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Global PET markets entering March on a stable to firm note

by Gözde İncir - gincir@chemorbis.com
  • 01/03/2024 (02:56)
Most PET bottle outlets have been on a firm footing throughout February on the back of firm upstream costs and logistic snarls that curtailed import material flow. This week, import offers retained their strength at a 4-month high in Asia, while prices in Europe and Türkiye stood at almost a-year high. Players are now discussing the March outlook based on the demand situation and production costs across the board.

CIF Türkiye – PET Bottle Prices– FOB China – FD NWE

Asian PET markets flat at multi-month high

PET bottle markets across China and Southeast Asia opened the post-holiday period on a firm note. Rising feedstock prices driven by stronger crude oil benchmarks supported regional PET markets.

Slight gains after the post-CNY holiday period proved to be short-lived, however, as the PET bottle market mostly stabilized at around four-month highs shortly after given largely stable feedstock costs and a slow recovery in demand. According to ChemOrbis Price Wizard, spot PX and PTA prices edged up by around $5-10/ton from last week to stand at $1040/ton and $775/ton on a CFR China basis during the week, while MEG prices remained flat. Following suit, export offers from China and South Korea were stable this week.

Most players in China and Southeast Asia lamented the poor demand as a factor to counterbalance slightly firmer production costs. The post-holiday recovery in domestic demand has been slow so far, causing a calm trading atmosphere. Sellers hope that buying appetite will show some improvement in March and April as the high season is approaching. Looking ahead, players expect PET prices to follow a similar trend that will be seen in the upstream markets. If crude oil and feedstock prices retain their strength, they do not rule out the possibility of seeing additional increases.

Europe stays firm amid restricted imports, rising PX prices

In regional PET bottle markets, €60-80/ton ($65-87/ton) increases passed on deals in February compared to the previous month. According to ChemOrbis Price Wizard data, the weekly average of spot levels moved slightly above the €1200/ton FD threshold both in Italy and Northwest Europe this month. This indicated the highest level since February 2023. Limited import availability amid the ongoing Red Sea turmoil and a lack of attractive offers from Far East Asia were cited as the main reasons behind these remarkable gains. Yet, demand was not that bright.

February PX contracts, which settled €15/ton ($16/ton) higher from January, also provided some support for the market.

Going forward, most of the players believe that suppliers will start the new month with renewed hike attempts. However, the size of the hikes may be smaller than February unless demand shows a solid improvement. "We believe that prices will follow a stable to slightly firmer trend in March amid possibly stable demand and supportive costs,” a player commented.

Import PET prices reach almost a-year high in Türkiye

Türkiye has also followed suit, with import PET bottle prices from China being assessed largely stable at $1130-1150/ton CIF, subject to 6.5% customs duty, cash by late February. There have been no offers below the $1100/ton CIF threshold for some time now owing to high costs and curbed imports amid logistic mishaps. ChemOrbis Price Wizard data showed that PET bottle prices remained at their highest levels since April 2023.

Adding to the firm seen was moderate prompt supply on the side of Turkish PET producers this month. Turkish players will monitor the trajectory in Asia for clues about the upcoming import trend. According to a market source, “Import offers witnessed some slight increases after holidays in China. However, we are cautious about the sustainability of this uptrend as demand remains unsupportive.”
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