Price and market trends: News in brief

Source: ECN

2018/10/11

EUROPE

Acetone MMA Oct contract up €14/tonne

The October MMA contract firmed by €14/tonne, a buyer and seller confirmed. A higher contract price of €883/tonne FD NWE was agreed after the upstream propylene settlement jumped. However, the October acetone MMA contract price did not meet the full 80% propylene pass-through, with negotiations likely affected by spot length that has been persistent for much of 2018.

October Styrene agreed down by €70/tonne

The European styrene October customer reference price has been agreed at €1,310/tonne, a decrease of €70/tonne from September, the producer involved confirmed. This drop comes after the same movement in the European styrene October barge contract, which was settled at €1,310/tonne FOB ARA on 1 October. The styrene CRP was agreed on an FCA Rotterdam basis.

PVC export price stable, Turkish demand STILL low

European PVC export prices and PVC prices in Turkey are stable with demand remaining low on the Turkish currency crisis, according to sources. FOB export prices were assessed at $805-825/tonne, a rollover compared to the previous week. European origin spot prices in Turkey were assessed at $850-870/tonne CFR, making them stable as well.

Caustic soda stable to firm on tighter market

European FOB caustic soda export prices were stable to firm this week, according to sources. FOB Mediterranean prices were assessed at $410-440/dmt, up by $10/dmt on the high end. NWE FOB prices rolled over at $485-490/DMT. Due to tighter European availability resulting from planned and unplanned turnarounds, sources saw higher prices in the Mediterranean, with prices as high as $440/dmt FOB in the major import markets such as Turkey and Italy.

MTBE prices up on tighter market, fewer imports

European MTBE prices lifted by between $15-51/tonne after spot supply tightened in the face of strong demand. Contractual demand for the beginning of October is also higher year on year. The factor climbed to 1.17 to reflect this, even as Eurobob gasoline prices dipped at the end of the week. A source described supply as tight to balanced, with stronger demand in the Mediterranean the main game-changer for now.

October polyols soften on low consumption

The Europe polyols October price dropped as quiet, lengthier market conditions forced contracts down, sources said. A drop of €20/tonne on both ends leaves the range at €1,700-1,785/tonne FD NWE. This softer trend contrasts with the firmer feedstock propylene agreement for the month. The movement also squeezes producer margins further after concerns were raised regarding flat polyols pricing earlier in the year.

October TDI price falls amid competitive offers

The Europe toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) range fell further in October on the back of low demand and high supply, with competitive offers still being made in the market. As a result, the TDI range dropped by €250/tonne on both ends to €2,350-2,450/tonne FD West Europe. There is market talk of structural oversupply after the restart of German seller BASF’s 300,000 tonne/year Ludwigshafen, Germany, plant in July.

ASIA

PP could be supported by supply tightness

Supply tightness and bullish Chinese futures could provide some support to polypropylene (PP) spot prices in southeast Asia this week. Supply of dutiable homopolymer cargoes, in particular, continues to be tight following several production hiccups at PP plants in the Middle East. October offers for dutiable PP flat yarn grade cargoes were mostly at $1,260/tonne CFR SE Asia and above.


PBT correction to be constrained by PTA

Further downside in spot import prices of polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) in Asia will likely be curbed by prices of feedstock purified terephthalic acid (PTA) which are stabilising after falling from a recent high. In Asia, import prices of PBT in the week ended 9 October slipped by $0.05/kg to $1.80-1.85/kg CIF NE Asia, and were flat at $1.75-1.85/kg CIF India. China domestic supply is set to tighten due to upcoming turnarounds at a couple of local producers’ plants in October.

BDO October contract prices unchanged

South Korean October domestic contract prices for 1,4-butanediol (BDO) were rolled over from September. October contract prices were settled unchanged at $1,810-1,870/tonne DEL South Korea. Average price declines were halted after having fallen for four consecutive months since May.

MLLDPE import demand lukewarm in China

Demand for metallocene linear low density polyethylene (MLLDPE) imports in China remained lukewarm despite bullish polyethylene (PE) futures. Offers for C6 (hexene-based) MLLDPE cargoes were heard at $1,290/tonne CFR CMP, but these attracted limited buying interest.

Sinopec ups China phenol offer by CNY400/tonne

Sinopec raised its domestic offers for phenol in east China on 10 October by yuan (CNY) 400/tonne ($58/tonne), a company source said. Its phenol price is now at CNY11,900/tonne EXW, the source said. The price hike was in line with an increase in phenol spot prices in the market, the source added.

China methanol futures prices surge by 2.28%

China’s methanol futures surged by 2.28% on Wednesday on bullish sentiment, after hitting the maximum daily limit on movement on Tuesday. January 2019 methanol futures, the most actively traded contract at the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange (ZCE), closed at yuan (CNY) 3,448/tonne ($498/tonne), up by CNY77/tonne compared with the settlement on 9 October.

