Price trends of oil, polymer feedstock and commodity polymers in Asia for the week ended September 13, 2010

CRUDE OIL Oil prices have risen to US$76.4 in the week of September 13, 2010 in New York. Shutdown of a major US pipeline delivering oil to the Midwest region has led to supply concerns, pushing prices higher by about two dollars. The pipe carries about 670,000 bpd from Superior, Wisconsin, to Griffith, Indiana. Despite ample oil and gasoline inventories, concerns abound that Midwest supplies could tighten if the pipeline stays closed for some time, sending retail gasoline prices spiraling up in the Midwest. Meanwhile, the IEA has said that world oil demand will keep rising as the economy expands but the increase in fuel consumption will be lower in 2011 than 2010 and demand could be a lot weaker if global growth slows. Current global oil supply is more than sufficient to meet current and expected demand over the next year. NAPHTHA Naphtha prices have inched up past US$685/MT in Asia in the week of September 13, 2010, amid rising crude oil prices. Open-spec prices for H1-October delivery settled at US$685/MT CFR Japan. Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) has concluded deals for 150,000 tons of spot naphtha for October loading at lower premiums amid ample supplies. Deals were concluded at premiums of US$11-12/ton to Middle East quotes on a free-on-board (FOB). These premiums are about 4-6 dollars lower than those fetched two weeks ago. Formosa will not buy any naphtha for delivery in H1-October. Demand is expected to be impacted by a 6-7 week shutdown at Formosa Petrochemicals’ No. 2 plant with a capacity to produce 1.035 mln tpa of ethylene. ETHYLENE Ethylene prices firmed up to US$990/MT in Asia in the week of September 13, 2010. Shell’s 800,000 tpa Singapore naphtha cracker continues operating at low run rates, exerting demand pressure as the company buys ethylene to maintain high MEG plant operating rates. Mitsui Chemicals has restarted its cracker producing 553,000 tpa ethylene that was shut since end August due to problem with equipment. This should ease the supply situation in the region. PROPYLENE Propylene prices have seen a sharp fall to US$1140/MT in Asia in the week of September 13, 2010. Spot prices lost ground mainly due to limited buying interest and lack of supply concerns due to rising availability of deep sea cargoes. Downstream PP and ACN makers plan not to replenish stocks as demand from China is expected to weaken with the approaching holidays in late September-early October. EDC As input ethylene costs rise and downstream markets improve, EDC prices strengthened to US$480/MT in Asia in the week of September 13, 2010. Sellers continue to offer at US$500/MT. VCM VCM prices have firmed up to US$810/MT in Asia in the week of September 13, 2010 amid rising costs of ethylene and EDC. Downstream PVC markets also strengthened this week. STYRENE MONOMER Rising demand has pushed up Styrene Monomer prices to US$1135/MT in Asia in the week of September 13, 2010. FOB Korea October shipment offers were hiked to US$1140/MT even as feedstock benzene prices slipped to US$845/MT in Asia. POLYMERS HDPE Rising ethylene values have pushed up HDPE prices to US$1195/MT in Asia in the week of September 13, 2010. CFR China deals were concluded for low priced cargoes from Iran at US$1155/MT. Most deals were concluded at below the 1200 dollar mark. CFR China offers from SE Asia moved up to US$1235/MT levels. LDPE LDPE prices spiked up to US$1385/MT in Asia in the week of September 13, 2010 as supplies continue to be restricted amid rising input costs. After successful conclusion of CFR China October shipment deals at these levels, sellers planned to hike their offers to US$1400/MT. LLDPE Persistently rising input costs and continuing limited supplies have propped up LLDPE prices to US$1190/MT in Asia in the week of September 13, 2010. Sellers’ offers have been heard at the 1200 dollar mark. POLYPROPYLENE As propylene prices plummet in the week, polypropylene prices have stabilized at US$1285/MT in Asia in the week of September 13, 2010. Markets were lackluster and devoid of much activity due a large difference in sellers’ offers and buying interest. Buyers anticipate a downward movement in PP prices in line with plunging feedstock values. Few CFR China deals were concluded from the Middle East at US$1270/MT levels. Offers from South Korea and Taiwan have been quoted at the 1300 dollar mark. POLYVINYL CHLORIDE With increased October offers, PVC prices have moved up to US$970/MT in Asia in the week of September 13, 2010. Offers for October shipment by producers from Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand were heard at US$975-980/MT. Offers in China’s local markets moved in line with import offers. POLYSTYRENE GPPS prices have moved up to US$1255/MT in line with rising feedstock SM in Asia in the week of September 13, 2010. October shipment CFR China offers were heard at US$1275/MT levels, while buying interest remained pegged about 50 dollars lower. Markets are lackluster as buyers anticipate a price correction amid weakening crude oil and benzene prices. ABS ABS prices have inched up to US$1945/MT in Asia in the week of September 13, 2010. Buying sentiments continue to be weak in the region, particularly from China. October shipment CFR China offers have been heard at US$1975/MT amid lackluster demand as buyers await a price correction in line with falling feedstock costs.
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