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EMEA petrochemicals outlook: w/c Apr 16

London — In European ethylene, the market remains balanced with the recent increase in feedstock naphtha prices offset by good supply. The plant maintenance calendar is also lighter than previously expected, due to postponements.


OLEFINS


In propylene, the market is set to remain well-balanced with sentiment likely to remain unchanged in April. In butadiene, demand from the US is continuing to support European butadiene exports and export price levels, especially with the European market turning to the US following softer butadiene pricing in Asia in recent weeks.


POLYMERS


The European polyethylene market is seeing relatively bullish sentiment following the end of the Easter vacation period, and a seasonal pick-up in volumes. However, solid supply conditions remain a limit on any price increases.

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In polypropylene, comfortable supply and stable demand continues to support a balanced market despite muted market activity in April.


AROMATICS


In the European styrene market, imports are expected to arrive from the US in the coming weeks, which will ease supply fundamentals and keep the market backwardated. In the downstream polystyrene and ABS markets, buy activity is expected to remain slow as buyers minimize purchases in anticipation of further price decreases in May.

Benzene fundamentals in Europe remain weak on the front-end amid ongoing downstream styrene plant maintenances, which has led to a wider April-May contango structure.

Meanwhile, spot demand remains depressed for toluene and MX, with outages in downstream TDI and PTA plants


METHANOL-ETHERS


MTBE markets are said to be well-balanced, with tank storage levels remaining high. Gasoline demand is expected to be a trigger for the market, and activity on the MTBE side is expected to remain quiet until that point.

Meanwhile, activity in the methanol market has picked up, with spot prices rising amid signs of tightness. The trend is expected to continue on the back of talks of regional turnarounds.