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US PE sellers continue to target SE Asia as trade war with China escalates

  • 03/10/2018 (10:05)
Sentiment in Southeast Asia’s import PE market remained unresponsive to China’s slight recovery last week owing to limited demand. Meanwhile, initial October prices from Middle Eastern and regional producers have been announced with modest decreases amidst the ongoing influx of competitively-priced US cargoes.

Attractive offers from the US first showed up widely in Southeast Asia by around early August. As trade tensions with China have heated up in line with the third round of bilateral tariffs, US PE sellers continue to target the Southeast Asian markets with their still-attractive offer levels.

Despite their squeezed margins amid high ethane prices in the US, PE suppliers have managed to maintain their competitive edge so far in Southeast Asia, which is mostly attributed to the major capacity expansions and new capacities in their country.

A PE converter in Malaysia commented, “We are only interested in US origins for our next HDPE purchase given their competitive offer levels. The HDPE film market is likely to remain under downward pressure from increasing supplies from the US in the near term. As for LDPE, our US supplier is open to negotiation over his price level.”

A global trader cut its LLDPE film offers for US origins further by $30/ton to Southeast Asia last week despite some players’ expectations to see a rebound in prices amidst tight regional supplies. A Malaysian buyer noted, “We believe that we can easily obtain an additional discount for US LLDPE film.”

A converter operating in Vietnam reported, “We have concluded an HDPE film deal for a US origin recently while we are planning to wait before we decide on our next purchase since the market is still sending bearish signals for the near term.”

Another Vietnamese buyer confirmed the attractive offer levels for US HDPE, saying, “We are not interested in Middle Eastern or Southeast Asian origins. Despite its long shipment duration, we prefer US cargoes thanks to their competitive prices.”
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