Price and market trends: News in brief

Source: ECN

2018/06/08

EUROPE

MMA MAY PRICES FALL FROM RECENT HIGHS

European May MMA contracts settled at a stable-to-soft level, with prices falling from historical highs in recent months. May prices settled at €2,895-2,990/tonne FD NWE, a decrease of €70/tonne on the low end of the range from April, and rollover on the top end. A wide range of settlements was heard, with sentiment shifting in the market in the middle of the month amid fresh production issues.

JUNE INITIAL MEG CONTRACT AGREED UP €5/TONNE

The Europe MEG June initial contract price has been agreed at €1,010/tonne, an increase of €5/tonne from May levels, the buyer and seller involved said. The price follows the settlement of the June ethylene contract price at €1,150/tonne, up €63/tonne from May. A minimum 2+2 producer consumer configuration is required to consider the agreements fully confirmed. The prices were agreed on a FD NWE basis.

INITIAL ACN JUNE CONTRACT AGREED UP €93/TONNE

An initial June European acrylonitrile (ACN) contract has been completed for €93/tonne above May prices, sources confirmed. Strong demand, limited supply and rising feedstock costs were cited. Feedstock propylene increased €80/tonne in the June contract. If the rest of the market follows, the new contract range will stand at €2,069-2,128/tonne FD NWE.

JUNE STYRENE BARGE CONTRACT UP €60/TONNE

The European styrene barge contract price for June has been agreed at €1,345/tonne, up €60/tonne from May, three buyers and two sellers confirmed. The contract price was agreed on an FOB ARA basis.

R-PET JUNE PRICES SETTLE AT ROLLOVERS, HIKES

European R-PET players are completing June business, with rollovers and increases agreed, although some discussions are still ongoing. The increases agreed have varied, with hikes of up to €30/tonne. Players are unconcerned about the rising price of R-PET, with some having previously suggested that the narrowing price range between R-PET and virgin material may reduce interest in recycled material.

MEK PRICES FALL AS REBALANCING CONTINUES

European MEK spot prices have fallen for the fourth week in a row as the market has continued to rebalance towards historical levels. Spot prices were assessed at €1,400-1,450/tonne FD, down €20/tonne on the low end and €50/tonne on the high end.

MIBK SPOT PRICE ROLLS, OUTLOOK STABLE TO SOFT

European MIBK spot prices rolled over, with the outlook for June regarded as stable-to-soft. Spot prices were assessed at €1,600-1,650/tonne FD, making them stable compared to the previous week. European MIBK spot prices have trended downwards in 2018, as the market continues to rebalance following tightness in the previous year.

IPA PRICE RISES FOR JUNE ON FEEDSTOCK HIKE

European IPA spot prices rose this week on the back of higher feedstock values and stronger demand, according to sources. Technical grade prices were assessed at €1,040-1,105/tonne FD NWE, up €50/tonne on the low end and €65/tonne on the high end. The contract price for feedstock propylene rose by €80/tonne compared to May. IPA is made up of 77% propylene by volume.

ASIA

PS SELLERS HIKE OFFERS WHILE DEMAND WANES

Asia polystyrene (PS) producers increased resin offers this week in response to the recent uptrend in feedstock styrene monomer (SM) numbers. Spot SM prices reached $1,550/tonne CFR China in early June, up from $1,295/tonne CFR China in the second half of March. A sharp reduction in shore tank inventories along eastern China to under 50,000 tonnes in recent weeks caused SM prices to escalate to the upside.

CHINA DOMESTIC PO PRICES MAY RISE FURTHER

Domestic propylene oxide (PO) prices in China may find further support from reduced supply but the extent of any upside is expected to be capped due to sustained weak demand from the downstream polyols sector. On 1 June, the average PO price in China inched up by yuan (CNY) 50/tonne ($8/tonne) from the previous session to CNY11,150/tonne DEL.

TAIWAN JUNE BDO CONTRACT PRICES POISED TO RISE

Taiwan’s June monthly contractual prices of 1,4-butanediol (BDO) are poised to register gains going forward after initial discussions emerged at a premium from May’s prices. BDO local contractual prices for May in Taiwan were settled at New Taiwan dollars (NT$) 54-55/kg DEL Taiwan. Early discussions for June contractual prices emerged at NT$56-57/kg DEL Taiwan, with sellers adding that firmer prices were needed to make up for the increasing production costs of BDO.

CHINA MTBE MAY EXTEND FALLS ON GASOLINE DEMAND

China’s domestic methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) prices may come under further downward pressure in the week ended 4 June amid weakened demand from gasoline blenders and increased supply. Spot MTBE prices in south China fell by yuan (CNY) 175/tonne week on week to CNY6,500-6,700/tonne ex-tank on 1 June. Blended gasoline prices in the region, meanwhile, dropped by CNY100/tonne over the same period to CNY7,600/tonne.

MPG OUTLOOK BEARISH AMID POOR SENTIMENT

Asia’s spot monopropylene glycol (MPG) prices will likely be weighed by ample supply, while demand is expected to stay sluggish amid poor market sentiment. In the week ended 4 June, the average price of bulk industrial grade propylene glycol (PGI) slipped by $50/tonne to $1,275/tonne CFR NE Asia, and inched down by $25/tonne to $1,425/tonne CFR SE Asia from the previous week.

