23 March 2013 16:00 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Polyethylene (PE) prices in Latin America have experienced price increases in the first quarter of the year, but demand has weakened in some countries, generating expectations for lower prices ahead, sources said this week heading into the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) International Petrochemical Conference.
The uncertainty has diminished in Mexico because the local producer has already reduced PE prices by 5% effective 19 March. Demand in Mexico has been extremely slow in March, prompting the price reduction.
March PE prices have remained steady in Argentina and Brazil after strong increases early in the year, implemented to offset higher costs of feedstock ethylene.
Prices have risen modestly in Chile, where supply has tightened with shortages of raw materials from the local refiner.
A similar pattern has been spotted in Colombia, where the local producer has increased prices for low density polyethylene (LDPE) in February and March.
In Venezuela, currency devaluation has prompted the local producer to raise the price of all imported grades brought in to compensate for domestic production shortages.
The death of President Hugo Chavez has generated more uncertainty, and it is unlikely that the shortages of plastic resins currently afflicting the market will be solved in the short term.
AFPM begins on Sunday and lasts through Tuesday in San Antonio, Texas.
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