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Americas petrochemicals outlook, w/c June 24

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Americas petrochemicals outlook, w/c June 24


Prompt June ethylene contracts dropped over the week. Sources said that supply concerns eased as multiple ethane crackers started operating last week. The market is closely watching the timing of the return of the BASF/Total cracker, which will most likely be sometime this week, and the feedstock prices. Both grades of June propylene contracts remained flat over the week. Prices of propylene did not gain support from the rising feedstock prices over the week. Sources said the alkylation unit Philadelphia Energy Solutions Inc's oil refinery, the largest refinery of the US East Coast, was totally destroyed. The market will be watching whether refinery-grade propylene will be impacted by the event and feedstock costs.

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Market participants are anticipating a quiet week for polyethylene, with producers likely to have cleared their June inventory. The upcoming G20 Osaka summit, and the anticipated meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping could wield influence on future PE pricing. Polypropylene sources said current prices continue to mute export opportunities. Spot PP could experience a decline once the PGP June contract price settles at the nominated 3.50 cents/lb decline off the May settlement, although that reduction is less than most PP market participants anticipated.


Latin America expects stable to lower polyethylene pricing this week amid weak demand and healthy availability, sources said. Market participants continued to watch international pricing in the US, where market participants expect prices to trend downward. However, domestic pricing in Brazil has been stable. Latin America expects stable to lower polypropylene pricing amid healthy offers from Asia and the US, sources said.

Regional producers were under pressure to correct pricing levels in tandem with international pricing, sources said. Buyers continue to watch international pricing indications, in particular from Asia and the US, before taking any restocking decisions. Market participants will be focused this week on the end-of-the-month process. Discussions will be centered on upcoming month orders, as market participants continue waiting for fresh pricing indications.


US export polyvinyl chloride prices were seen hovering in the settled range for June pricing of $800-$810/mt FAS Houston this week as producers look toward launching July pricing negotiations. Market sources have expressed mixed sentiment on pricing direction, with some seeing July prices up to $820-$830/mt FAS Houston, while others believe sluggish international demand will likely keep July pricing level with June. In addition, India's upcoming monsoon season is expected to drain demand in Asia, where Indian buyers accepted July offers that were $40-$50/mt higher than June levels. However, China's PVC buying interest retreated last week amid US-China trade tensions, which could erode buy interest elsewhere. Upstream, US caustic soda prices were seen strengthening, albeit slowly, on increased demand in Brazil as Norsk Hydro's Alunorte alumina refinery gradually ramps back up and Braskem's caustic soda and ethylene dichloride import demand remains strong. US chlor-alkali production rates were seen increasing to capture rising caustic soda pricing, but increased EDC supply also was seen pulling EDC prices down further from recent highs.


Spot methanol market participants await July contract postings, expected to be released sometime this week. After Methanex and Southern Chemical Corp. posted 126 cents/gal FOB USG and 117 cents/gal FOB USG, respectively, for June contracts, spot pricing saw little change over the course of the month. June spot pricing rose nearly 2 cents from the beginning of the month, while July pricing was up just a penny.

-- Staff,

-- Edited by Pankti Mehta,