Higher demand, firmer crude to prop up south China bitumen prices

29 August 2013 07:54  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--South China-based refiners are likely to increase their bitumen prices in the near term, driven by stronger crude prices and higher demand, market sources said on Thursday.

Bitumen demand in south and southwest China has grown stronger, as road constructions become busier amid more favourable weather conditions, the market sources said.

“Sales are extremely good this week. We sold 2,000 tonnes [of bitumen] yesterday [28 August]. But last week, deliveries were basically zero,” said a source from Sinopec Maoming Petrochemical, a major bitumen producer in south China.

Most of the buyers come from Guangxi, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces, where many road projects were started, added the source.   

Demand from Zhanjiang city in south China is high as well, because there are many projects ongoing in the city, a south China-based trader said.

Market players are optimistic about the near-term market in south China. They believe the current oversupply in the region will be eased in early October when Maoming Petrochemical starts a 50-day turnaround at its plant.

Bitumen prices in south China have been on a downtrend since mid-March amid weak demand. The average price of heavy traffic bitumen declined to yuan (CNY) 4,485/tonne ($733/tonne) EXW (ex-works) on 28 August from CNY4,850/tonne on 18 March, ICIS data showed.

($1 = CNY6.12)

By: Lisa Wang

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