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[PETROCHEMICALS ]

www.platts.com

POLYMERSCAN
Volume 37 / Issue 4 / January 29, 2014

Americas Polymer Spot Price Assessments

FAS Houston
US Contract
US Domestic
FOT Brazil*
CFR Brazil
CFR PERU

($/mt)
dlvd railcar
($/mt) ($/mt) ($/mt) ($/mt)
(cts/lb)
PVC SUSP
990-1000
53.00-55.00
1168.12 -1212.20
—-
1100-1110
1085-1095


LDPE G-P
1587-1609
88.00-89.00
1939.52 -1961.56
1595-1605
1685-1695
1700-1710
LLDPE (Butene)
1543-1565
75.00-76.00
1653.00 -1675.04
1545-1555
1640-1650
1640-1650

HDPE Inj
1543-1565
79.00-80.00
1741.16 -1763.20
1580-1590
1635-1645
1635-1645
Bmldg
1543-1565
79.00-80.00
1741.16 -1763.20
1580-1590
1635-1645
1620-1630
Film
1565-1587
82.00-83.00
1807.28 -1829.32
1580-1590
1665-1675
1665-1675
Yarn
—-
—-
—-

PP Homo Inj
1786-1808
84.50-85.50
1862.38 -1884.42
1600-1610
1640-1650
1635-1645
Fiber
—-
85.50-86.50
1884.42 -1906.46
—-
—-
—Copol
1808-1830
—-
1620-1630
1650-1660
1650-1660
IPP Film
BOPP

PS G-P
1920-1930
120.00-122.00
2644.80 -2688.88
—-
HIPS
2015-2025
130.00-132.00
2865.20 -2909.28
—-
ABS Inj
—-
124.00-126.00
2732.96 -2777.04
—-

PET bottle grade
1587-1609#
1846-1868##
Notes: All price assessments reflect spot trades with the exception of US Contract Delivered railcar. * FOT Brazil assessments are for export material via truck to MERCOSUR markets. # US PET bottle
grade refers to DDP US West Coast. ## US PET contract price is in $/mt.

Contents

Asian Polymer Spot Price Assessments

CFR FE Asia
CFR SE Asia

($/mt)
($/mt)


CFR
China
South Asia
Domestic
($/mt) (Yuan/mt)

PVC SUSP 1059-1061 1059-1061 1074-1076
^7140-7160

^^6340-6360

LDPE G-P
1669-1671
1699-1701
—-
12680-12720
LLDPE (Butene)
1549-1551 1579-1581 1564-1566
11380-11420

HDPE Inj
1459-1461 1499-1501 1539-1541 —Bmldg
1499-1501
1529-1531
1539-1541
—Film
1544-1546
1554-1556
1549-1551
12080-12120
Yarn
1564-1566
1559-1561
—-

PP Raffia
1484-1486 1549-1551 1534-1536
11180-11220
PP Injection 1484-1486 1549-1551 1534-1536 —Fiber
—-
—-
Copol
1529-1531
1589-1591
1579-1581
—IPP Film
1504-1506
1564-1566
1559-1561
—BOPP
1504-1506
1574-1576
1559-1561

PS G-P
1799-1801
1829-1831
—-
—HIPS
1849-1851
1879-1881
—-
—EPS G-P
1819-1821*
EPS F-R
1869-1871*
ABS Inj
1939-1941
1939-1941
—-

PET bottle grade
1284-1286 *
1319-1321 **
—-
—Notes: Asian PVC, PS, and ABS, FE Asia refers to China. All Asian polymer assessments are basis L/C 0-30 days Credit differentials
calculated using 1 month LIBOR +1.5%. ^Denotes ethylene-based production ^^Denotes carbide-based production. EPS F-R refers
to fire retardant grade. *Denotes FOB North East Asia (South Korea, China, Japan) **Denotes FOB Southeast Asia (Thailand,
Indonesia , Vietnam, Malaysia).

Polymers
Polyvinyl Chloride
4
Low Density Polyethylene
5
Linear Low Density Polyethylene
6
High-Density Polyethylene
7
Polypropylene 9
Polystyrene 11
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene
12
Polyethylene Terephthalate
13
Polymer Feedstocks: Olefins
Ethylene 16
Ethylene Glycol
17
Propylene 18
Butadiene 19
Polymer Feedstocks: Aromatics
Paraxylene 23
Styrene 24
Polymer Feedstocks: Intermediates
Purified Terephthalic Acid
26
Acrylonitrile 27
Ethylene Dichloride /
Vinyl Chloride Monomer
27
News
28

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

january 29, 2014

Daily Polymer Spot Price Assessments


Thursday

Friday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Average

CFR FE Asia ($/mt)
HDPE film
LDPE
LLDPE
PP Raffia
PP Injection

1544-1546 1544-1546 1544-1546 1544-1546
1669-1671 1669-1671 1669-1671 1669-1671
1549-1551 1549-1551 1549-1551 1549-1551
1499-1501 1499-1501 1484-1486 1484-1486
1499-1501 1499-1501 1484-1486 1484-1486

1544-1546
1669-1671
1549-1551
1484-1486
1484-1486

1544.00-1546.00
1669.00-1671.00
1549.00-1551.00
1490.00-1492.00
1490.00-1492.00

1330-1335 1330-1335 1330-1335 1310-1315
1295-1300 1295-1300 1295-1300 1290-1295
1245-1250 1245-1250 1245-1250 1240-1245

1305-1310
1290-1295
1240-1245

1321.00-1326.00
1293.00-1298.00
1243.00-1248.00

1310-1315 1310-1315 1310-1315 1290-1295
1275-1280 1275-1280 1275-1280 1270-1275
1225-1230 1225-1230 1225-1230 1220-1225

1285-1290
1270-1275
1220-1225

1301.00-1306.00
1273.00-1278.00
1223.00-1228.00

1587-1609 1587-1609 1587-1609 1588-1620
1521-1543 1521-1543 1521-1543 1521-1543
1786-1808 1786-1808 1786-1808 1786-1808
1532-1554 1532-1554 1532-1554 1532-1554

1587-1609
1543-1565
1786-1808
1543-1565

1587.20-1611.20
1525.40-1547.40
1786.00-1808.00
1534.20-1556.20

1532-1534
1657-1659
1537-1539
1472-1474
1472-1474

1532.0-1534.0
1657.00-1659.00
1537.00-1539.00
1478.00-1480.00
1478.00-1480.00

FD NWE (Euro/mt)
LDPE
LLDPE
PP Homo

FCA Antwerp (Euro/mt)
LDPE
LLDPE
PP Homo

FAS Houston ($/mt)
LDPE
LLDPE
PP Homo
HDPE Blmldg

FOB Middle East Netbacks ($/mt)
HDPE
LDPE
LLDPE
PP Raffia
PP Injection

1532-1534 1532-1534 1532-1534 1532-1534
1657-1659 1657-1659 1657-1659 1657-1659
1537-1539 1537-1539 1537-1539 1537-1539
1487-1489 1487-1489 1472-1474 1472-1474
1487-1489 1487-1489 1472-1474 1472-1474

Notes: The weekly average represents the average of Thursday through Wednesday of the previous week.
FOB Middle East netback denotes CFR Far East Asia assessments minus the prevailing container freight rate from Al-Jubail to Shanghai for a standard 20-foot container.

Polymer Spot Freight Rates ex-Middle East ($/mt)

Subscriber Notes:

From:
To:
East China
South China
India
Southeast Asia
NW Europe
Turkey
US Gulf
Latin America

Lunar New Year publishing schedule Platts Asia Petchems
Platts offices in Singapore and China will be closed
January 31 for the Lunar New Year holiday, and there
will be no petrochemicals publications or assessments
from Singapore on that day. The publication of the Asian
Petrochemicalscan (APS) and the weekly aromatics, olefins,
MTBE, methanol, PTA, SBR and inventory assessments will
be brought forward to January 30. Additionally, Platts in
Asia will close its Market on Close assessment processes
early on January 30 and all assessments will be basis
12:30 pm Singapore time (0430 GMT). Normal Singapore
publishing schedules will resume on February 3. For full
details of the Platts publishing schedule and services
affected, refer to http://www.platts.com/HolidayHome. For
queries, please contact support@platts.com.

Middle East
25-100 mt
15-20
15-25
45-50
30-40
55-65
50-70
130-140
165-175

Middle East
>100mt
10-15
10-15
40-45
35-45
50-60
40-60
120-130
160-165

Notes: Please refer to the methodology guide for details on port locations.

Foreign exchange
€1 to

$1.3658

£1 to

€1.2122

Global PVC Prices
1200
CFR FE Asia ($/mt)

FD NWE (€/mt)

FAS Houston ($/mt)

1100

Metals

1000

Aluminum
Tin
Tin

900
800
700
28-Aug

25-Sep

23-Oct

20-Nov

18-Dec

29-Jan

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

2

US
US
Europe

Jan 23
Jan 23
Jan 24

cts/lb
cts/lb
$/mt

99.062
1036
22729-22796

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

january 29, 2014

Euro Contract Assessments (Euro/mt)

Germany
Holland
Italy
France
Spain
Britain*
FD NWE CP**

($/mt)
PVC susp Gross
888-893 888-893 888-893 888-893 888-893 830-835
1213-1220
PVC susp Net
863-868 863-868 863-868 863-868 863-868 760-765
LDPE G-P
LLDPE C4 (Blown film)
LLDPE C4 (Cast stretch film)
LLDPE C6 (Blown film)
LLDPE C6 (Cast stretch .film)

1510-1515 1510-1515 1480-1485 1505-1510 1480-1485 1252-1256 2062-2069
1465-1470 1465-1470 1465-1470 1465-1470 1465-1470 1215-1219 2001-2008
1465-1470 1465-1470 1465-1470 1465-1470 1465-1470 1215-1219 2001-2008
1510-1515





2062-2069
1510-1515





2062-2069

HDPE
HDPE
HDPE
HDPE
HDPE

1430-1435 1430-1435 1430-1435 1430-1435 1430-1435 1186-1190 1953-1960
1410-1415 1410-1415 1410-1415 1410-1415 1410-1415 1169-1173 1926-1933
1340-1345 1340-1345 1340-1345 1340-1345 1340-1345 1111-1115 1830-1837
1430-1435 1430-1435 1430-1435 1430-1435 1430-1435 1186-1190 1953-1960
1425-1430 1425-1430 1425-1430 1425-1430 1425-1430 1182-1186 1946-1953

Inj
Bmldg
Film
HMW 2-5
HMW 5-10

PP Homo Inj
PP Copol

1425-1430 1425-1430 1415-1420 1425-1430 1415-1420 1179-1183 1946-1953
1475-1480 1475-1480 1465-1470 1475-1480 1465-1470 1220-1224 2015-2021

GPPS Net
HIPS Net
EPS

1590-1600 1590-1600 1590-1600 1590-1600 1590-1600 1317-1325 2172-2182
1690-1700 1690-1700 1690-1700 1690-1700 1690-1700 1399-1408 2310-2320
1600-1610 1600-1610 1600-1610 1600-1610 1600-1610 1325-1333 2185-2195

ABS GP/Nat
ABS Ave color
ABS Auto black

1798-1808
2098-2108
2148-2158





1798-1808 1798-1808 1798-1808 1489-1497 2554-2568
2098-2108 2098-2108 2098-2108 1737-1745 2964-2978
2148-2158 2148-2158 2148-2158 1779-1787 —-

PET bottle grade
PET bottle grade
PET bottle grade Net
PET bottle grade Net
APET film grade
APET film grade Net

1226-1231

1135-1140

1216-1221
1125-1130






1226-1231









1226-1231




1226-1231




968-973
1170-1176##
940-945
1136-1142##

1550-1557

Notes: *FD Britain = FD UK, with assessments in British Pounds per metric ton. **FD NWE CONTRACT PRICE denotes FD Germany converted into US dollars. ## PET bottle grade assessments basis
FD UK are in Euro/mt. PET assessments refer to regular business at prices negotiated between buyers and sellers on a monthly basis. LLDPE C6 denotes products from Ziegler-Natta catalyst.

Platts European and African Polymer Spot Price Assessments

FOB NWE
FD NWE
FCA Antwerp
CFR Russia*
CFR Turkey** CFR North Africa
FD UK

($/mt) (Eur/mt)
(Eur/mt) (Eur/mt) ($/mt) ($/mt) (GBP/mt)
PVC SUSP
1030-1035 810-815 —
732-736 1050-1055 —

($/mt)
1000-1005
LDPE G-P
LLDPE (Butene)

1700-1707 1305-1310 1285-1290 1225-1230 1670-1675 1620-1625
—-
1290-1295 1270-1275 1210-1215 1630-1635 1560-1565




HDPE Inj
Bmldg
Film

1625-1632 1250-1255 1230-1235 1170-1175 1625-1630 1555-1560
1598-1605 1230-1235 1210-1215 1150-1155 1625-1630 1555-1560
1605-1612 1235-1240 1215-1220 1155-1160 1625-1630 1555-1560





PP Homo Inj
PP Raffia
PP Copol

1580-1585 1240-1245 1220-1225 1210-1215 1610-1615 1565-1570 —
— — — —
1610-1615
1565-1570

1610-1615 1290-1295 1270-1275 1260-1265 1640-1645 1595-1600 —

PS G-P
HIPS
EPS
ABS GP/Nat

1955-1965 1465-1475 —

1850-1860 1850-1860
2045-2055
1565-1575


1950-1960
1950-1960
2005-2015
1520-1530


1905-1915

2035-2045***
1563-1570
— — — —

PET bottle grade
PET bottle grade
Recycled PET
Recycled PET






1125-1130

880-885


























940-945
1136-1142#
790-795
955-961#

Notes: FOB NWE prices are based on exports of 300mt or more. *CFR Russia denotes CFR St Petersburg; ** CFR Turkey denotes CFR Istanbul; *** ABS GP/Nat denotes CFR NWE in $/mt. # PET
bottle grade and Recycled PET assessments for FD UK are in Euro/mt. Recycled PET assessments are for a hot wash flake without food approval.

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

3

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

january 29, 2014

Polymers
Polyvinyl Chloride

Europe
The majority of European PVC Freely Delivered (FD)
contracts were settled at plus Eur10-20/mt, buyers and
sellers said this week, citing a range of Eur860-890/mt net,
depending on region and customer size. This represented a
small margin, after ethylene settled in January at plus Eur15/
mt or Eur1,240/mt ($1,644/mt) FD NWE. Platts assessed the
FD contract at Eur865.50/mt net, up Eur10/mt from last week
and Eur20/mt from December. So far in Northwest Europe,
two consumers confirmed settling at plus Eur10-15/mt, and
one cited an outright settlement at around plus Eur840/mt
net. In the Mediterranean, one consumer confirmed fully
settling at plus Eur15/mt or Eur860/mt. On the production
side, one supplier in NWE confirmed settling at Eur15-20/
mt this week, down from Eur20/mt last week, but declined
to comment on an outright price, noting demand in NWE
had been stable throughout January, rising during the second
half. In the Mediterranean, one producer confirmed settling
at plus Eur15-20/mt initially, or a maximum price of Eur890/
net, but was not available to comment further this week. In
Central and Eastern Europe, two producers confirmed fully
settling at Eur10-15/mt, and one added that higher price
targets earlier this month were “too ambitious.” However,
demand had since picked up, the source said, adding: “Some
of the converters have much better performance than
in January 2013, or before, due to the mild weather and
better economic circumstances.” In the UK, one producer
source said contracts were fully settled at plus GBP15/mt,
unchanged from last week, adding that demand had picked
up in the second half of January. Looking at downstream
sectors, demand from the Do It Yourself business in NWE
was picking up, the first NWE buyer said, adding: “It is
still on a gradual level; there are no peaks any more.”
Meanwhile, the construction business was expected to slow
due to colder weather. “Now, I believe, the harsh winter
will also hinder the business in general; in particular, in
construction application,” the CEE producer source said.
In addition, the UK producer noted it was too early to tell
whether the construction sector in the UK would grow
this year. However, in the fourth quarter, output in the UK
construction sector from October-December fell 0.3% quarter
on quarter due to a sharp fall in activity in November, the
Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Tuesday. Output
in November fell 4% month on month amid a fall in
new work, repairs and maintenance, the ONS said. Going
forward, market participants were tracking feedstock prices,
particularly ethylene. European olefin buyers said Tuesday
they were more optimistic about a decrease in ethylene
contract prices than propylene for February, amid tightness
in propylene and a fall in naphtha prices. “Everyone is very
excited about the ethylene price involvement in February,”
the CEE producer source said, adding: “Since PVC producers

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

suffered some marginal loss during the off-season months,
we desperately need to recoup the thin margins as soon as
possible.” Overseas, the Turkish PVC market was struggling
with currency loss, despite the intervention of the Central
Bank, sources said. One European supplier was delivering
delayed orders and was not expected to make any new offers
until March. The most competitive offer from Europe was
$1,060/mt CFR Turkey from a producer, sources said. Chinese
and Korean suppliers also recently entered the market, but
at $1,000/mt, subject to 6.5% import duty, not including
freight costs of $60-70/mt, their offers were not so attractive,
the NWE trade source said. Platts assessed the Turkish market
at $1,050-1,055/mt CFR, down $20/mt on week. In other
news, Ukraine’s petrochemical company KarpatNaftoKhim
suspended most of its production facilities, due to continuing
weak demand, and was not likely to resume operations until
early April, a company source said Tuesday. Its only facility
in operation was its downstream PVC unit for window and
door profile production, a company source said.

