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Propylene prices continue to firm up across globe

  • 15/08/2017 (05:12)
Spot propylene prices have been steadily firming up in Europe and the US since mid-July while Asia’s firming trend kicked off only two weeks ago. Diminishing supplies are cited as the main reason behind the recent gains in the spot propylene markets of the three major regions.

Europe is the region where the largest gains have been reported so far as ChemOrbis Price Wizard reveals a cumulative increase of around €100/ton in the past one month on a weekly average basis. Concerns about reduced inventories of propylene pulled prices up in July while they were exacerbated when Shell faced an outage at its Pernis refinery, which resulted in a force majeure declaration from the Moerdijk cracker early in August.

The US market has posted relatively modest gains since the second half of July. A cumulative increase of around $35/ton was reported on average, according to ChemOrbis Price Wizard. Lower supplies as well as the energy complex have supported the relative firming of the propylene market in the US. However, players are skeptical about the sustainability of this trend given the upcoming start-ups and the expected improvement of supplies in the region.

The Asian market has shown the latest response to the upturn in other major markets and therefore, the gains have been rather limited in the past two weeks. Although supplies across the region have been low for some time, this factor was counterbalanced by poor demand from the downstream markets. Now that more turnarounds at regional crackers and propylene units are nearing and the downstream PP market maintains its strength, the propylene market has also started to firm up in Asia.
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