SE Asia PE inventories to stay tight in July; prices may rise

10 July 2014 04:05 Source:ICIS News

Focus story by Arianne Perez

ThailandSINGAPORE (ICIS)--Inventories of polyethylene (PE) in southeast Asia are expected to remain tight throughout July because of some production problems within the region, and with limited volumes coming from the Middle East, market participants said on Thursday.

Suppliers have been quoting higher offers for July-loading cargoes, but the weak-to-moderate demand in the region would cap any price gains, they said.

For the week ended 4 July, dutiable linear low density PE (LLDPE) prices were assessed at $1,570-1,600/tonne CFR (cost and freight) SE (southeast) Asia, while non-dutiable LLDPE cargoes were assessed at $1,600-1,620/tonne CFR SE Asia, according to ICIS data. In June, the prices stood at an average of $1,576-1,610/tonne CFR SE Asia.

Meanwhile, dutiable high density PE (HDPE) prices were assessed at $1,570-1,580/tonne CFR SE Asia, and non-dutiable HDPE cargoes stood at $1,610-1/620/tonne CFR SE Asia as at 4 July, compared with the average price of $1,575-1,615/tonne CFR SEA in June.

Supply of LLDPE and HDPE grades from Saudi Arabia and Qatar  have been limited, while a separate Middle East producer has shut its LLDPE and HDPE plants due to technical problems, market sources said.

In Thailand, PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) has been offering limited PE volumes in the domestic and exports markets, since June as production is being curtailed by low availability of feedstock ethylene.

In end-July, the company is planning to shut its 400,000 tonne/year LLDPE plant in Map Ta Phut for around 12 days.

The Thai petrochemical major also has a 300,000 tonne/year low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant and three high density polyethylene (HDPE) plants – a 300,000 tonne/year unit and two 250,000 tonne/year units – in Map Ta Phut.

In Malaysia, Lotte Chemical Titan’s 120,000 tonne/year HDPE plant in Pasir Gudang, Johor, is currently shut due to technical issues, with no clear schedule when the plant can resume production.

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By Arianne Perez