17 August 2012 05:42 [Source: ICIS news]
By Ong Sheau Ling
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--An influx of refugees escaping war-torn Syria into Jordan and other neighbouring countries, as well as the upcoming Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, will lead to a spike in demand for mattresses in the Middle East, market players in the toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) and polyols industry said on Friday.
TDI and polyols go into the manufacture of flexible polyurethane (PU) foam, which is used in mattresses.
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As the Syrian crisis worsens, there is a likelihood of more refugees that will bolster demand for PU mattresses, he added.
Thousands of Syrians have been fleeing the violence of the political upheaval in their home country since March 2011, to seek shelter in neighbouring nations.
About 17,000 people were killed in
Official record from the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNCHR) showed that registered refugees from
Pilgrims start the trek towards the Islamic holy land of
“There will be close to 2m people attending the Haj, and staying there for at least three, four days,” a Dubai-based trader said.
“[Saudi Arabian] foamers have to start producing foams from [the] second half of September, so they will have to start stocking up TDI and polyols beginning end-August,” a northeast Asian producer said.
Demand will strongly pick up next week following the Eid-ul-Fitr celebration, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, they said. For this reason, some TDI and polyols producers are confident of raising prices for September cargoes.
On 16 August, TDI prices were assessed as $2,800-2,900/tonne (€2,268-2,349/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and $2,850-2,900/tonne CFR East Med (
Flexible polyols slabstocks prices were at $2,050-2,150/tonne CFR Middle East on 16 August, ICIS data showed.
“We do not how long the Syrian [political unrest] situation will last, so we can’t be sure how long the support to TDI can be,” a Jordanian buyer said.
Globally, there is an oversupply of TDI and demand typically slows down around the fourth quarter, market sources said, and they doubt that prices will increase significantly from the recent pick-up in demand.
Polyols prices, on the other hand, may still be on an uptrend in the Middle East, tracking gains in upstream propylene prices in Europe and
“Perhaps we may see a $50/tonne increase in polyols for September shipments,” another Dubai-based trader said.
European August propylene contracts were settled at €1,055/tonne ($$1,302/tonne), up by €120/tonne from July. Average spot Asian propylene prices were at $1,340/tonne
($1 = €0.81)
Additional reporting by Pearl Bantillo
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