China may import more PP in June on Asia plant start-ups, restarts

Author: Dora Xue


SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s polypropylene (PP) imports are expected to grow in June amid increased availability of supply in Asia, with two new start-ups and as some facilities complete their turnarounds.

A container ship docked at Nansha Port in Guangzhou, China. (Source: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock)

Traders have been liquidating cargoes, causing PP prices to fall, with added pressure from heavy losses in upstream crude market.

In the week ended on 24 May, imported PP flat yarn grade prices were assessed at $1,070-1,095/tonne CFR (cost and freight) China, down by $2.5/tonne from previous week, according to ICIS data.

Availability of PP in Asia will grow next month as S Oil’s 400,000 tonne/ year plant in South Korea, and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemical Ltd’s (MRPL) 440,000 tonne/year facility in India restart from turnaround.

Fresh supply can also be expected from Indian Oil’s new 680,000 tonne/year unit and Sibur’s 500,000 tonne/year new plant in Russia – both of which started up in May.

Last week, market liquidity was low with most participants were away at the Chinaplas 2019 held in Guangdong on 21-24 May.

Some overseas suppliers cut their offers for June-loading cargoes by $45-60/tonne from May levels.

A Saudi supplier quoted an offer for June homopolymer PP at $1,080/tonne on 24 May, down from $1,140/tonne for for May-loading cargoes.

An Indian supplier, meanwhile, offered July-loading homo PP at $1,090/tonne, down by $45/tonne from quotes for June-loading lots made in April.

In recent months, China’s PP imports have been sluggish as demand for end-products has wakened following the recent escalation of the US-China trade war.

On 10 May, the US hiked tariffs on $200bn Chinese goods to 25% from 10%.

A downstream PP buyer producing disposable tableware lamented the loss of exports to the US, its main market.

Meanwhile, a recent rout in the global crude oil prices has been exerting pressure across chemical markets, amid concerns that a heightened US-China trade war would further weaken the global economy.

Focus article by Dora Xue

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