Spot ethylene and propylene prices are expected to be stable to higher as plant maintenances continue boosting prices. Dow's Freeport, Texas, propane dehydrogenation unit began a planned maintenance week ended July 10 that will last 45 days, sources said. BASF Total's cracker in Port Arthur, Texas, is undergoing planned maintenance and expected to restart July 23, the company said in a filing with TCEQ. However, Enterprise's PDH unit in Mont Belvieu, Texas, is expected to restart from maintenance this week which could pressure polymer-grade propylene prices lower, sources said. Producer confirmation was not immediately available.
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US spot methanol prices are expected to be stable to bearish week July 13-17, with a resurgence of COVID-19 precautionary measures expected to limit trade activity. US spot MTBE prices could continue to trend stable to weaker, with possible production cuts seen if margins continue to fall.
US export polyvinyl chloride prices were expected to remain in a range of $705-$715/mt FAS Houston week July 13-17 as the market looks to expected fresh August offers in Asia for direction. Those offers had been expected to be a rollover or slightly higher than July, but sentiment turned more pessimistic in the last two weeks amid uncertainty as some regions experienced COVID-19 spikes.
US market participants say upward pricing momentum has softened in the Americas as well amid such spikes. Export volume availability was expected to be limited. Negotiations regarding a 3 cents/lb price increase in domestic PVC we're expected to continue this week, though some market sources said it may not be accepted in full given coronavirus pandemic uncertainty.
US polyethylene prices are expected to increase or remain flat week July 13-17 as allocation for exports remain tight due to unit maintenances and shut downs in July. On July 10, S&P Global Platts last assessed low density PE at $948-$970/mt (43-44 cents/lb) FAS Houston, high density PE blowmolding at $782-$804/mt (35.5-36.5 cents/lb) FAS Houston and linear low density PE at $738-$760/mt (33.5-34.5 cents/lb) FAS Houston. All three grades were unchanged day on day July 10.
In domestic PE markets, contracts were flat week on week on July 8. Meanwhile, US polypropylene market participants are expecting pricing to remain firm this week. Spot supply was heard tightening by sources as market participants anticipate pricing to stabilize this week as the market digests the pricing. Platts last assessed spot polypropylene on July 10 at $937-$959/mt with rail car pricing talked at 40 cents/lb.
Latin polymers are expected to see stable to higher prices during the week July 13-17 considering movements in the US market.
In Brazil's polyethylene market, prices are expected to remain flat or to see some increases, under uptrend sentiment from the US and Asia. The foreign exchange rate started the week unfavorable to the Real reaching 5.35/$1 on July 13. Domestic producer announced increases of Real 150-300/mt for all grades, valid for July bookings. Hikes were confirmed by the market last week.
Polypropylene prices are expected to be stable to higher, with trends coming from Asia and Middle East - Brazil and the West Coast of South America imports mostly come from Asia and Middle-East if compared to the US.
In the WCSA, spot import polyethylene prices are expected to continue highly attached to the US movements on the week, therefore expected to be stable to up. The PVC market in Latin America is already seeing deals. Demand was reported picking up after the pandemic started across the region. In Mercosur, spot pricing new list was seen last week for July bookings, with higher values.
Prices are expected to be stable at least until the turnover of the month. Markets are slightly coming out of the lockdown, resuming slowly, with more activity reported. In Argentina, prices were reported unchanged last week. Sources believe new prices are only expect for early August, and are still seeing if the market will accept and absorb the last increases of $100/mt for all grades.