Price trends of oil, polymer feedstocks & commodity polymers in Asia for the week of 30th July 2007

01-Aug-07
SUMMARY Growing demand has caused oil prices to surge above US$75. Naphtha did not move in tandem with strong crude prices, and in fact dipped. Ethylene and propylene increased on account of limited supply coupled with robust markets. Styrene Monomer saw a marginal dip on account of market volatility. EDC market stagnated, while rising upstream ethylene prices have put VCM prices under pressure. Market for HDPE remained stagnant, while LDPE and LLDPE rose. PP market witnessed some upward movement. PVC stagnated at last weeks levels, while GPPS and ABS prices dropped. CRUDE OIL Growing demand has led to an upsurge in crude oil futures prices in the week of July 30, 2007. Crude oil for September delivery settled at US$77.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. NAPHTHA Robust crude oil markets could not sustain naphtha markets. Asian naphtha prices plunged to US$680/MT in the week of July 30, 2007. POLYMER FEEDSTOCKS ETHYLENE Ethylene markets have firmed up in Asia to US$1170/MT levels in the week of July 30, 2007. Ethylene markets in Asia are facing a problem of restricted supply as producers from South Korea prefer to consume a large chunk of production for captive consumption in downstream PE production. Few sellers have expressed an intent to sell August shipments at US$1200/mt FOB Korea. However, buyers are seeking cargoes at least 40-50 dollars lower. Market sentiments in SE Asia seem to be marginally better with a cutback in Iranian cargoes, but an uplift in market sentiments seems to be hampered by the view that supply of Iranian cargoes could continue through the month. PROPYLENE Propylene markets firmed up marginally in Asia to US$1075/MT in the week of July 30, 2007. A small number of deals were heard done due to lack of supplier offers on restricted supply from South Korea. A tussle between lower buyers' bids and rising selling intention has kept propylene prices high since last week. Prices are expected to keep higher in the rest of August 2007. STYRENE MONOMER Unpredictability prevailed in styrene monomer markets in Asia in the week of July 30, 2007. Low transactions were recorded in the markets as prices settled at US$1390/MT. Upstream benzene prices in Asia also saw marginal downward movement due to weak demand. VCM Rising upstream ethylene prices have put VCM prices under pressure in Asia in the week of July 30, 2007. VCM prices have risen by ten dollars to US$820/MT, but this rise has met with opposition from downstream PVC makers, as PVC prices in China have maintained at last weeks' levels. This tussle between supplier offers and lower buying interest from PVC producers have led to quieter market conditions. EDC EDC market remained stagnant in the week of July 30, 2007. A tussle between supplier offers and lower buying interest has led to relatively dull market in this week. Softer demand for EDC was also because of planned shutdown by VCM producers for routine maintenance turnaround. POLYMERS HDPE Major producers have raised offers for the month on the back of continuing strong global market demand, firming up Asian HDPE markets. HDPE prices remained unchanged at US$1395-1400/MT levels for the week of 30 July 2007, but offers for August have been raised by thirty dollars. Prices are expected to rise for in the first few weeks of August 2007. LDPE Tight supplies have led to a price hike by major producers in the week of July 30, 2007. LDPE prices have seen an upward movement of ten dollars to US$1485/MT for the week, but prices could witness a sharp rise based on August offers by major suppliers. Prices are expected to rise for in the first few weeks of August 2007. LLDPE LLDPE prices rose by ten dollars in Asia to US$1390/MT in the week of July 30, 2007. Prices continued to rise in the direction of price hike announcements for August 2007 offers by major suppliers. Prices are expected to rise for in the first few weeks of August 2007. PP PP prices rose to US$1385/MT in the week of July 30, 2007. Markets remained strong despite weak buying interest in China, as firm PP market sentiments across Asia continued due to a hike in August offers by major suppliers. Prices are expected to rise for in the first few weeks of August 2007. PVC PVC prices steadied in Asia at the price level of US$990-1000/MT in the week of July 30, 2007. Stronger market sentiments, triggered by bullish demand, prevailed in Europe and West Asia leading to stronger prices in those regions. GPPS GPPS prices remained laggard and dipped to US$1480/MT in the week of July 30, 2007. The inactivity in the market was because of a "wait and watch" attitude of buyers as the upstream styrene monomer and benzene prices dipped this week. Styrene markets recorded thin transactions as prices settled at US$1390/MT, and is still expected to see some correction. Buyers seem to be unwilling to build up inventories until such correction. ABS ABS prices dipped to US$1670/MT in the week of 30 July 2007 in Asia. Slackness in buying interest from Chinese buyers has led to softer ABS prices. Few suppliers seem unwilling to lower prices as they struggle with further gains in prices of feedstock ACN.
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