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April PE prices surface with increases in SEA

  • 25/03/2016 (08:57)
Initial PE offers from the Middle East and Asia started to surface with hike requests in Southeast Asia this week. Suppliers blamed supply constraints due to the ongoing maintenance season as well as increased upwards pressure from costs to justify their renewed hike targets. Indeed, prevailing market levels stand below theoretical PE production costs based on spot ethylene prices. Spot ethylene prices soared by $190/ton on CFR Northeast Asia basis since March started.

A Middle Eastern PE producer applied increases of $30-60/ton to Southeast Asia. “We have limited allocation for the region where availability is also problematic due to a Malaysian producer’s upcoming maintenance shutdown,” the source stated.

A second Middle Eastern producer who issued $100/ton PE increases for April reported, “We are not considering lifting our PE prices further for now as higher prices could encourage sellers to re-export materials from China to SEA. The PE market will probably sustain its firmness until early May since several plants will be returning from turnarounds at that time unless unexpected shutdowns occur.”

“Our availability for LLDPE and HDPE was normal this month, whereas we will have less LLDPE for April due to a technical issue. Meanwhile, buyers are concerned about additional price hikes and LLDPE inventories on the part of converters are low, particularly in Vietnam,” another Middle Eastern producer highlighted.

Buyers from Vietnam confirmed, with a converter saying, “Our end business is doing quite good nowadays and thus we will need to purchase our needs even if prices firm up further. We believe the bullish trend will persist until end May.” A pipe maker plans to buy more as he expects to hear higher levels soon. “A SEA producer will have limited allocations due to a short maintenance in mid-April. Plus our end product orders are healthy,” he said.

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According to traders, a Southeast Asian producer announced their April prices to Malaysia and Indonesia with increases of $80/ton for LDPE when compared to March. “A SEA supplier has put their customers on quota given their tight availability. The producer has just resumed operations early this week following a shutdown,” a trader mentioned.

A packager commented, “Overall supply is tight, especially from Thailand, although a supplier was said to be restarting its HDPE line with shipments due to be starting next week. Nonetheless, we keep our purchases hand to mouth considering concerns from our customers who are questioning why plastic products are expensive although energy costs are low.” A Philippines based converter reported delayed deliveries of his previously purchased cargos to April.
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