26 April, 2018
After April PVC deals were concluded mostly with rollovers to slight increases of €5/ton in Europe, some sellers were seen conceding to slight discounts later on in order to cope with comfortable supplies, calm demand as well as competitive offers for US cargoes. Accordingly, the European PVC market appears to have aligned with the softer trend in major markets, including India and the US.
PVC prices from the US have been offering a competitive edge in Europe since early March, weighing down on the global sentiment as demand has been poor in the US amidst record low spot ethylene prices. As for India, a Taiwanese major announced its May PVC offers with a more-than-expected decrease after four consecutive months of higher prices, which exaggerated the bearish sentiment across the region despite China’s firming local prices.
Although expectations for the next ethylene settlement stuck between lower spot ethylene prices and stronger energy costs, players concur that price hikes will not be workable in the European PVC market in May. A source from a West European producer said, “We heard about expectations of a €10/ton increase in the next ethylene contracts while we are expecting rollovers both for ethylene and PVC in May. PVC buyers may even try to obtain small discounts.”
A player commented, “Stronger naphtha and crude oil prices are likely to counterbalance lower spot ethylene prices; therefore, we expect no increases in May ethylene contracts. As for downstream PVC, meanwhile, we may see some decreases considering expectations of slower demand and the lack of supply concerns.”
Expectations of seeing a seasonal uptick in end demand have not materialized in Europe this month. Participants also reported that May will be a similar month to April in terms of festivities across Europe, which will reduce consumption further.
According to traders’ reports, a West European PVC maker has already revealed its May prices with rollovers for k67 and $20/ton drops for k70 from its latest April levels to the nearby Turkish market due to the ongoing weakness of demand.