22 March 2013 23:00 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) domestic prices in Latin America are expected to soften in April, driven by the weakening resin and feedstock markets in Asia, market participants noted this week, heading into the annual American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) conference.
Regional producers are projecting rollovers into April, but buyers are targeting lower prices for next month, citing substantial declines in Asia for PET and feedstocks ethylene glycol (EG) and paraxylene (PX).
PET demand is softening in the Americas on expectations of lower resin prices driven by Asian markets. Activity in South America is also weaker as the weather cools, but rising temperatures in Mexico are supporting PET business.
In the US, March PET is being talked at a rollover or at lower prices, depending on the source, as weakening Asian markets lead price direction in the Americas. Producers had initially announced increases of 2 cents/lb for March. February PET prices were assessed up by 3 cents/lb ($66/tonne, €51/tonne) to 91.50-96.50 cents/lb DEL (delivered), after the 3 cent/lb increase in January from December.
In Argentina, March PET prices remained flat from February, while market talk suggested that prices would decline in April. February PET prices were up by $50/tonne from January.
Demand is softening in line with seasonality, sources said, while economic policies and the devaluation of the local currency are further dampening business sentiment.
In Mexico, March PET prices remained flat from February, after a proposed 2 cent/lb increase was rescinded on softening markets in Asia.
PET domestic and export prices rose by 2.0-3.0 cents/lb in March over February. January PET prices were up by 3 cents/lb for domestic material and by $110-120/tonne for exports.
On the Pacific coast of South America, PET prices have trended down to $1,650/tonne CFR (cost and freight), but additional softening is expected in the near future. Buyers are talking of price expectations at $1,600/tonne CFR or lower. Activity is stable to soft, sources said.
AFPM begins on Sunday and lasts through Tuesday in San Antonio, Texas.
($1 = €0.77)
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