25 February 2010 07:37 [Source: ICIS news]
By Nurluqman Suratman
SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Prices of petrochemical products in China soared this week after the Lunar New Year holidays as end-users began restocking, with strong crude values supporting the bullish post-holiday market sentiment, analysts and market players said on Thursday.
With crude expected to stay at current levels of around $80/bbl (€58.4/tonne), the price uptrend for petrochemicals may continue through to June despite the recent credit tightening measures of the government, analysts said.
“Many producers hiked prices post-holiday … indicating they are optimistic about the market outlook,” said Wang Jing, an analyst from Shanghai-based brokerage firm Orient Securities.
Higher prices were well supported by the general improvement in consumption, industry sources said.
“Crude has breached $80/bbl and petrochemical prices in ?xml:namespace>
Prices of butadiene rubber and styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) in the Chinese market surged by about CNY1,000/tonne ($146.4/tonne) this week, in line with the strong gains natural rubber values
SBR prices hit CNY18,000/tonne ex-warehouse (EXWH) and butadiene rubber (BR) prices jumped to CNY21,500-22,000/tonne EXWH this week from pre-holiday levels.
The Chinese market was closed for business from 13 February to 21 February for the Lunar New Year celebrations.
Acetone prices, likewise, firmed up to more than CNY9,000/tonne this week from CNY8,900/tonne prior to the festive season, traders said.
Methyl methacrylate (MMA) also mirrored the trend as buyers started to pile up inventories amid tight supplies in the market, said an MMA seller.
Domestic MMA prices had risen to CNY15,000-15,500/tonne
The price trend may continue as MMA imports into
Meanwhile, prices of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) in China have not budged at CNY6,400-6,500/tonne, but market players were expecting a marginal value increase in March given higher demand, traders said.
Teapot refineries in the
“MTBE prices may increase by 2-3% but there will be a limit because
Pump prices in
Chinese energy giants PetroChina and Sinopec recently raised wholesale gasoline prices by CNY100/tonne, within a price band, to reflect robust crude futures that topped $80/bbl, traders said.
But the uptrend was cut short mid-week as buying activity in the market failed to sustain a strong momentum, traders said. Chinese petrochemical major PetroChina cut its prices for different PE grades on Thursday.
Trade was slow in the domestic polymer market as a number of plastic finished goods factories were still closed and would just resume production next week, local traders said.
Middle Eastern and South Asian PE and polypropylene (PP) suppliers into
“The improvement in Chinese market sentiment and the rise in crude values have had a ripple effect on buying interest in the
The Indian polymer market was also taking heart at the bullish sentiment in
“But this week, sentiment is much more bullish, thanks to the improved Chinese appetite for polymers,” said a PP converter in Mumbai.
Prices of naphtha - the main feedstock for petrochemical production - also looked set to continue rising, traders said.
“If ethylene prices still keep above $1,200/tonne NE (northeast)
Current price discussions for ethylene this week were hovering below $1,300/tonne CFR Asia levels, weighed down by a surge in unsold cargoes from Asia and the
A 3,500-tonne cargo was heard sold to
($1 = €0.74 / $1 = CNY6.83)
With additional reporting by Felicia Loo, Chow Bee Lin, Anu Agarwal, Judith Wang, Helen Yan, Fanny Zhang and Prema Viswanathan
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