21 August 1995 00:00 [Source: ACN]
NAPHTHA markets continue bearish. South Korean buyers are covered until October as consumption is down due to cracker cutbacks (ACN 21 August p27). Negotiations for first half October cargoes are expected to take place end August. Japanese buyers are awaiting further price drops. The open spec price in Japan was US$160/tonne cfr Japan and the MoPS price US$140-142/tonne fob Singapore mid-week for first half October delivery.
Ethylene producers report limited enquiries for spot business and no recent fixtures. South Korean producers report buying ideas around US$280-290/tonne fob Korea for August shipments, perceived as too low to conclude business. Ethylene inventories continue high throughout Asia (ACN 21 August p27).
Several cargoes of propylene are believed destined for Chinese buyers at US$450/tonne fob Korea for August lifting. Prices in SEA are steady at slightly below US$500/tonne cfr SEA with 90-120 days credit. One 650 tonne cargo was concluded at US$420/tonne fob Korea for 8 August delivery to Taiwan. A second fixture of 760 tonne was concluded to Japan at US$430/tonne fob Korea for 15 August lifting. Buying ideas are said to be US$380-390/tonne fob Korea.
South Korean butadiene producers are holding offers steady at US$520-540/tonne cfr China for September shipments. Chinese buying ideas continue at US$500/tonne cfr China for end August/beginning September delivery. One 1500 tonne fixture was concluded from South Korea at US$517/tonne cfr China for end August delivery with 30 days credit. A Japanese producer is believed to have closed a deal to supply crude C4s to the US, but details were not confirmed.
|Bulk chemical spot prices - US$/tonne|
|NE Asia1||SE Asia2||US3||NWE4|
|Butadiene||517 cfr China8||N/A||0.25/lb July||675|
|Benzene||230 fob China||330 cfr India6||0.90/gal Aug||415|
|3106||0.81/gal July||360 fob|
|Styrene||650 cfr Taiwan||-||0.36/lb July||1775-1820|
|N/A||0.40/lb FD Q3||1267|
|Orthoxylene||310 cfr China||500 fob Sing6||0.34/lb July||910|
|Methanol||170 cif Taiwan6||200||-||250 fob|
|MTBE||2639||260 fob SEA6||N/A||1.6|
|Ammonia||220 cfr Korea||220 cfr
wc India cash
1Prices are fob Korea unless indicated
2Prices are cfr SEA unless indicated
3US prices are contract levels on an fob basis unless otherwise indicated
4European FD Q3 contract price in DM/tonne courtesy of ECN
5Propylene is polymer grade
6No known recent business
7For first half October.
9For mid-September delivery to west coast US
Prices in this report are obtained through consultation with producers, consumers and merchants in the regions indicated. They are intended as a guide to price levels of recent business and reflect medium to large tonnage sales.
Spot prices are quoted as indicated: cfr - cost and freight; fob - free on board; cif - cost, insurance and freight; FD - free delivered. Spot prices are based on information available mid-week prior to the date of issue. Dollar prices are based on rates of exchange prevailing at this time.
Benzene offers have fallen to US$260-265/tonne fob for August/September lifting. Phibro recently purchased 3000 tonne at US$230/tonne fob China for August/September loading for sale to India. Indian enquiries have been reported at US$300/tonne cfr India with 180 days credit, which would net back to below US$250/tonne fob Korea. Reliance is enquiring in SEA for 5000 tonne at US$240/tonne fob Singapore, which was firmly rejected. Japan is said to be buying and a 1000-2000 tonne sale was reported at US$265/tonne fob Korea for August/September lifting.
Toluene enquiries from China are US$260-270/tonne cfr China sight letter of credit for 2-3000 tonne for prompt delivery. Some South Korean producers appear to have reduced offers to US$275/tonne fob for September/October. China is said to be well covered following August purchasing of minimum 15 000 tonne and traders expect September to be slack. CPC's 7 August tender went to Samsung and Brenntag at US$282.25/tonne cfr Taiwan for 3000 tonne each for October arrival. Thiamjoo (Dovechem) tendered on 14 August for toluene and xylenes for Q4 delivery.
Xylenes price ideas continue to weaken, with latest Chinese enquiries reported at below US$300/tonne cfr China for solvent grade. Offers of deep sea material are rumoured at around US$330/tonne cfr SEA. Western and Japanese traders have been enquiring for South Korean isomer grade product at US$300-310/tonne cfr for second half October. South Korean buyers are bidding at US$295-300/tonne cfr for September/October delivery. South Korean producer offers remain around US$310/tonne fob for August/September.
Styrene markets remain weak, following Chi Mei's reported a 10 000 tonne purchase at US$650/tonne cfr Taiwan for August delivery, 5000 tonne of which is said to have been purchased from Shell holding tanks in Taiwan. China has been enquiring at US$650-670/tonne cfr. One Chinese end-user is reported to have been enquiring for 2-3000 tonne South Korean material at US$670/tonne cfr China with 60 days credit for August/September delivery. Samsung and Daewoo Trading are said to have offered 2-3000 tonne at US$680-685/tonne cfr China for prompt delivery. South Korean official offers remain around US$800/tonne fob. Bids from western and Japanese traders around US$700/tonne fob Korea for August delivery were apparently rejected. Bids have dropped below US$700/tonne fob Korea.
Paraxylene markets are showing a wide gap between buyer and seller ideas. Korea and China are not believed to have any spot export availability for August or September. European and US spot offers are around US$1500/tonne fob for September, although buying interest in Asian markets is much lower at US$1200-1250/tonne cfr. Phibro is reported to have sold 1000 tonne to Sunkyong two weeks ago at US$1385/tonne cfr Korea for September delivery, although sources suggest that this is doubtful. A recent purchase by Phibro from Europe is rumoured at US$1390/tonne fob Rotterdam. Honam Oil's new paraxylene plant started up last week.
Orthoxylene markets are quiet and very weak. A US producer is said to be offering 2000 tonne at US$350/tonne cfr NEA for September delivery. European producers are said to be offering at US$310-320/tonne fob Rotterdam. Japanese manufacturers are not offering for export due to high domestic prices, around US$650/tonne delivered. Demand is low and phthalic anhydride producers are reported to be waiting between one and two months before returning to the OX market. US nominations for August are 29-29.5 cents/lb, with some users said to be insisting on 24.5 cents/lb.
Methanol prices in NEA appear stable at US$160-170/tonne cif Korea and Taiwan for August deliveries. One 1000 tonne fixture was concluded at US$200/tonne cfr Singapore for end August/early September delivery. SEA buyers are watching price levels in NEA in the hope of securing reductions.
MTBE markets continue quiet. A South Korean producer has concluded a 3000 tonne sale at US$263/tonne fob Korea for mid-September delivery to west coast US. Further South Korean spot export availability is not anticipated until October. MTBE Malaysia hopes to start up this week as planned. Bangchak Refinery closed a tender on 17 August for 1500 tonne for early September delivery. The Saudi Arabian Ibn Zahr MTBE joint venture is expected to shut one train for maintenance in October.
Ammonia requirements for India are emerging following the 9 August FAI meeting (ACN 21 August p28). Paradeep Phosphates' (PPL) enquiry for 35 000 tonne/year was concluded with Transammonia at US$220/tonne cfr east coast in two cargoes for August/September delivery. Marubeni sold an undisclosed amount to FAI at US$220/tonne cfr west coast, credit terms unknown.
For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.
Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free trial to ICIS Chemical Business.