24 November 2011 08:39 [Source: ICIS news]
By Felicia Loo and Bohan Loh
Ethylene prices in the region appeared to have bottomed out, rising by $10-20/tonne (€7.5-15/tonne) in the week ended 18 November to $1,020-1,050/tonne CFR (cost and freight) NE (northeast)
Average spot prices of non-oil grade 1502 SBR rebounded $50/tonne week on week to $2,725/tonne (€2,017/tonne) CIF China on 23 November, after shedding 45% since early August, according to ICIS.
“South Korean butadiene demand is getting better,” said a trader in
BD prices were assessed at $1,700-1,750/tonne CFR NE Asia in the week ended 23 November, up by 9.5% from the previous week. Until the rebound in prices this week, BD values had been falling for four months.
The rebound in BD prices led to expectations that SBR values will increase further, market sources said. BD is a major feedstock in the production of SBR, making up more than 70% of SBR’s composition and cost.
“There are mixed signals from the markets. If
However, economic growth in China, the world’s second biggest economy, is forecast to decelerate to 9.1% in 2011 from 10.4% last year, the World Bank said. With the exclusion of
On polymers, it is atypical of the markets to keep inventory levels low at the end of the year, traders said.
“The (polymers) buyers are not stocking up and they only buy on a need-to basis,” said a polymers trader in
A major polymer importer based in Shanghai said it is cutting its prices despite squeezed margins to offload cargoes in view of weak demand and financial obligations ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday in January next year.
In the xylenes market, demand for isomer-grade mixed xylenes (MX) is tapering off due to a shrinking spread between MX and paraxlyene (PX) at $215/tonne. The spread has narrowed from over $400/tonne margins two months ago but remains generally sufficient for PX makers to break even and cover operational costs of around $180-200/tonne.
Nonetheless, supply of MX is expected to remain tight because of limited plant expansions next year.
Demand for PX is similarly tapering off after months of tight supply due to squeezed PX-PTA margins. Numerous downstream PTA units are either shutting down or reducing operating rates in December because of negative margins.
An influx of deep-sea cargoes from EU of around 15,000 tonnes and the
Good news was that the bearishness seemed to have fizzled out as reflected in a few spot trades this week, they added.
“The direction is not clear at this stage. The crackers are also running at lower rates and spot buying is only from
($1 = €0.75)
Additional reporting by Helen Yan, Yu Guo and Peh Soo Hwee
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