Seasonal factors dampen polymer demand in SE Asia
In line with the start of the month of Ramadan, demand in Malaysia and Indonesia started to falter as buyers mostly retreated to the sidelines. A Malaysian PP, PE trader noted, “After a local producer elected to lower its prices for June, we applied further decreases on our offers to the domestic market since demand is stagnant.”
Another trader based in Singapore said, “Trading activities have been slowing down for the past few weeks. Despite some regional producers’ maintenance shutdowns, there are no major supply issues for PP and PE in the region as most buyers are not interested in fresh purchases at the moment.”
A PVC compounder in Indonesia commented, “Demand is sluggish as previously expected. We are not expecting to see a recovery in demand until the end of Ramadan.”
In the meantime, regional players report that the rainy season has started to hit the Vietnamese, Thai and Philippine markets recently.
A Vietnamese trader who offers PET, ABS and PP opined, “The rainy season has started to be effective in the southern parts of Vietnam. Therefore, demand from those areas is weakening. It is also the low season for ABS applications. Considering the season and weaker energy costs, we feel that the regional markets will remain under pressure in the days ahead.”
A trader in Thailand also said, “The rainy season along with the volatility of crude oil futures are dampening on polymer demand nowadays. Buyers are mostly adopting a wait and see attitude and refraining from purchases beyond their needs. We believe that demand will recover once the rainy season is over in the third quarter.”
Although there were some players claiming that both Ramadan and the rainy season are yet to have a major impact on their activities, they are overshadowed by the widespread complaints about unpromising demand coupled with the downturn in China, weak energy complex and sufficient supplies. A source from a Philippine PVC producer commented, “The rainy season has already begun, but demand remains stable as it affects only particular areas and still lets us conduct our shipment activities. Therefore, we are planning to maintain our current price levels for now.”
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