Asia in the week of June 8, 2009, in line with rising crude, naphtha and ethylene values. Markets continue to be bullish due to restricted avails in the region, pushing up CFR China offers around US$675-700/MT. EDC Rising feedstock costs have propped up buying intentions in the region, pushing up prices in Asia to US$405/MT in the week of June 8, 2009. The region is faced with restricted avails due to lowered operating rates at chlor-alkali plants by producers due to higher costs of input caustic soda. CFR offers from sellers settled at around US$450/MT and were met with buyer’s interest about 40 dollars lower. Infact, few Chinese buyers have pegged their interest below the $400 mark. POLYMERS HDPE HDPE prices have moved up marginally to US$1210/MT CFR China in Asia in the week of June 8, 2009. As input costs rise, producers have increased offers for July shipment. CFR China offers from Taiwan for yarn, film and injection grades moved up to US$1210/MT, while offers for pipe grade were heard at US$1240/MT. LDPE LDPE prices rose to US$1185/MT in Asia in the week of June 8, 2009 as sellers hiked offers in line with increased ethylene prices. Offers for July shipment were hiked up to US$1220/MT for film grade and up to US$1250/MT for other grades from Asian suppliers. Sellers from Middle East have concluded end of month deals at US$1180/MT. LLDPE LLDPE prices strengthened in Asia to US$1135/MT in the week of June 8, 2009 on ethylene price increase. Lackluster dealing prevailed in the LLDPE market, but market outlook and mood seem to be perking up. CFR China July shipment cargoes were offered by Asian producer at US$1160/MT and about ten dollars more from Saudi Arabia. POLYPROPYLENE Marginal improvement was seen in polypropylene prices in Asia to US$1050/MT in the week of June 8, 2009. The price hike was mainly triggered by unrelenting propylene costs. Most CFR China June shipment deals have been concluded below US$1100/MT for yarn and injection molding grades in the region. CFR China deals from South Korea have been concluded below US$1100/MT, and those from Taiwan have been concluded up to US$1115/MT, while those from India were settled as low as US$1030/MT. POLY VINYL CHLORIDE Polyvinyl Chloride prices inched up to US$785/MT in Asia in the week of June 8, 2009 as input EDC and VCM costs strengthened. Seller’s offers for next month were heard at US$800-815/MT, while buying intentions were gauged about 25-30 dollars lower. Despite seller’s endeavors to keep offers above the 800 dollar mark, reluctance from buyers has made conclusion of few deals possible at US$775-800/MT. GPPS A robust hike in SM prices have propped up GPPS prices to US$1015/MT in Asia in the week of June 8, 2009. Offers were hiked by almost 30-45 dollars by sellers from South Korea to US$1050/MT for GPPS and at US$1150/MT for HIPS. Few deals for GPPS were concluded above the US$1100 mark. ABS Finding support in increased ACN and SM input costs, ABS prices in Asia have moved up to US$1335/MT in the week of June 8, 2009. Return of buyers to the markets has resulted in increased offers by sellers.
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