Asian PE, PP face a weak start to 2010

Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) producers expect trade to pick up only from the second quarter of 2010 when restocking activity will resume, writes our colleague Bee Lin.

Chinese importers are unlikely to build stocks before the Lunar New Year holidays which are in February. Operating rates at plastic units would also be low during this period.

Producers would then have to wait until March for a revival by when they would also see some support emerge from olefin markets. A heavy cracker turnaround schedule in Asia next year should keep ethylene and propylene supplies tight and prices firm.

An estimated 22 crackers would be shut for maintenance in 2010 compared with 15 facilities that were taken off line in 2009.

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