06 March 2013 16:26 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Initial March import prices in the African polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) markets are mostly stable to firm, although concluded deals are scant in key national markets, industry sources said on Wednesday.
Import prices are supported by low inventory levels across the value chain in Middle East and Africa.
Planned and unplanned plant shutdowns in the Middle East have resulted in reduced producer stock levels, while many converters in Africa have been purchasing minimal volumes for months.
Linear low density PE (LLDPE) grade, supply for which has tightened on the back of Petrorabigh and Petrokemya plant shutdowns in the Middle East, have increased by $30/tonne (€23/tonne) at the high end of the price range from February to $1,600/tonne CFR (cost and freight) northern Africa. However, business is still being done at $1,560/tonne CFR.
Meanwhile, trade has almost ground to a halt in key Kenyan and Egyptian markets.
Kenya's converters are postponing March PE and PP sales as they await the country's election results. Elections were held in Kenya on 4 March, and results are expected this week.
Import prices in east Africa for high density polyethylene (HDPE) – the PE type most in demand in Kenya – were stable at $1,550-1,620/tonne CFR this week.
Egypt's converters are struggling to obtain US dollars to pay for polyolefin imports into the country because of a fall in foreign currency reserves.
Initial March price increase could be reversed in the coming weeks on decreasing Asian feedstock naphtha prices, industry sources said.($1 = €0.77)
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