Petrochemicals: Jun 11-15: Ethylene up slightly on firm demand

18 June, 2018

The FOB Korea benzene market lacked upward momentum. High inventories in China left sentiment bearish. CFR Northeast Asia paraxylene prices were also capped as new facilities from Vietnam and Saudi Arabia start supply soon. Sources reckoned that the spread with naphtha might be maintained at current levels or narrow slightly.


The CFR Northeast Asia ethylene market rose slightly. Profitability for styrene monomer was good while supply was limited due to maintenance. As a result, SM makers were moving to buy and the market strengthened. Deals into China were done at $1,350/mt and $1,375/mt. The CFR Southeast Asia market was firm. Two naphtha crackers in the region would enter maintenance in July and supply was expected to tighten. A deal was done in the high $1,200’s/mt.


The Asia propylene market increased. In Northeast Asia, availability was limited and the China domestic market rose. As a result, sentiment strengthened. In the China domestic market, derivative makers showed keen buying interest and Shandong prices rose. On an FOB Korea basis, players were paying attention to operating conditions of S-Oil’s propylene facility and a wait-and-see mood pervaded the market. In Southeast Asia, Thailand’s PTTGC conducted a sell tender for July loading.


The Asia butadiene market softened. With synthetic rubber prices languishing, buying interest from end-users was slack and a wait-and-see mood was strong. Sellers, however, showed no hurry to sell due to tight supply. No deals were reported and activity was subdued. In Southeast Asia, Thailand’s PTTGC issued a sell tender for July but the tender was eventually canceled and the cargo was supplied to the domestic market.


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