20 January 2012 05:52 [Source: ICIS news]
Prices of some petrochemical products in the region have either been falling or trading sideways since the start of the year, as demand traditionally weakens in the weeks leading to the Lunar New Year celebration, which is happening a bit early in 2012.
An expected tightness in regional supply because of a slew of cracker turnarounds due in March should also give propylene prices a further boost, market sources said.
Offers were scant this week as some traders prefer to suspend discussions until after the Lunar New Year holiday.
Spot propylene prices were quoted at $1,350-1,400/tonne (€1,040-1,078/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) NE (northeast) Asia at midday on Friday, while naphtha values were at $960.50-962.50/tonne CFR Japan.
A South Korean producer said it had received a bid at $1,350/tonne FOB
“Cargoes are limited in the market and prices are getting better so we want to wait until after the Chinese New Year,” the producer said.
In the purified terephthalic acid (PTA) market, some sellers have taken a similar stance on transactions.
“I don't plan to sell more cargoes before holiday, as prices will rise further amid firmer energy futures and peak buying after the holiday,” a PTA trader said.
The upbeat sentiment that the domestic credit crunch in the world’s second biggest economy will ease was reflected in trades at the linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) futures market at the Dalian Commodities Exchange this week.
The Chinese authorities are widely expected to adjust down the reserve requirement ratio for banks after
With external demand unlikely to pick up anytime soon as Europe struggles under the debt of its massive debt and the
Expectations within the country’s petrochemical market is equally upbeat on spot prices, with the upward push likely to come from tight supply since most plants in China will be shut for a full week.
Prices of styrene monomer (SM), methanol, acrylonitrile (ACN), dioctyl phthalate (DOP), urea, bisphenol-A (BPA) in the Chinese market look set to move up on restocking after the holidays, market sources said.
In some products, demand may not rebound as strongly as can be hoped, but high feedstock costs will push prices higher.
“Everything is so uncertain and we are not sure whether demand for synthetic rubber will rebound after the Lunar New Year,” a Chinese synthetic rubber producer said. Synthetic rubber producers in
Soaring feedstock BD costs have climbed to $3,100/tonne CFR (cost and freight) northeast (NE) Asia and have eroded the margins of synthetic rubber producers in
However, the downstream tyre producers are also feeling the squeeze from falling tyre export sales.
A number of small and mid-sized tyre producers in
“The small and mid-sized tyre producers in
In the Asian ammonia market, players are hoping the uptick in demand seen in January will continue to help prices stabilise after the holidays.
Spot ammonia prices have been on a downward trend since December given a reduction in demand from downstream applications such as acrylonitrile and caprolactam.
"Ammonia demand from the chemicals sector has been improving, as plants are restarting or being run at higher rates than late last year. But I hear that ammonia demand from the fertilizers segment has not recovered yet,” said a Taiwanese buyer.
"Ammonia consumption is better in
Additional reporting by Peh Soo Hwee, Judith Wang, Helen Yan, Gabriela Wheeler, Natalie Hui, Jessica Mao, Nicole Zhang, Phoebe Lu, Sherry Su, Ivy Ruan, Lily Zhang, and Sam Liang
($1 = €0.77)
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