Petrochemicals: Apr 16-20: Ethylene softens on cargo inflow from Europe

23 April, 2018

The FOB Korea benzene, toluene and paraxylene markets strengthened on the back of gains in benchmark feedstock crude and naphtha prices. For benzene, however, high stocks in China limited the extent of the rise. Nevertheless, the benzene market was supported as derivative styrene monomer facilities would finish maintenance in mid-May and stocks were expected to decline along with a recovery in demand.

The CFR Northeast Asia ethylene market fell slightly. With many European cargoes traded for delivery to Northeast Asia in May, perceptions of tight supply eased. Further, early in the week, an SM maker in China, a major spot buyer shut down an SM unit due to troubles. Under this situation, buying ideas in the middle of the week were heard at $1,330/mt while selling ideas were at $1,360/mt.

The Asia propylene market moved up. In Northeast Asia, market sentiment strengthened amid perceptions of tight supply rising from maintenance of many propylene facilities in Asia. On the other hand, end-users had not finished procuring necessary quantities and showed firm buying interest. On an FOB Korea basis, one maker sold first-half May loading via a tender. In Southeast Asia, Thailand’s PTTGC sold end-May loading through a tender.

The Asia butadiene market increased, boosted by perceptions of tight supply/demand. As supply was tight, sellers adopted a bullish stance. On the other hand, with butadiene stocks in East China gradually declining, the China domestic market rose. This caused buying interest from traders to strengthen. In Southeast Asia, two makers sold May and June loading respectively via tenders.


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