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Jan expectations call for sentiment to turn bullish in European PVC market

  • 20/12/2016 (04:04)
In Europe, PVC players are expecting the market sentiment to turn bullish in January on the back of the increasing crude oil and naphtha costs. On December 19, ICE February Brent crude futures broke above the $55/barrel threshold, increasing $1.19/barrel to close at $55.21/barrel while the naphtha costs in the region hit the highest levels seen since late July 2015 recently, according to weekly average prices on ChemOrbis Price Wizard.



Source: ChemOrbis Price Wizard

In addition, spot ethylene costs in the region have recovered recently despite the lengthening supply levels given the restart of many crackers. Although the spot market had followed a softening trend since late October, following the recent gains, the current prices are now indicating stronger levels compared with prices at the beginning of the month.



“Prices will go up in January even if the first week of the month will be weak. January will be a normal month in terms of working days and we expect the ethylene contract to be settled €30/ton higher from December,” commented a source from a West European producer who concluded its December transactions with a decrease of €10-15/ton from November.

A plastic end manufacturer in Italy reported that demand has improved recently as his end product buyers secured some cargoes in line with the expectations that the trend will change in the next month. The converter believes that PVC prices will increase by around €10-20/ton in January.

Another converter in Germany also commented that the outlook for January indicated an upward trend while they hope to achieve rollovers or small increases from their supplier.

“We concluded our deals for NWE and CEE materials with a decrease of €10-15/ton from last month. Demand is weak this month due to the upcoming holidays. The outlook for January is bullish as crude oil and naphtha costs are increasing,” said an agent in Switzerland.

Meanwhile, some players are expecting to see a stable to slightly upward momentum in January, citing that demand is weak and spot ethylene costs are still weak.

Last week, a converter operating in Italy said, “We closed our December purchases with a decrease of €20/ton with our regular Central European supplier. We expect stable to €5-10/ton higher prices in January as energy costs have increased whereas spot ethylene costs are still soft.”
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