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Firmer crude and feedstock prices lift Asian PET despite slow demand

by Shibu Itty Kuttickal -
  • 30/06/2021 (03:09)
The crude price rally in the previous weeks and the resultant increase in feedstock costs have led prices of Asian PET bottle to rise, after having stayed on a downtrend since the second half of April, market players said. But it remains to be seen whether the increase can be sustained, they added.

In Northeast Asia, PET South Korea export prices rose above the $1000/ton-mark on FOB, cash basis, an increase of up to $30/ton from the previous week. Export offers from China were $20-30/ton higher at $950-970/ton FOB. Chinese local prices were CNY200-300/ton ($31-46/ton) higher on the week.

In Southeast Asia, PET import prices were also higher by $30-40/ton, with all prices reported at $1010-1070/ton CIF, cash.

PET Bottle Price - FOB China South Korea CIF Southeast Asia

Suppliers point to rising costs

Most producers said they had to pass on the additional costs they had had to incur because of the higher feedstock prices. The rally in crude oil prices in the past week has lifted both PET feedstocks PTA and MEG. Spot PTA prices have risen by $40/ton, or about 6%, from the previous week to $720/ton and MEG by $15/ton, or about 2%, to $645/ton, both on CFR China basis.

Amid the strong crude oil market and the resultant rise in PTA and MEG, a major Chinese producer hiked PET resin offers. “Higher costs have propelled spot offers higher,” said a source at another Chinese producer. “Although nobody seems to be in a hurry to buy, we need to watch our costs and pass that on to our buyers,” he added.

“The cost factor has provided a boost to PET prices this week,” said another Chinese producer. “We have hiked export and domestic offers as prices of both PTA and MEG have risen sharply with the current strong crude,” he said.

A major South Korean producer also hiked PET resin offers, attributing it to the rise in crude oil prices. “Downstream demand has remained slow, but we are focused on the export markets of Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the US, which are recovering well from the COVID crisis,” a source at the company said.

Taiwanese, Indonesian and Thai producers were also among those that hiked offers to the domestic and import markets this week. The sentiment of the producers was echoed by a Chinese trader, who also hiked FOB and domestic offers this week. “Although demand remains weak generally in regional markets because of the COVID-19 concerns, and also in China because of the slow downstream, producers need to meet their costs. So hikes are inevitable,” said the trader.

Meanwhile, market players were also in agreement that demand in end-user markets remained weak. Thus the sustainability of the current increase in prices remained in question. “Downstream markets and plastic end-users have to be back and buying for PET prices to continue rising,” said a market player, adding,”That is something we haven’t seen yet.”
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