SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s purified terephthalic acid (PTA) prices may continue to rise on the back of tightened supply in the key China market and an uptick in demand, industry sources said Tuesday.
On 5 September, prices were assessed at $608-618/tonne CFR (cost and freight) CMP (China Main Port), up $5/tonne from the previous day, rising for the second consecutive session, according to ICIS data.
Purchasing interest re-surfaced on fears that prices will continue to spike amid scheduled turnarounds at major PTA plants in China ahead of the G20 summit, which was held in the country for the first time on 4-5 September.
The G20 summit was conducted in Hangzhou City in the eastern Zhejiang province, with petrochemical plants in the surrounding areas mandated to either shut or cut production to ensure better air quality for the duration of the summit.
Yisheng Petrochemical shut its 650,000 tonne/year PTA line in Ningbo on 2 September with no confirmed restart date. It also plans a two-week turnaround at its 2m tonne/year unit in Hainan from 10 September.
Market sources expect the company’s other PTA lines in Ningbo and Dalian to undergo maintenance this year, but this could not be confirmed with the company.
Another PTA major, Hengli Petrochemical, shut its 2.2m tonne/year No 1 PTA line in Dalian for a two-week turnaround from 1 September, and also plans a turnaround of the same duration for its No 2 PTA line at the site in the first half of October.
Its No 3 PTA line in Dalian that also has a 2.2m tonne/year capacity may be also be shut for turnaround in November.
Amid the shutdowns of major plants at the start of the month, a prompt-loading 700-tonne PTA cargo was concluded last week at $613/tonne ex-CMP on a telegraphic transfer (TT) basis.
Among other PTA plants in China, Oriental Petrochemical Shanghai Co’s (OPSC) 700,000 tonne/year unit will be down from 28 August-7 September; Tongkun Petrochemical’s 1.5m tonne/year plant is undergoing a 20-day maintenance and is scheduled to restart on 10 September.
Ningbo Mitsubishi Chemical’s 685,000 tonne/year PTA unit is expected to resume production in the first half of September after being idled for a month. Prior to shutdown, the unit has had intermittent operations.
FCFC Ningbo’s 1.2m tonne/year PTA unit, meanwhile, will be taken off line on 7-14 September for annual turnaround.
Shenghong Petrochemical’s 1.5m tonne/year PTA unit in Lianyungang is scheduled for a two-week turnaround from the second week of September. The unit is presently running at full capacity to build up inventory ahead of the shutdown.
Meanwhile, price support from the demand front is weak, as some downstream end-users have also taken their facilities off line and are not expected to procure cargoes until the second week of September, after the G20 summit.
Even then, demand is not likely to increase significantly with the Mid-Autumn Festival on 15-16 September, and the week-long National Day celebration in the key China market on 1-7 October, market sources said.
The onset of colder weather will also mean weaker demand for certain segments of the downstream polyester industries, particularly the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle-chips sector.
Fibre producers, meanwhile, can expect a seasonal increase in demand with the advent of the winter season late in the year.
Focus article by Paul Lim
Picture: China garments factory. The textile industry is a major downstream application of purified terephthalic acid (PTA).