Price and market trends: News in brief

Source: ECN



Ethylene contract price rises for October

The European ethylene contract reference price for October has been agreed at €1,145/tonne FD NWE, up by €10/tonne from September, according to some contract participants on 1 October. Higher naphtha feedstock values month on month were mitigated by softer-than-expected supply and demand conditions, which have led to double-digit discounts against the prevailing contract price for spot volumes.

MEG spot stable-to-soft on improving supply

European monoethylene glycol (MEG) spot prices were stable to soft as supply remains comfortable in the last days of September and into October. Bulk spot prices were at a €5/tonne decrease at the low end of the range and stable at the high, bringing prices to €855-870/tonne CIF NWE. Truck prices were assessed at a €5/tonne decrease at both ends of the range, bringing prices to €895-910/tonne FCA NWE.

Pure MDI initial October prices flat to down

There were rollovers and decreases in Europe October pure methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) price discussions so far, sources said this week. Participants said there was a jump in volumes offered to the market, although structural tightness is still present. Lack of product did result in a firmer trend in prior months, but the September price rolled over to €3,045-3,155/tonne FD W Europe.

Styrene October barge contract down by €70

The European styrene barge contract price for October was agreed at €1,310/tonne, a €70/tonne decrease from September, two sellers and two buyers confirmed on 1 October. The contract price was agreed on an FOB ARA basis.

Toluene contract price settles down $8.50/tonne

The European contract price for toluene settled at $834/tonne FOB NWE for October, $8.50/tonne lower than the previous month, players have confirmed through the week to Wednesday. Three consumers and one producer confirmed this figure. A further producer is heard to have settled at this number but could not be reached.

PTA September contract price shoots up with PX

The Europe September purified terephthalic acid (PTA) contract has risen by €141/tonne compared to August, based on ICIS calculations. The September PTA contract price has reached €904-938/tonne FD NWE.

Propylene October contract agreed higher

The European propylene contract reference price for October has been agreed at €1,070/tonne FD NWE, up by €20/tonne from September, according to some contract participants on 28 September. Higher naphtha feedstock values month on month, combined with a largely snug, albeit a bit mixed presently, supply and demand outlook drove the increase.

PX September up by €210/tonne in split settlement

The European paraxylene (PX) September contract has settled at a sharp €210/tonne month-on-month increase following a split settlement. The September European contract reference price stands at €1,160/tonne FD NWE, sources on the buy and sell side confirmed.

Nylon 6,6 prices stable-to-firm on tight supply

European nylon 6,6 contract September talks ended with increases of varying degrees heard within the current range for virgin polymer material, depending on starting point and account due to the ongoing tightness in supply. The range is currently €3.98-4.34/kg FD NWE for nylon 6,6 virgin polymer material.

Oct TDI down by triple digits on oversupply

Oversupply and limited business activity led to decreases as high as around €300/tonne in initial Europe October toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) negotiations, sources said on 3 October. Order book volumes were already low in September when prices were assessed down at €2,600-2,700/tonne FD W Europe. Such low consumption levels are occurring still despite October seasonally being a month of high demand.

Phenol domestic spot up with product scarce

The Europe domestic phenol spot range jumped as scarcity of product continues, with export pricing following on a notional basis, sources said on 28 September. In response, the domestic price range was assessed €60/tonne higher on the low end, at €1,153-1,183/tonne FD NWE.

October Benzene drops by €16/tonne

The European benzene October contract price has settled at €717/tonne CIF NWE, a decrease of €16/tonne from September, two buyers and three sellers said on 28 September. The settlement was agreed at a US dollar concept of $839/tonne and converted to the euro price at an agreed exchange rate of €1:$1.1707. The October settlement was a drop of $18/tonne versus September in dollar terms.


PBT imports under pressure from falling PTA

Asia spot import prices of polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) are facing continued downward pressure alongside the retreat in feedstock purified terephthalic acid (PTA) prices. PBT producer margins are less squeezed after feedstock PTA prices corrected from their highs, with prices of other feedstock butanediol (BDO) having remained generally flat.

PMDI still weighed by bearish China market

Import prices of polymeric methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (PMDI) in Asia are likely to see losses extended, as long as China market stays in the doldrums. This week, PMDI trades in southeast Asia were heard at least $50/tonne lower than the week prior. Sellers moderated offers in a bid to stimulate buying and moves some cargoes to relieve inventory pressures.

China BDO import prices likely stable to softer

Spot prices of 1,4-butanediol (BDO) in the Chinese import market will likely be stable to softer after the country’s public holidays end, in line with lower domestic prices, while the overall price trend going forward largely hinges on raw material price movement. Market activity in China is expected to recover in the following week after the Golden Week holiday 1-7 October, with some market players hopeful for demand to pick up slightly with the approach of the traditional peak demand season. Import prices of bulk BDO in the week ended 28 September were assessed unchanged at $1,600-1,640/tonne CFR China Main Port.

