Petrochemicals: May 21-25: Ethylene prices up on strong Chinese demand

25 May, 2018

The FOB Korea benzene and toluene markets softened due to receding buying interest from consuming country China. As crude prices lacked upward momentum, end-users were cautious about buying. Paraxylene prices also fell due to concerns that new facilities would lead to an increase in supply.

The CFR Northeast Asia ethylene market rose. In view of high methanol prices, methanol-to-olefin (MTO) units in China reduced operating rates and demand for ethylene increased. Under this situation, several cargoes were traded into China at around $1,300/mt in the later part of the week.

The Asia propylene market stayed intact. In Northeast Asia, amid supply tightness, sellers adopted a firm stance and were unwilling to sell. Under such circumstances, Chinese end-users procured necessary cargoes from the domestic market. No deals were reported and activity was subdued. On an FOB Korea and a CFR Southeast Asia basis, bids and offers were not heard.

The Asia butadiene market moved up on the back of supply tightness. Buying interest was seen from Korea, Taiwan and Japan. Buying interest from Southeast Asia also strengthened. India’s Haldia had a butadiene facility under maintenance and supply of term cargoes to Southeast Asian buyers was reduced. As a result, Southeast Asian end-users purchased spot cargoes to cover the shortfall. A deal for delivery to Southeast Asia was reported at $1,900/mt. On the other hand, a Southeast Asian maker sold first-half July loading at $1,700/mt and above.


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