United States
US export PVC prices moved up $10/mt week on week to
be assessed Wednesday at $990-1,000/mt FAS Houston,
as a production outage, tight spot availability and strong
domestic markets pushed prices to a level last seen on
March 20, 2012. Spot product offers were heard at $1,0101,020/mt FAS Houston, while deals were heard in the $9801,000/mt FAS Houston levels. “Buyers are still shocked at
the $50/mt increase in export prices and buying has not
picked up yet, but offers from producers for the next month
are coming in above $1,000/mt FAS Houston basis. Fresh
PVC will be more expensive,” one trading source said.
“Axiall still has production issues and many other producers
are covering Axiall’s domestic buyers affected by the outage
— that, in turn, is reducing export volumes, and pushing
prices up,” another trading source added. “We are holding
our buying level at $950-960/mt FAS Houston, there isn’t
much market for anything above,” a third trading source
said. In domestic markets, the assessment was unchanged at
53-55 cents/lb delivered, as talks continued to be centered
at strong housing numbers and ample demand despite the
cold weather gripping most of US. “The increases are on the
table and we expect at least 5 cents/lb to go through in the
first quarter,” a distributor source said. Shintech, Axiall,
Oxy, Westlake and Formosa announced 3-cents/lb per
month increases for January, February and March, however
full acceptance of the increases was doubtful, sources added.
In production, Axiall planned to bring its VCM plant at
Lake Charles, Louisiana back online in the last week of
March and was to lift the associated force majeure in April,
the company said in a letter to customers Tuesday. The
company said that it had concluded the majority of work
on the facility. The VCM plant was shut after a December
20 fire and led the company to declare an FM on VCM

4

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

supply. “We currently estimate that we will have the
equipment that was damaged repaired and in our hands
in early March,” the letter said. The company said that its
target restart date was only an estimate. The plant is capable
of producing 522,000 mt/year of VCM and 835,000 mt/year
of ethylene dichloride and, according to Platts data.

Asia
The CFR China PVC marker was assessed flat week on
week at $1,060/mt Wednesday as the Chinese market
wound down ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. No
bids or offers were heard throughout the week. A source
said Chinese demand for PVC after the Lunar New Year
break would depend on the re-export market after winter.
With signs of economic strengthening in buying countries
such as the US and in Europe, the source expected PVC
demand to improve. In the domestic China market,
ethylene-based PVC was assessed flat week on week at
Yuan 7,150/mt, and carbide-based PVC flat at Yuan 6,350/
mt, amid a dearth of discussion. The CFR Southeast Asia
PVC marker rose $10/mt week on week to be assessed at
$1,060/mt, with deals heard concluded at the same level
Wednesday. There were no offers this week as producers
had earlier sold out of February cargoes and will not
release March offers until next month. A producer said
Formosa’s February offers were higher than Southeast
Asian market prices, allowing “more room for negotiation”
while buying sentiment gradually improved. A slightly
tight market situation also meant sellers were able to insist
on higher prices, the producer added. The CFR India PVC
marker rose $5/mt week on week to be assessed at $1,075/
mt Wednesday. South Korean-origin cargoes were heard
concluded at $1,080/mt CFR India, with the seller saying
the deals were fixed for smaller parcels amid uncertainty
over an ongoing review of antidumping duties. Buyers
were largely on the sidelines awaiting the outcome, while
some were purchasing small quantities to cover minimum
requirements, he added. South Korean-origin cargoes were
offered at $1,090/mt CFR India against buying ideas at
$1,070/mt CFR India. A Taiwanese producer was heard
offering at $1,080/mt CFR India, but received bids around
$1,060/mt CFR India. The producer said Indian buyers
were seeking prompt cargoes to arrive by end February in
a bid to avoid any additional charges that may arise from
the antidumping duty announcement that is expected in
early March. An Indian trader noted buying indications at
around $1,070/mt CFR India, unchanged from February
fixture prices, due to the uncertainty over the duties. With
Indian buyers wary about imports, an Indian producer
said demand for local material was improving. Market
participants expect demand for PVC to improve after
the duties have been clarified. Upstream, ethylene prices
fell $40/mt week on week to be assessed at $1,470/mt
CFR Northeast Asia and fell $30/mt to $1,410/mt CFR
Southeast Asia Wednesday. Despite the fall in ethylene
prices, PVC producers still regard feedstock costs as high
and say PVC prices need to rise further to minimize losses.

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

Latin America
Polyvinyl chloride import pricing in Latin America
continued to experience upward pressure from key regions
this week despite thin trade, sources said. CFR Peru
assessments rose $5/mt week on week to $1,085-$1,095/mt
as US-origin product was heard offered at levels of $1,000/
mt FAS Houston and higher, with a major US-based buyer/
distributor pegging the market at $1,100/mt CFR Peru.
Last week, a Peru-based buyer said he was being offered
US-origin material at $1,110/mt CFR basis. Prices for ethane
and ethylene, the latter a key feedstock in the making of
PVC, have been on the rise in the US Gulf Coast region
during January, which could provide further upward
pressure for domestic and export pricing, a US-based trader
said. Back in Peru, buying sentiment was last described
as weak by market participants. No deals were reported
to Platts by close of assessment. In Brazil, the import
assessment moved up $5/mt to an assessment of $1,100$1,110/mt CFR basis. PVC was last heard traded last week
at levels of $1,100-$1,110/mt CFR Brazil for 1,000 mt,
while sources continued to talk offers at levels of $1,120/
mt CFR basis. No deals, bids or offers were heard by close
of assessment. The Brazilian import market, which depends
heavily on material from Colombia, Argentina and certain
Asian countries, including South Korea, was likely to have
seen few indications from Asia this week, as activity in the
main markets slowed ahead of the Lunar New Year.

Low Density Polyethylene

Europe
European low density polyethylene spot prices fell to
Eur1,305-1,310/mt FD NWE Wednesday, shedding
Eur25/mt week on week on profit taking and concerns
of inventory built in the chain. Prices were assessed just
above the psychological barrier of Eur1,300/mt FD NWE,
last seen in November 2013. Most offers were heard in a
range of Eur1,300-1,340/mt FD NWE. “It seems traders have
stock position, so they are trying to sell. We were offered
LLDPE and LDPE at Eur1,320/mt FD NWE, but we are not
interested,” one converter said. “Demand is not bad, it is
just that we do not want stocks, as we have them and think
we will have better opportunities in the coming month to
buy,” another converter said. In the contract market, prices
consolidated to end the month at Eur1,520-1,515/mt FD
NWE. Converters reported increases between Eur15-50/
mt and gross prices were pegged at Eur1,420-1,520/mt FD
NWE. Most added they saw the Eur30/mt increase as the
“maximum.” Meanwhile, producer ideas were at Eur1,540/
mt FD NWE. “January is less exciting than expected,” one
producer lamented. Overall, February expectations were
bearish. On December 20, when January ethylene and
propylene contract prices settled, naphtha was priced at
$962.25/mt CIF NWE. Naphtha has since fallen, assessed at
$915.25/mt CIF NWE Tuesday. In Turkey, a falling Lira and
political concerns led to a fall in activity, and some sources

5

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

added that converters halted lines of production. However,
offers were marginally lower, at $1,590-1,600/mt CFR from
Middle East, subject to 6.5% duty. Prices were assessed
down $5/mt, at $1,672.50/mt CFR, an eight-week low. Due
to the devaluation of currency, sources said Turkey would
prefer to export and, in turn, offers from Turkey to NWE
were heard at Eur1,300/mt FD NWE. Meanwhile, west
European offers were heard in Turkey at Eur1,270-1,300/
mt CFR. LyondellBasell’s low density polyethylene plant in
Aubette, France, which restarted in December after being
shut in November, has now ramped up to full operating
rates, sources said Tuesday, although it had not been
operating at full rates since the restart, and converters said
they had to look to other PE producers for supplies until
early January. LyondellBasell declined to comment.

United States
US low density polyethylene prices were assessed stable
at $1,587-$1,609/mt FAS Houston. Domestic railcars were
pegged in the 69-71 cents/lb FOB Houston range, with no
confirmed deals. Sources talked of lower buy interest in
traditional export markets this week. Asian markets were
talked quiet ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday and
demand from Brazil was talked lower because of weakening
currency against the US dollar among the factors. Domestic
supply was heard adequate for current demand, with some
producers sold out of product and others with available
railcars. Domestic demand was talked strong in January,
with customers restocking inventories and buying extra
material ahead of a possible February increase. January
domestic contracts were heard settling flat, assessed at
88-89 cents/lb ($1,940-1,962/mt) for delivered railcars. US
producers have announced 4 cents/lb increases for February.
There was growing confidence in the market that producers
would be able to push through some or all of the increase
in February, pointing to firmer ethylene contract prices and
strong demand. Buyer sources said the push for a February
increase would be hard for producers to justify after prices
remained steady in November and December despite dips
in domestic demand and increased days of inventory. In
feedstocks, US spot ethylene was assessed Wednesday at
55.75-56.25 cents/lb FD USG, up .25 cent week on week.

Asia
Asian low density polyethylene prices were stable to weaker
this week amid lackluster trade ahead of the Lunar New
Year holiday. LDPE was assessed at $1,670/mt CFR Far East
Asia Wednesday, flat week on week, and at $1,700/mt CFR
Southeast Asia, down $20/mt over the same period. Sources
said most converters had shut for the holiday, and market
activity was thin. Offers were around $1,650-1,720/mt CFR
China late last week. Cargoes from Brazil were heard offered
at $1,650/mt CFR China. However, there was no buying
interest in the market as participants expected prices to
come under pressure, especially in southern and central
China. But this was not fully taken into consideration
for the assessment, as the laycan was beyond the Platts

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

assessment period of 15-30 days. In Southeast Asia, offers
were heard at $1,770/mt CFR Vietnam and at $1,710-1,730/
mt CFR Malaysia. Activity in Vietnam was muted due to
a public holiday that started Tuesday. Bids were heard at
$1,680-1,690/mt CFR Malaysia. In South Asia, deals were
heard concluded at $1,620/mt CFR India late last week,
while offers were heard at $1,640-1,650/mt this week.

Latin America
The LDPE markets in Latin America were slow week on
week due to low buying interest. “In Brazil, the companies
are preparing for the February payroll, as the employees
in Brazil get paid usually one time per month. So, now
is time to wait,” a Brazilian trader said, adding that the
dollar appreciation is increasing reasonably in comparison
with the Brazilian currency. The LDPE assessment in Brazil
remained flat at $1,685-$1,695/mt CFR Brazil. Selling
prices from the Middle East were heard at $1,700-$1,720/
mt CFR basis. A 200mt-deal from Saudi Arabia was heard at
$1,740/mt CFR Brazil, for delivery in March. In Peru, LDPE
decreased $15/mt, assessed at $1,700-$1,710/mt CFR Peru.
Deals from the Middle East were also heard in a range of
$1,700-1,720/mt CFR basis. Offers from South Korea were
heard at $1,745-$1,765/mt CFR Peru, with cash in advance
payment, which does not meet Platts’ methodology
for credit terms. Thus, the offers were not used in the
assessment. The Brazilian LDPE export assessment was flat
at $1,595-$1,605/mt FOT Brazil. Braskem’s LDPE price for
January was pegged at $1,600/mt on a basis equivalent to
FOT, a source with Braskem said. In Uruguay, selling prices
for LDPE were heard at $1,850-$1,880/mt CFR Uruguay.
Dow in Argentina was heard offering LDPE with February
prices already at $1,900/mt CFR Uruguay. In Asia, cargoes
from Brazil were heard offered at $1,650/mt CFR China.

Linear Low Density Polyethylene

Europe
European linear low density polyethylene spot prices
slipped Eur5/mt on the week, to Eur1,292.50/mt FD
NWE, as supplies ran in excess of demand. This price
was last seen in mid-December. “Converters overstock
to avoid duty increases and still have those stocks,”
one trader said, pegging prices at GBP1,060/mt FD UK.
“Sellers said they were expecting high volume Jan sales,
and that did not happen,” one converter said, adding he
had offers at Eur1,295-1,315/mt FD NWE for LDPE and
LLDPE. Metallocene spot prices were heard in the range of
Eur1,380/mt FD NWE up to Eur1,450-1,460/mt FD NWE.
Overall, supplies were characterized as plentiful. In the
contract market, prices were assessed stable at Eur1,4651,470/mt FD NWE, up Eur20/mt on the month. Converters
pegged prices at Eur1,390-1,470/mt FD NWE, adding they
saw the Eur30/mt increase as the “maximum.” February
expectations were bearish. On December 20, when January
ethylene and propylene contract prices settled, naphtha

6

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

priced at $962.25/mt CIF NWE. Naphtha has since fallen,
assessed at $915.25/mt CIF NWE Tuesday. In Turkey this
week, despite the intervention of the central bank, the
devaluation of the local currency hit demand. Offers were
heard at $1,590-1,600/mt CFR, subject to 6.5% duty. In
addition, one Iranian cargo was heard offered at $1,560/mt
CFR, subject to 3% duty. Prices were assessed down $5/mt
on the week to $1,630-1,635/mt CFR.

United States
US linear low density polyethylene prices were assessed
$22/mt higher Wednesday at $1,543-$1,565/mt FAS
Houston. Sources pegged domestic hopper car prices at
68 cents/lb, on par with current prices for HDPE blow
molding. LLDPE traditionally trades at a higher level
than HDPE blow molding, but prices have been blow
molding since mid-August when a number of productionrelated issues contributed to tightness in the HDPE
market. Sources have said in recent weeks that they were
expecting LLDPE to move higher than blow molding
at some point in the first half of the year. HDPE blow
molding and LLDPE were last assessed at the same level on
September 18, 2013, according to Platts data. Sources said
there was little buy interest in export markets at current
price levels, noting that US FAS prices were essentially
the same as CFR prices in Asia. Asian LLDPE prices were
assessed Wednesday at $1,550/mt CFR Far East Asia.
Domestic contracts were heard settling flat for January
— as had been expected — assessed at 75-76 cents/lb
($1,653-1,675/mt) for delivered railcars. US producers
are pushing for 4 cents/lb increases in February, with
sources saying that an increase appeared likely. Domestic
demand was talked strong in January, with customers
restocking inventories and buying extra material ahead
of the possible increase. The strong domestic demand,
along with firmer prices for feedstock ethylene contracts
and higher upstream ethane prices during the month
were factors that would make it increasingly hard for
producers to back off their increase bid, sources said. US
spot ethylene was assessed Wednesday at 55.75-56.25
cents/lb FD USG, up .25 cent week on week.

Asia
Asian linear low density polyethylene markers were
assessed at $1,550/mt CFR Far East Asia Wednesday, flat
from last week; $1,580/mt CFR Southeast Asia, up $20/
mt; and $1,560/mt CFR South Asia, up $10/mt. Sources
said most converters had shut for the Lunar New Year
holiday, and market activity was thin. Deals were heard
concluded at $1,550/mt CFR China late last week.
In Southeast Asia, activity was thin as major market
Vietnam started a public holiday Tuesday. Deals were
heard concluded late last week at $1,580-1,590/mt CFR
Vietnam. Singapore-origin material was heard offered to
Vietnam at $1,580-1,590/mt CFR late last week. In South
Asia, deals were heard concluded at $1,560/mt CFR India
late last week. Offers this week were heard at $1,570-

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

1,580/mt CFR India. Singapore-origin material, which
attracts lower import duty, was heard offered at $1,620/
mt CFR India. Meanwhile, actively traded May LLDPE
futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange rose Yuan
105/mt week on week to Yuan 11,045/mt Wednesday.

Latin America
The linear low density polyethylene markets in Latin
American market were heard quiet but firmer this week.
Offers into Brazil or Peru were thin week on week. In Peru,
the LLDPE assessment increased $25/mt, assessed at $1,640$1,650/mt CFR Peru. Offers from the Middle East and South
Korea were heard at $1,660/mt CFR basis. In Brazil, LLDPE
inched up $10/mt, assessed at $1,640-$1,650/mt CFR Brazil.
Offers from the Middle East and South Korea into Brazil
were heard at the same level as in Peru at $1,660/mt CFR
Brazil. “The buying interest in the end of the month is
usually low. The dollar appreciation in Brazil, compared
with the Brazilian real, is increasing which is not favorable
for importing,” a Brazilian trader said. The Brazilian LLDPE
export assessment remained flat at $1,545-$1,555/mt FOT
Brazil. Braskem’s January export price was pegged at $1,682/
mt on a basis equivalent to FOT, a source with Braskem
said. Platts’ FOT basis assessments do not include freight,
insurance or other costs. A distributor from Uruguay heard
Braskem selling material at $1,700-$1,720/mt CFR Uruguay,
while a source in Paraguay heard Braskem offering LLDPE
at $1,780/mt CIF (cost, insurance and freight) Paraguay.
Meanwhile, Dow in Argentina was heard selling LLDPE in
Uruguay at $1,750/mt CFR Uruguay. In Asia, Sources said
most converters had shut for the Lunar New Year holiday,
and market activity was thin.

High-Density Polyethylene

Europe
European high density polyethylene spot prices slipped as
converters deferred purchasing on bearish expectations. The
European ethylene February contract price was expected
to settle amid an environment of falling energy prices. On
December 20, when the January ethylene and propylene
contract prices settled, naphtha was priced at $962.25/mt
CIF NWE; naphtha has since fallen, assessed at $915.25/
mt CIF NWE Tuesday. In the blowmolding market, one
trader said he had no idea where prices were due to a lack
of buying appetite, notionally pegging offers for HDPE film
and blowmolding at Eur1,250/mt FD NWE. Most offers for
HDPE grades were heard at Eur1,270-1,320/mt FD NWE.
One injection converter expected February prices to be
at Eur1,240/mt FD NWE. Prices were assessed down to
Eur10/mt over all grades, to Eur1,250-1,255/mt FD NWE,
Eur1,230-1,235/mt FD NWE and Eur1,235-1,240/mt FD
NWE for injection, blowmolding and film, respectively. In
the contract market, prices were assessed unchanged on
the week at Eur1,432.50/mt FD NWE, Eur1,412.50/mt and
Eur1,342.50/mt for injection blowmolding and film. Price

7

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

rose Eur20/mt compared to December, taking a cue from
the Eur15/mt increase in the January ethylene contract
price. Meanwhile, in Turkey, currency and political turmoil
led to reduced demand. “There is very limited buying
appetite. Converters do not want to take any big positions,”
one trader said. GCC offers were heard at $1,580-1,600/mt
CFR, subject to 6.5% duty. Iranian offers subject to 3% were
also heard at $1,580-1,600/mt CFR. Prices were assessed
at $25/mt lower, at $1,625-1,630/mt CFR for all grades,
respectively. While offers from eastern Europe were heard at
Eur1,230-1,240/mt CFR. In production news, France’s Total
restarted its 525,000 mt/year Gonfreville steam cracker in
France Monday, sources said. Total would not comment.
The cracker was shut by strikes, which hit all five of Total’s
French refineries in mid-December, taking out 1 million
b/d of refining capacity; the strikes ended by December
27. Sources said the force majeure on HDPE supplies had
been lifted. “They have said there will still be delays on
PE deliveries from the site. We are being serviced by their
PE plants at Antwerp,” one converter said. In other news,
Dow Chemical’s sales in packaging and specialty plastics
improved across all regions, except Europe, in OctoberDecember 2013, the company said in its fourth quarter and
full year earnings Wednesday, as the company’s revenue
share from Europe continued to decline. The company
attributed Europe’s relatively poor performance to the
shutdown of its 190,000 mt/year HDPE plant in Tessenderlo
in 2013 as part of a major restructuring plan, which was
meant to shed poor-performing assets.

