Petrochemicals: Nov 13-17: Ethylene prices soften but supply might tighten going forward
Benzene prices on an FOB Korea basis increased in the middle of the week due to a rise in crude prices. But after that, benzene prices softened along with crude prices. Paraxylene (PX) prices on a CFR Northeast Asia basis were firm at the beginning of the week. Purified terephthalic acid (PTA) prices strengthened as sales to production ratios of downstream polyester products were high and this was cited as a supporting factor for PX prices.
Ethylene prices on a CFR Northeast Asia basis decreased slightly. Northeast Asian cargoes for sale appeared and perceptions of slack supply/demand emerged. For delivery to China in December, deals were heard at $860/mt and $870/mt. On the other hand, sources said that supply in China might tighten going forward since delivery of ethane, a feedstock of ethylene, to China was delayed due to restriction of navigation at the Panama Canal and operation rates of ethane crackers were falling.
In the Asia propylene market, activity was muted.
In the CFR Northeast Asia market, there were few available cargoes and sellers were not in a hurry for trade. On the other hand, end-users were also less interested in buying spot cargoes.
On an FOB Korea basis, a petrochemical maker sold a cargo loading December on a spot basis.
In Southeast Asia, an Indonesian petrochemical maker conducted a sell tender.
The Asia butadiene market was still bearish.
In the CFR Northeast Asia market, there were many available cargoes from outside the region, not only Asian cargoes, and supply was perceived to be ample. But many end-users almost finished buying until December and buying interest for spot cargoes was scarce. Under this situation, market sentiments were weak.
In Southeast Asia, several petrochemical makers conducted sell tenders for December loading.