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Lackluster demand, lower oil prices dominate Asia PET markets

by Pınar Polat -
  • 15/04/2022 (02:58)
In Asia, PET suppliers have approached regional markets with stable to softer pricing for the third steady week, with pressure from weak demand conditions, low upstream prices, as well as continuing volatility in the energy markets.

PET prices lost $25-35/ton on average since late March

ChemOrbis Price Wizard shows that the weekly averages of CIF SEA, FOB China, and FOB Korea basis have lost $25-35/ton in the past three weeks.

PET bottle – Asia

FOB China offers below $1200/ton threshold show up

In China, stricter covid-19 measures as part of the country’s zero-case policy have not only hit local demand but also affected transportation and port operations. This has made exporting activity harder and thrown suspicion on delivery times.

A producer said, “We have reduced our export offers due to the falling oil and naphtha prices. Domestic requirements have also been squeezed by the surging COVID infections, leading to lockdowns across major cities.”

In China, export PET bottle offers were assessed lower from last week at $1190-1210/ton FOB, cash basis. Local PET prices in China were also assessed CNY50-100/ton ($8-16/ton) lower from last week at CNY8,100-8,300/ton ($1127-1155/ton excl. VAT) ex-warehouse China, cash inc. VAT basis.

South Korean offers on same route with China

A major South Korean producer underlined the weaker cost support and also added, “The lockdowns in China have dampened sentiment across the region. Chinese FOB offers have also been cut further during the week. Southeast Asian demand has also remained weak.”

In South Korea, export PET bottle prices were assessed $20/ton lower from last week at $1240-1250/ton FOB Busan.

CIF PET offers above $1300/ton disappear in SE Asia

In Southeast Asia, import PET bottle prices for all origins were assessed $10-20/ton lower from last week at $1250-1300/ton on CIF, cash basis. Within that range, prices of Chinese material were assessed at $1250-1280/ton with similar terms.

Malaysian converters complained about delayed shipments from China because of not being able to get tax waiver documents from China. “Demand for our end products are not too bad, although not as good as last year, arrivals have been delayed because of the container issues and now the documents issue,” said one of them.

A Vietnamese converter said that local prices were more competitive than imports. “And, demand for our end-products is slow, a major reason being the closure of the border with China. Exports to other countries are also facing difficulties,” he added.

Upstream side mostly unsupportive

ChemOrbis Price Wizard shows that spot MEG prices fell by $30/ton, or slightly over 4%, from last week to $645/ton CFR China. Spot paraxylene (PX) prices on FOB Korea basis also retreated $20/ton on the week at $1180/ton. These decreases were driven by the fall in energy markets.

A divergent trend was seen for PTA, meanwhile, which rose by $15/ton to $905/ton CFR China basis.
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