Africa
Polyethylene demand in Africa continued to be
characterized as cautious. However, as sellers were unwilling
to lower offers, the market was in a stalemate, leading
to a sideways movement of prices this week. LLDPE and
HDPE were assessed stable at $1,562.50/mt and $1,557.50/
mt, respectively. LDPE was down $10/mt on the week
to $1.622.50/mt CFR. “Demand is slow. Converters are
cautious with prices in Europe and China slipping. GCC
sellers will still try to increase prices,” one trader said,
pegging prices for LDPE, LLDPE and HDPE at $1,600/
mt CFR. Sabic nominated its February CP for LLDPE at
$1,580/mt FD UAE, up $30 from January. The Riyadh-based
company nominated LDPE CP for February at $1,650/mt
FD UAE, up $10 from January, sources said. HDPE film was
nominated at 1,550/mt FD UAE, up $20 from January.

United States
With January high density polyethylene contracts heard
stable for the month, market sources were firmly focused
on February and the proposed 4 cents/lb increases on the
table from major producers. January HDPE contracts for
blow molding were assessed at 79-80 cents/lb ($1,7421,764/mt) for delivered railcars, for injection at 79-80 cents/
lb ($1,742-1,764/mt) for delivered railcars and for highmolecular weight film at 82-83 cents/lb ($1,808-1,830/
mt) for delivered railcars. Market sources have expressed

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

confidence that all — or at least a portion — of the increase
would be pushed through since announcements began
coming out in late December. Sources have pointed to
strong domestic demand for HDPE, along with higher
feedstock ethane and ethylene costs as factors that are
working in producers’ favor. Sources also said this week’s
force majeure announcement by Ineos on PE from
its Battleground Manufacturing Complex in La Porte,
Texas, would strengthen producers’ positions because of
additional tightness it could bring to the market. In a
letter to customers that was obtained by Platts, Ineos told
customers that it was “diligently working to repair its
manufacturing equipment in an effort to return production
capacity to normal levels as quickly and safely as possible.”
Export prices were relatively stable week on week, with
buy interest in export destinations like Latin America and
Asia heard lower. Market sources said there was limited
interest from China ahead of the Lunar New Year. A trader
source described Brazilian buy interest as “medium” with
sources pointing to a weakening real against the US dollar
as a factor. HDPE blow molding was assessed Wednesday
at $1,554/mt FAS Houston, up $11/mt week on week.
Domestic product was heard tougher to find, with railcars
pegged in the 68 cents/lb range. Prices to Latin America
were pegged in the $1,630-$1,650/mt CFR range. HDPE
injection was assessed at $1,554/mt FAS Houston, stable
week on week. Sources pegged hopper car pricing around
the 68 cents/lb range, with prices to Latin America pegged
on par with blow molding. HMW Film was assessed at
$1,576/mt FAS Houston, down $11/mt, with hopper car
prices pegged in the 68-70 cents/lb range. Deals to South
America were heard at $1,670/mt CFR Brazil.

Asia
Asian high density polyethylene prices were stable this
week ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. HDPE-film was
assessed at $1,545/mt CFR Far East Asia, $1,555/mt CFR
Southeast Asia and $1,550/mt CFR South Asia Wednesday,
all unchanged from January 22. Sources said most
converters had shut for the holiday, and market activity
was thin. Deals were heard done late last week at $1,5401,550/mt CFR China. “Everyone is on a holiday mood
— nobody is talking business,” said a Chinese trader. In
Southeast Asia, market activities were similarly thin with
Vietnam out of the market since Tuesday for a holiday.
Middle Eastern cargoes were heard offered at $1,560/
mt CFR Southeast Asia amid thin buying. In South Asia,
Middle Eastern suppliers have offered $1,540-1,550/mt
CFR India since late last week. Deals were heard concluded
at $1,540-1,550/mt CFR India. Sources said demand was
firm amid tight supply in the local market due to plant
shutdowns. The UAE’s Borouge has begun starting units
at its Phase 3 complex at Ruwais, a company source said
Tuesday. The Borouge-3 consists of a 1.5 million mt/
year ethane cracker, 1.08 million mt/year polyethylene
plant, 350,000 mt/year LDPE plant and 960,000 mt/
year polypropylene plant. Construction was completed

8

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

in December. “We are starting all the plants one by one.
Since Borouge-3 is a large-capacity complex, all the plants
are expected to begin commercial operations only by end2014,” the source said.

Latin America
As the end of January approaches, market participants in
Latin America were cautious to purchase material. Many of
them were waiting for February settlements. Overall, the
HDPE market was stable. In Brazil, HDPE film increased
$10/mt, assessed at $1,665-$1,675/mt CFR basis. Multiple
traders and buyers said market price for film was at
$1,670-$1,690/mt, from Thailand, the US, Middle East and
South Korea. A 200 mt deal from Thailand was traded at
$1,670/mt CFR basis for March delivery, which is outside
Platts’ methodology for delivery time. Thus, it was not
used in the assessment. A 100 mt offer from the US was
heard at $1,670/mt CFR Brazil for March, but like the
deal from Thailand, it is outside Platts’ methodology for
delivery time, and thus, it was not used in the assessment.
However, a second Brazilian trader said that the selling
price from Thailand was heard at $1,690/mt CFR Brazil
and from the US were heard at $1,675/mt CFR Brazil. The
HDPE blowmolding assessment rose $15/mt to $1,635$1,645/mt CFR Brazil. An US trader that sells material
to Latin America said the market price was at $1,640$1,650/mt CFR Brazil, for product from the US, Thailand,
Middle East and South Korea. Injection grade was stable
week on week at $1,635-$1,645/mt as market prices for
products from the US, Middle East and Asia were heard
at $1,640-$1,650/mt CFR Brazil. “It does make sense that
the market has been relatively stable,” the US trader said.
“One thing we need to keep a close eye on is that with
China entering New Year celebration and therefore not
active for the next 20 days, what are suppliers, especially
in [South] Korea, the Middle East and India going to do
as they were constantly selling into China at high prices.
Maybe the surplus of availability will translate into lower
price for Latin America.” In Peru, all three HDPE grades
remained flat, amid thin market activity. HDPE film was
assessed at $1,665-$1,675/mt CFR Peru. Offers from India
were heard at $1,650-1,660/mt CFR basis, while South
Korean sellers were heard offering film at $1,680/mt CFR.
All the offers were set for cash in advance payment, which
does not meet Platts’ methodology for credit terms. Thus,
they were not used in the assessment. HDPE injection
was assessed flat at $1,635-$1,645/mt CFR Peru. HDPE
blowmolding was assessed at $1,620-$1,630/mt CFR Peru.
For both grades, neither deals nor bids were heard in the
market. In the Brazilian export market, the assessment for
the HDPE grades remained flat week on week. However,
sources from the Mercosur region and Braskem said
prices might increase for February. HDPE blowmolding,
film and injection were assessed at $1,580-$1,590/mt
FOT Brazil. Platts’ FOT basis assessments do not include
freight, insurance or other costs. Braskem’s official price
for January was at $1,722/mt on a basis equivalent to

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

FOT, according to a company source. Braskem deals in
Uruguay were heard at $1,720-$1,750/mt CFR Uruguay.
In Paraguay, HDPE offers from Braskem for January were
heard at $1,740/mt CIF (cost, insurance and freight)
Paraguay. A Uruguayan trader said Dow was selling HDPE
at $1,780/mt CFR Uruguay.

Polypropylene

Europe
An initial Northwest Europe February contract price for
propylene was settled at Eur1,130/mt ($1,543/mt) FD NWE
Wednesday, industry sources said, which represented a
rollover from January. The settlement was between Shell
as seller and DSM as buyer; DSM and Shell were not
immediately available to confirm. The rollover in price
for the initial propylene settlement came as the market
was characterized as tight, despite the fall in naphtha. The
spot price closed Wednesday at Eur1,127.5-1,132.5/mt FD
NWE, trading at par with the contract price. On December
20, when the January propylene contract price settled,
naphtha was priced at $962.25/mt CIF NWE; naphtha has
since fallen, assessed at $914.25/mt CIF NWE Wednesday.
European polypropylene spot prices fell this week to close
Wednesday at Eur1,240-1,245/mt FD NWE. The drop in price
was attributed to a wait-and-see approach for customers in
anticipation of February prices, sources said. “The general
attitude is that they are going to wait; they are buying hand
to mouth,” one trader said; another trader echoed these
views, adding: “Demand is definitely weak; not in the sense
that no one is buying, but in the sense they are waiting
and watching.” Meanwhile, a third trader said demand was
fairly good, but not as high as anticipated for January. In
turn, stable demand meant there were no issues obtaining
material, sources said. “I do see some spot quantities running
around. It is not big volumes; there is not some sort of
oversupply, but there are some quantities on the market,”
one trader said. In terms of contract prices, gross values
were assessed at Eur1,425-1,430/mt FD NWE. One converter
said he saw the climb in contract prices in line with the
monomer contract rise compared to the previous month,
adding: “There is not a good argument why there should be
more [of an increase]”; however, another converter noted:
“It appears to be there was enough demand in the market to
get a little bit more than the monomer.” Elsewhere, a third
converter said their demand had been less than expected and
that customers were “waiting to see what happens.” Another
producer also shared the view of less-than-expected demand,
and said: “January is a little slower than previous years.” The
producer added this was due to caution in buying interest,
which stemmed from a lack of clarity on price expectations
for February. In contrast, another producer believed it had
been better than expected, and said that, at the beginning
of the month, order intake was slow, adding: “But after the
first week, the order intake really picked up, and demand for
January was very healthy. We are very happy.”

9

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

Africa
North African polypropylene spot prices closed Wednesday
at $1,565-1,570/mt CFR. One trader said prices were
perceived as high in the market, which led to some market
participants adopting a “wait-and-see-attitude.” Another
trader said there were offers in the market, but there was
“no buying taking place.” In other news, Sabic settled its
February Middle East contract price for polypropyleneraffia at $1,570/mt FD UAE, up $20 from January, sources
close to negotiations said Wednesday. The company
also settled the February Middle East contract price for
its polypropylene injection at $1,570/mt FD UAE, up
$20 from January, sources said. Oman Oil Refineries
and Petroleum Industries Company settled its February
Middle East contract price for polypropylene-injection and
polypropylene-raffia at $1,570/mt FD UAE, up $30 from
January, sources close to negotiations said Wednesday.
Orpic settled its February Middle East contract price for
PP-film at $1,590/mt FD UAE, also up $30 from January.

United States
Steady-to-weaker spot feedstock prices could slow or even
halt the upward momentum seen on polypropylene to
start the year, sources said Wednesday. With an initial
nomination for February contract polymer-grade propylene
calling for a 1-cent/lb ($22/mt) hike over January earlier this
week, polypropylene prices appeared to face less of a cost
push than originally anticipated, and certainly less than what
was seen for December and January, when PGP contracts
rose 4 cents/lb each of the months, sources said. Domestic
contract prices for January rose at least 5 cents/lb ($110/mt)
on feedstock push and a margin expansion negotiated by
producers. Homopolymer injection prices for January were
assessed by Platts at 84.50-85.50 ($1,863-$1,885/mt) cents/lb
delivered-railcar, with fiber grade assessments maintaining a
1-cent/lb premium at 85.50-86.50 cents/lb delivered railcar.
The bulk of the increase (4 cents/lb) came from a similar rise
on contract PGP for the month, while the margin expansion
was estimated by sources and confirmed by one producer
source at 1 cent/lb. Spot PGP prices have been stable to lower
in recent weeks, last assessed by Platts on Friday at 71.50
cents/lb and heard offered Wednesday at 72 cents/lb for
February delivery. By contrast, January PGP contracts settled
at 74.50 cents/lb, leading some sources on the olefins and PP
sides to believe a rollover or a small downward movement
could be seen for the coming month. Other sources have in
recent weeks expressed concern about the upcoming cracker
turnarounds — the first of which begin in March — and
what that could mean for feedstock availability and pricing.
One source with a major distributor described demand
during January as decent but slower than anticipated. He
said he was unsure whether the PGP nomination, which was
more measured than some expected, would spark buyers to
return to the market next month. In exports, opportunities
remained limited because of the high pricing levels relative
to other regions, sources said. The comment echoed the
sentiment from at least one distributor in Mexico, who last

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

week said buy interest was minimal at the levels offered. On
Wednesday, 90-mt volume of homopolymer general-purpose
IM 20 was offered at 83 cents/lb ($1,830/mt) FOB Houston in
bags via the Houston Mercantile Exchange, while two railcars
of raffia-grade polypropylene were heard bid at 80 cents/lb
($1,764/mt) La Porte-Packwell basis. No deals, and no other
offers or deals were heard by close of assessment. The FAS
Houston assessment for homopolymer grades stable week on
week at $1,786-$1,808/mt, with the co-polymer assessment
maintaining its 1-cent/lb premium at $1,808-$1,830/mt FAS
Houston in thinly traded markets and amid stable-to-lower
feedstock costs.

Asia
Tightness in the downstream markets in South and
Southeast Asia pushed polypropylene prices $5-10/mt
higher this week, while the Far East Asia marker remained
unchanged over the same period. The PP raffia/injection
marker was assessed at $1,550/mt CFR Southeast Asia
Wednesday, up $10/mt week on week, while the CFR
South Asia marker was assessed at $1,535/mt, up $5/mt
over the same period. Gains in those two markets were not
reflected in the Far East, as the Lunar New Year holidays
has dampened trading interest keeping polypropylene flat
at $1,485/mt CFR Far East Asia. Spot polypropylene offers
and bids on a CFR China basis were scant amid lower
manufacturing activity in the pre-holiday period, sources
said. Amid thin trading in China, sellers were looking to
Southeast Asia where supply shortage had pushed prices
upwards. Two spot deals were heard done at $1,560-1,570/
mt on a CFR Vietnam and CFR Philippines basis, traders
said. The strength in South and Southeast Asia was most
visible in Pakistan, where tight supply brought bids up to
$1,560/mt from one participant, traders said. The supply
shortage is mainly due to maintenance taking place at UAE
Borouge’s two polypropylene plants — belonging to its
Borouge-1 and Borouge-2 complexes — one regional source
said. The two plants have a total PP capacity of 880,000
mt/year. UAE-based trade sources said the PP plants are
undergoing a six-seven-week annual maintenance that
began in end-December. “The company did not offer PP
into the Middle East markets for January,” a Dubai-based
trader said. Borouge currently produces 1.5 million mt/
year of ethylene, 1.11 million mt/year of polyethylene and
800,000 mt/year of polypropylene under its Borouge-1
and Borouge-2 projects at Ruwais. Propylene was assessed
at $1,385/mt FOB Korea and $1,445/mt CFR China
Wednesday, both unchanged from Tuesday. Biaxially
oriented polypropylene prices strengthened week on week
in Southeast and South Asia, while remaining flat in Far
East Asia at $1,575/mt, $1,560, and $1,505/mt, respectively
Wednesday. Inflated polypropylene film prices followed
the same price movements at $1,560/mt, $1,565/mt and
$1,505/mt, respectively. Block copolymer prices remained
flat in Far East Asia at $1,530/mt, while gaining $5/mt in
Southeast Asia at $1,590/mt and strengthening by $20/mt
in South Asia at $1,580/mt.

10

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

Latin America
Market participants in Latin America were closely watching
the price movements in Asia, mainly because of the lower
demand in China, due to the celebrations of the Lunar
New Year. “As China is not buying so much from South
Korea, for instance, we might have more offers towards
Latin America,” a Peruvian buyer said. In Brazil, co-polymer
decreased $35/mt, assessed at $1,650-$1,660/mt CFR Brazil,
pressured lower by Middle Eastern market prices. “Material
from Saudi Arabia is selling at $1,650-$1,660/mt towards
Latin America, including Brazil and Peru,” an US trader
said. “South Koreans are selling at $1,660,” the trader said.
However, a 200-mt deal was heard at $1,710, for delivery
in March, which is outside Platts’ window for delivery
terms. “With the anti-dumping approval against South
Korea and India, material from those countries is no longer
competitive for us. Saudi Arabia has now the best offers. I
honestly did not see co-polymer from Saudi Arabia below
than $1,700/mt,” a Brazilian trader said. Homopolymer
in Brazil also lowered $5/mt, assessed at $1,640-1,650/mt.
Market prices from India and Saudi-Arabia were heard at
$1,640-$1,660/mt. A 300-mt deal from Saudi Arabia was
heard higher, at $1,690/mt CFR Brazil. In Peru, co-polymer
decreased $30/mt, assessed at $1,650-$1,660/mt CFR Peru.
Deals from South Korea and Saudi Arabia were heard at the
same level as in Brazil: $1,650-$1,660/mt. The Peruvian
homopolymer assessment remained flat at $1,635-$1,645/
mt CFR Peru. Offers from India and Saudi Arabia were
heard at $1,640-$1,660/mt, while Chile and South Korea
were heard selling material higher at $1,680/mt and Brazil
was heard selling material at $1,700/mt CFR Peru. In the
export market, the assessments were flat week on week.
Homopolymer was assessed at $1,600-$1,610/mt FOT Brazil
and co-polymer was assessed at $1,620-1,630/mt FOT Brazil.
Braskem’s official January price for PP was at $1,736/mt on
a basis equivalent to FOT, according to a company source.
Braskem was heard selling PP homopolymer in Uruguay
at $1,720/mt and co-polymer at $1,740-$1,750/mt CFR
Uruguay, a local distributor said. In Paraguay, sources said
Braskem was offering PP at $1,770/mt CIF (cost, insurance
and freight) Paraguay.

