Asia top stories - weekly summary

Author: ICIS Editorial


SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Here are the top stories from ICIS News Asia and the Middle East for the week ended 5 April 2019.

China PE import prices rise on easing pressure from high inventory
China’s polyethylene (PE) import prices are expected to increase this month after fluctuating at a narrow range in March, on likelihood of reduced May-cargo arrivals which should ease market pressure arising from high inventory.

Asia BD to extend losses near term on surplus supply, weak demand
Asia butadiene (BD) spot prices are likely to extend losses because supply continues to outstrip demand.

SE Asia PME stable to firm; export demand to stay limited
Spot prices of palm methyl ester (PME) biodiesel in southeast (SE) Asia were stable to firm in the week ended 4 April, with demand for exports likely to stay limited in the near term.

China PE import prices rise on easing pressure from high inventory
China’s polyethylene (PE) import prices are expected to increase this month after fluctuating at a narrow range in March, on likelihood of reduced May-cargo arrivals which should ease market pressure arising from high inventory.

PE pipe grade offers up in Asia, Middle East; buoyed by China demand
Producers of polyethylene (PE) pipe grade are trying to shore up offers throughout Asia and the Middle East, led by expectations of rising Chinese demand.

INSIGHT: China petchems hit by shutdowns amid safety checks
China’s demand for selected petrochemicals has weakened amid a wave of shutdowns and productions cuts after the government launched stringent safety inspections, triggered by the 21 March Yancheng blast in Jiangsu province that killed 78 people.

China’s Group II base oil demand bearish; may rebound late April/May
China’s base oils demand from lubricant companies is expected to remain bearish though some market players citing a rebound in domestic manufacturing PMI index say they expect consumption will increase from late April and May.

Asia PBR near bottom but may fall further on declining feedstock BD
Asia polybutadiene rubber (PBR) prices are likely to bottom out soon because of limited spot availability, but may still face downward pressure if key feedstock butadiene (BD) prices fall further.

Asia SAN trade slows ahead of holiday in China; buying may resume next week
Market activity in Asia styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN) market slowed ahead of the Qing Ming holiday in China but the situation is likely to reverse next week when buying interest resumes.

China government carries out strict safety inspections following blast
China’s stringent safety inspections of chemical plants in the wake of a deadly blast on 21 March have led to the discovery of many violations, resulting in immediate punishments, according to industry sources and government announcements.

China PP import prices to remain firm on tight overseas supply
China’s polypropylene (PP) import prices are currently caught in a web of opposing factors, with import suppliers citing tight supply for firmer offer levels and downstream end users buying on a need-to basis.

Singapore manufacturing seen stabilizing after strong March growth
Singapore’s factory sector is showing signs of stabilizing after the latest purchasing managers’ indices showed (PMIs) a marked improvement in manufacturing conditions in March, according to analysts.

Asia crude glycerine prices tumble on shrinking Chinese demand
China-bound crude glycerine prices nosedived this week amid weakening Chinese demand and buying sentiment may remain subdued going forward.

Tight supply in India might continue supporting C6 MLLDPE import prices
Prices of non-dutiable C6 metallocene linear low density polyethylene (MLLDPE) in India were pushed up by a tight supply situation and might continue to be supported should supply tightness prevail in the near future.

China PTA to rise on healthy fundamentals despite weak PX
China’s domestic purified terephthalic acid (PTA) prices may gain further on the back of healthy fundamentals in spite of an expected weakness in feedstock paraxylene (PX) values; with the PTA-PX spread likely to widen further in the coming months.

China’s phenol to stay bearish on poor demand, declining feedstock
East China phenol spot prices have continued to decline consecutively for the three weeks, a trend unlikely to change in the near term in the absence of demand and softening feedstocks.

Asia ABS extend losses on poor demand but uptick likely after holiday
Asia acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) prices were soft this week as demand in the key Chinese market remained tepid, though off take is likely to pick up later during the seasonal uptick in manufacturing in the second quarter.

SE Asia polypropylene trapped between tight supply, sluggish demand
Southeast Asian polypropylene (PP) prices are caught between opposing factors at the start of the second quarter, with buyers seeking lower prices on sluggish downstream demand and suppliers maintaining offers on tight supply.

Asia naphtha gains 6% month on month; demand to sustain
Asia’s naphtha prices were underpinned by consistent end-user demand, which is expected to prevail in the near term.

China acetone plunges to 10-year low; may extend falls on oversupply
China’s domestic acetone prices went on an accelerated downtrend in March, which may continue amid high inventories at ports and weak demand as downstream operations were hit by government-led safety inspections.

China MIBK domestic prices plunge alongside feedstock, poor demand
China’s methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) domestic prices plunged, alongside feedstock acetone prices, amid poor demand after a massive explosion in Yancheng, Jiangsu province killed over 78 people and injured more than 600 last month.

China LDPE at 10-year low; may stay weak on ample supply
China’s domestic low density polyethylene (LDPE) prices have fallen to their lowest level in 10 years and may remain weak because of ample supply.

China ACN prices to remain bullish in April on tight supply
China domestic acrylonitrile (ACN) prices reaped hefty increases in March on the back of tight overseas and domestic supply, a trend expected to continue into April.

China MEG prices to stay low in April on high inventory pressure
China’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) prices that have been on a decline in March in tandem with weakening futures market are expected to remain soft in April as a result of lingering high inventories.

Asia’s acetic acid price uptrend offset by rising inventory pressure
The upward pressure on Asia’s acetic acid spot prices on account of plant turnarounds in April in northeast Asia looks set to be offset by mounting inventory pressure in China amid a downbeat outlook on domestic demand and slowing export sales.

NE Asia C3 markets might continue to stutter on weak Chinese demand
Spot propylene market in northeast Asia may have to endure more turbulence ahead before turning the corner.