4 April, 2018
Players operating in China’s local polymer markets reported that the sentiment cautiously improved in the first days of April. In line with a series of supportive factors including higher futures, maintenance shutdowns as well as firmer costs; domestic PP, PE, PVC, PS and ABS prices shifted direction and gained some modest ground after an extended period of decreasing
In the PP and PE markets, local prices have slightly turned upwards this week after remaining on the soft side for almost two months. This was mainly due to firmer LLDPE and PP futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, which posted respective weekly increases of $24/ton and $37/ton as of April 3. However, the sustainability of this recent firming is under discussion as two major local producers’ overall polyolefin inventories are still reported to be high while demand remains insufficient.
A PP, PE trader commented, “Local prices posted slight gains and the market sentiment cautiously improved at the start of the week. The current sentiment at the beginning of the month is reasonable considering firmer futures and the need-only based purchases. Yet, we are not sure whether it will be sustainable or not in the upcoming term.”
In the PVC market, both acetylene and ethylene based PVC prices responded to the firmer futures and witnessed modest gains after steadily retreating in the past five weeks. Apart from higher futures, a slight recovery in buying interest as well as the maintenance shutdowns scheduled for the March-May period also contributed to the improvement of the sentiment
A few traders noted, “Local PVC prices have rebounded given slightly improved demand as well as firmer PVC futures. Yet, downstream players are rather cautious about this recent recovery.”
When it comes to the styrenics market, local PS prices followed the recent rebound in spot styrene and firmed back up after almost a month. Several domestic producers applied weekly increases of up to around CNY150-400/ton ($24-64/ton) on their offers. A producer source noted, “Demand has slightly improved after the recent gains in styrene prices which pushed the PS market up.”
As for ABS, a trader also reported that local prices increased by CNY50-200/ton ($8-32/ton) from last week. “The recent gains in styrene prices helped the ABS sentiment improve this week. Yet, buyers remain reluctant for fresh purchases.”