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Expected March hikes arrive from Mid-East to African polyolefin markets

  • 10/03/2017 (09:09)
Middle Eastern PP and PE producers approached the African markets with March price increases as was already expected. Players in regional markets, including Kenya, Tunisia, Nigeria and Algeria attributed higher announcements to generally limited supplies on the part of suppliers. Yet, activity in most end markets is mediocre nowadays with hopes for a pick-up being delayed to April-May.

The latest price increases for the new month ranged between $50-70/ton in Algeria, $30-75/ton in Tunisia, and $50-130/ton in Kenya.

In Kenya, a PE converter who received $50-80/ton hikes from a Saudi Arabian major commented, “The overall market activity is quite thin. However supplies are not ample which is supporting the firming price levels.”

Another manufacturer in the country already paid $60-70/ton increases for HDPE and noted, “Our regional source trimmed their proposed hikes by $40/ton after asking for three digit hikes initially. Buyers are only securing their immediate needs given their weak end product sales. Nonetheless, we expect demand to start improving as of May given the preparations for summer season.”

In Tunisia, a trader received $85/ton higher offers for several PE grades. He opined, “Prices are high and manufacturers are struggling to reflect the raw material increases on their product prices. We are cautious about replenishing material as we are hesitant about the upcoming period.” A second buyer also thinks that the market state is not promising: “Middle Eastern PP and PE prices recorded significant increases due to tight availability. On the other hand, our end business is weak and we hope to see a recovery by April.”

In Algeria, an end product manufacturer reported receiving higher PP and PE offers from two different Saudi Arabian suppliers for March shipments. “They were not able to offer homo PP grades due to their tight allocations. For end demand, we hope that it will revive in April and May considering the nearing Ramadan,” the buyer mentioned. A trader in the country voiced his intention to search the market for more competitive prices apart from those given by a Saudi major. “The producer issued remarkable hikes blaming a lack of material, similar to the case in nearby markets,” he added.

A PP converter in Nigeria attributed the slow end demand to the low season for raffia applications. He said, “In addition, problems in the import market still exist as the dollar parity is uncontrollably increasing in the black markets and the gap is widening between the official banks’ levels. Nowadays, banks aren’t providing dollars to the players.”
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