Price trends of oil, polymer feedstock & commodity polymers in Asia for the week of December 24, 2007

25-Dec-07
SUMMARY Crude oil futures witnessed a two dollar gain, spiking to US$93 levels on release of government report showing a more than expected dip in US weekly inventories and increased consumer spending in USA. Weakening demand has caused a dip in naphtha prices this week despite a 2% rise in crude oil values. EDC prices dipped marginally due to slow movement in downstream VCM demand while VCM prices stagnated. Ethylene prices rose mainly on restricted supplies from South Korean producers, while propylene prices strengthened on the back of tight availabilities. Styrene monomer prices dipped on weaker demand from polystyrene makers. HDPE and LLDPE prices rose on limited availability of supplies across the Asian region, LDPE stagnated due to low activity in the market from the sellers. A revival of buying interest kept PVC prices higher. GPPS and ABS both declined on pessimistic demand. CRUDE OIL Crude oil futures witnessed a two dollar gain, spiking to US$93 levels on release of government report showing a more than expected dip in US weekly inventories. Weekly stockpiles shrunk as fog delayed the arrival of imports. Markets also gained strength on increased consumer spending in USA that has gained the most in over two years, signaling economic growth and anticipated stronger oil demand. Oil futures ended at US$93.31 a barrel in New York for the week of December 24, 2007. NAPHTHA Despite a 2% increase in crude values, weakening demand has caused a dip in naphtha prices in Asia in the week of December 24, 2007. Open-spec naphtha values for H1 February delivery declined to US$860/MT CNF Japan. FEEDSTOCK EDC EDC prices saw a marginal downward movement by five dollars to hover around US$395/MT in Asia in the week of December 24, 2007. This dip can be attributed to slow movement in downstream VCM demand. CFR offers for Southeast Asia held steady, while offers for Far East Asia saw a downward revision. A dip in the US EDC market resulted in a batch of cargo being quoted at US$360/MT FOB US Gulf. VCM VCM prices in Asia stagnated at last weeks' level of US$755/MT in the week of December 24, 2007. At these levels, VCM prices are almost fifteen dollars more than November levels, but an equal amount lesser than the thirty dollar hike originally planned by Japanese producers at the beginning of the month. This hike was planned in conjunction with a robust gain in naphtha values, but was met with resistance from the PVC producers of China, resulting in a downward correction to present levels. ETHYLENE Ethylene prices rose to US$1270/MT in Asia in the week of December 24, 2007. In a dual movement in the ethylene markets of Asia, CFR South East Asian market remained soft due to influx of deep sea cargoes from the Middle East, while prices in the Far East region moved up on restricted supplies from South Korean producers. Tight supplies kept selling intentions well sustained at levels above US$1290/MT FOB Korea for February shipment. Though a deal was heard done at CFR China at US$1370/MT, Chinese buyers began to look wary of fresh purchases at higher values. PROPYLENE Propylene prices strengthened on the back of tight availabilities to US$1160/MT in Asia in the week of December 24, 2007. Restricted supplies kept buying interest robust, particularly in South East Asia where buyers were eager to build up inventories. This eagerness kept prices on the higher side. STYRENE MONOMER Styrene Monomer prices in Asia dipped by twenty dollars to US$1320/MT in the week of December 24, 2007. Weakening end user demand was the major contributor to this downward movement in prices. An assessment of price for February shipment indicated values at US$1310-1320/MT FOB Korea. Upstream benzene prices, on the other hand, moved up to US$1000/MT in Asia, spiking by almost twenty dollars. POLYMERS HDPE Limited availability of supplies across the Asian region has supported HDPE price increase to US$1580/MT in Asia in the week of December 24, 2007. Upon news of some deals already settled at US$1580/MT CFR China with usance terms, few traders revised offers by twenty dollar. However, this hike was met with resistance from buyers. LDPE LDPE market in Asia held steady at last weeks' US$1655/MT in the week of December 24, 2007. This stagnancy in prices was mainly on account of low level of market activity as suppliers seem to be planning a hike in offers for January shipment by almost twenty dollars. LLDPE LLDPE markets witnessed a sharp hike in prices to US$1560/MT in Asia in the week of December 24, 2007, mainly due to a tight supply situation. Current selling intention from South Koreans was being indicated at US$1560/MT CFR China levels. PP Firm demand from China has kept PP prices in Asia at last weeks' level of US$1455/MT in the week of December 24, 2007. Majority offers for yarn grade for January shipment were sustained US$1460/MT CFR China (from Taiwan, Malaysia and South Korea) and at US$1480/MT CFR China for IPP grade. PVC A revival of buying interest in the region kept PVC prices higher at US$995/MT in Asia in the week of December 24, 2007. Provisional January offers CFR China from Japan were heard almost 30-50 dollars higher, though resistance from the buyers will mellow down prices to the level of US$1000-1010/MT. GPPS Slow movement from the Chinese markets has caused GPPS prices to dip by twenty dollars to US$1430/MT in Asia in the week of December 24, 2007. The lackluster market sentiments from Chinese buyers were coupled with a sharp dip in feedstock SM values. ABS Restrained demand from China has kept ABS prices weaker at US$1755/MT in Asia in the week of December 24, 2007, despite a hike in upstream butadiene prices. South Korean and Taiwanese suppliers lowered offers to US$1750/MT CFR China, along with which, few deals were heard concluded at lower level of US$1750/MT CFR China. Most buyers from China refrained from stock piling on account of tightened credit control by the Chinese government.
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