25 May, 2018
Polyolefin players in the Middle East and Africa started to voice their expectations for June on a mostly stable to softer note in the midst of opposite pressures coming from bullish upstream markets and Ramadan lull. Although demand showed a short-lived uptick in some regional markets ahead of Ramadan, it has slowed down in the following weeks and no drastic changes are expected for June.
In the PP market, expectations call for a mostly stable trend given relatively more limited supplies. This is likely to counterbalance the slowdown in demand during Ramadan, combined with higher crude oil and spot propylene prices across the globe. Comfortable availability, particularly for LDPE and LLDPE, however, trigger some softer expectations for PE.
In African markets, buyers have taken a wait and see stance after covering their needs ahead of Ramadan. “PE supplies are ample and this is keeping purchases to the basic needs,” traders in East Africa noted. Meanwhile, demand towards local cargoes has been good in West Africa, which pushed Nigeria’s ELEME to adjust its mid-May offers up for PP and PE.
In Egypt, market activities have cooled off further as players are now waiting for new June offers. “Firming feedstock costs might counterbalance slow demand and keep PP prices on a steady note while sufficient supply levels for PE might weigh on the June outlook,” some opined.
However, some players in the country reported that the recent appreciation of the USD against EGP has prompted Egyptian sellers to adjust their local PP, PE offers slightly up, which might exert pressure on June pricing despite slow end-markets.
After wrapping up their May deals with rollovers to some decreases, Middle Eastern polyolefin players expressed their expectations for June. They expect PP prices to hover around their current levels, believing that sluggish demand will be counterbalanced by restricted supplies. As for PE, softer expectations are voiced due to the lack of supply issues and traditionally slow trading during the month of Ramadan.