17 April 2013 16:41 [Source: ICIS news]
Prices in Africa also tend to follow PE and PP prices in China, which have been softening.
As a result, many buyers are holding back, hoping for cheaper offers next month.
One producer said: “People are now waiting for May prices, they will go down. Not sure where May prices will be. The market is on hold, people are waiting to see. Everyone is expecting it [prices] will go down.”
“There’s continuing downward pressure,” a second producer said. “Demand is not that bullish, it's bearish. Everybody is taking a ‘wait and see’ stance knowing that in May they expect prices to come down more. Naphtha and crude [prices] are lower.
A distributor said: “Prices seem to be crashing further for sure as [there has been a] drastic drop in feedstock prices and oil price. Market sentiments are weak, as converters are expecting more price drops due to the downward trend of ethylene and propylene.”
However, having already been forced to soften April offers, some Middle East and African producers are resisting further decreases, believing they are not justified.
“Demand is much better than last month,” one producer said. “Customers had to come back, March demand was a bit slow. We’ve sold out now. We have low inventories because we’ve sold a lot.”
The source added: “Converters are buying now to stock. Plus the summer period is coming, there’s good demand for injection moulding. The second quarter is normally quite strong. We don’t expect prices to fall.”
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