14 July 2006 05:52 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Asian petrochemical prices rose on Friday in response to record crude and naphtha values, said industry sources.
Nymex WTI futures hit a record $78.40/bbl in after-hours trade on Thursday, up $1.70 from Thursday’s record settlement of $76.70/bbl, before easing on Friday to $77.96/bbl. Naphtha for first-half September delivery hit a record $676/tonne CFR Japan on Thursday, and was notionally $2/tonne higher at $678/tonne on Friday, said traders.
Asian toluene prices moved up on Friday with an offer for second-half August lifting at $970/tonne FOB ?xml:namespace>
Xylenes remained largely stable, with no bids or offers heard on Friday morning. The last isomer xylene bid heard was late on Thursday at $1,060/tonne FOB
In the benzene market, a bid for second-half August emerged higher at $940/tonne FOB
Polystyrene (PS) prices have risen by $30-40/tonne this week to $1,320-1,350/tonne CFR China for general purpose PS (GPPS) and $1,380-1,400/tonne for high impact PS (HIPS) due to improving demand and tightening supply.
Producers and traders, however, were anxious about the impact of energy and SM prices on their business. A Southeast Asian PS supplier said plants could continue with low operating rates, or even cut them further, if customers resisted higher offers.
“We were just beginning to heave a small sigh of relief that PS prices were firming and we were able to enjoy somewhat healthy margins. But now that relief seems premature, and we are wondering how customers will respond if we raise our offers further next week,” said a Northeast Asian producer.
Asian polymer importers have not responded to the energy prices, but some traders have increased orders for July shipment at current prices.
Producers said linear low-density polyethylene (lldPE) and low-density PE (ldPE) should be over $1,300/tonne CFR China/Southeast Asia, and high-density PE (hdPE) film grade at least $1,320/tonne. A polypropylene (PP) producer said propylene prices could jump by $100-150/tonne in August, and part of this would be passed on to buyers gradually.
The jump in crude values has been driven by geopolitical reasons, said analysts. These include the ongoing conflict in the Middle East involving
Chow Bee Lin, Lee Chuen, Lee Kong Lin, Mahua Mitra, Prema Viswanathan and Helen Yan contributed to this story.
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