06 February 1997 00:00 [Source: ACN]
Methanol prices slip by US$10/tonne for June and July
Naphtha: Demand for spot cargoes picked up as cracker operators resumed purchasing for after the turnaround period. One South Korean buyer was looking for 25 000 tonne for end-July or early-August delivery. Quotes for open-spec material were US$215/tonne cfr Japan for first-half August delivery.
Ethylene: Prices firmed as buyers covered prompt requirements. Several purchases were reported at US$700-730/tonne cfr SEA for June delivery. One 2000-2500-tonne fixture was reportedly concluded as high as US$730-735/tonne cfr Malaysia for June.
Taiwanese buyers purchased 4-5 2000-2500-tonne cargoes to cover for the shutdown of Chinese Petroleum Corp's No 4 cracker at Lin Yuan. The fixtures, about 12 000 tonne in total, were concluded in the US$690-700/tonne cfr Taiwan range for June arrival from Japan and South Korea.
Market players believe prices may have reached the peak level for Q2 and expect to see some softening in July when crackers return from maintenance turnarounds.
However, SEA prices are only likely to soften from July if the Petrochemical Corp of Singapore (PCS) II cracker operates smoothly, sources said (ACN 2 June p44). PCS restarted its PCS I cracker at the beginning of last week.
Propylene: Prices remained under downwards pressure from weak PP markets and increased deep-sea supplies. Buyer ideas had reportedly slipped below US$600/tonne cfr SEA for June arrivals.
Petronas was offering 2500 tonne for June export from Malaysia. Industry sources expected the price level to be lower than Petronas' last fixture, which was concluded at US$590/tonne fob Malaysia for late April-early May shipment.
Butadiene: Markets were quiet. Chinese buyers showed no interest in imports as Maoming Petrochemical continued to sell surpluses on domestic markets. At least one Taiwanese buyer has requested a delay in the shipment of contract volumes from South Korea.
Producers in South Korea are less concerned about the build-up of inventory, after loading 9000 tonne of crude C4s in mid-May for shipment to the US. The fixture was concluded at US$210-220/tonne fob Korea.
Methanol: Offer prices for 5000-tonne cargoes have slipped by US$10/tonne to US$240-250/tonne cfr SEA for June and July arrival. However, activity has so far been limited to only 1-2 spot fixtures, traders said. Offer prices in NEA were around US$240/tonne cfr South Korea or Taiwan for June arrivals.
MTBE: Prices remained weak in Asia. One producer concluded fixtures for June delivery at US$258-265/tonne cfr SEA. However, enquiries from end-users in Asia were rather limited, producers said. Traders were enquiring for cargoes to ship to the US in the expectation of higher prices in the driving season.
Ammonia: China Petrochemical Development Corp closed a tender on 27 May and reserved five suppliers for a second round of bidding. The results of the tender had yet to be announced as ACN went to press.
Samsung Fine Chemical cancelled its plans to hold a tender in late May. Namhae Chemical will open a tender on 13 June, closing on 19 June, for 35 000 tonne.
Producer offers have firmed on the expectation of tighter supply as producers in the former Soviet Union take maintenance turn-arounds in June and July. However, weak demand for urea, especially from China, is putting downward pressure on prices. Offer prices were US$142-145/tonne fob Yuzhnyy and US$145-150/tonne fob AG for June shipments.
|Bulk chemical spot prices - US$/tonne|
|Asia/Pacific spot||US/Euro contracts|
|NE Asia1||SE Asia2||US3||NWE4|
|Naphtha||215 cfr Japan7||-||na||na|
|Ethylene||690-700 cfr Taiwan||730||0.265-0.27/lb Apr||1020|
|Propylene5||640-650 cfr Taiwan||550 fob Malaysia||0.2075/lb Apr||875|
|Butadiene||385 cfr China6||300-305 fob Thailand||0.2/lb Apr||680|
|Methanol||280 cif Japan6||240-250||0.6-0.62/gal||344 fob|
|MTBE||277 cfr Taiwan6||258-265||0.79-1.18/gal May||na|
|Ammonia||183 cfr Korea||189 cfr EC India||na||na|
|1 Prices are fob Korea unless otherwise
2 Prices are cfr SEA unless otherwise indicated
3 US prices are March contract levels on fob unless otherwise indicated
4 European FD Q2 contract price in DM/tonne, courtesy of ECN
5 Polymer grade
6 No recent business
7 Quote for first-half August delivery
MoPJ = Mean of Platt's Japan
MoPAG = Mean of Platt's Arabian Gulf
na = not available
Prices contained in this report are obtained by the ACN team through consultation with producers, consumers and merchants in the regions indicated. They are 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 prevailing rates of exchange.
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