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Asian polymer outlook cloudy as Chinese New Year holidays approach

  • 04/02/2016 (04:47)
Players in Asia report that regional markets will be quiet next week owing to the Chinese New Year holidays. China will be off for the week while other markets will see limited activity as players wait for China to return. Opinions on the post-holiday outlook are mixed, with many sellers hoping to see stronger demand and higher prices after the holidays in line with their previous experience while some buyers feel that further price relief may be obtainable, especially if energy costs remain low.

A distributor selling domestic PE and PVC in China commented, “We believe that prices will follow a mostly steady trend after the holidays as we do not see any factors on the horizon likely to push prices out of their current path. We are going into the holidays with enough material in stock to meet our needs for one to two weeks and most other buyers are also hesitant to replenish in large quantities.” A trader who reported purchasing some American and Middle Eastern PE just before the holidays added, “Prices edged higher just before the holidays based on stronger upstream costs and prices may continue to rise if upstream costs open the post-holiday period on a firm note. CNPC and Sinopec are both going into holidays with low stock levels while we feel that demand will pick up by either late February or early March.”

A source from a domestic PP producer stated, “Prices witnessed some additional gains right before the holidays on firmer feedstock costs and higher PP futures prices on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. Deals were scarce this week as most buyers have already left their desks for the holidays.” A distributor active in the domestic PP and PE markets reported, “We have not been active this week as there is very little buying interest right before the holidays. We plan to source only according to our needs after the holidays as we do not expect to see any real pick-up in demand.”

A trader offering both domestic and imported PP and PE stated, “CNPC and Sinopec have limited stock levels for now, but they will have more availability when they return from the holidays. Nevertheless, we believe that demand for local cargoes will be strong after the holidays as buyers will elect to source locally to minimize waiting time and take advantage of more attractive prices payable in the local currency. We do not expect to see any real increase in demand until after the month of February.”
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