11 January 2012 13:02 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Trade of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) has come to a standstill in Nigeria, as most businesses remain closed during the nationwide strike against fuel price hikes, a producer based in the country said on Wednesday.
Nigerian unions declared an indefinite strike on 9 January after the government’s removal of a fuel subsidy effectively doubled fuel and transport costs.
Nigeria is one of the four biggest PE/PP markets in Africa, the others being South Africa, Egypt and Kenya.
Business transactions have come to a standstill, the producer source told ICIS via email: “The year has not started well in Nigeria. Right now, the economy is paralysed.
“Banks, ports [air and sea], schools [and] offices are all closed. Right now, it’s a fragile situation.”
A Europe-based distributor that regularly exports to Nigeria said: “Customers have not been working for two days. It is very new, and it will have an impact, depending on how long it lasts. It could change overnight.”
The producer expressed its concern that the issue would not be resolved within a few days: “It looks [like] it will take some time. We need better luck, and plenty of it.”
Slow demand from the key market of Nigeria could push prices down in the western African region, market sources said.
According to ICIS assessments, prices in the region are in the range of $1,330–1,520/tonne (€1,037–1,186/tonne) CFR (cost & freight) for three different PE film grades.
Prices for homopolymer and copolymer PP are in the $1,420–1,530/tonne CFR range.
($1 = €0.78)
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