2 July, 2018
The Northeast Asia aromatics market increased along with rising benchmark feedstock crude and naphtha prices. The gain, however, was capped by high stocks in China for benzene and toluene and by increased capacity in the Middle East for mixed xylene and paraxylene.
The CFR Northeast Asia ethylene market showed little movement. Styrene monomer (SM) was the only derivative that costs could be passed on to and end-users refrained from fresh spot purchase. Some end-users considered reducing production due to worsening profitability caused by high ethylene prices. On the other hand, amid supply tightness arising from maintenance and troubles at naphtha crackers, sellers were unwilling to lower their offers. Overall, activity was thin.
The Asia propylene market softened. In Northeast Asia, amid limited availability, sellers showed no hurry to sell but buying interest also receded in view of weakening China domestic prices. Under this situation, no deals were heard and talks were stalled. In the China domestic market, several derivative units were under maintenance and propylene demand slackened, causing prices to move down. On an FOB Korea and a CFR Southeast Asia basis, no bids and offers were reported and activity was subdued.
The Asia butadiene market fell slightly. In Northeast Asia, market sentiment was weak due to languishing derivative synthetic rubber prices. Supply, however, was not ample and this limited the extent of the drop. In the China domestic market, prices declined early in the week owing to sluggish demand but rebounded after that as some end-users that had to maintain production moved to buy. In Southeast Asia, Thailand’s PTTGC sold July loading via a tender.