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African PP, PE markets down as demand weakens further in May

by Başak Ceylan - bceylan@chemorbis.com
  • 12/05/2021 (03:54)
In African polyolefin markets, the uptrend that began in the latter half of last year ended as May PP and PE offers emerged with drops as compared to the previously available levels in April. The drops were not unexpected as some regional markets saw initial hike targets slip on heightened competition in late mid-to-late April.

Nigerian market brought further down in May

In Nigeria, the biggest polymer market in West Africa, a major Saudi supplier’s PPH raffia and inj. offers were lower by $20/ton from their revised April levels. As compared to the initial April levels, the latest offers indicated a sharp reduction of $320/ton.

LLDPE C4 film and HDPE film offers were also lower by $80/ton and $225/ton, respectively, over the initial April levels. “Supplies are comfortable for most grades and demand remains weak overall,” a trader based in Lagos said.

ELEME keeps offers stable after April revision

Meanwhile, the domestic producer ELEME’s May offers to the Nigerian domestic market were unchanged from late April levels. “The domestic producer’s PP supply is restricted but PE supply is sufficient,” a trader based in Lagos noted.

Chinese PP cargoes maintain competitive edge in Kenya

In Kenya, the largest economy in East Africa, Chinese-origin PP cargoes remained more competitive despite a drop of $250/ton in Saudi PP offers. “Stocks are high as numerous Asian cargoes have arrived. Offers from the Middle East might see additional decreases given the competitive nature of Chinese cargoes and the bearish sentiment,” a trader based in Nairobi said.

Meanwhile, new PE offers were stable to softer by as much as $70/ton from last month while expectations were for further declines.

North African players expect further cuts amid sluggish demand

In North Africa, initial May offers were $250/ton lower for PPH raffia and inj., and PPBC inj. while HDPE film and LLDPE C4 film offers declined by around $100/ton from last month in Algeria.

New offers in Morocco were at €1450-1470/ton for PPH raffia and inj., €1520-1570/ton for LDPE film and €1300/ton for LLDPE C4 film, all on CIF Casablanca basis. “The market is very slow as buyers are resisting the initial offers and the buying appetite is very weak amid the approaching holidays. Purchases are hand-to-mouth, largely as a result of weak end-product sales," a trader in Casablanca said.

“The market has remained quiet after these drops,” a trader based in Algiers said, adding that players were anxiously waiting to see whether further downward adjustments would be made.
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