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Egypt’s domestic and import PVC markets diverge

by Nada Samir -
  • 21/03/2023 (02:10)
Egypt’s domestic and import PVC markets have followed opposite directions for the past few weeks . While a shortage of foreign exchange and hampered import activities have given distributors leverage to seek price increases, the import market continued to weaken mainly due to ample export availability out of China.

Import prices retreat 6%

A shortage of foreign exchange and an extended depreciation of the local currency against the greenback remain major obstacles for smooth import activities in Egypt. Import PVC offers have been posting steady declines since the beginning of March but playerscontinued to shy away from the market. According to Chemorbis Price Index data, import PVC market declined by around 6% in the previous three weeks, after steadily rising since late November.

EPC’s shutdown fails to bolster demand

High inflation coupled with the depreciation of the Egyptian pound against the USD kept activity tied to basic needs. Adding to the scene was the slowdown of end markets on a local basis. “Buyers prefer to meet their immediate needs amid squeezed cash and thin downstream demand,” commented a distributor. Another seller added, “The force majeure that was declared by the local producer, EPC, since mid-February and its extension for a month didn’t help bolster PVC demand amid weak final sales.”

Yet, local sellers push for higher prices

During the past three weeks, Egypt’s domestic PVC market increased by as much as 7% on average. Although demand remained thin amid poorly performing end-user markets, depleting local inventories for import cargoes as well as higher replenishment costs supported the increase in pricing.

In the meantime, EPC, announced its new offers for the second half of the month with EGP500/ton ($16/ton) decreases compared to the initial March levels. A company source referred to slack local demand, the approaching traditionally low season of Ramadan and bearish imports as the main reasons behind price reductions.

Short-term sentiment remains weak

According to market sources, no solid improvement in PVC demand is expected until after the month of Ramadan. “Lower domestic inventories for import cargoes in addition to the ongoing currency problems continue to provide support for distributors,” a pipe manufacturer said. However, players should keep a close eye on demand as downstream markets remain weak, which might cap price hikes attempts. Also, EPC’s return and TCI Sanmar’s regular deliveries are expected to ease supply concerns.
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