FocusChina’s PE PP trade loses momentum as price gap widens

27 August 2009 09:56  [Source: ICIS news]

By Chow Bee Lin

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--China’s polyolefins trade has slowed down markedly due to a wide gap in buy-sell ideas – more than $50/tonne (€35/tonne) for some film grade polyethylene (PE) - with industry sources saying on Thursday that future outlook remains unclear.

LLDPE was offered above $1,300/tonne for September shipment, but buying ideas were below $1,250/tonne, all on a CFR (cost and freight) basis, Chinese traders said with regards to regional and Middle Eastern cargoes.

“Our supplier offered linear low density PE (LLDPE) at $1,330/tonne CFR China for September shipment, but we’ve told them we can’t accept such a high price,” one of the Chinese traders said, referring to the $70/tonne jump in offer level compared to values in August.

Offers for other PE and polypropylene (PP) grades were also raised as sellers tried to keep prices on an uptrend.

“Our film grade high density PE (HDPE) is offered at $1,300/tonne CFR China for September, but there is no buying interest,” a second South Korean producer said.

“We’ve sold some September yarn grade polypropylene (PP) at $1,210/tonne CFR China, but only for a small volume. It’s very difficult to sell above $1,200/tonne CFR,” a Korean PP producer said.

Falling domestic polyolefins prices and weak international crude values had hampered buying sentiment, the Chinese traders said.

“Prices of different PE and PP grades were on average yuan (CNY) 300/tonne lower this week,” a second Chinese trader said.

Persistent falls in the LLDPE futures trade since Tuesday also dampened sentiment in the physical market, Chinese traders said.

November LLDPE futures, the most actively traded contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) closed at CNY11,090/tonne on Wednesday, down by over CNY300/tonne from Monday, according to data from the DCE.

Asian importers said they were holding back purchases in anticipation of Fujian Refining and Petrochemical’s (FREP) start-up in southern China, and PetroRabigh’s increase in exports from Saudi Arabia.

However, many Asian and Middle East producers said they were holding out for higher prices as they had lean inventories, and most were unfazed by the prospect of prices falling when the new plants start up, said a PP producer.

“We’ve been hearing about these two new plants starting up and the impact they might have on regional prices. But so far none of them had started exporting to Asia,” an Asian PE producer said.

($1 = €0.70 / $1=CNY6.84)

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