PETROCHINA HIKES ACN BY ANOTHER CNY300/TONNE

PetroChina Fushun Petrochemical has further raised its June acrylonitrile (ACN) spot offers by yuan (CNY) 300/tonne, a company source said on 5 June. After the increase the spot offers stand at (CNY) 16,100/tonne ($2,512/tonne), effective from 5 June. ACN spot prices have been on a persistent uptrend since the end of May on the back of plant turnarounds and the recovery in acrylic fibre plant operate rates.

STYRENE FALLS $55/TONNE AMID WEAK DEMAND

Asia’s styrene monomer (SM) prices slumped on 5 June as thinning margins prompted downstream producers to reduce operating rates, resulting in weaker demand for the feedstock. Prices fell by $55/tonne from the previous day to $1,507.50/tonne CFR China, reversing some recent gains.

SINOPEC CUTS BENZENE LIST PRICE TO CNY6,350/TONNE

Sinopec on 6 June cut its east China benzene list price by yuan (CNY) 100/tonne to CNY6,350/tonne. Selling indications are largely at CNY6,250/tonne, against buying indications at CNY6,200/tonne in spot market. The list price of CNY6,350/tonne ex-works translates to an equivalent import parity of $833/tonne CFR China, LC at sight or around $844/tonne CFR China, LC 90 days, taking into account an exchange rate of $1 against CNY6.41.

CHINA DOTP IMPORT OFFERS FALL ON WEAK SENTIMENT

Dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP) import offers to China fell on 5 June, tracking weakness in the domestic market. Selling indications were at $1,280/tonne CFR China, down $20/tonne from the high end of the ICIS-assessed price range on 1 June. Buyers were expecting lower offers from sellers, which were not inclined to adjust their prices, citing cost pressures.

AMERICAS

MA MARKETS FACING UPWARD PRESSURE

US June maleic anhydride (MA) contracts could increase on the back of outages and feedstock costs. Ongoing turnarounds continue to place some pressure on inventory levels. A source did say they have not had a problem securing material. But domestic buyers continue to grapple with logistical issues from the rail and truck sectors, leading to longer delivery times. ICIS had assessed the US May MA molten contract price at 85.70-91.70 cents/lb FOB US Gulf.

LATIN AMERICA JUNE PET PRICES RISING

Although there are June price increase initiatives for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resins in most Latin American countries, players are still discussing the magnitude of the hikes. So far, the initiatives range from rollovers to increases of $110/tonne, but those numbers may be moderated once negotiations conclude. Considering that in the US there are producer initiatives to increase PET prices by 4-5 cents/lb ($88-110/tonne), Mexico may have a similar hike in June.

JULY INCREASE INITIATIVES EMERGE FOR US POLYOL

July increase initiatives of 9 cents/lb ($198/tonne) have surfaced in the US polyether polyol market, effective 1 July or as contracts allow. The market had been expecting fresh increase announcements for polyether polyols after May propylene contracts settled with a higher-than-anticipated increase of 5 cents/lb. ICIS has raised its assessments for US polyether polyols by a cumulative amount of 6 cents/lb during the first five months of 2018.

US JUNE EPS PRICES ROLL OVER FROM MAY

US expandable polystyrene (EPS) prices have rolled over in June from established levels in May amid largely flat upstream benzene and styrene prices last month. Feedstocks have provided little pricing direction for the EPS market. Styrene and benzene spot prices have largely moved sideways for the last two months. ICIS EPS prices are 91-99 cents/lb DEL US for block and packaging grades.

AROMATIC, ALIPHATIC SOLVENTS INCREASE

US aromatic and aliphatic solvents widely rose week on week as multiple price increases announced earlier in the month impact the market. US prices for toluene delivered by truck and rail in the US Gulf were assessed at 47-49 cents/gal from 45-47 cents/gal in the previous week. Prices for US xylenes delivered in the Gulf were assessed at 46.50-48.50 cents/gal from 46.00-48.00 cents/gal in the previous week.

JUNE PA CONTRACT PRICES RISE, TRACKING OX

US June phthalic anhydride (PA) contracts rose by 2 cents/lb ($44/tonne), tracking similar movement in May contracts of feedstock orthoxylene (OX). June contract prices were assessed at 59-64 cents/lb for molten material and at 60-67 cents/lb for flake material. Supply is returning to healthy levels after the completion of Koppers’ recatalysation in early May, while demand is strong but typical for this time of year.

ETHYL ACETATE RISES ON TIGHT FEEDSTOCKS

US ethyl acetate (etac) prices rose by 2 cents/lb ($44/tonne) on 5 June, as tight supply of feedstock acetic acid lent support to separate price increase initiatives from multiple suppliers. US etac distributor prices as assessed by ICIS are now 76-78 cents/lb DEL. Spot prices are at 69-71 cents/lb. Short supply of feedstock acetic acid and rising seasonal demand supported separate producer price increases.

 

JUNE NYLON PRICES ASSESSED UP ON BENZENE

US June nylon prices were assessed higher from May. June nylon prices were assessed at a 1 cent/lb ($22/tonne) increase from May, tracking higher prices for US June benzene contracts. ICIS US nylon assessments are formula-based and tied to movements in feedstock costs. US June benzene contracts settled at an increase of 6 cents/gal.