Spot capro trade in China quiet after Golden Week

Spot trade in the Chinese domestic caprolactam (capro) market was muted this week despite expectations that Chinese buying interest would pick up after the Golden Week National Day holidays. Spot trade was limited as market players were largely in wait-and-see mode due to market uncertainty. On 8 October, Sinopec increased its list price by yuan (CNY) 300/tonne to CNY18,300/tonne EXW, up from its settled price for September contracts at CNY18,000/tonne.

China ECH offers firmer after holiday

China’s domestic epichlorohydrin (ECH) offers were firmer at yuan (CNY) 11,500/tonne, supported by demand for downstream epoxy resins. On 2 October, ICIS assessed China domestic ECH prices at CNY10,800-11,000/tonne on a DEL basis. There were no fresh discussions located in the spot import market as buyers continue to opt for domestic material.

SAN sellers maintain offers as China reopens

Suppliers of styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) in Asia have mostly maintained their offers to the Chinese markets, which reopened this week after a long holiday. Offers were mostly at $1,680-1,800/tonne CFR China, depending on parcel size and origin. However, the spot market remained at around $1,650/tonne CFR China. Most SAN makers in the region continued to grapple with poor margins amid elevated feedstock costs and were not keen to reduce prices further.

China BDO import prices seen largely flat

Spot prices of 1,4-butanediol (BDO) in the Chinese import market will likely remain largely flat on the back of stable domestic prices post-holiday. Import prices of bulk BDO in the week ended 9 October were assessed unchanged at $1,600-1,640/tonne CFR CMP. China domestic prices were maintained at yuan (CNY) 10,400-10,800/tonne ($1,502-1,560/tonne) DEL China in the same period.

AMERICAS

SBR Oct contracts fall on upstream BD

US SBR contract prices for October fell slightly, tracking a slight decrease in upstream BD contract prices for October. US October 1502 non-oil grade SBR contract prices were assessed 96.4-103.4 cents/lb ($2,125-2,280/tonne), down from 96.9-103.9 cents/lb in September.

US EPS prices roll over in October

US expandable polystyrene (EPS) prices have rolled over in October following price increases that went into effect on 15 September. The October roll­over was expected, as price increases went into effect only two weeks earlier. US styrene spot prices have been up and down since mid-June, trading within a 5 cent/lb ($22/tonne) range in that timeframe. ICIS EPS prices are 93-101 cents/lb DEL US.

Epoxy resins steady on balanced fundamentals

Epoxy resins are holding steady with nothing currently on the horizon to move prices significantly. The markets are somewhat quiet at the start of the month, according to sources. Healthy domestic inventory, imports and a slowdown in demand will offset some of the pressure. ICIS had assessed the US September liquid epoxy resin contract price at $1.54-1.59/lb DEL (delivered) North America.

September propylene settles down 1 cent/lb

September propylene contracts settled at a 1 cent/lb decrease for the majority of the market amid improved supply and a slight downtrend for spot prices, although one seller did not settle at that level. The September settlement puts contract prices for polymer-grade propylene (PGP) at 60.0 cents/lb (1,323/tonne). Propylene has been under some downward pressure following the resolution of production outages heading into August.

PPG seeks Nov hike for automotive OEM coatings

PPG is seeking a global price increase on its automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) coatings, citing “continued and unprecedented cost pressures in raw materials, freight, distribution and labour, across every region”. The US September liquid epoxy resin contract price is at $1.54-1.59/lb ($3,395-3,505/tonne) DEL (delivered) North America.

ExxonMobil seeks increase for solvents

ExxonMobil will introduce price increases for multiple products among its line of hydrocarbon fluids on 17 October, according to a customer letter. Among the increases includes a 4 cent/lb ($88/tonne) hike on Exxon’s line of aromatic 100 and aromatic 150, odourless mineral spirits and all grades of hexane and heptane fluids. Increases are being announced amid elevated crude prices.

September PTA contracts spike, tracking PX

US September purified terephthalic acid (PTA) contracts were assessed higher tracking a spike in September contracts for feedstock paraxylene (PX). PX contracts surged higher by 10.5 cents/lb ($231/tonne) from August, sources confirmed, amid soaring average spot prices stemming from severe supply shortages in Asia during peak polyester demand season.

September EO rises on feedstock ethylene

Ethylene oxide (EO) contract prices for September rose by 7% on the back of a 17% increase in the September contract settlement for ethylene. September EO contracts were assessed at 56.0-65.5 cents/lb ($1,235-1,444/tonne) FOB. Peak downstream demand into ethanolamines and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is expected to start winding down this month due to seasonal trends.