Price and market trends: Middle East MDI may stay firm on tightening supply from Asia

24 March 2014 00:00 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

Spot polymeric methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (PMDI) prices in the Middle East will remain supported by tightening supply, with a major exporting Japanese maker experiencing production problems, while others in Asia are about to conduct maintenance at their facilities, market sources said on 13 March.

A South Korean producer was hopeful of concluding deals at $2,200 CFR (cost and freight) GCC/East Med the following week, up by $50/tonne from the buying indications the previous week at $2,150/tonne GCC/East Med.

ME MDI

On 6 March, polymeric MDI prices were assessed at $2,150-2,200/tonne CFR GCC/East Med (Gulf Cooperation Council/East Mediterranean), according to ICIS data.

In Japan, Nippon Polyurethane (NPU) has been offering limited volumes to the Middle East and Asian markets since the previous week, citing problems at an upstream plant that affected its MDI production, a company source said.

The company has three MDI plants with a total capacity of 400,000 tonnes/year in Japan’s Yamaguchi prefecture. Two of the plants accounting for half the company’s total MDI capacity are due for turnaround in May.

In South Korea, Kumho Mitsui Chemicals plans to shut down its 200,000 tonne/year MDI facility in Yeosu in May for three weeks of annual maintenance. The turnaround was originally set in April, but had to be pushed back for unspecified reasons, the source said.

The tightening supply of MDI in Asia is also likely to exert an upward pressure on prices in the key China market, according to Chinese importers.

On 12 March, polymeric MDI prices in China’s domestic market increased by $30-50/tonne to $2,150-2,180/tonne CFR China from the previous week, according to ICIS data.

Sourcing material at lower prices has been difficult, as suppliers have limited inventory, industry sources said.


SPOT PMDI IMPORT PRICES TREND UP AMID TIGHTER SUPPLY

Spot polymeric methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (PMDI) import prices in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and eastern Mediterranean (East Med) regions have been trending up amid tighter supply, market sources confirmed on Thursday.

Sellers had been maintaining a bullish sentiment, with a major exporting Japanese producer experiencing production problems, while others in Asia are about to conduct maintenance at their facilities. Consequently, offers were indicated at up to $2,250/tonne CFR (cost and freight) GCC/East for cargoes loading in March or early April.

A buyer purchased material at $2,200/tonne CFR GCC for March shipment, $50/tonne higher from the previous week’s bids. Other buyers were said to have purchased material at the same price.

By Fahima Khail