Southeast Asia spot October SBR offers fall

Spot offers for styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) to southeast Asia fell this week due to continued decline in prices of key feedstock butadiene (BD). For non-oil grade 1502 SBR, October spot offers were revised lower to $1,700-1,750/tonne CFR SE Asia, down by $50/tonne from the previous week.

Taiwan nylon chip producers hike offers

Taiwanese producers of high-speed spinning nylon chips hiked their export offers amid an increase in feedstock caprolactam prices. Offers were at $2,540/tonne CFR China for the week. Offers last week were at $2,470/tonne CFR China.

Isomer-grade xylene talks rise on strong PX

Asia’s isomer-grade xylene (IX) discussions were firmer on Tuesday, supported by gains in downstream paraxylene (PX) and upstream crude markets. IX prices were assessed at $935/tonne FOB Korea, up $12/tonne from the previous day, and at $956/tonne CFR NE Asia, up $17/tonne.

FPCC settles Sep BD down by $120/tonne

Taiwan’s Formosa Petrochemical Corp (FPCC) has settled its September butadiene (BD) contract at $1,480/tonne, down by $120/tonne from the previous month, a company source said on Tuesday. Its August contract was settled at $1,600/tonne pipeline DEL. FPCC’s monthly contract price is settled on a retroactive basis.



Ethylene rises 17% on higher ethane costs

September ethylene contracts settled for the majority of the market at a 5 cent/lb increase from the prior month, as a sharp rise in ethane feedstock costs pushed spot and contract prices higher. The settlement puts September contract prices at 33.75 cents/lb ($744/tonne), up from 28.75 cents/lb in August, market sources confirmed. One buyer did not accept the settlement. See page 16 for the full story

September caustic soda contracts decline

September contracts for liquid caustic soda were assessed down by an average of $25/dry short ton (dst) ($28/dry metric tonne (dmt)) to reflect price erosion across the third quarter, the ICIS assessment showed. US contracts fell to $635-655/dst FOB US Gulf. Domestic supply surged during the third quarter on strong production and the loss in export demand.

October OX up on higher spot MX

October orthoxylene (OX) contracts increased 2 cents/lb ($44/tonne) from September amid higher US spot mixed xylenes (MX) stemming from strong downstream paraxylene (PX) demand in Asia. October contracts were assessed at 48 cents/lb ($1,058/tonne) free on board (FOB). MX has come down as Chinese buyers shun US material.

PA contracts settle higher, tracking OX

October phthalic anhydride (PA) contract prices increased by 2 cents/lb ($44/tonne), tracking a September increase in prices for feedstock orthoxylene (OX). October PA contracts were assessed at 62-67 cents/lb for molten material and at 63-70 cents/lb for flake material. PA supply and demand levels remain balanced and are expected to remain that way into November.

October nylon decreases on lower benzene

Formula-based US nylon prices fell 2 cents/lb ($44/tonne) on lower settlements for US October benzene contracts. US October benzene settled 13 cents/gal lower month on month. The market had anticipated a lower settlement. Nylon 6 supplies are healthy despite increased demand stemming from supply issues in the global nylon 6,6 market.

Oct MA faces upward pressure from feeds

US maleic anhydride (MA) is facing upward momentum from high feedstock butane. Supply and demand are mostly in balance at the start of the fourth quarter. ICIS had assessed the US September MA molten contract price at 89.7-95.7 cents/lb ($1,978-2,110/tonne) FOB US Gulf.

PO contracts decrease on feedstock propylene

US propylene oxide (PO) contract prices for September fell by 0.85 cent/lb ($19/tonne) on the back of a decrease in the September contract settlement for feedstock propylene. September PO contract prices were assessed at 78.31-82.31 cents/lb FOB. PO demand is expected to be negatively impacted by turnaround activity in downstream monopropylene glycol (MPG) next month.

Benzene settles lower, tracking weaker spot

October benzene contracts settled 13 cents/gal ($39/tonne) lower month on month at $2.85/gal FOB US Gulf. The market had anticipated a lower settlement as spot prices traded below the September settlement for most of the past month. Benzene spot prices were weighed down over the past several weeks by sufficient supply and slower demand.

September styrene increases, spot down

Styrene contracts for September settled at an average increase of 1 cent/lb from the previous month on the back of stronger September feedstock benzene contract prices, and soaring ethylene. The September styrene price increase represented the second consecutive monthly increase. Styrene contracts for August settled at an average increase of 1.5 cents/lb from July.