Polystyrene

Europe
The consensus in the general purpose European polystyrene
market was for a January contract settlement of Eur1,595/
mt FD NWE, an increase of Eur30/mt over December
contracts. Sources reported increases of Eur30-40/mt from
December contracts. “I can only indicate some settlements
toward Feb in the range of Eur30/mt. January settled at
Eur35-45/mt, [but] it is probably [closer to] Eur35-40/mt,”
one producer said, adding: “From a cost point of view, it
was satisfactory, but in December we would have liked
better pricing. Market-wise, it has been a decent month for
us. We are pretty close to our expected planned numbers

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

on orders. Good balance and ok demand.” Consumers also
agreed January increases within the Eur30-35/mt range.
With January business completed, the focus of attention
in the market switched to February and the feedstock
settlements. European styrene margins were under pressure
this week as a perception of oversupply was seen in the
market and, as benzene prices climbed, margins fell
below the $250/mt level most producers would consider
breakeven level. The NWE spot styrene price for February
and March loading material was assessed Wednesday at
$1,675/mt in early Wednesday trading session. Benzene
was assessed at $1,448/mt CIF ARA. This implied a further
reduction in margins to $227/mt, considered below breakeven cost levels. Given this, previous bullish indications
for the February styrene contract price were tempered
with indications heard for a rollover or a slight increase
over January, according to market sources. In terms of the
HIPS market, sources may face a slight increase in cost
pressures due to the rise in the February contract prices. The
European butadiene contract for February initially settled at
Eur945/mt FD NWE ($1,291/mt). In upstream production
news, France’s Total restarted its 600,000 mt/year styrene
plant in Gonfreville, France, a company source said
Wednesday. The force majeure on styrene supplies out of
the site, initially declared in the second half of December,
remained in place, a source said. “The plant is running, but
not yet at a nominal rate,” the source added, estimating the
force majeure could be lifted in early February. The cracker
was also running, the source confirmed, although run rates
were not clear. Both the cracker and the styrene unit were
shut by strikes, which hit all five of Total’s French refineries
in mid-December, but the strikes ended by December 27.
The restart of the styrene unit in Gonfreville would likely
have a bearish impact on the European styrene market,
which already felt heavy at the prompt, according to
market sources. EPS market participants were also looking at
similar cost pressures for February, and the January contract
price was settled at a Eur20-30/mt increase. One producer
remarked that, despite improvements in demand for
polymers, demand in Italy had been quite depressed.

Africa
Although North African spot prices were assessed
unchanged this week, attention switched to February and
the feedstock evolution. One source cited steady price
evolution for forthcoming styrene contracts, with demand
equally stable, adding: “My feeling is we should move to a
rollover for February and that this is an indication, as we
do not have an official increase for Feb.” The same source
noted some European export pricing in the region could
be seen as high as Eur1,480-1,500/mt, with a Eur100/
mt increase for high impact prices. Another source said
that economic woes were afflicting Turkey, adding: “One
important factor is that the Turkish market is under
pressure, in terms of demand, because of the depreciation
of the Turkish Lira over the past couple of days and in
terms of duties; the domestic market for sales for European

11

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

manufacturers.” Meanwhile, Asian general purpose
polystyrene prices fell $15/mt this week to $1,800/mt CFR
China and $1,830/mt CFR Southeast Asia Wednesday.

United States
February polystyrene domestic contract prices could
head higher as the three major producers announced
price increases. Americas Styrenics, Styrolution and Total
Petrochemicals and Refining will implement a 5 cents/
lb price increase on all grades of polystyrene, effective
February 1, according to separate letters the companies sent
to customers over the last week. In its letters, Styrolution
cited “increases in costs associated with the manufacture
and distribution of polystyrene resins” as the reason. The
increases were expected due to higher feedstock styrene
and benzene prices in February, sources said. Styrene rose
to a five-year high at 80 cents/lb FOB USG January 16,
tracking higher feedstock benzene, which rose to a record
high of 553 cents/gal FOB USG January 15 because of shortcovering and low inventories, sources said. Styrene was
last assessed at 77.50 cents/lb FOB USG Wednesday, a rise
of a half-cent on the week, while benzene was assessed at
513 cents/gal FOB USG, a gain 7 cents on the week. The
February increases will follow a 6-cents/lb increase that
was accepted into the market for January. US polystyrene
prices have risen 10 cents since November as increases of
4 cents/lb were implemented in December. A buyer source
said the increases were “not good”, while another source
said the increases could lead to demand destruction in the
US polystyrene market. However, another buyer source said
the price increases are cost-driven because of the higher
benzene prices, and once the benzene prices fall off, which
could happen as early as February, polystyrene prices
should follow it lower. Several sources were concerned
about the increases taking place so early in the year.
Polystyrene demand normally picks up in March and April
ahead of the summer polystyrene season. US domestic
polystyrene contract prices for January were assessed at
record-high levels of 120-122 cents/lb delivered railcar for
general-purpose polystyrene and 130-132 cents/lb delivered
railcar for high-impact polystyrene Wednesday. Supply in
the market was described as tight, while demand was heard
steady to a bit stronger due to some pre-buying ahead of
the increases. In the export market, GPPS and HIPS were
assessed steady at $1,925/mt FAS Houston and $2,020/mt
FAS Houston, respectively, as no new offers were heard out
of the US this week.

Asia
GPPS: Asian general purpose polystyrene prices fell $15/
mt this week to $1,800/mt CFR China and $1,830/mt
CFR Southeast Asia Wednesday. A deal for a 500-mt cargo
loading in February was heard traded recently at $1,800/
mt CFR China, a seller said. There was talk of offers below
$1,800/mt CFR China, but they could not be confirmed.
Domestic prices in the east of China were heard around
Yuan 12,600-13,600/mt this week, much lower than CFR

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

China prices and roughly $1,656-1,787/mt on an import
parity basis. Week on week, domestic prices were stable.
But feedstock styrene monomer shed $29.50/mt week on
week to $1,661.50/mt CFR China Wednesday. In supply
news, France’s Total Petrochemicals aims to start its new
200,000 mt/year polystyrene plant at Ningbo, eastern
China, in July, a source close to the company said Monday.
The plant consists of a single production line, which can
swing between making general purpose polystyrene or
high-impact polystyrene, the source said. Total also has a
200,000 mt/year polystyrene plant at Foshan, Guangdong,
consisting of a 100,000 mt/year swing line and another
100,000 mt/year high-impact polystyrene line. HIPS: Highimpact polystyrene was assessed flat week on week at
$1,850/mt CFR China and down $10/mt at $1,880/mt CFR
Southeast Asia Wednesday. Deals were reported to have
taken place recently at $1,850/mt CR China and $1,880/
mt CFR Southeast Asia. In addition to weaker feedstock
SM, co-feedstock butadiene slipped $25/mt week on week
to $1,480/mt CFR China Wednesday. Domestic prices in
the east of China were heard stable from last week at Yuan
13,400-13,900/mt, roughly $1,761-1,827/mt on an import
parity basis. EPS: Expandable polystyrene prices were
assessed unchanged from the previous week at $1,820/mt
for general purpose and $1,870/mt for fire retardant, both
on an FOB Northeast Asia basis. A major Chinese producer
reported selling cargoes at the assessed price this week.
Due to the Lunar New Year holiday starting later this week
in China, the market was thin as many participants were
away. China’s Jiangsu Leasty Chemical shut its 350,000 mt/
year expandable polystyrene plant at Jiangsu on January 10
for a planned turnaround and plans to restart it February
20, a source close to the company said this week.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene

Europe
Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene contracts settled at
Eur1,802/mt FD NWE, up Eur20/mt versus December
contracts. Sources reported finalizing contract business
as much as Eur30/mt higher. One distributor lamented
the demand weakness and fierce competition from Asian
producers. Sources said market demand in the southern
periphery countries was more depressed compared with
northwest Europe, and Italy was particularly impacted.
“LG and Kumho [offer a] cheaper price, so it is difficult to
do business with Asia with a Eur200/mt delta. Moreover,
material is suitable and available month-by-month,” a
source noted. However, one Northwest European producer
felt demand was not so depressed in southern Europe,
adding: “In ABS, we have seen a good performance in
January. Despite increased competition from LG and
Kumho, we are not seeing them in our markets. We do not
tend to confront them as some of our competitors seem to.
SAN and ABS are doing quite well; a steady increase across
all applications.” Attention was now switching to February

12

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

feedstock price negotiations, with the styrene contract due
to settle. The European butadiene contract for February,
which initially settled Tuesday at Eur945/mt FD NWE
($1,291/mt), gained support within the market, sources
confirmed Wednesday. The contract represented an increase
of Eur35/mt over the January CP of Eur910/mt, with two
producers and two consumers confirming the February
settlement. Another two producers said it would follow the
CP. Meanwhile, Asian prices were assessed at $1,940/mt
Wednesday for CFR China and CFR Southeast Asia as costs
remained high and demand sluggish. Sources said producers
were aiming to raise prices in anticipation of stronger
demand after the Lunar New Year holiday, with offers at
$1,950-1,990/mt CFR China.

United States
The US acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene assessment was
stable week over week at 125 cents/lb delivered railcar
Wednesday despite higher feedstocks. ABS prices have been
talked in the mid-120s cents/lb delivered. A source said they
were seeing no change in the market. Sabic will implement
a 4 cents/lb increase on its ABS resins, effective February
15, according to a letter sent to customers in mid-January.
That increase followed 4 cents/lb hikes by the other three
producers in January, which sources said was accepted into
the market. Supply continued to be heard available in the
market as demand was characterized as flat. In feedstocks,
styrene rose a half-cent on the week to a Wednesday
assessment at 77.50 cents/lb FOB USG tracking feedstock
benzene, which rose 7 cents on the week, assessed at 513
cents/gal FOB USG Wednesday. Sources were waiting for
the February US benzene CP to settle as sources have said
the contract could possibly rise as high as 510 cents/gal.
ACN was rose $5/mt week over week Tuesday at $1,875/mt
FOB USG on tighter supply. Spot butadiene rose 3 cents on
the week, assessed at 69.50 cents/lb CIF USG Friday on tight
supply. February US butadiene CP nominations have been
heard 5-8 cents higher than January in a range from 60-65
cents/lb, sources said.

Asia
Asian acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene prices were flat from
last week, assessed at $1,940/mt Wednesday for both CFR
China and CFR Southeast Asia as costs remained high and
demand sluggish. Sources said producers were aiming to
raise prices in anticipation of stronger demand after the
Lunar New Year holiday, with offers at $1,950-1,990/mt
CFR China. However, deals were not happening at those
levels, but instead around $1,930-1,940/mt CFR China,
sources said. In China’s domestic market, ABS prices were
heard unchanged from the previous week at Yuan 14,20014,850/mt, or roughly $1,866-1,951/mt on an import parity
basis. On feedstock prices, acrylonitrile rose $20/mt week on
week to $2,000/mt CFR Far East Asia Tuesday. Key feedstock
styrene monomer, however, fell $29.50/mt week on week
to $1,661.50/mt CFR China Wednesday, and butadiene
shed $25/mt over the same period to $1,480/mt CFR China.

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

Based on those prices and a conversion cost estimated
around $280/mt, the estimated breakeven price of ABS
should be $1,998.90/mt, down $16.50/mt from last week.
In plant news, China’s Ningbo LG Yongxing Chemical has
lowered the operating rate of its 700,000 mt/year ABS plant
at Ningbo to 60-65% of capacity this week, from 75% last
week, due to the Lunar New Year holiday, a source close to
the company said late Monday. The company will likely
maintain the lower rate until February 6. The source said
downstream demand for ABS in China was expected to be
relatively weak in February as many end-users will likely
have a shortage of workers in the early part of the month.

Polyethylene Terephthalate

Europe
European prices for polyethylene terephthalate finished
January stable-to-higher from December levels as weak
demand combined with a lack of clarity over feedstocks
to leave the PET market relatively stable. Spot prices
were unchanged from a month ago at Eur1,125-1,130/mt
FD NWE and GBP940-945/mt FD UK. NWE prices were
unchanged week on week, while UK prices were down
GBP10/mt. NWE spot prices were mostly pegged in the
Eur1,120-1,130/mt range. Sources continued to report
higher prices in southern Europe based on relatively tighter
product availability [see related story], and some reported
January prices as high as Eur1,170/mt. UK spot was heard
traded at GBP940/mt, but offers were heard as low as
GBP930/mt. Freely negotiated contracts were assessed
Eur10/mt higher than the end of December, at Eur1,1351,140/mt FD NWE, while UK contracts were unchanged on
the month at GBP940-945/mt FD UK, as the pound/euro
exchange rates were stronger in January than December.
Overall, settlements ranged from a rollover to a Eur15/mt
increase from December. Weak demand demonstrated that
some producers continued to operate at reduced production
rates and there was potential to reduce further in the
absence of a demand recovery. “We are ready to reduce
[production further] if sales stay low,” one producer said.
Import competition remained low, but further falls in Asian
prices [see Asian assessment] and persistent strength in the
euro and the pound, relative to the dollar, meant imports
remained a threat, while some low-priced deals were
reported booked for March arrival. In feedstock news, there
was still no final settlement reported on the paraxylene
European contract price for January, following an initial
settlement earlier this month at Eur1,067/mt FD NWE, up
Eur12/mt from December. “The raw material uncertainty
is making us worry. The Eur1,067 was ridiculous,” one
PET producer said. Meanwhile, negotiations for the
February Asian CP for PX ended with no settlement, but
nominations and counter-bids indicated a decline. Sources
had also not reported a settlement on the January ECP for
MEG by Wednesday’s close. Sources expected PET prices
to decrease in February as a result of lower feedstock costs.

13

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

“If there is a decrease in feedstocks, I think producers will
have to pass that on, even if it is small. I do not think there
is much demand,” one converter said. RPET: Price for clear
hot wash flake were also roughly stable in January, but
some slight declines were heard in the UK. NWE prices were
assessed at Eur880-885/mt FD, unchanged from December,
although regional differences persisted. German prices
were heard ranging from Eur850/mt to Eur880/mt, while
Spanish prices were heard in the Eur900-950/mt range,
and French prices were generally somewhere between the
two. In addition, sources expected an increase in German
prices of around Eur20/mt in February, because pressure
from higher feedstock costs and tight margins might force
recyclers’ hands. Sources also noted availability of flake in
all regions may tighten in February. The regional difference
in prices, combined with the strength of the pound,
improved potential for imports of flake into the UK. “The
pound is holding up pretty well, and European material
is pretty competitive,” one UK converter said. Given this,
some converters opted to focus on flake from NWE for UK
conversion. “I pay a little bit extra for freight, but it is still
cheaper than the UK flake,” another converter said. The
desire for imports from the Continent was also amplified
by quality concerns. “We have got issues with trays at
the moment. The proportion [of trays in UK bales] spikes
at this time of year, to 20%, from 12-14% the rest of the
year, because of seasonal decline in bottle consumption we
think,” one recycler said.

US
Industry sources said US polyethylene terephthalate
contracts were likely to see little movement when Janaury
settlements are finalized, citing minimal changes to the
prices of feestock PTA. Contracts were assessed at 83.7584.71 cents/lb US railcar ($1,846-1,868/mt) following
December settlements, which were also flat. The formuladerived January US PTA price was set at 59.9 cents/lb
($1,321/mt), down 0.18 cent/lb from December. US MEG
contracts for fiber and PET makers rose in January, assessed
at 49.75 cents/lb ($1,097/mt) based on North American
and Asian producer discounts for large volume buyers. It
takes 0.87 pound of PTA and 0.34 pound of MEG to make
a pound of PET. There was talk that February PET contracts
could move lower, with market sources saying that
feedstock prices are expected to decline — possibly by 1.5-2
cents/lb. However, sources said the market appeared to be
seeking clarity on where US PX contracts, the key variable
used to set the PTA price, were likely to settle. Sources told
Platts this week that negotiations for the Asian PX contract

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

price for February ended without major settlement. US
MEG contracts were expected to move lower in February,
with sources pointing to February ACP nominations that
were down $30-40/mt. US West Coast spot PET prices were
assessed Wednesday at $1,598/mt DDP US West Coast (72.5
cents/lb), unchanged week on week, with sources saying
delivered prices would probably begin to move lower as
cheaper product from Asia began arriving on the West
Coast. Prices in Asia were heard falling ahead of the Lunar
New Year, assessed Wednesday at $1,285/mt FOB Northeast
Asia and $1,320/mt FOB Southeast Asia, both down $10/mt
week on week.

Asia
The Asian polyethylene terephthalate market remained
weak Wednesday with the FOB Northeast Asia and FOB
Southeast Asia markers assessed down $10/mt week on
week to $1,285/mt and $1,320/mt, respectively. The Asian
PET market was under pressure because of a demand lull
ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays as well as a falling
paraxylene market. On Wednesday, the CFR Taiwan/
China PX benchmark fell $5/mt week on week to be
assessed at $1,315/mt Wednesday. “Because of falling PX
values, buyers [have] decided to take a wait-and-see stance,
expecting prices to fall further in the Asian PET market,”
said a trading source. Trading was sluggish this week with
the Lunar New Year holidays starting from January 31. This
week, an offer was heard at $1,290/mt FOB China. No offers
were heard basis FOB Korea as most South Korean producers
have sold out their February cargoes. Looking forward,
market participants said that the bearish sentiment would
continue in the Asian PET market due to high inventories
especially in China. Chinese PET producers have slashed
their PET run rates to 60% but inventory levels were still
hovering at high levels, according to market sources.
Meanwhile, the Asian PET margin fell this week, amid
relatively steady feedstock values — purified terephthalic
acid and monoethylene glycol. On Wednesday, the CFR
China PTA price inched up $1/mt week on week to be
assessed at $955/mt, while the CFR China MEG value fell
$1/mt week on week to be assessed at $1,003/mt. The
Asian PET margin was calculated at minus $27.32/mt
Wednesday compared with minus $16.80/mt the previous
week in Northeast Asia, while the margin in Southeast Asia
narrowed to plus $7.68/mt compared with plus $18.20/
mt over the same period. In related news, South Korea’s TK
Chemical is running its PET plants at 100%. TK Chemical’s
three PET plants in Gumi have a combined production
capacity of 800,000 mt/year.

