01 June 2012 11:14 [Source: ICIS news]
By Pearl Bantillo
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Spot prices of petrochemicals in Asia tumbled on Friday, tracking sharp falls in crude prices, on concerns about weakening demand following release of disappointing economic data from ?xml:namespace>
The country, which also ranks as the second top oil consumer, reported a 2.9 percentage-point decline in its Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) to 50.4%, indicating a slowing down in its manufacturing activities.
A host of downbeat data on oil consumption from the US, as well as continued concerns about the unresolved debt crisis in the eurozone, are keeping market players across the commodities and equities worried over the prospects of the global economy.
The bearish sentiment rippled through the Asian naphtha market, with price nosediving to an 18-month low of $803-806/tonne CFR (cost and freight)
The Taiwanese producer shut its biggest cracker, with a 1.2m tonne/year ethylene capacity, in Mailiao, on 31 May because of weak demand and poor margins from olefins.
Meanwhile, the aromatics markets were also dragged down by falling energy futures, with benzene at a five-month low and toluene hitting its lowest level in six months.
At the close of trade on Friday, benzene were assessed at $1,050-1,065/tonne FOB (free on board)
Further downstream, the purified terephthalic acid (PTA) market was also rattled.
Asian PTA prices plunged to a 19-month low, with buying indications at $990/tonne
It was the first time in one and half year that PTA prices fell below $1,000/tonne, according to ICIS.
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