Americas feedstocks and polymers weekly summary

Source: ICIS News

2018/11/09

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Here is a summary of major markets in Americas for the week ended 9 November.

UPSTREAM

Crude: Futures finished down for the 10th consecutive session in response to a strong dollar and a stock market sell-off. Oversupply concerns and a potential slowdown in the global economy have driven the market into oversold territory.

Ethane: Spot prices were flat week on week, showing stability after several weeks of up and down movement. Intra-week pricing, however, was still volatile as November barrels traded up to 33 cents/gal on Monday but down to 28 cents/gal on Thursday. Spot rebounded by Friday, but volumes were low.

Propane: Prices were assessed lower, tumbling with the slide in crude oil and gasoline futures. The drop across the board in the heavier feedstocks complex has made ethylene production from the natural gas liquids (NGL) stream more economical, giving the US Gulf Coast a further cost-advantage against other regions.

OLEFINS

Ethylene: Spot prices ticked higher as limited production and good demand kept values supported despite a mid-week dip in costs for upstream ethane.

Propylene: Spot prices continued to trend lower, tracking declines in upstream crude oil and propane markets. The lower spot prices, along with a build-up of inventories, is putting significant downward pressure on November contract prices.

AROMATICS

Benzene: Spot prices plummeted to a two-year low, tracking significant decreases in crude oil prices along with slow demand for downstream styrene.

Styrene:  Spot prices extended their losses this week, hitting the lowest level in 18 months. Spot prices have fallen by 22% since the end of September on weak Asian demand; the European styrene market has been affected the same way.

POLYMERS

Polyethylene (PE): Export prices are trending lower on sufficient supply and weaker crude oil costs. Domestic prices are expected to trend flat to lower based on seasonally slower demand towards the close of the year.

Polypropylene (PP): Supplies remain tight while domestic demand is firming, with reduced interest in imports. November contract prices are expected to move lower, given the significant losses seen in spot prices for feedstock propylene.

Polystyrene (PS): The market supports lower contract prices in November, as key feedstock benzene spot prices have dropped this month and demand is also down. Prices are expected to settle in the next few weeks.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): Markets saw two separate price increase initiatives of 2 cents/lb for December during the week. Spot export markets were relatively weak, with little buying activity as producers tried to hold price levels and traders and buyers wanted decreases.