14

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

january 29, 2014

Polymer Feedstocks: Olefins
Polymer Feedstocks – Ethylene

Polymer Feedstocks – Ethylene Glycol Assessments (cont...)

Europe

US (¢/lb)


FD NWE (Eur/mt)
CIF NWE ($/mt)
CIF MED ($/mt)

Spot Friday
974.50-948.50
1260-1265
1260-1265

Monthly Contract Price (Jan):

Weekly Average
952.5-957.5
1286.0-1291.0


1240-1240 FD NWE (Eur/mt)

US (¢/lb)

FD USG

Spot Friday
58.500-59.000

Posted Contract Price (JAN ):
Net Contract Price (JAN ):

Weekly Average
57.781-58.281

NA-NA Delivered
NA-NA Delivered

Asia ($/mt)

FOB Korea
CFR SE Asia
CFR NE Asia

Spot Friday
1399-1401
1419-1421
1469-1471

Weekly Average

1450.0-1452.0
1516.0-1518.0

Asian ethylene spot assessments reflect LC 0-30 days. CFR SEA = CFR Indonesia/Thailand.

Polymer Feedstocks – Propylene
Europe (Eur/mt)


FOB USG A/F*

Spot Friday
45.00-46.00

Fiber Grade Monthly Contract Price (JAN ): 49.50-50.00 FOB USG
Asia ($/mt)

CFR China
CFR SE Asia

Spot Friday
Weekly Average
999-1001
1005.8-1007.8
1004-1006 (1)


MEG CP Nomination (JAN) – CFR Asia
MEGlobal: 1210
Sabic: 1200

Shell: 1200

(1) CFR SE Asia = CFR Indonesia.Note: *A/F denotes anti-freeze grade Asian ethylene glycol
assessments are basis L/C 90 days.

Polymer Feedstocks – Butadiene
Europe

FD NWE (Eur/mt)
FOB Rdam ($/mt)

Spot Friday
973-977
1313-1317

Butadiene Monthly Contract FD NWE JAN:

Poly Grade
FD NWE
CIF NWE
Chem Grade
FD NWE
CIF NWE
Poly Grade Monthly Contract Price (Jan):

Spot Friday
1127.5-1132.5
1127.5-1132.5

Weekly Average
1125.8-1130.8
1123.8-1128.8

Spot Friday
1085-1090
1045-1050

Weekly Average



Weekly Average
966-970
1297.2-1301.2

910-910 (Eur/mt)

US (¢/lb)

CIF USG

Spot Friday
69.00-70.00

Monthly Contract Price (Jan )

55-57

Asia ($/mt)

1130-1130

US (¢/lb)


Ref Grade
Poly Grade
Chem Grade

Spot Friday
dlvd USG
62.750-63.250
71.000-72.000
68.500-69.000

Weekly Average
dlvd USG
62.750-63.250



Poly Grade Contract Price (JAN ):
Chem Grade Contract Price (JAN ):

74.500-74.500 Delivered
73.000-73.000 Delivered


FOB Korea
CFR Taiwan
CFR SE Asia
CFR China

Spot Friday
Weekly Average
1464-1466
1474-1476
1489-1491
1459-1461 (1)
1489-1491
1499-1501

(1) CFR SE Asia = CFR Indonesia. *A/F denotes anti-freeze grade.

Platts Global Ethylene Prices ($/mt)

Asia ($/mt)

FOB Korea
CFR Taiwan
CFR SE Asia
FOB Japan
CFR China

Spot Friday
1384-1386
1404-1406
1329-1331
1369-1371
1444-1446

Weekly Average
1416.0-1418.0



1483.00-1485.00

Asian ethylene spot assessments reflect LC 0-30 days. CFR SEA = CFR Indonesia/Thailand.

Polymer Feedstocks – Ethylene Glycol Assessments
Europe

FCA NWE T2 (Eur/mt)
FD NWE T2 (Eur/mt)
CIF NWE T2 (Eur/mt)
CIF NWE T2 ($/mt)

Spot Friday
775-785
800-810
720-730
985-997

1600

1400

1200

CFR FE Asia ($/mt)
FD NWE (€/mt)
FAS Houston ($/mt)

1000

800
04-Sep

27-Sep

23-Oct

15-Nov

10-Dec

06-Jan

29-Jan

Notes: All olefin prices reflect assessments at close of previous Friday.
Monthly Contract Price (Jan ) – (Eur/mt)

NA-NA

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

15

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

Ethylene

Europe
European ethylene spot prices dropped Eur20/mt on the
week, to Eur950/mt FD NWE Friday, on a combination of
abundant supply and cautious buying in the derivative
polymer markets. This level was last seen on December 18.
Polyethylene prices softened this week as converters took
to the sidelines, citing plentiful inventories in the chain.
Meanwhile, naphtha recovered on the week, assessed at
$926/mt CIF NWE Thursday, compared to $895.75/mt a
week ago. The volatility in naphtha made February visibility
difficult, a source said, adding: “Crackers are running at
above 80% rates as propylene is short, not because margins
great.”. The spot propylene FD NWE price premium over
ethylene FD NWE rose to a 30-month high of Eur180
($244) Tuesday on tight propylene supply. In the ARG
pipeline, 7,000 mt was traded at Eur950/mt FD NWE this
week. Two buyers said more tonnes were available at the
same prices and lower. In the coastal market, meanwhile,
ample availability from the UAE put prices under pressure.
One buyer pegged February prices at $1,250/mt CIF NWE
and Med, while another pegged January prices at $1,2801,290/mt. CIF NWE and Med prices were assessed at
$1,260-1,265/mt, losing $55/mt on the week. In production
news, Total’s Gonfreville steam cracker remained offline
after an outage last month caused by strikes, sources
said Wednesday, adding that a force majeure was still in
place on some products. In mid-December, a strike hit
Total’s five French refineries, taking out 1 million b/d
of refining capacity, leading to force majeure on certain
high density polyethylene grade and polypropylene out of
Gonfreville. Total declined to comment. The cracker has
an ethylene capacity of 525,000 mt/year. In addition, the
745,000 mt/year Naphtachimie-operated steam cracker
at Lavera, France, will be at full capacity next week,
sources said Friday. The cracker, joint-owned by Ineos and
Total Petrochemicals, was shut after a fire in December
2012. It has been on reduced capacity since March 2013
following the start-up after the fire. Neither company was
immediately available to comment.

United States
US spot ethylene prices were assessed Friday at 58.5059.00 cts/lb FOB USG on a 3- to 30-day basis, an increase
of 2.375 cents week on week, as prices rose sharply Friday
afternoon amid talk of production issues and firmer
feedstock pricing. Several unconfirmed production issues
were being talked about in the market after freezing
temperatures hit the US Gulf Coast region late Thursday
and early Friday morning. Deals were heard in the
afternoon at 59.00 cents/lb MtB Wms for January and
58.50 cents/lb MtB Wms and 59.00 cents/lb MtB Wms
for February. Three Friday morning deals were heard at
57.75 MtB Wms for January; with bids heard at 56.750
cents/lb MtB Wms against offers of 58.250 cents/lb MtB
Wms. February offers were heard at 59 cents/lb MtB Wms

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

to open the day. The market was heard fairly steady
throughout the week after opening the week at 57.5058 cents/lb FOB USG on Tuesday, an increase of 1.375
from Friday’s assessment. Platts did not assess US markets
Monday because of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
holiday. January ethylene was heard traded for January at
57 cents/lb MtB Wms and 57.75 cents/lb MtB Wms, with
February deals heard at 57.75 cents/lb MtB Wms and 58
cents/lb MtB Wms. January bids were heard at 55 cents/
lb MtB Wms against offers at 59 cents/lb MtB Wms, with
February bids higher at 55.50 cents/lb MtB Wms with
offers at 59 cents/lb MtB Wms. The market remained
stable Wednesday before a slight increase Thursday
saw prices assessed of 57.625-58.125 cts/lb FOB USG an
increase of 0.125 cent as the market talked reported higher
February deals at a higher level. January ethylene was
heard bid at 55.00 cents/lb MtB Wms against offers at 58.5
cents/lb MtB Wms, with February bids higher at 56.00
cents/lb MtB Wms against offers of 58.50. A February deal
was heard Thursday at 58.25 cents/lb MtB-other, with
sources saying it was an indication that February could
trade higher. Choctaw-basis ethylene was offered at 70
cents/lb for February, with no bids heard. Deals were heard
Thursday after close of assessment for January ethylene
at 57.75 cents/lb MtB Wms and for February at 58 cents/
lb MtB Wms. Purity ethane assessments rose 9.25 cents/gal
week on week to close Friday at 42.5 cents/gal. In logistical
news, a section of a major pipeline connecting the Texas
market with Louisiana was expected to remain constrained
through April or May, or possibly later, multiple market
sources said. The issue has limited the flow of ethylene
into Louisiana, driving spot prices at the Choctaw hub
some 10 cents/lb higher than Mont Belvieu in Texas.
The issues have impacted the downstream polyethylene
market, where ExxonMobil maintained an FM at its Baton
Rouge PE plant. Downstream, US polyethylene contracts
were widely expected to settle flat for January, with
eyes turned to February, when major US producers were
pushing for a 4 cents/lb increase. The increase appeared
likely, multiple sources said, pointing to rising ethylene
costs and increased domestic demand as factors working
in producers favor. In industry news, Sabic wants to enter
the US shale gas based petrochemical industry this year,
and is in talks with major companies on the issue, Sabic’s
CEO Mohamed Al Mady told the media Wednesday
on the sidelines of World Economic Forum in Davos,
Switzerland. Al Mady did not name the companies Sabic is
in discussions with, but said he did not see his company
funneling any major investment in the US over the next
two to three years, instead was looking at 2017.

Latin America
The Argentine government announced plans to step up
investment in developing oil and natural gas supplies
from shale to improve the country’s petrochemical sector
this week. According to the government, the project will
help to boost feedstock supplies to expand production

16

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

capacity. From the six biggest polymer and plastic
producers, “at least two” have already started investment
plans for shale development, the Argentine government
said. With the additional supplies of gas, the government
added that petrochemical companies would be able to
increase production and expand capacity at their plants,
helping to reduce imports of gas, gas-based feedstock
and petrochemicals. The Latin markets remained calm
this week, with no spot deals, bids or offers heard. Two
weeks ago, shippers listed two export volumes out of
Argentina for January and early February. Dow, which
has ethylene and polyethylene production in Bahia
Blanca, was listed as the seller of the two volumes, one
for 2,200 mt aboard the Rheingas and the other for 4,400
mt aboard the Leonora Kosan, headed to Map ta Phut
and Europe, respectively, according to a shipping report.
Confirmation from Dow could not be obtained by time
of publication. In the US market, ethylene was assessed
Friday at 58.75 cents/lb ($1,295/mt).

Asia
Asian ethylene prices fell this week amid ample regional
supply and weak demand. The CFR Northeast Asia
marker was down $80/mt week on week and down
$35/mt day on day to $1,470/mt Friday, while CFR
Southeast Asia fell $65/mt week on week and $15/
mt day on day to $1,420/mt Friday. A deals was heard
concluded at $1,520-1,530/mt CFR China early this
week. Mid-week offers were heard at $1,510-1,520/
mt CFR China. Offers fell further to $1,480-1,500/mt
CFR China later in the week. Two deals were heard
concluded at around $1,480/mt CFR Northeast Asia
Thursday. Buying indications were heard at $1,4401,450/mt CFR Northeast Asia Friday. Early this week,
market sources said 30% more ethylene supply was
coming out of Ruwais, UAE, due to a shut olefins
conversion unit. Shipping sources said about 40,000
mt of ethylene was set to load from Ruwais in January
and February. The additional material was heard being
shipped to Europe later in the week. “Demand is weak
as affordability wasn’t there,” said a regional end-user.
“There is enough regional supplies to go around,” said
a Japanese trader. In Southeast Asia, offer indications
were heard at $1,450-1,460/mt CFR early in the week
but fell to $1,430/mt CFR by the end of the week.
Several end-users said there was little incentive to buy
spot material as they could find better prices locally,
especially on formulas fixed to feedstock naphtha
prices. “The contract price turns out to be quite
attractive due to low naphtha prices,” said an end-user.
Meanwhile, bid indications were heard at $1,400-1,415/
mt CFR Southeast Asia. Demand were similarly weak in
Southeast Asia due to affordability issues. And regional
supplies from Singapore and Malaysia pressured prices.
March ICE Brent crude futures were assessed at $107.74/
barrel at 4:30 pm Singapore time (0830 GMT) Friday,
down $0.24/b day on day and up $1.84/b week on week.

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

Ethylene Glycol

Europe
European monoethylene glycol spot prices were broadly
stable on week, while contract prices remained unsettled,
sources said Friday. Spot FCA prices rose slightly to traded
levels of Eur780/mt, a trade source said, up Eur5/mt on
week. However, freely delivered prices and CIF prices were
unchanged at Eur805/mt and Eur725/mt, respectively.
“Demand is low and prices are nearly stable,” the trade
source said. Meanwhile, one producer source added that
buyers were purchasing on a “hand-to-mouth basis”.
However, the contract market had not yet settled as
buyers and sellers remained on the sidelines, according to
a producer source, who said: “The expectations between
buyers and sellers are different.” Upstream, European
ethylene spot prices dropped Eur20/mt on the week, to
Eur950/mt FD NWE Friday, due to abundant supplies
and cautious buying in the derivative polymer markets.
However, naphtha prices posted a modest recovery and
were last seen rising to $926/mt CIF NWE Thursday,
compared to $895.75/mt a week ago. Downstream,
European prices for polyethylene terephthalate were
assessed stable to higher on the week Wednesday, as
demand remained subdued and ample supply was heard,
although producers were able to obtain increases as they
attempted to claw back margin. In other news, EU member
state officials met Thursday and Friday to discuss whether
to suspend taxes from July 1 on imports of MEG and
DEG. However, the European Commission press office was
unavailable for comment at time of press and no further
information was available on the matter.

United States
US barge prices for monoethylene glycol were talked lower
this week, but sources said there appeared to be little
activity for large cargoes, and exports did not make sense
on paper because of falling prices and weaker demand in
Asia ahead of the Lunar New Year. Even if there was interest
in barges, one source noted he was “not sure how they’d get
barges up the Mississippi with the extreme cold conditions
going on.” Sources said prices appeared to be softening a
little in the Gulf Coast. US spot MEG prices were assessed
Friday at 45-46 cents/lb FOB USG, down 1 cent week
on week with no confirmed deals. Asian market prices
continued to slide ahead of the holiday, falling another
$11/mt this week to $1,000/mt CFR China and $1,005/
mt CFR Southeast Asia, with inventories heard rising and
tank storage space at a premium. A US trader source said
there was talk in the market that shipments were on the
water, set to arrive in China following the Lunar New Year,
when prices and demand could rebound. “It’s a bad sign
that the tanks are so full,” the source said. No US producer
price announcements had been heard for February by time
of publication — an indication that prices would likely
fall, or remain at existing levels. US contracts for fiber
and PET makers were assessed at 49.75 cents/lb ($1,097/

17

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

mt) for January based on North American and Asian
producer discounts for large volume buyers. February ACP
nominations by two of the three producers — MEGlobal
and Sabic — were both down $30/mt for February, at
$1,180/mt CFR main port and $1,170/mt CFR, respectively.

Asia
Asian monoethylene glycol fell $11/mt week on week
to be assessed at $1,000/mt CFR China and $1,005/
mt CFR Southeast Asia Friday amid thin buying ahead
of the Lunar New Year Holidays. Prices were firmer on
Monday but have been on a downtrend since Tuesday.
Other than lackluster trading, prices were also under
pressure from weaker fellow fiber intermediate purified
terephthalic acid. Actively traded May PTA futures on the
Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange fell Yuan 74 ($12.13)/
mt week on week to Yuan 6,940/mt Friday. On Friday,
offers were heard at $1,002-1,005 with bids at $995/mt for
February arrival cargoes. East China’s MEG inventory rose
40,000 mt week on week to 984,000 mt Friday, sources
said. “Most tanks are full. There is hardly any tank space
left for incoming cargoes. Tanks owners are the biggest
winners,” said a Chinese trader. Meanwhile, China’s MEG
imports fell 3.4% month on month to 642,681 mt, while
2013 imports inched up 3.5% from 2012 to 8,246,257 mt,
data released by the General Administration of Customs
Wednesday showed. In other news, state-owned China
Petroleum and Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, settled its
January contract prices for fiber intermediates Yuan 300475/mt lower than the December levels, sources close to
the company said Thursday. Sinopec settled its January
paraxylene CP at Yuan 10,075/mt, down Yuan 475/mt
from December, while it settled its PTA CP for the same
month Yuan 465/mt lower than December at Yuan 7,170/
mt. The company settled its January MEG CP at Yuan
7,650/mt, down Yuan 300/mt from a month earlier. On an
import parity basis, the PX settlement value was calculated
at $1,394/mt, PTA at $950/mt and MEG at $1,024/mt.

Propylene

Europe
European spot propylene prices rose this week, closing
Friday at Eur1,127.5- 1,132.5/mt FD NWE. The tightness
in the propylene market prevailed this week, sources said.
“Sometimes, prices of a premium [to MCP] are offered
but not taken,” one buyer said; a trader echoed this view,
adding: “But no one seems to be able to afford higher prices
than the contract price.” In addition to supply issues in the
market, higher prices were also attributed to better demand,
sources said. “I think the demand in January is better than
expected,” one buyer said; another buyer said demand had
improved, adding: “[I] do not think underlying demand
has changed dramatically.” One producer said part of
the reason for tightness in supply was due to crackers
cracking propane, which yields less propylene. One

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

buyer agreed with this, but stated that, in regard to the
supply of propylene, there was not a “massive difference”
compared to using naphtha, and added: “It is one of the
contributing factors, but not the determining factor [in
the tight supply].” In terms of chemical grade, the market
was still regarded as being tight, according to sources.
One buyer pegged inland CGP prices in the range of 4-5%
discount to MCP. In the chemical grade market, prices were
assessed at Eur1,085-1,090/mt FD NWE; coastal values were
discussed at a discount to inland values at Eur1,045-1,050/
mt CIF NWE. In production news, the 745,000 mt/year
Naphtachimie-operated steam cracker at Lavera, France,
will be at full capacity next week, sources said Friday. The
cracker, jointly owned by Ineos and Total Petrochemicals,
was shut after a fire in December 2012. It had been on
reduced capacity since March 2013 following the start-up
after the fire. Neither company was immediately available
to comment. European polypropylene spot prices fell Eur5/
mt this week, to close Wednesday at Eur1,245-1,250/mt FD
NWE. The main reason for the decline was weaker demand,
sources said. “It is really, really quiet. I have the impression
customers are waiting until the beginning of February, and
it puts pressure on suppliers,” one trader said. European
acrylonitrile spot prices rose to a nine-month high this
week, to close Tuesday at $1,873 1,878/mt CIF Med, due
to tighter supply fundamentals, sources said. “I think the
main factor driving up prices is because acrylo producers
have lost so much money and decided to trim assets. [It is]
purely supply and demand,” one producer said.

