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ASIA: The week in petrochemicals

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ASIA: The week in petrochemicals

Singapore — The Asian petrochemical market will likely remain supported by demand from China amid gradual signs of recovery in other Asian regions.

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** In the Asian toluene market, market participants continued to closely monitor possible sales opportunities in China as demand for blendstocks stayed healthy. The demand for minimum 99.5% toluene-content materials was particularly strong with bidding interests for the higher purity grade as high as $410/mt for July-arrival laycan on Monday.

** In East China market, domestic toluene supplies for ex-tank retrieval was discussed at Yuan 3500/mt in the morning trades, or equivalent to $415.30/mt on an import parity basis.

** Elsewhere, participants are expecting Southeast Asia demand to continue to recover. CFR China toluene marker rested at $394/mt Friday.


**The Asian styrene market will likely eye China's futures market for cues and may receive firmer support from upstream ethylene and crude oil.

**Supply is expected to remain ample with the likelihood of stockpiles buildup in east China, while the extension of India's lockdown may slow down the recovery of styrene demand in Asia.


**PX prices will continue taking directional cues from related markets.

**Market sentiment is expected to remain subdued this week due to ample PX supply and high PX, PTA inventories despite expectations that the easing of the global lockdown could lift pressure off the polyester chain.


**Asian ethylene prices in Northeast Asia is likely to firm up further, due to recent FOB Korea deal concluded at $560/mt, and the CFR Northeast Asia price is expected to move up as well.

**In Southeast Asia, it is likely that only polyethylene buyers can support spot ethylene prices due to positive margin. On the other hand, the demand from polyvinyl chloride and monoethylene glycol buyers are expected to remain sluggish.


**The propylene market in Asia looked poised to extend gains this week

**More spot supply will emerge this week after major propane dehydrogenation plant producer Yantai Wanhua shut its 750,000 mt/yr plant last Thursday for a 30-day planned turnaround, lifting prices for domestic and seaborne imports.

**Seaborne supply for Chinese customers is also reported thin as some FCC in Korea and Japan reduced their operating rates due to technical issues.


**MEG supply from Northeast Asian crackers has been limited with two crackers in Japan and two in China shut for planned turnarounds. China's domestic methanol-to-MEG operating rate also remained low, further crimping domestic supply.


**Flexible packaging demand was up amid more demand for hygiene and medical related products, sources said. Asian polyethylene prices were up $30/mt week on week at $820/mt CFR Far East Asia (China) Wednesday on slightly renewed demand on easing global lockdowns.


** Asian PP fundamentals are likely to remain bearish this week, even as signs of partial demand recovery in countries like Vietnam and India offered some support.

**Chinese domestic PP prices are expected to stay under pressure amid a flood of cheaper overseas cargoes that were bought earlier, which are expected to arrive in H2 May and June.

Purified terephthalic acid

**Physical spot discussions for PTA overseas cargoes are expected to remain limited this week amid record high PTA stocks of 3.5-3.7 million mt in China.

**Trade participants are closely monitoring upstream paraxylene market, which will offer cues for PTA price movement.


**The acrylonitrile market is on track to recover more ground this week due to a perk up in downstream acrylonitrile butadiene styrene demand in China.

**Domestic producers Jiangsu Sailboat Petrochemical had shut its 260,000 mt/yr plant early May for turnaround and some producer in Korea has lowered operating rate, limiting spot supply and lending support to spot prices.

**Zhejiang petrochemical, which postponed the start of its new 260,000/mt year plant, is poised to start on May 20, and this new supply could add pressure on spot price.