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May expectations call for smaller PP, PE gains in Turkey

by Merve Madakbaşı -
  • 26/04/2019 (08:32)
Turkey’s polyolefin markets have moved gradually upwards since January as reduced import supplies and the appreciation of Turkish lira against the USD boosted activity. Hikes gained momentum in the second half of March driven by reinforced supply issues from the Middle East and firm energy prices.

Bullish trend lost pace in mid-April as demand slowed

Several PP and PE buyers replenished their inventories in late March and early April before the firming has recently slowed down. This was out of their fears to face more price increases based on the climbing crude oil futures and unplanned or scheduled shutdowns at certain European and Middle Eastern producers.

End demand was expected to pick up slightly following the elections that were held on March 31. However, it has mostly fizzled out later despite seasonal factors.

The renewed depreciation of Turkish lira has again resulted in waning appetite from buyers in the last few weeks. PP and PE prices have held mostly stable in sync with faltering activity this week.

“The previous low ends have faded for import PP lately, while PE hikes were partially absorbed during April. For May, we see smaller hike attempts more likely considering the approaching Ramadan and a long holiday in the sequel,” commented a global trader.

Soaring oil prices, supply constraints prop up markets

“Both PP and PE availability remain limited as producers are unlikely to provide smooth allocations to Turkey very soon as they need to clear their backlogged orders first even following their shutdowns,” affirmed players.

A PE packager said, “Middle Eastern suppliers may continue to keep their allocations limited for certain products. Traders have also kept their import activities under control to keep the market in balance.”

Meanwhile, according to ChemOrbis Price Wizard, global crude oil futures are still hovering around 6-month highs on a weekly average, also contributing to the firmer outlook.

Both NYMEX (WTI) and ICE Brent futures rallied following the expiration of sanction waivers for 8 countries importing Iranian oil granted by the US administration in November 2018. This also pushed spot prices to 6-month highs in global naphtha markets.

Economic uncertainty, nearing Ramadan dent outlook

“We believe that PP and PE prices are set for only $10-20/ton hikes for the near future considering the imminent holiday mood and tight liquidity in Turkey. Some products may even end up with rollovers in deals depending on the state of supply,” a converter argued.
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