United States
US spot refinery-grade propylene assessments rose 1 cent/
lb week on week to 62.50-63 cents/lb delivered Friday on a
3- to 30-day basis. Prices opened the week on a strong note
Tuesday, rising 1.375 cents/lb from last Friday to 62.87563.375 cents/lb delivered, as prices were talked higher as
feedstock propane trended upwards. Platts did not assess US
markets Monday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
A Monday deal was heard at 63.125 cents/lb. January
and February PGP were heard bid at 70 cents/lb against
offers at 73 cents/lb in a stable market. On Wednesday,
refinery-grade assessments dipped 0.375 cents to 62.5-63
cent/lb in a quiet market. January RGP was heard talked
Thursday in a range of 62-63.50 cents/lb, with no deals
by close of assessment. No February bids or offers were
heard. January PGP was heard bid at 70 cents/lb against
offers at 72.5 cents/lb, with February bid at 71 cents/lb
against offers of 72 cents/lb. No deals, bids or offers for
CGP were heard for the week, so the assessment was lower
by 0.55 cent/lb to 68.5-69.0 cents/lb to maintain a 3-cent/
lb discount to PGP. In feedstock news, Conway, Kansas,
spot January propane was seen trading at the $4.50/gal level
in morning trade Friday, easing from Thursday’s record
high just shy of $5/gal, likely indicating that prices had
peaked, although there was still firm support on weatherrelated demand that comes on top of low stocks. Sources
said the market was too volatile to predict, given the recent

18

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

spike in prices at the Midwestern hub not only in propane
but in E/P mix as well. In Mont Belvieu, January propane
prices were a touch weaker, although still seasonally high
on low stocks, and was assessed Friday at 151.5 cents/gal
non-LST Mt Belvieu, a decrease of 0.5 cent from Thursday.
Energy Information Administration data Thursday showed
stocks fell 3.3 million barrels for the week ended January
17 to 35.2 million barrels, higher than market expectations
of a 2.9 million-barrel decline. Sources said the rising
feedstock pricing was not having a large impact on the spot
propylene market, but could play a factor when contracts
are negotiated. Downstream, US polypropylene contract
prices rose for January rose at least 5 cents/lb ($110/mt) last
week on feedstock push and a margin expansion negotiated
by producers, sources said. Homopolymer injection prices
for January were assessed by Platts at 84.50-85.50 cents/lb
delivered-railcar, with fiber grade assessments maintaining a
1-cent/lb premium at 85.50-86.50 cents/lb delivered-railcar.
The bulk of the increase (4 cents/Lb) came from a similar
rise on contract PGP for the month, while the margin
expansion was estimated by sources and confirmed by one
producer source at 1 cent/lb. Expectations for February
contracts ranged from a rollover to an increase of 2 cents/lb
or more, according to sources.

Latin America
The summer rainy season in Brazil, which is flooding
urban areas in Sao Paulo and other regions, as reported
by local media, has not influenced propylene production
in Brazil, a source with Braskem said. “The rain has
not impacted our supply or demand. The market is
balanced,” the source said. As Latin American countries
follow US market trends, US refinery grade propylene
was assessed Friday at 63 cents/lb ($1,389/mt). This week,
Argentina’s petrochemical sector announced plans to
step up investment in developing oil and natural gas
supplies from shale plays like Vaca Muerta, helping to
boost feedstock supplies to expand production capacity,
the government said. The government added that the lack
of gas and other feedstocks has prevented petrochemical
companies from running plants at higher capacity.
By developing Vaca Muerta and other shale plays, the
petrochemical companies will have more feedstock to
increase production, helping to reduce the imports, the
government said. In Mexico, although parts of the country
have been hit by cold weather and rain, it also has not
impacted Pemex’ propylene production, a source with
Pemex said. Domestic prices have not changed. Chemicalgrade propylene in the Mexican domestic market was
heard at $1,418/mt delivered. Polymer-grade propylene
was heard at $1,665/mt delivered basis.

Asia
Decreased buying interest in China pushed propylene
prices lower this week to $1,445/mt CFR China and
$1,385/mt FOB Korea Friday, down $65/mt and $50/
mt, respectively, from last week. The lackluster demand

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

in China, Asia’s biggest buyer of propylene, brought
CFR China prices to their lowest level since October
14, when they were assessed at $1,430/mt, according
to Platts data. The upcoming Lunar New Year holiday
in late January, which typically slows production, has
placed a cap on demand, according to market sources.
Bids for cargo deliveries for February reached $1,440/mt
on a CFR China basis while offers have come down since
last week to $1,470/mt without getting executed, traders
said Friday. A prompt cargo was reported done at $1,430/
mt on a CFR China basis for late January arrival, but it
was not reflected in the assessment because it falls out of
Friday’s Platts assessment window of February 8-22. The
bearish sentiment expected by market participants due
to the Lunar New Year slowdown has now manifested
with ample supply, sources said. Adding to the regional
supply was Taiwan’s state-owned CPC, which earlier
this week began the process of restarting its No. 4 steam
cracker at Linyuan. The No. 4 steam cracker — which can
produce 380,000 mt/year of ethylene, 193,000 mt/year of
propylene and 58,000 mt/year of butadiene — was shut
October 11 for scheduled maintenance. Yet March offers
remained still higher than February, hovering around
$1,490-1,510/mt, traders said. The market contango is due
to scheduled plant turnarounds that are going into effect
from February to July, tightening supply. CPC plans to
shut its No. 6 steam cracker in Linyuan from February 10
to April 25 and its No. 5 steam cracker in Kaohsiung from
May 1 to July 29, according to a company source. The
No. 6 cracker can produce 600,000 mt/year of ethylene,
300,000 mt/year of propylene and 100,000 mt/year of
butadiene. The No. 5 cracker can produce 500,000 mt/
year of ethylene and 250,000 mt/year of propylene,
and it supplies crude C4 feedstock to an 80,000 mt/year
butadiene extraction unit at the site. The ample February
supply has spread into other regions, pushing Southeast
Asia and Taiwan propylene prices down $55/mt week on
week to $1,330/mt and $1,405/mt, respectively. Japan
propylene was assessed at $1,370/mt Friday, down $45/mt
from last week as a cargo was reported done at that level.
Middle Eastern cargoes were heard to be heading to Europe
as sellers search for higher prices, sources said. Market
participants expect propylene prices to continue to weaken
until workers in Chinese plants return from the holidays
around the second week of February.

Butadiene

Europe
European butadiene buying interest for balance January and
February loading material hit a 12-week high of $1,315/mt
FOB Rotterdam this week, up $55/mt from last week’s level
of $1,260/mt, on a combination of firm demand for exports
to the US and limited spot availability. No trades were
heard done either in the FOB or FD market. As February
prices were seen at 71 cents/lb, or $1,565/mt CIF USGC,

19

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

and Europe-US freight was at approximately $250/mt,
this would imply arbitrageurs could breakeven at around
$1,315/mt. One European producer reported receiving
Monday a “further bid at $1,300/mt FOB ARA from [the]
same US buyer [as last week]”; on Thursday, another said
buy interest had been as high as $1,350/mt from a US
buyer, but sources said there was not a single molecule
of butadiene available, much less so for prompt loading.
Another producer also received bids for export to the US
at the $1,300/mt level. In some instances, buyers were
looking to complete vessel space, according to the second
producer, who said: “[There is] some demand pull into the
US for a couple of reasons. If you are importing, you are
talking higher contracts and spot prices. [But] you won’t
get that yet.” Traders also saw these levels in Europe. “On
Friday, [I was] quite surprised at bids [from] US producers.
Late Friday, [I] got confirmation of bids at $1,300/mt.
If you load early February, you end up in February or
early March. US buyers are looking to February loading
[cargoes],” a trader said, adding he was surprised about US
buyers’ bullishness as the US January butadiene contract
had settled at an average of 56 cents/lb, but noted: “I
would pay $1,300/mt...because there is firm demand right
now for loading in February.” Trader sources said the rise
in demand was due to short-covering interest in the event
of production disruption when the US cracker turnaround
season began in March. Despite weak-to-stable demand,
US prices climbed on tightening supply, rising to an eightmonth high of 66.50 cents/gallon CIF US Gulf coast for
3-30 day delivered material. This assessment was based on
a January price of 62 cents/lb and a February price of 71
cents/lb. In the Asian market, spot CFR China parcels were
assessed unchanged at $1,505/mt. One source said global
sentiment was expected to strengthen further after the
Chinese Lunar New Year. “Quantities [are] being imported
into the Asia region. Some forecasts produced [say] that
after the Chinese New Year Chinese NE Asia was expected
to spike on replenishment. Meanwhile, two butadiene
producers noted there was a ready-made market for Europe
and US. “There are many people that [say that] BD will go
up very quickly. Consumers must be running on empty
to want spot BD material,” one synthetic rubber trader
said. Overall, sources were focused on February contract
price negotiations, and one trader source said producers
tabled nominations as high as Eur50-100/mt. The contract
was expected to be settled early next week. However,
butadiene price volatility was set to continue in 2014 as
the market staged a recovery primarily due to a delay in the
construction of butadiene projects, HSBC said Wednesday.
Several butadiene production projects were delayed in
2013 due to the slump in prices last year. In turn, in a
note, HSBC estimated a reduction in capacity growth of
3.5% in the next three years largely due to the delay in
Texas Petrochemicals’ 270,000 mt/year Houston project.
In addition, prices were expected to be supported by a 6%
capacity growth in synthetic rubber, up from a 5% estimate,
with the driver being solution styrene butadiene rubber in

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

2016, HSBC added in the research note. European crude C4
factors were assessed at 1.06 above CIF NWE naphtha cargo
prices, one factor point above last week’s level of 1.05.
The rise was driven by demand for butadiene extraction
in Europe and the US. Butadiene demand was was greatest
in the US, where a parcel was heard traded at 71 cents.
This represented a value of $1,565/mt and led butadiene
in Europe to climb $55/mt as US buyers were seen looking
for material. As butadiene was extremely limited in Europe,
sources said butadiene extraction rates also placed more
demand for crude C4 as cracker operating rates were
higher, at 85%, and US butadiene producers who could not
source butadiene were seen looking to import crude C4.
Although no spot deals were reported, sources saw the bid
offer range at 1.05-1.12. At the start of January, as prices
in Europe were at 61 cents and Europe at around $1,260/
mt FOB, sources said affordability kept prices closer to
parity with naphtha. However, as European and US prices
were higher, sources said this made factors above 1.03 and
1.04 more affordable. Meanwhile, the rise in demand for
butadiene extraction placed more pressure on raffinate-1
prices. The raffinate 1 factor fell to 1.165, down from last
week’s level of 1.22. Buy interest was seen at 1.15 this week.
European butadiene buying interest for balance January and
February loading material hit a 12-week high, to be assessed
at $1,315/mt FOB Rotterdam this week, up $55/mt from
last week’s level of $1,260/mt, on a combination of firm
demand for exports to the US and limited spot availability.
European raffinate-1 prices were assessed at a factor of
1.165 over CIF NWE naphtha cargoes, down from last
week’s level of 1.22, as sellers emerged amid oversupply.
No spot parcels were heard traded this week but one
trader said that offers had dropped to 1.17 by the end
of the week. Prices were under downward pressure this
week due to plentiful supply, which came from higher
butadiene extraction, market sources said. Platts assessed
the European raffinate-1 factor at 1.22 last week, but
sources said offers were now lower. “Offers [are] far below
1.20...from other producers,” one industry source said.
The source, a net consumer, noted bids this week were
seen at a factor of 1.15 over naphtha CIF NWE cargoes,
and said: “I have been offered extra raffinate-1,” adding
that butadiene extraction rates had risen. Raffinate-1 is
produced by extracting butadiene from crude C4. The
rise in butadiene extraction rates in Europe and, in turn,
output of raffinate-1, was due to butadiene demand for
use both within Europe and for export to the US. In the
US, demand for butadiene has led European prices to
jump $55/mt since last Friday, to be assessed at $1,315/
mt FOB ARA, up $25/mt from Wednesday and a rise of
$55/mt on the week. As US prices for February climbed to
71 cents/gal, or $1,565/mt CIF USGC, and as freight from
Europe to the US was seen at $250/mt, European crude
C4 and butadiene extractors were opting to produce as
much as possible to ship to the US. Due to the interest
in butadiene, one producer admitted: “Now I see more
molecules available,” which was leading to buyers’

20

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

stepping back. Raffinate-1 is used in the production
of diisobutylene and polyisobutylene or butyl rubber.
Extraction or removal of the isobutylene from the
raffinate-1 molecule is used in the production of MTBE for
gasoline blending. The MTBE factor was assessed at 1.163,
below levels seen a year ago. Raffinate-1 market sources
said this lower level was not enough to support prices.

United States
A nomination for the February US butadiene contract
price was announced this week at 8 cents higher
than January, sources said. The nomination from
ExxonMobil would put its contract price at 65 cents/
lb, sources said. ExxonMobil declined to comment on
the nomination. Nominations for the February contract
from the other three producers had not been heard
by time of publication. Sources had been expecting at
least a 5 cents/lb increase in the February contract from
January. The January US contract settled up 1 cent from
December at 55-57 cents/lb split, sources said. In the
spot market, US butadiene rose 3 cents on the week to
an assessment at 69.5 cents/lb CIF USG on tight supply
and increased inquiries. Pricing for February was talked
from the mid-60s to as high as the mid-70s cents/lb
CIF USG. A deal was heard around the 71 cents/lb level
Friday, but confirmation on the deal and further details
on the trade was unavailable. Sources said the deal might
have been a domestic trade as well. A trader source said
that with the interest in the market, 71-72 cents/lb CIF
USG could possibly be done. “There is interest, but you
can’t find product,” the trader said. The increase seen in
spot butadiene has been a direct result of tight supply,
sources said. Bids from US buyers have been heard as
high as the $1,350/mt level. Trader sources in Europe said
the rise in demand was due to short-covering interest
in the event of production disruption when the US
cracker turnaround season began in March. Supply had
been expected to tighten because of a lack of imports
of butadiene or feedstock crude C-4 into the US in the
fourth quarter of 2013 as well as cracker turnarounds
that are expected to start in the US in March. Because of
the anticipated start of the cracker turnarounds, which
could put a strain on crude C-4 availability, sources
expected supply to remain tight through the first quarter.
A 6,000 mt crude C-4 shipment was expected to load
mid-January out of Turkey to the US Gulf, according to
shipping reports. Another 5,000 mt parcel of C4’s was
heard loading in early to mid-February in Europe headed
to the US. Additional crude C-4 with possible butadiene
were also heard loading out of Europe to the US, but
further details on the parcels was unavailable. However, a
market participant said the majority of the product being
shipped over was being sent intra-company or to sister
companies. Downstream demand in the tire, SBS and
styrene-butadiene rubber markets remained slow, while
demand in downstream acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene
market was steady, sources said.

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

Latin America
The Latin American butadiene market remained slow
week on week with no spot deals, bids or offers heard
in the market. The last butadiene shipment unloaded at
Mexico’s Puerto Altamira was recorded two weeks ago: a
4,200 mt volume from Aratu, Brazil. Brazil’s Braskem is the
region’s top producer and exporter of butadiene. A source
with knowledge of Braskem’s olefins operations said that
although there have been severe summer thunderstorms
in Brazil, causing flooding in certain regions, the olefins
production has not been affected. As market participants in
Latin America track international markers, Asian butadiene
spot prices dropped $20/mt week on week to $1,490/mt
CFR China, $1,490/mt CFR Taiwan and $1,465/mt FOB
Korea Friday on low demand ahead of the Lunar New Year
holiday. In the US, butadiene was assessed Friday at 69.50
cents/lb CIF USG, a rise of 3 cents on the week on tighter
supply as well as increased inquiries. A nomination from
one producer for the February US contract price was heard
8 cents higher than January, sources said. Meanwhile, the
European butadiene spot price was assessed at a 12-week
high of $1,315/mt FOB Rotterdam this week, up $55/mt
from last week’s level of $1,260/mt.

Asia
Asian butadiene dropped $20/mt week on week to
$1,490/mt CFR China, $1,490/mt CFR Taiwan and
$1,465/mt FOB Korea Friday on low demand ahead of
the Lunar New Year holiday. High inventories in China
put further pressure on prices. The CFR Southeast Asia
marker dropped $25/mt over the same period to $1,460/
mt as trade sources said the market was well supplied.
Several trade sources reported a deal at $1,485/mt CFR
Taiwan Thursday, but the deal was not confirmed by the
producer. An end-user said about 5,000 mt of Europeorigin cargo was on its way to be offered into China
at $1,500/mt CFR China, but several other market
participants questioned the details. Other offers were
heard at $1,520-1,530/mt on both a CFR China and CFR
Taiwan basis, and at $1,500/mt FOB Korea. “Other than
end-users who need cargoes to run their plants there was
not much demand for butadiene this week as traders
were not seen stocking up their inventories,” an Asian
trader said. In China, domestic prices were assessed at
Yuan 10,750/mt, or $1,463/mt on an import parity basis
Friday, unchanged from Thursday. According to data
published by Chinese customs Wednesday, December
butadiene imports into the country surged 232.3% from
November to 31,992 mt. “That suggests there are high
level of inventories in China currently as traders stocked
up previously,” a Southeast Asian end-user said. Chinese
producer Sinopec’s butadiene ex-works price was heard
unchanged from last week at Yuan 10,100/mt in East
China and Yuan 10,400/mt in South China. Downstream
styrene butadiene rubber-1502 prices rose $35/mt week
on week to to $1,935/mt CFR Northeast Asia Friday,
which supported butadiene prices. Downstream SBR-

21

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

1502 plants were heard running at an average of 63% of
capacity in China for the second week in a row. China’s
factory output contracted in January according to the
flash Markit/HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index or PMI
published Thursday. The PMI fell to 49.6 in January from

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

December’s final figure of 50.5. A PMI figure below 50
suggests a contraction in the economy. The PMI figures
further pressured butadiene markets even as credit eased
in China this week on the government’s fresh injection of
cash into the banking system.

