Petrochemicals: Mar 26-30: Butadiene slumps as weak rubber market depresses demand

2 April, 2018


The FOB Korea benzene market softened owing to weakness in the US and China markets, destinations for cargoes from Korea. Paraxylene prices also lacked upward momentum as supply was expected to rising with new facilities about to begin delivery.


The CFR Northeast Asia ethylene market showed fluctuations. While supply tightness provided support to the market, demand receded since the spread with derivatives was insufficient to ensure profitability. Early in the week, a deal for end-April delivery to China was done at $1,355-1,360/mt. Petro Rabigh in Saudi Arabia closed a sell tender on Mar 22 for Apr 4-5 loading with validity until Mar 25. The company issued another sell tender for 9,000mt loading Apr 15-16. The tender would close on Apr 3 with bids valid until Apr 4.

The Asia propylene market fell. In Northeast Asia, with China domestic prices softening early in the week, buying interest from end-users receded and deal levels were at $1,020-1,030/mt. In the later part of the week, derivative polypropylene prices stabilized and buying interest from end-users recovered with deal levels seen at $1,040-1,050/mt. On an FOB Korea basis, SK Advanced’s propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant was running at low rates due to troubles. The plant would be shut down on Apr 22-33 to undergo maintenance.

The Asia butadiene market weakened due to sluggish demand for derivative synthetic rubber. Although supply remained tight, demand was poor and market directions ahead were uncertain. Under such circumstances, negotiations were mainly based on market quotations.


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