Rising PP trend persists in China, expectations for April diverge
Several players concur that prices will remain on the bullish side in the near term due to tight supplies amid the ongoing maintenance shutdowns while there are other players who think that the current firming trend may start to lose speed by the end of April in line with the approaching plant restarts.
A trader in Ningbo reported, “PP prices continued to gain ground for another week in the face of tight availability and we expect prices to see further gains in the next couple of weeks. However, we believe that the rising trend may start to slow down by the end of April as several producers will restart their PP plants by end-April or in early May.”
Another trader highlighted that PP demand in China is not that great amidst rapid gains in prices. “We feel that the market will remain on the firm side until the middle of April. However, the sentiment may shift when the current availability issues are solved by the restart of several plants across the country,” the trader opined.
In production news, Sinopec Maoming Company is planning to restart its 300,000 tons/year No 1 PP line on April 4 while the producer will resume operations at its 170,000 tons/year No 2 PP line on April 23. Zhenhai Refinery shut its 500,000 tons/year PP plant in early March for a 45-day turnaround while Sinopec-SK Wuhan Petrochemical Company is planning to shut its two PP lines with a total production capacity of 400,000 tons/year for maintenance from early April until mid-May. Shenhua Charcoal Chemical Industry is also planning to shut its 300,000 tons/year coal based PP plant for turnaround on April 1. The plant is expected to resume operations on May 9. In addition to these upcoming restarts, Chinese players also report that supply limitations from the Middle East will also be solved in the near term.
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