18 January 2008 10:12 [Source: ICIS news]
(Adds latest crude and closing share prices in paragraphs 4-5, 11-14)
SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Naphtha prices fell $13-15/tonne (€8.90-10.25/tonne) in Asia on Friday as crude futures dipped below $90/bbl after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke warned of a slowing US economy.
Open spec naphtha slipped to $837.50-840.50/tonne CFR (cost and freight) for first-half March from a day earlier, according to trading brokerage Ginga.
NYMEX February light sweet crude futures dipped $0.41/bbl to $89.72/bbl while March Brent was down $0.20/bbl to $89.55/bbl during intra-day trading.
Futures on NYMEX then rebounded to above $90/bbl after ?xml:namespace>
Benzene prices have fallen $20/tonne this week, in line with a 4% decline in crude values, to $980-990/tonne FOB (free on board)
Buying sentiment in the Asian polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) market weakened as crude slipped below $90/bbl but prices remained stable due to tight supply and high olefins costs, traders and suppliers said.
Naphtha prices have to fall below $700/tonne CFR Asia before regional producers would consider slashing PP prices, a producer said.
Traders’ offers for film grade linear low density PE (LLDPE) and high density PE (HDPE) were at $1,570-1,620/tonne and $1,610-1,630/tonne on a CFR China/SE Asia basis, unchanged from earlier in the week. PP producers kept offers stable at $1,450-1,480/tonne CFR China.
Petrochemical stocks across Asia, which had fallen earlier on Friday, recovered at the end of day as market players discounted the impact of a full-fledged
Japanese chemical major Asahi Kasei’s stock closed higher at 3.9% while Mitsubishi Chemical’s remained unchanged, as the Nikkei 225 index recovered to close 0.6% higher after tumbling as much as 2.8% earlier in the day.
Stocks of state-owned Chinese refining majors continued their decline, with PetroChina and Sinopec ending 0.3% and 1.1% lower respectively on the Hong Kong Exchange. This was despite the Hang Seng Index climbing 0.35% to close higher at 25201.87.
In Thailand, petrochemical major PTT saw its share price finish 0.6% higher while Siam Cement’s stock closed 0.9% lower. The Stock Exchange of Thailand 100 Index, however, closed slightly higher at 0.07%.
“Thailand as a market is not a big loser because we have some balance between domestic market and export,” said Pongpan Hapinyakul, Bangkok-based analyst at Kim Eng Securities.
($1 = €.68)
Jeanne Lim, Chow Bee Lin, Mahua Chakravarty, Steve Tan and Kew Jiahui contributed to this article
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