SINGAPORE (ICIS)--A large number of Chinese producers have switched to making polypropylene (PP) fibre amid a spike in global demand for surgical masks and personal protective gears.
The rise in production, supported by even greater demand, had led to steep gains in prices of the product.
On 8 April, PP fibre prices in south China were largely at yuan (CNY) 8,600/tonne, up by around 23.7% from 3 April, traders said.
Sinopec’s south China branch hiked PP fibre offers on 9 April to CNY8,500/tonne for Maoming Petrochemical’s N-Z30S, up by CNY1,450/tonne from the previous day.
Rising demand is the main driver for the latest round of price increase, prompting many producers to switch to fibre production.
Non-woven fabrics, used to manufacture medical products such as masks and protective suits, account for around 70% of PP fibre demand.
Chinese domestic demand is largely stable as the government has not relaxed strict containment measures, although the lockdown of Wuhan where the novel coronavirus first appeared late last year was lifted on 8 April.
The coronavirus outside China is propping up demand for exports of masks to overseas markets.
|Plants recently producing PP fibre|
|Producer||PP fibre grade||Producer||PP fibre grade|
|Baofeng Phase I||S2040||Yan’an Yanchang Petroleum||S2040|
|Baofeng Phase II||S2040||Hengli Petrochemical Phase II No 2||Y40|
|Zhejiang Petrochemical No 1||S2040||Shijiazhuang Petrochemical||Y37|
|Zhejiang Petrochemical No 2||S2040||Dalian Petrochemical||
|Shaanxi Yanchang ChinaCoal No 2||S2040||Fushun Petrochemical||Z30S|
|ChinaCoal Shaanxi Yulin||S2040||Sinopec Jinan Refinery||Y40X|
|Ningbo Fuji Petrochemical||S2040||Zhongyuan Ethylene No 1||Y40|
|Xuzhou Haitian Petrochemical||S2040||Hunan Changsheng Petrochemical||Y40|
|Ground Resources No 1||Y35||Dushanzi Petrochemical||S2040|
|Ground Resources No 2||Y40||WEPEC (Dalian)||Z30S|
|Fund Energy (Ningbo)||H40S||Sinopec Qingdao Refining & Chemical||Y38QH|
|Yangzi Petrochemical||S700||Jingmen Petrochemical||Y26|
|Shanghai Petrochemical||H2800||Lanzhou Petrochemical||BL|
|Pucheng Clean Energy||HP552R||Langang Petrochemical||S900|
China’s monthly PP fibre output reached 231,000 tonnes, 214,000 tonnes and 236,000 tonnes for the first three months of 2020, up by 66.2%, 51.8%, and 96.7% year on year, respectively, ICIS data showed.
Focus article by Queena Qu
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(Image: Henan, China; Xinhua/Shutterstock)