UpdateEgypt protestors camp in Cairo overnight defying curfew

31 January 2011 11:57  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds updates on protests on Monday, details throughout)

Anti-government protests in EgyptSINGAPORE (ICIS)--Thousands of protestors were out in force in the Egyptian capital Cairo overnight, ignoring a curfew and low-flying military jets and helicopters, to demand the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak, the BBC reported on Monday.

Mubarak has urged the new leaders of his government to undertake "dialogue with all the political parties", according to a reading of his remarks on state-run Nile TV.

However, protests have not stopped despite the appointment of a vice president and prime minister by Mubarak over the weekend, following days of demonstrations against his rule.

Police were back on the streets of Cairo as tens of thousands of people gathered in central Cairo for a seventh day of protest.

The demonstrators have called for a general strike on Monday, with plans for a "protest of the millions" march on Tuesday, according to the BBC.

More than 3,000 people have been arrested so far, according to Nile TV.

Early on Monday morning, the BBC showed scenes of thousands of people on the streets of Cairo refusing to go home.

Opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei - a Nobel peace prize winner - defied a curfew to address the crowd in the city’s Liberation Square on Sunday, the BBC reported.

The Egyptian unrest has shaken the Middle East markets, with shares plunging in many countries in the region on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the 192km Suez Canal has been operating as usual during the protests, with 45 to 50 ships passing through each day, a canal official told Reuters.

A company associate at Egyptian Petrochemicals Company (EPC) in Alexandria, Egypt, said that its refinery complex at Amerya was running “as per normal”, adding that email communications were still down on Monday.

EPC is a subsidiary of state-run oil firm Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation.

A Chinese polyethylene (PE) trader told ICIS that email and phone communications with an Egyptian producer had been down since Sunday.

But any disruption in Egyptian PE and polypropylene (PP) supply would have limited impact as Egypt exports very little material to China, he said.

Egypt exported 9,351 tonnes of homopolymer polypropylene and 15,792 tonnes of high density polyethylene (HDPE) to China in 2010, according to China Customs data.

These are 36% and 34% lower, respectively, than the 14,650 tonnes of homopolymer PP and 24,055 tonnes of HDPE exported in 2009, the data showed.

China imported a total of 3.9m tonnes of homopolymer PP and 3.5m tonnes of HDPE last year, according to China Customs data.

Egypt exported Egyptian pounds (£E) 2.09bn ($357m) worth of plastic products in 2010, according to data from the country’s Chamber of Chemical Industries.

The country also exported £E3.12bn worth of fertilizers in 2010, while overseas shipments of organic chemicals amounted to £E66.3m, the data showed.

Additional reporting by Chow Bee Lin

($1= £E5.86)

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By: Nurluqman Suratman

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