Europe PET prices remain stable as market activity stalls

21 April 2017 20:26 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--The domestic Europe polyethylene terephthalate (PET) price range stabilised due to a persistent market standstill that has been created by the Easter holiday period and volatile market conditions, according to sources on Friday.

Most sources said that the shorter working week limited the amount of transactions that could be made, with PET bottle grade domestic prices remaining at €1,020-1,060/tonne FD (free delivery) Europe as a result.

Others said the recent erratic nature of crude oil futures and the foreign exchange has made them reconsider whether to sell or buy.

Although crude oil futures and the US dollar rose in value at times in mid-April, they fell by the end of the week of 21 April, causing many market participants to reassess their expectations for the near future.

"[The] Euro and oil are a casino," a producer said.

The unpredictability of geopolitical events, such as the upcoming French elections, have also had an impact on PET business. Some articipants said that any near-term developments could drastically change market conditions by the end of April.

Many sources are looking towards the May contract settlements of raw materials paraxylene (PX) and monoethylene glycol (MEG) to provide further depth to their anticipations for next month.

Meanwhile, a few producers are sold out in April, and buyers have secured the volumes they need for the month or are waiting to purchase when market conditions are clearer.

Those disclosing expectations for May have so far given mixed views, partially due to a lack of clarity regarding demand.

Suppliers argued that strong seasonal demand should support higher prices in May, but consumers argued that order book volumes have been lower than usual in April.

Similar contradictions have been expressed about supply, with most in April saying that planned maintenance at Indorama’s Rotterdam PET plant will tighten the market.

The Thai producer has a scheduled turnaround at one of its two PET plants in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, that is expected to start in mid-May 2017 and last for approximately three weeks.

Provisions have been made to cover the scheduled outage of the 200,000 tonnes/year facility, and some argued this means the maintenance should not affect supply in the PET market.

 

By Pavle Popovic