30 April, 2018
The FOB Korea benzene market lacked upward momentum due to high stocks in China. On the other hand, the toluene and paraxylene markets were firm. With the Chinese government lowering value-added tax from May 1, buyers had refrained from purchasing April delivery and demand for cargoes arriving May onwards might increase.
The CFR Northeast Asia ethylene market declined further. European cargoes traded so far would arrive from May onwards and supply was perceived to be ample. Further, two styrene monomer (SM) units in China were experiencing troubles and spot demand was seen to be receding. As a result, supply/demand fundamentals slackened. For end-May delivery, several deals were done early in the week at $1,300-1,320/mt. After that, a deal was concluded at $1,285/mt.
The Asia propylene market was unchanged. In Northeast Asia, negotiations on May delivery were mostly finished and talks on June delivery were expected going forward. But both buyers and sellers showed no hurry to engage in trade and a wait-and-see mood pervaded the market. In the China domestic market, Shandong prices weakened on slack supply/demand. On an FOB Korea basis, spot availability was not seen and activity was subdued. In Taiwan, one maker had room to sell May loading.
The Asia butadiene market strengthened due to perceptions of supply tightness and firmness in butadiene prices in the US and Europe. In the China domestic market, one maker in Northeast China faced selling pressure early this week and prices moved down. Later in the week, however, the market stopped fall since prices on a CFR Northeast Asia basis rose. On an FOB Korea basis, one maker sold a spot cargo loading June at $1,400/mt.