Europe PET buyers and sellers in standoff over April prices

03 April 2014 15:14 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) buyers and sellers in Europe are in a stand-off over April prices with the former demanding the lows seen in March and the latter insisting on higher, sources said on Thursday.

“It is a bit of a standoff because not one of the buyers is willing to accept these higher prices. Customers  will wait,” a reseller said.

This situation, coupled with the hand-to-mouth attitude of purchasers, has resulted in a rather illiquid market this week.

The introduction of new capacities at this time of uncertainty, even in the dominant Asian market, is giving buyers the edge that one source said could last the year.

“I don’t think it's bottomed already,” a buyer said, referring to prices at €1,050-1,070/tonne FD (free delivered) Europe.

While one of Egypt’s EIPET lines is operational and now able to produce European food grade approved PET, material from Lotte Chemical UK’s Wilton plant in the UK, and JBF’s unit in Geel, Belgium, will not feature in earnest before June.

“Very little will fundamentally change between now and June. I would be surprised if [buyers] can hold off buying because the seasonality starts now,” a producer said.

Few are expecting a repeat of the dramatic upstream price drops seen in the first quarter. So much, however, depends on the US dollar:euro and developments in upstream paraxylene (PX).

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By Caroline Murray