05 May 1997 00:00 [Source: ACN]
Ammonia prices slip for June cargoes
Naphtha: Quotes for open-spec material were US$208-210/tonne cfr Japan for first-half July cargoes. Premiums for South Korean buyers dropped to zero, with offer prices at MoPJ flat for first-half July delivery.
Several NEA buyers decided not to participate in May talks with Aramco in Singapore because of the high premiums it is seeking for H2 1997 term supply.
Ethylene: A Malaysian producer was offering a 2000-3000-tonne cargo for export in May. The offer price, reportedly as high as US$650/tonne fob Malaysia or US$710/tonne cfr Indonesia, was unlikely to attract many buyers, sources said.
Traders continued to make bids for Singaporean material at US$600-610/tonne fob. However, Petrochemical Corp of Singapore (PCS) has yet to confirm any export sales. The PCS II cracker was shut down last week because of yield problems. Company sources expected the plant to restart by the end of last week. Downstream of PCS II, The Polyolefin Co's ldPE and lldPE plants were also shut down.
Ethylene output was unaffected by a power failure in Indonesia on 21 April. But at least one of the plants downstream of Chandra Asri reportedly lost 2-3 days of production.
Propylene: Buyers continued to look for spot cargoes. A Thai buyer was enquiring at US$650/tonne cfr. An Indonesian producer offered a cargo for sale in May.
Sources confirmed a 9000-tonne cargo will be shipped in mid-May from the US Gulf to the Philippines at an undisclosed cfr price.
Butadiene: Exports from Thailand have pushed down prices in Asia (ACN 5 May p40). A 1200-tonne fixture was concluded at US$385/tonne cfr China for May delivery from Rayong.
South Korean producers reduced offer prices to US$340-350/tonne fob Korea for May exports and feared prices would fall further with low derivatives operating rates.
Taiwanese buyers are expected to be unable to take full contract volumes in May. NEA producers are trying to increase exports to manage inventories.
A Japanese producer sold crude C4s for export to the US but offer prices for South Korean cargoes were still too high to attract US buyers, sources said.
Methanol: Spot prices stayed high in tight markets. Buyers were still enquiring for spot cargoes to cover reduced contract volumes from Malaysia. They expect H2 startups to provide relief from tight markets. Kaltim Methanol Industri's 660 000 tonne/year plant in Bontang, Indonesia, is due onstream in Q4.
MTBE: One South Korean producer had lowered production to 70% of capacity because of weak prices in export markets. South Korean domestic prices were reportedly US$270/tonne fob for April cargoes.
Producers expect to see markets improve in June for the US gasoline season.
Ammonia: Prices slipped further (ACN 5 May p39). Samsung Fine Chemicals awarded its tender for 35 000 tonne at US$183/tonne cfr Korea for June delivery.
China Petrochemical Development Corp awarded its tender for 14-20 000 tonne for June delivery at US$186/tonne cfr Taiwan.
Gujarat State Fertiliser Co reportedly purchased 12-15 000 tonne at US$180-185/tonne cfr India for June delivery. A Thai buyer purchased 15 000 tonne, but the price was not confirmed.
Offer prices were US$135/tonne fob Yuznhyy. Ports were congested as producers arranged exports ahead of turnarounds in the former Soviet Union (FSU), sources said. Buyers were sceptical that turnarounds in the FSU will limit supplies.
|Bulk chemical spot prices - US$/tonne|
|Asia/Pacific spot||US/Euro contracts|
|NE Asia1||SE Asia2||US3||NWE4|
|Naphtha||208-210 cfr Japan7||-||na||na|
|Ethylene||600||700 cfr Thailand6||0.265-0.27/lb Mar||1020|
|Butadiene||385 cfr China||360-370 fob Thailand||0.2/lb Apr||680|
|Methanol||270-280 cif Japan||260-270 cfr Singapore||0.59-0.61/gal||344 fob|
|MTBE||277 cfr Taiwan6||265-270 cfr Thailand||0.775-1.23/gal||na|
|Ammonia||183 cfr Korea||180-185 cfr WC India||na||na|
|1 Prices are fob Korea unless otherwise
2 Prices are cfr SEA unless otherwise indicated
3 US prices are Feb 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 July 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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