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PET prices hit new lows in Asia, Europe and Mediterranean markets

by Başak Ceylan - bceylan@chemorbis.com
  • 28/05/2019 (09:54)
PET prices have been declining globally since the second half of April amid disappointing demand and many major markets touched fresh lows as of the end of last week. China has been the primary driver of this bearish trend due to sharp declines in upstream values, as well as the dampened market sentiment amid the trade war with the US.

Chinese PET prices break below $1000 FOB level

The weekly average of China’s export PET prices broke below the $1000/ton threshold for the first time since October 2017 last week after embarking on a downtrend in April.

The recent round of declines brought the cumulative decreases to around $150/ton amid an environment of uncertainty created by the trade war between the US and China as well as steep price falls seen in the upstream markets.

Korean PET prices see fresh declines on weaker upstream costs

According to ChemOrbis Price Index, export PET prices from South Korea broke below the $1100/ton threshold for the first time since January 2018 in early May.

Producers attributed the price cuts to weaker upstream costs and the persistently limited demand.

Import prices in Vietnam, Thailand plunge to 21-month low

The downward trend in China’s PET market also put bearish undertones in Southeast Asia, with the regional import markets declining for the sixth consecutive week.

ChemOrbis Price Index data shows that importPET bottle prices in Thailand and Vietnam have retreated to their lowest levels since August 2017 this week.

Monomer costs still in downward pull

Spot monomer prices in Asia have been caught in a downward pull emanating from strained US-China trade relations and the waning demand.

Spot PTA prices are thought to be nearing a bottom after persistent decreases for the past weeks and MEG prices are still considered weak. Despite the volatility seen late last week, higher production capacity in the region and milder crude oil prices have also kept the spot PX prices weak in Asia.

According to ChemOrbis Price Wizard, the weekly average of PX has plunged more than 20% since reaching a 2019 high in March.

PET sentiment remains in bearish side in Europe

The PET market in Europe remains at its lowest level since January 2018. The lower feedstocks in Asia as well as the delayed high season have had an impact on the sentiment in Europe.

A converter in Germany stated, “Our mineral water and soft drink business is weak and far below the levels seen last year,” while the consensus view on demand pointed to June for a possible recovery.

Meanwhile, May MEG contracts in the region settled with a decrease of €20/ton from April and an initial PX contract settled with a monthly decrease of €70/ton, reflecting lower spot prices.

Turkey’s import PET market at more than 2-year low

Turkey’s import PET market has also been under downward pressure from weak feedstock costs and low buying interest stemming from the lack of supply issues and Ramadan.

As of last week, import PET prices in Turkey broke below the $1000/ton threshold and the cumulative drops since the start of May have reached $100/ton.

Egypt’s import market down to lowest since Oct 2017

PET prices in Egypt have been in a downtrend since April. The declines persisted as demand weakened during Ramadan and general business activity has been in a lull period in the lead-up to the Eid holidays, which will start on June 3.

Market sources said they expect prices to remain soft through the final days of the fasting month of Ramadan amid the lack of buying interest despite the hot weather and the high bottling season.
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