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Asia PET uptrend wavers despite improvement in demand

by Pınar Polat -
  • 10/08/2023 (02:42)
ChemOrbis Price Index shows that PET bottle markets across Asia started to firm up in the middle of July after a three-month downtrend and managed to maintain gains up until this week. However, a firm sentiment has faltered this week in line with the downturn in the upstream markets although there has been an ongoing improvement in the demand for the grade amid hot weather.


PET bottle markets lower in China, stabilize in SE Asia, South Korea

Export PET bottle prices out of China were assessed stable to $15/ton lower from the previous week at $885-930/ton FOB, cash basis. Within the country’s domestic PET market, the prices were assessed stable to CNY100/ton ($14/ton) lower from last week at CNY7000-7300/ton ($865-902/ton excluding VAT) FD/ex-warehouse, cash including VAT.

Weaker costs and supply pressure at home have mostly eclipsed a slight recovery in demand, pushing sellers to apply either drops or rollover attempts. A source from a local producer reported, "The slide in crude oil has led to insufficient support for raw material costs, putting pressure on PET price trends, so PET suppliers are giving discounts to entice sales."

Export PET bottle prices out of South Korea were assessed unchanged from last week at $950-970/ton FOB Busan, cash.

A source at a Korean producer said, “China PET resin demand has climbed higher due to an extremely hot summer, while buying power for regional PET resin has also picked up gradually.”

Import PET bottle prices in Southeast Asia were also assessed stable from the previous week at $920-1010/ton on a CIF, cash basis.

Like China, hot weather conditions have also contributed to the demand front in Southeast Asia along with some bottom talk among players.

A source at a Thai producer said, “Buyers’ anticipation of further hikes has led to further increases in spot PET bottle prices. Buyers think prices have already reached the bottom, while the crude oil prices have witnessed a series of increases, so they have started to stock up and quickly confirm the orders.”

Key feedstocks for PET bottle reverse course

ChemOrbis Price Wizard shows that the key feedstocks were gradually increasing since late June before changing direction this week. In line with the slide in crude oil futures, however, CFR China basis PX, PTA, and MEG prices have dropped around $15-30/ton to $1070/ton, $800/ton, and $480/ton, respectively.

Could it be a short break to the uptrend?

Players are now questioning whether the uptrend may resume in the days to come with their eyes locked on energy markets. Key feedstocks are likely to be firm enough to maintain cost pressure on the producers’ side or put a cap on any potential cut. Based on ChemOrbis data, CFR China basis MEG, PX, and PTA prices are still standing at their highest levels since late April, discarding this week’s decline.

Apart from the cost side, the improvement on the demand front, if sustained, is likely to lend further support to the regional PET bottle markets.
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