SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia bisphenol A (BPA) import prices have eased to a two-month low on the back of slowing downstream demand, which is likely to hamper any potential near-term upside.
Spot BPA prices averaged at $1,420/tonne on a CFR (cost and freight) China basis in the week ended 12 April, falling by $25/tonne from the preceding week, taking levels to a two-month low, ICIS data showed.
Sporadic buying on the import front emerged in the same week, albeit at lower prices amid the bearish sentiment as Chinese domestic markets tapered off.
Buying indications were at the mid to high $1,300s/tonne CFR China for northeast Asia origin material, against workable levels on the selling side at the low $1,400s/tonne levels.
Chinese domestic prices in east China ended at yuan (CNY) 11,450-11,500/tonne EXWH on 12 April, falling from the previous week’s close at CNY 11,700-11,800/tonne EXWH.
Softening BPA prices came alongside lower upstream phenol prices in China by the same magnitude during the same period of comparison.
BPA prices on both the Chinese domestic front and imports could stay under pressure in the coming days, attributed to lacklustre downstream epoxy resins demand, according to market participants.
The bearish mood shrugged off a market where spot supply availability is relatively limited, amid plant turnarounds taking place or scheduled to take place.
Taiwan’s Nan Ya Plastics is restarting in the second-half April one of its four lines at its BPA plant in Mailiao, Taiwan, following regular maintenance.
The firm's plant has a total of 450,000 tonne/year in capacity. Its other three lines are running at an average of about 50% of capacity, although this appeared to have little impact in rattling the market as a whole.
South Korean producer Kumho P&B Chemicals will take off line its 450,000 tonnes/year BPA plant in May for regular maintenance, which is expected to last for about 30 days.
In this regard, there were producers having little selling pressure to scale back spot offers.
BPA is used in the production of epoxy resins and polycarbonate, which are used in electronics, automobiles, adhesives and coatings.
Focus article by Melanie Wee