22

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

january 29, 2014

Polymer Feedstocks: Aromatics
Paraxylene

Europe

Polymer Feedstocks – Aromatics
Weekly Average Spot*

The spot price for Northwest European paraxylene was
assessed unchanged day on day, at $1,215/mt FOB ARA
Friday, as global prices were stable and European market
activity was lacking. The price was unchanged from a
week ago. Sources continued to peg notional prices in the
$1,200-1,220/mt range. Asian PX was assessed flat day on
day, at $1,311/mt FOB Korea and $1,335/mt CFR Taiwan/
China Friday, after a $20/mt day-on-day spike Thursday.
From a week ago, Asian PX edged down $6/mt. US PX
was assessed at $1,255/mt FOB USG Thursday. In contract
news, a full settlement was not heard on the European
contract price for January. Many sources argued the initial
settlement earlier this month at Eur1,067/mt FD NWE, an
increase of Eur12/mt from December, was too high and
would be difficult to finalize. Asian CP sellers nominated
their February PX ACP in a range of $1,380-1,400/mt CFR,
lower than January’s settlement of $1,415/mt CFR. The
first counter-bid was heard at $1,170/mt CFR. Nomination
values are due to expire next Tuesday. PTA: Demand for
purified terephthalic acid in Europe remained weak, as
the low season dragged on and downstream polyethylene
terephthalate supplies were heard long, despite a lack of
import competition and low production rates at some
European plants. Despite the exit of Lotte’s 500,000 mt/
year PTA plant in Wilton, UK, from the market, at least
one other European producer was heard still operating at
reduced rates. PTA producers and consumers continued to
await the full settlement of the January European contract
price for feedstock paraxylene, with some arguing it should
no longer be used for downstream contract formulas. “We
are raising the issue with PTA producers that maybe the
PX contract price is no longer relevant. We are aiming
to increase margin for February, but we do not know
where raw materials are going,” one PTA consumer said.
CFR China PTA prices slipped $5/mt week on week to be
assessed at $956/mt Friday.

United States
The US January paraxylene contract price settled a quartercent lower from December at 69.75 cents/lb ($1,537.71/
mt), sources said Tuesday. The US PX market remained
quiet this week amid persistent weak demand from Asia.
US spot PX held steady this week, assessed at $1,255/mt
FOB USG. Asian demand from the US was slow because
of oversupply in that region, sources said. Asian PX prices
lowered $6/mt over the week to Friday assessments of
$1,311/mt FOB Korea and $1,335/mt CFR Taiwan/China.
Arbitrage opportunities for the US to ship PX to Asia were
unattractive on paper with prices at that level, but product
was still being shipped to that region, sources said. No
trades, bids or offers were heard this week. In downstream

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

Styrene FOB Korea ($/mt)
Styrene FOB Rdam ($/mt)
Styrene FOB USG (cts/lb)

1660.90-1661.90
1718.50-1719.50
77.85-78.35

Paraxylene FOB Korea ($/mt)
Paraxylene FOB Rdam ($/mt)
Paraxylene FOB USG ($/mt)

1302.20-1303.20
1210.00-1212.00
1242.50-1252.50

Monthly Contract Price
Styrene
Styrene
Styrene
Styrene

Barge AVG CP (Eur/mt) (Jan)
1410.00
Barge FOB ARA CP (Eur/mt) (Jan)
1410.00
Truck FCA Rdam CP (Eur/mt) (Jan) 1418.00
FOB USG (cts/lb) (Jan)
78.00-79.00

Paraxylene CFR Asia Average (Jan )
Paraxylene FD NWE (Eur/mt) (Jan)
Paraxylene FOB USG (¢/lb) (Jan)

1415
NA
69.75-69.75(Q1)#

* Average prices for week ending previous Friday. # US PX CP are typically settled retroactively,
prices refer to most recent settlement. To convert Cts/lb to $/mt, multiply by 22.046.

NWE Styrenics Prices
2000
FD NWE GPPS (€/mt)
Styrene FOB Rotterdam ($/mt)
1800

1600

1400
28-Aug

25-Sep

23-Oct

20-Nov

18-Dec

29-Jan

Notes: All aromatics prices reflect assessments at close of previous Friday.

markets, PTA saw limited support from downstream PET,
sources said, adding that demand was slow. Upstream,
the January US MX spot price rose 2 cents over the week
to a Friday assessment of 362 cents/gal FOB USG. The US
PX-MX spread was estimated at around $158/mt Friday,
according to Platts data.

Asia
Asian paraxylene was assessed flat day on day to be assessed
at $1,311/mt FOB Korea and $1,335/mt CFR Taiwan/China
Friday after a $20/mt day-on-day spike seen Thursday.
From a week earlier, Asian PX edged down $6/mt. Trading
activity was limited ahead of the settlement of the February
PX Asian Contract Price next Tuesday. So far, ACP sellers
nominated February PX ACP in a range of $1,380-1,400/

23

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

mt CFR, lower than January’s settlement of $1,415/mt
CFR. The first counter bid was heard at $1,170/mt CFR.
Nomination values are due to expire next Tuesday. Market
sources said the gap between buyers’ and sellers’ prices was
not likely to narrow quickly due to poor margins for both.
This week, the PX-naphtha spread in Asia sank to $370.625/
mt Wednesday, the narrowest since $365.75/mt on October
11, 2010, Platts data showed. Market participants said PX
producers typically start considering reducing operating
rates if the spread narrows to below $400/mt. “It seems
the run cut would be an option if the current situation
continues,” said a trading source. On the other hand, PTA
margins remained negative at minus $75.10/mt Friday. In
addition, PX buyers expect more supplies to come into the
market in the coming months. “ACP buyers consider there
is no need to settle at a high price for February,” said a
source close to the negotiations. During the Platts Market
On Close assessment process, no firm bids and offers were
registered onscreen. Offscreen, an offer for February was
heard at $1,335/mt CFR Taiwan/Ningbo/Dalian and at
$1,338/mt CFR Taiwan/Ningbo/Dalian for March, while no
offscreen bids were reported. No deals were reported during
the Platts MOC assessment process. In related plant news,
China’s Dragon Aromatics plans to restart its 800,000 mt/
year No. 2 PX plant at Gulei in the second quarter. The
plant was shut in November due to mechanical problems.
The company’s 800,000 mt/year No. 1 PX plant, also at
Gulei, is currently running at around 70-80% of capacity.
Asian isomer-grade mixed xylenes rose $4/mt day on day
to $1,146.50/mt FOB Korea and $1,166.50/mt CFR Taiwan
Friday, amid recovering buying sentiment. Week on week,
FOB Korea stayed flat and CFR Taiwan slipped $1/mt.
The Asian parayxlene market remained unchanged from
Thursday but fell $6/mt week on week to be assessed at
$1,311/mt FOB Korea and $1,335/mt CFR Taiwan/China
Friday. During the Platts Market on Close assessment
process, no bids or offers were registered. Off screen, a
bid for March was heard at $1,145/mt FOB Korea. In
market news, the price spread between Asian paraxylene
and isomer-grade mixed xylenes on an FOB Korea basis
narrowed $2/mt from Tuesday to a more than three-year
low of $154.50/mt Wednesday, with MX staying relatively
supported while PX and downstream purified terephtalic
acid markets languished, Platts data showed. The spread
was last lower on October 11, 2010, at $143.50/mt. It was
assessed at $164.50/mt Friday, narrowing $4/mt day on
day. Since January 2, the isomer-MX marker has dropped
by 18.50%, while PX fallen by 21% over the same period.
The main factor pulling down the Asian PX market was
sluggish downstream PTA, which has been falling since Q3
2013 from $1,075/mt CFR China assessed September 2 to
$954/mt CFR China on Wednesday, data showed. “PTA
demand [is not likely to recover] anytime soon, and the PET
demand also may not increase until peak summer demand
season. So, PX prices are not likely to be supported,” a
market source said. Sluggish PTA demand is partly due to
overcapacity in China, with new PTA plants starting in

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

the country since Q3 2013. According to market sources, a
total 19 million mt/year of new PTA capacity will be added
by Q2 2015 in China. On the other hand, the isomer-MX
market remained well supported amid a closed arbitrage to
send MX from the US into Asia and supply shortage in Asia,
market sources said. In October, the Korea Petrochemical
Industry Association estimated that isomer-MX production
would fall 785,000 mt/year short of demand in 2013
and 1.9 million mt/year short of requirements in 2014.
Meanwhile, toluene — which is sometimes used as
feedstock to produce MX — has been rising as well, keeping
MX firm in Asia. The price spread between isomer-MX and
toluene on an FOB Korea basis has been narrowing since Q3
2013. It was assessed at $158.50/mt on September 2 but has
since narrowed to $19/mt Wednesday. “Currently, Asian
isomer-MX seems to be relatively overvalued against PX and
PTA, but undervalued against toluene and solvent-MX,” a
trader based in Seoul said.

Styrene

Europe
European styrene prices for 3-30 day loading were
assessed at $1,708.50/mt FOB ARA, down $14.50/
mt from Thursday. However, the $10/mt contango
between January and February remained intact as
market players anticipated a fall in supply due to plant
turnarounds, such as Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Petrochemical
Co., or Sadaf, which will shut its 580,000 mt/year No.
2 styrene monomer plant at Al-Jubail in mid-February
for a planned turnaround lasting three weeks, market
sources said Tuesday. “The maintenance process is
expected to start in mid-February, and the company is
expected to have sufficient quantities to meet customers’
expectations,” a local buyer source said. For the time
being, the main buyer in the market was Total, which
purchased up to 40,000 mt since it declared force majeure
in December at its Gonfreville plant. In turn, a trader
said that demand from Total and any of its consumers
“was the only reason why we are trading at a $300/
mt [benzene-styrene spread], otherwise it would be
compressed.” In Friday’s spot market, January parcels
were seen pricing at $1,685-1,710/mt FOB ARA by the
16:30 GMT close. February and March parcels traded once
each at $1,715/mt and $1,720/mt FOB ARA before bidoffer ranges fell slightly by the close.

United States
US spot styrene prices fell 2 cents on the week to an
assessment at 77.90 cents/lb FOB USG Friday, on lower
feedstock benzene. No firm bids, offers or deals were
heard this week, but a producer-to-producer deal at 80
cents/lb FOB USG for 3,000 mt was heard done January
16 and reported Tuesday. Sources said offers were likely
still at least 80 cents/lb FOB USG given benzene’s rise
back over the 520 cents/gal FOB USG level to end the

24

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

week, while bids would likely be around the arbitrage
level to Europe. Benzene fell 24 cents week over week to
an assessment Friday at 523 cents/gal FOB USG. Benzene
had dropped to 506 cents/gal FOB USG Wednesday before
rebounding 20 cents on Thursday. Sources said benzene
fell in part as several styrene producers were heard
putting their benzene back in the market. The styrene
market remained quiet with weak buying interest due
to the higher benzene prices. Styrene supply remained
snug as many producers have been down due to outages.
Cosmar, a joint venture of Total and Sabic, restarted a
styrene unit at its 2.6 billion lbs/year Carville, Louisiana,
facility that had been down since early January due to
an unplanned outage the weekend of January 17, and
Styrolution restarted its 1 billion lbs/year Texas City,
Texas, styrene facility following a 65-day planned outage
the same weekend, sources said. Producer confirmation
on the restarts were unavailable. Meanwhile, Westlake
was in the midst of a two-week maintenance at its 570
million lbs/year Lake Charles, Louisiana, styrene plant
after going down the weekend of January 24, sources
said. LyondellBasell also took one of its two propylene
oxide-styrene monomer units at its Channelview, Texas,
plant for maintenance over the weekend of January 10,
market sources said. Confirmation from producers on
the maintenance were unavailable. Arbitrage windows
to Europe and Asia were closed on the week, according
to Platts data Friday. Europe was the better netback
currently with US product needing to be around 74.85
cents/lb FOB USG to work an arb given Europe at $1,710/
mt FOB ARA for February and freight at $60/mt. As much
as 50,000-60,000 mt of styrene was heard sent to Europe
for January and February shipment, according to sources.
Demand in downstream polystyrene and acrylonitrilebutadiene-styrene was characterized as steady.

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

Asia
Asian styrene monomer declined $8.50/mt week on week
to $1,655/mt FOB Korea and $1,682/mt CFR China Friday
amid weak prompt demand and ample supply. “We are not
seeing much buying in styrene polymers and we are bought
up for the better half of February. Lower prompt pricing is
not surprising at this point,” a source with a polystyrene
producer said. February-loading cargoes were heard bid at
$1,672/mt and offered at $1,685/mt, while March-loading
cargoes were last heard bid at $1,700/mt and offered at
$1,705/mt, all on a CFR China basis, for Asian-origin
cargoes. April was last heard bid in afternoon trading at
$1,710/mt CFR China and offered at $1,715/mt CFR China,
after one deal was negotiated at $1,718/mt CFR China
in the morning. Sources could not provide details on the
cargo’s origin, involved parties or size of the deal. Domestic
prices in East China slipped around Yuan 40/mt day on day
to Yuan 11,675-11,725/mt Friday, or about $1,606/mt on an
import parity basis, marking a Yuan 15 drop week on week.
Prompt bids were heard at Yuan 11,680/mt against offers
of Yuan 11,710. Stocks of SM held by traders in East China
were estimated at 67,400 mt mid-week, up 12,700 mt week
on week, while the total inventory held by both traders
and end-users climbed about 20,200 mt week on week to
117,400 mt, market sources said. Several sources said the
CFR China market was very thin and trading minimal. They
said some traders were bullish for March and April, as some
monomer producers in Northeast Asia are planning to shut
their plants for scheduled maintenance after the Lunar
New Year holiday, which could tighten supply. Benzene
rose $11/mt day on day to $1,348/mt FOB Korea Friday,
following spikes in US benzene markets. Asian benzene fell
$16/mt week on week. Co-feedstock ethylene slipped $35/
mt day on day to $1,470/mt CFR Northeast Asia and fell
$15/mt to $1420/mt CFR Southeast Asia Friday.

25

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

january 29, 2014

Polymer Feedstocks: Intermediates
Purified Terephthalic Acid

United States

Polymer Feedstocks – Intermediates
Weekly Spot

The formula-derived January US terephthalic acid
price was heard set at 59.9 cents/lb ($1,321/mt) — a
0.18 cent/lb decrease from December — following
last week’s settlement of the US paraxylene contract,
industry sources said. The price was expected to move
lower, with expectations that the PX contract would fall
because of weak Asian demand for US material, sources
said. Sources said the January US PX contract settled at
69.75 cents, down 0.25 cent from December. The PX
contract price is the key variable used to set the formuladerived PTA price. With the PTA price set, the market
turned its attention to settling January US polyethylene
terephthlate contracts. December PET contracts were
mostly unchanged, sources said and assessed at 83.7584.75 cents/lb US railcar ($1,846-1,868/mt).

PTA CFR China ($/mt)*
PTA CFR SE Asia ($/mt)
PTA CFR South Asia ($/mt)

955.6-957.6
960.0-962.0
985.0-987.0

EDC
EDC
EDC
EDC

CFR FE Asia ($/mt)
CFR SE Asia ($/mt)
FOB NWE ($/mt)
FOB USG ($/mt)

474-476
464-466
340-345
365-375

VCM
VCM
VCM
VCM

CFR FE Asia ($/mt)
CFR SE Asia ($/mt)
FOB NWE ($/mt)
FOB USG ($/mt)

914-916
964-966
755-760
725-735

Acrylonitrile
Acrylonitrile
Acrylonitrile
Acrylonitrile
Acrylonitrile

CFR FE Asia ($/mt)
CFR SE Asia ($/mt)
CFR South Asia ($/mt)
FOB USG ($/mt)
CIF Mediterannean ($/mt)

1999-2001**
1999-2001**
1979-1981**
1865-1885**
1895-1900**

Monthly Contract Price

Asia
The CFR China purified terephthalic acid price slipped
$5/mt week on week to be assessed at $956/mt Friday.
Demand for spot PTA cargoes was sluggish throughout
the week, amid lower polyester plant operations ahead
of next week’s Lunar New Year holiday. Industry sources
said the polyester sales/production ratio was around 50%
this week. Trading activity in the spot PTA market was
limited, with CFR China PTA moving to a tight $955960/mt price range. “Spot PTA demand was sluggish
ahead of the holiday but spot PTA availabilities were also
limited,” said a trading source. Market participants said
Chinese PTA producers would reduce operating rates after
the Lunar New Year holiday. “Currently, China’s PTA
supplies are very heavy. The Asian PTA market would
not rebound if the Chinese PTA producers decide to
keep the current run rates,” an industry source said.
Currently, Chinese PTA producers are running their
plants at an average of 70-80% of capacity. Meanwhile,
the Asian PTA margin was calculated at minus $75.10/
mt Friday compared with minus $74.08/mt a week
earlier. In other areas, the CFR Southeast Asia PTA
price fell $3/mt week on week to be assessed at $961/
mt Friday. Market sources said the SEA PTA market was
relatively stable compared with the Chinese market,
with some demand still seen on a formula basis. The
price range basis CFR SEA was heard at $960-970/mt.
The CFR India price fell $5/mt week on week to be
assessed at $986/mt Friday, hit by bearish PTA demand.
Demand for imported PTA cargoes was limited due
to ample domestic supplies, with low downstream
polyester plant runs and weak demand. In statistics
news, China’s PTA imports in December rose 7.7%
month on month to 157,607 mt, according to the latest
customs data. The imports sank 39.6% year on year. For

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

PTA FD NWE (Eur/mt) (Dec )
PTA Delivered USG (¢/lb)(Jan )
VCM Delivered USG (¢/lb)(Jan )

876-886
59.90-59.90
45.00-45.50

US domestic prices reflect transaction pricing for medium-sized customers.
* Average prices for week ending previous Friday.
** ACN prices reflect assessments at close of Tuesday

Platts Asian PTA versus Paraxylene ($/mt)
1800

($/mt)
PTA CFR China
PX CFR Taiwan

1600
1400
1200
1000
800
06-Sep

04-Oct

01-Nov

29-Nov

27-Dec

24-Jan

Notes: All intermediates prices reflect assessments at close of Thursday,
with the exception of PTA CFR China.

