Price trends of oil, polymer feedstock and commodity polymers in Asia for the week ended July 13, 2009

CRUDE OIL Concerns over the retarded pace of the economic recovery have pulled down oil prices below US$60 at the end the week of July 13, 2009. Increasing unemployment amid the global recession is expected to constrain demand, as stocks in USA remain abundant. Market players focused on recent signs of economic weakness despite an expected rebound in global oil demand as per a forecast by the International Energy Agency - global demand is expected to increase in 2010 by by 1.4 million bpd to 85.2 mln barrels, while it is expected to decrease 2.9% or 2.5 mln bpd in 2009. NAPHTHA Deteriorating crude oil values have taken a toll on naphtha prices in Asia, pulling open-spec prices for H2-August delivery down by almost 40 dollars to US$555/MT levels in the week of July 13, 2009. ETHYLENE As shutdowns continue at naphtha crackers across Asia, the ethylene supply scenario continues to be grim. As tightness in supplies persisted across the region, FOB Korea ethylene prices rose to spike past US$1015/MT in Asia in the week of July 13, 2009. Sellers have hiked offers to almost US$1045/MT despite dull demand from China. Buying has been sluggish in China on an expected ease in supply after restart post-maintenance turnaround of Shanghai SECCO's 900,000 tpa naphtha cracker. PROPYLENE The continuing turnarounds at Asian naphtha crackers have created a supply shortage across Asia, pushing up prices. Propylene prices have moved up to US$985/MT in the week of July 13, 2009. STYRENE MONOMER Deteriorating prices of crude oil and benzene have pulled down styrene monomer prices to US$1060/MT in Asia in the week of July 13, 2009. Most buyers have preferred to defer purchases and wait in the sidelines in anticipation of yet another price correction as input costs slip again. Benzene prices continued its downtrend, falling to levels of US$785-795/MT. EDC Ethylene prices on the uptrend have pushed up EDC prices to US$465/MT in Asia in the week of July 13, 2009. Offers skirt the 500 dollar mark in line with rising input costs. Buying intentions have risen by 10-15 dollars from last week's US$435/MT. VCM VCM prices have stabilized at US$715/MT in Asia in the week of July 13, 2009. Negotiations are on between buyers and sellers who have hiked offers this week on restricted supplies on reduced run rates at VCM plants. VCM producers in the region have reduced run rates as they are hindered by the increasing input costs that have raised production cost. As downstream demand continues amid supply glitches, next month offers are expected to see a robust rise. POLYMERS HDPE Escalating input ethylene costs have pushed up July shipment HDPE film grade prices to US$1275/MT CFR China in Asia in the week of July 13, 2009. Despite waning demand from China, next month offers from South Korea and Thailand have crossed the 1300 dollar mark. LDPE Persistently rising feedstock ethylene costs have pushed up LDPE prices to US$1245/MT CFR China in Asia in the week of July 13, 2009. Deals were concluded at these levels for August offers that were hiked by 20-25 dollars higher. However, as crude oil prices continue to wane in the wake of retarded pace of economic recovery, buyers' enthusiasm has also started to dwindle. LLDPE LLDPE prices have increased to US$1245/MT CFR China in line with rising costs of feedstock ethylene in Asia in the week of July 13, 2009. Next month CFR China offers have been heard about 20-25 dollars higher. POLYPROPYLENE Polypropylene prices have steadied at last week's US$1135/MT CFR China in Asia in the week of July 13, 2009. Offers have been quoted by suppliers at an increased level at about US$1145-1150/MT for injection grade from the Middle East, and at US$1175/MT for yarn grade from South Korea and Middle East. Very few deals have been concluded at these levels as buyers interest from China started to dwindle. POLY VINYL CHLORIDE Polyvinyl Chloride prices in Asia rose past US$900/MT in the week of July 13, 2009 in anticipation of yet another hike in August offers. As input costs rise and supply constraints persist in the region. Offers for next month are expected to spike in line with increased August offers in China. GPPS GPPS prices have increased to US$1185/MT in Asia in the week of July 13, 2009 due to restricted avails in the region. Producers have kept offers at an elevated level of US1200-1225/MT CFR China as they try to cope with increased cost pressures. However, waning crude oil prices have increased buyer optimism that prices could start falling. HIPS prices were heard at US$1240/MT CFR China. ABS Despite minuscule deal conclusion, ABS prices have climbed to US$1415/MT in Asia in the week of July 13, 2009 as producers wilt under increasing cost pressures. Feedstock Styrene, ACN and butadiene prices have risen considerable over the past few weeks, resulting in increased ABS offers for next month shipment. August offers have been heard at US$1450/MT, but await deal conclusion as Chinese buyers seem reluctant to buy in anticipation of a price dip in line with crude oil prices.
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