28 March, 2018
The shift in the PE sentiment was mostly attributed to the downtrend in China as well as the ongoing stagnancy of demand in both regions. “Plus, the supply tightness may start to ease in line with the restart of several PE plants in the Middle East in March,” a few players opined.
In the meantime, some argued that the recent gains in crude oil futures as well as firm ethylene prices in Asia may limit the amount of possible decreases or even help producers apply rollovers on their new offers for April.
A trader in the United Arab Emirates commented, “As PE prices are declining in China, we are expecting to see a similar trend in the Middle East for April. However, tight availability may continue to put pressure on the market.”
A Lebanese agent of a major Saudi producer noted, “After applying sharp increases, the Saudi major revised its March offers down given thin buying interest. We think that Middle Eastern suppliers will mostly roll over their prices in April with support from low supplies before prices head south in May.”
An agent of the Saudi producer operating in the local market also commented, “April prices are expected to be announced with decreases, particularly for PE, in line with the global downtrend.”
Meanwhile, in China, the Saudi major announced its April prices early this week with significant decreases of $80-110/ton from March given the bearish sentiment in the country.
In African markets, a Nigerian trader said, “PE prices are mostly expected to turn softer in April given the decreasing trend across global markets.”
In Egypt, local PE prices were steady to firmer over the past week given SIDPEC’s planned PE shutdown in mid-March for two weeks while players were mostly waiting to receive stable to softer offers for April amid slow demand and global PE decreases.
A converter said, “Local prices have been firm due to SIDPEC’s shutdown. However, we expect to see a stable to softer trend in April as we think that the market is not strong enough to absorb any further hikes considering weak demand.”