2013, China imported 2.14 million mt of PTA, about
half of the 4.2 million mt imported in 2012. In contract
news, state-owned China Petroleum and Chemical
Corp., or Sinopec, settled its January PTA Contract Price
at Yuan 7,170/mt, down Yuan 465/mt from a month
earlier. On an import parity basis, the PTA settlement
value was calculated at $950/mt. In turnaround news,
Japan’s Mitsui Chemicals plans to shut its 400,000 mt/
year PTA plant in Iwakuni, western Japan, in September
for a month of annual maintenance.

26

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

Acrylonitrile

Europe
European acrylonitrile spot prices rose this week, to close
Tuesday at $1,895- 1,900/mt CIF Med, due to tighter
supply fundamentals and a climb in Asian ACN prices.
Demand in the European ACN market was quite stable,
sources said, and one producer said: “I do not see Europe
as having bigger demand than usual”; a trader added:
“People are buying because they have to; they are just
buying what they need.” Instead, sources attributed the
price increase to tight supply fundamentals, as well as
the recent rally in Asian ACN prices. In addition, sources
tended to agree the Asian ACN market played a part
in driving European ACN prices. “Asia is the driver of
the price increases as the material is tight in Asia,” one
consumer said; another trader added: “Demand is purely
coming from Asia, and I see a stronger market in Europe
because Asia is asking for more product.” Shrinking spot
supply of acrylonitrile in Asia pushed prices higher this
week as ACN producers reduced rates and carried out plant
maintenance, traders said Tuesday. ACN prices rose $20/
mt week on week to $2,000/mt CFR Far East, $2,000/mt
CFR Southeast Asia and $1,980/mt CFR South Asia.

United States
The US acrylonitrile export assessment rose $5/mt week
over week to an assessment at $1,875/mt FOB USG on tight
supply. A deal was reported late last week at $1,872/mt FOB
USG for 3,000 mt for January loading with the product
heard headed to Asia. The market was talked in a range
from $1,870-$1,880/mt FOB USG. Expectations remained
for pricing to head higher due to tight supply and the
possibility of higher feedstock chemical-grade propylene.
Supply in the market was tighter as most US producers were
heard running at reduced rates. Ineos Nitriles temporarily
reduced output at its Green Lake, Texas, ACN plant by 50%
as of January 1 because of weak margins, the company had
said in mid-December. A trader source said the higher ACN
pricing was due to the “radically cut back” supply and had
little to do with demand, which was described as steady.
“It has not increased, but it has not decreased. Demand
is OK,” the trader source said. Feedstock chemical-grade
propylene settled 4 cents higher for January at 73 cents/lb,
sources said. An initial nomination for February propylene
contracts called for a 1-cent/lb increase, with some market
participants anticipating a rollover or even a slight drop.

Asia
Shrinking spot supply of acrylonitrile in Asia pushed
prices higher this week as ACN producers reduced rates
and carried out plant maintenance, traders said Tuesday.
ACN prices rose $20/mt week on week to $2,000/mt CFR
Far East, $2,000/mt CFR Southeast Asia and $1,980/mt
CFR South Asia. Supply tightened due to lower run rates
at plants across the region. Taiwan’s China Petrochemical
Development Corp. cut rates at the No. 1 and No. 2

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

units at its 120,000 mt/year Tashe facility to 80-90% of
capacity. Japan’s Asahi Kasei Chemicals cut rates at its
560,000 mt/year South Korea plant to 80%, at its 150,000
mt/year Kawasaki plant to 70%, and at its 300,000 mt/
year Mizushima plant to 80%, according to sources.
Exacerbating tight supply were ongoing operational
issues at Secco’s 260,000 mt/year Ulsan plant. The plant
is scheduled for a 40-day turnaround starting late March,
sources said. Scheduled turnarounds further supported the
bullish sentiment. Maintenance closures are planned for
all three of Asahi Kasei Chemicals’ plants, which are set
to shut in February for 30-50 days; Taekwang Industrial
Corp.’s 290,000 mt/year Ulsan plant, slated for 20 days of
maintenance starting in mid-February; and Mitsubishi’s
120,000 mt/year Mishisha plant, which scheduled for a
monthlong maintenance starting in mid-February, sources
said. Short supply has pushed ACN margins back into
positive territory, currently at about $85/mt, according to
Platts calculations. Acrylonitrile margins are calculated by
taking the difference between the Far East Asia assessment
and the result of a 1.1 ratio of propylene assessed by
Platts on Tuesday at $1,445/mt CFR China and 0.5 ratio
of ammonia pegged by sources at about $650/mt. ACN
prices rose for the second consecutive week despite the
upcoming Lunar New Year holidays in late January,
which usually slows production in China — the biggest
demand center for acrylic fiber. Sustained high feedstock
costs have kept ACN producers from increasing run rates,
sources said. The domestic market in China was also seen
tightening this week as local producers cut rates ahead
of the holiday. Domestic prices in China were flat from
January 21 at Yuan 14,100/mt Tuesday, or $1,916/mt on
an import parity basis, sources said. In India, ACN offer
prices remained above $2,000/mt CFR, but there was no
buying interest at those levels, source said.

Ethylene Dichloride / Vinyl Chloride Monomer

Europe
EDC: Northwest Europe ethylene dichloride (EDC) spot
prices were assessed unchanged at $340-345/mt FOB NWE.
Trading remained thin, but there were ongoing export
opportunities, particularly for the Indian market, sources
said. “Last year was quieter, because the value out of India
was extremely poor, so by the time you took freight into
account, it was not attractive. Prices in India have risen,
so it is now a viable option again,” one trade source said,
declining to comment on specific deals, but adding that
freight prices ex-Northwest Europe to India were around
$80/mt, unchanged from last year. So far, one trading
company had already shipped 5,000 mt of EDC in early
January from Germany’s Stade to India’s West Coast, the
trade source said. In addition, Tricon fixed 6,000 mt to
load in early February from Stade to India’s Kandla on the
west coast on board the Songa Winds vessel, a shipping
source said Wednesday. VCM: In the European vinyl

27

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

chloride market, spot prices were also assessed unchanged
at $755-760/mt FOB NWE. In production news, an
Ineos company source said Wednesday it was no longer
exporting VCM from its Rafnes site, in Norway, adding:
“We do not expect to do any more. We may do in the
summer or by the end of this year.”

United States
EDC: Spot prices gained $20/mt on the week, assessed
Thursday at $365-375/mt FOB USG, as prices in Asia
continued to move higher. The spot price was pegged at
$80-90/mt below prices in Asia, but no firm bids, offers or
deals were heard for the week. The market was described
as quiet, with supply continuing to be heard as tight.
“No one is desperate to sell right now, though,” said one
trading source. Upstream, in ethylene, spot prices were
assessed Thursday at 57.875, up 1.5 cents week on week.
Ethylene on a Choctaw basis continued to trade at a
premium of more than 10 cents, with two February deals
heard Wednesday at 68 and 68.25 cents/lb. In Asia, CFR
Far East Asia was assessed Thursday at $475/mt and the
CFR Southeast Asia assessment was at $465/mt. VCM: Spot
prices were assessed at $725-735/mt FOB USG, stable for
a third straight week. No bids, offers or deals were heard
for the week. Spot material continued to be heard tight
as a result of Axiall’s force majeure, which followed a
December 20, 2013, fire at the company’s PHH Monomers
plant at the company’s Lake Charles, Louisiana, complex.
In a December 23 letter to customers, the company said
the VCM unit is shut indefinitely, as the company assesses
the cause of the fire and related damage. No additional
update was available from Axiall on the status of the
facility. “The market is tight, and has been especially quiet
recently as a result of the Axiall outage,” said one source.
In downstream PVC, the US assessment was $980-990/mt
FAS Houston, up $10/mt on the week as price increases
announced for January, February and March began to take
hold in the market.

Asia

january 29, 2014

when Chinese buyers returned to the market in February.
Notional offers were heard around $500/mt CFR
Southeast Asia against bids at $450/mt CFR Southeast
Asia. Participants said Southeast Asian buyers were unable
to accept higher prices offered in the current market,
resulting in thinning trades. Weaker Southeast Asian
currencies were causing a further drop in spot demand.
VCM: Vinyl chloride monomer prices increased $5/mt
week on week to be assessed at $915/mt CFR Far East Asia
and $965/mt CFR Southeast Asia Thursday. Offers were
heard around $970/mt CFR Far East Asia from a South
Korean producer, against bids heard at $910/mt FOB or
$950/mt CFR Far East Asia. Negotiations continued, and
deals were expected by next week, sources said. A market
source expected Chinese buying ideas to remain at around
$880-900/mt CFR China as PVC prices were not rising
greatly to maintain margins. Tracking a minor uptrend
in PVC prices this week, producers expected VCM to
grow in line with the increase in PVC in February when
Chinese market participants returned. Having the tightest
market situation in Southeast Asia, offers were scarce on
the market as producers were unable to provide additional
spot materials. An end-user was heard seeking cargoes at
around $960-970/mt CFR Southeast Asia; however, with
no conclusions heard due to the limited offers in Asia.
A market source said that while high market prices were
suppressing trades, buyers seeking cargoes were similarly
unable to conclude deals. With some plants recovering
from shutdowns or entering turnarounds in FebruaryMarch, market supply would only shrink further, the
source said. In plant news, South Korea’s Hanwha restarted
its 200,000 mt/year VCM plant in Ulsan late last week
after experiencing a temporary shutdown caused by a
power outage, said a company source Thursday. The power
outage lasted 10 days and has since been resolved, the
source said. The VCM production line is now running
close to full capacity, the source said.

News

EDC: Asian ethylene dichloride prices rose $5/mt
week on week to $475/mt CFR Far East Asia and $465/
mt CFR Southeast Asia Thursday. Feedstock ethylene
prices dropped $45/mt week on week to $1,505/mt
CFR Northeast Asia and fell $50/mt to $1,435/mt CFR
Southeast Asia Thursday. Despite lower ethylene prices,
EDC producers said the feedstock market was still putting
pressure on EDC production costs. An offer was heard
from Taiwan at $500/mt FOB, and buying indications were
heard around $450-460/mt FOB. Discussions were thin
on the market due to limited supply and quiet demand
from Chinese buyers. A cargo was heard concluded at
$480/mt CFR China; however, it could not be confirmed.
Amid a lack of supply from reduced operating rates, a
producer was adamant on offer prices and not urgent
to conclude cargoes despite consistent low bids, sources
said. The producer expected market activities to resume

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

East China SM trader inventory hits
18-month high amid holiday lull: sources
Singapore — The inventory level of styrene monomer
held by traders in East China increased this week to almost
93,000 mt, the highest level in 18 months, as end-users
in China are lowering operations ahead of the Lunar
New Year holidays, market sources said Wednesday. The
inventory level was up by more than 25,000 mt from the
end of last week, sources said. The last time SM stocks
in East China were higher was in the third week of July,
2012, when they stood at around 97,000 mt, Platts data
shows. Market sources said the total inventory of SM held
by traders as well as end-users in East China rose week on
week by over 40,000 mt to almost 158,000 mt this week.
During the Lunar New Year holiday, which is celebrated

28

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

in China over January 31-February 6, factories and plants
lower operating rates and some shut down completely due
to a shortage of workers and low demand.

Japan’s JX settled Feb benzene ACP
at $1,350/mt CFR, down $3/mt from Jan
Tokyo — Japan’s largest refiner, JX Nippon Oil & Energy,
has concluded its February Asian Contract Price for benzene
at $1,350/mt CFR, down $3/mt from its January settlement,
a company source said Wednesday. The settlement for
February was down $40/mt from its nomination for that
month. The settlement for January, at $1,353/mt, had
been up $33/mt from the December settlement. Asian
benzene spot prices have been pushed up in the first half
of January due to strong demand from the US where prices
reached an all-time high of $5.53/gal ($1,653.47/mt) FOB
US Gulf Coast on January 15, as inventory remained low
and market participants were covering short positions,
Platts reported earlier. Asian benzene prices hit a 10-month
high of $1,368.50/mt FOB Korea on January 15. However,
the bullishness has since then lost momentum, along with
weaker overseas prices, with FOB Korea assessed at $1,329/
mt on Wednesday.

European styrene producers mull run rates
cut due to squeezed margins: sources
London — Deteriorating production margins could
force European styrene producers to cut operation rates in
coming weeks, sources said Wednesday. The spread between
the spot price of styrene monomer and its feedstock

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

january 29, 2014

benzene dropped to $227/mt, Platts data showed, just $13/
mt short of the eight-month low hit January 16. Sources
have said producers require a spread of around $250/mt
to break even. “If we do not succeed in pushing through
the raw materials increase for next month, we will adapt
the run rates,” a producer said. The margins are again
under pressure as the benzene market retains strength
on the back of the tight prompt availability and firm US
prices, whereas the length in styrene has become more
pronounced. Benzene was last assessed at $1,448/mt CIF
ARA Wednesday. Meanwhile, styrene spot price was last
assessed at $1,675/mt FOB ARA, and was expected to come
under increasing pressure in the coming weeks as some
consumers’ storage tanks are reportedly overflowing with
material, sources said. In addition, the recent restart of
Total’s Gonfreville, Lower Normandy, styrene unit is likely
to add to the market length, sources said.

US propane, propylene stocks
drop 3.58 million barrels on week: EIA
Houston — US propane and propylene stocks fell 3.58
million barrels to 31.674 million barrels for the reporting
week ended January 24, Energy Information Administration
data showed Wednesday. Gulf Coast stocks saw a draw of
1.43 million barrels to fall to 18.63 million barrels. Midwest
stocks fell 1.4 million barrels to 8.8 million barrels, while
East Coast stocks saw a 595,000-barrel draw to 2.62 million
barrels. Implied demand for propane and propylene was
1.65 million b/d, down 93,000 b/d from the prior week.
January Gulf Coast propane was over 8 cents higher from
Tuesday on the report, trading at $1.6050/gal.

29

PLATTS POLYMERSCAN

january 29, 2014

Global Production Update
Company Location
Capacity* Timing

Dow Canada
Fort Saskatchewan
650 LL/HDPE
Nov 16-19
Dow
Freeport, TX
635 PE
8-Nov
LyondellBasell
La Porte, TX
554 LDPE
10-Oct
Formosa
Point Comfort, TX
673 HDPE
3-Oct
Nova
Joffre, Ontario
885 LLDPE
October
Ineos
Battlerground, TX
794 PE
27-Jan
ExxonMobil
Beaumont, TX
1215 PE
16-Jan
CP Chem
Orange, TX
420 HDPE
16-Jan
DuPont
Orange, TX
235 LLDPE
15-Jan
Dow Canada
Fort Saskatchewan
650 LL/HDPE
Nov 16-19
Dow
Freeport, TX
635 PE
8-Nov
LyondellBasell
La Porte, TX
554 LDPE
10-Oct
Formosa
Point Comfort, TX
673 HDPE
3-Oct
Nova
Joffre, Ontario
885 LLDPE
October
CP Chem
Cedar Bayou
833 PE
1-Oct
LyondellBasell
Aubette
320 LDPE
Dec
Repsol
Tarragona
195 LDPE
Dec
Dow
Tarragona
LDPE
mid Nov
Dow
Tarragona
LLDPE
mid Nov
Dow
Tarragona
HDPE
mid Nov
Repsol
Tarragona
195 LDPE
Nov
LyondellBasell
Aubette
320 LDPE
Nov
Versalis
Gela
200 LDPE
2014
Ineos
Grangemouth
310 LLDPE
end-Oct
Yansab
Yanbu
400 HDPE
17-Nov
Yansab
Yanbu
400 LLDPE
10-Nov
S. Polymers
Jubail
1,100 PE
Secco
Shanghai
300 HDPE
10-Mar
Secco
Shanghai
300 LLDPE
10-Mar
Sinopec
Zhenhai Ningbo
450 HDPE/LDPE
April
PTT
Map Ta Phut
300 LDPE
18-Oct
Petronas
Kertih
200 HDPE/LLDPE
early Sept-end Oct
Petronas
Kertih
250 LDPE
early Sept-end Oct

Status
Planned maintenance
Restart after maintenance
Restart after maintenance
Restart after maintenance
Shutdown for TA
Declares force majeure
Temporarily offline
Down for maintenance
Unplanned shutdown
Planned maintenance
Restart after maintenance
Restart after maintenance
Restart after maintenance
Shutdown for TA
Restart after power failures
SU
SU
Reduced rates
Reduced rates
Reduced rates
shutdown
shutdown
permanent shutdown
startup
restart
restart
Shutdown
TA, for 2 months
TA, for 2 months
TA, 2 months
startup
TA
TA

TA = scheduled turnaround; SD! = unplanned shutdown; SU = startup; DB = debottlenecking; OR = operating rate

POLYMERSCAN

Volume 37 / Issue 4 / January 29, 2014

Editorial: Sydney +61-2-9255-9842. Singapore +65-6530-6584. Tokyo +81-3-4550-8837. London +44-20-7176-6264. New York +1-212-904-3070. Houston +1-713-658-3206.
Client services information: North America: 800-PLATTS8 (800-752-8878); direct: +1-212-904-3070 Europe & Middle East: +44-20-7176-6111 Asian Pacific: +65-6530-6430
Latin America: +54-11-4121-4810, E-mail: support@platts.com
Copyright © 2014 McGraw Hill Financial. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be photocopied, reproduced, retransmitted, put into a computer system or otherwise
redistributed without prior written authorization from Platts. Platts is a trademark of McGraw Hill Financial. Information has been obtained from sources believed reliable. However, because
of the possibility of human or mechanical error by sources, McGraw Hill Financial or others, McGraw Hill Financial does not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of any such
information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from use of such information. See back of publication invoice for complete terms and conditions.

Copyright © 2014, McGraw Hill Financial

30

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