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China purified terephthalic acid price hits near-four-year high on tight supply, rising feedstock

Singapore — China spot purified terephthalic acid price has hit a near four-year high, supported by the tight supply and surging raw material cost.

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PTA CFR China was assessed up $43/mt on the week at $913/mt Friday for 15-30 day forward cargoes, and the domestic prompt price assessment surged Yuan 450/mt at Yuan 7,350/mt over the same period. Both prices are the highest since September 2014.

"PTA capacity has expanded since 2011, resulting in narrower or even negative profit margin with oversupply for years. The downstream capacity has managed to catch up gradually to support the PTA price", a producer said Wednesday.

The recent planned maintenance of two PTA plants has further tightened the supply. Zhejiang Yisheng Petrochemical shut its 2.2 million mt/year No.4 PTA unit last week and Hengyi Petrochemical shut its No.1 PTA line with 2.2 million/year capacity for 15-day maintenance since 1st August, Platts reported earlier.

PTA inventory has dropped from 2 million mt in early 2018 to around 700,000 mt this week, which is less than one week's worth of stocks, market sources said.

Besides tight supply bullish upstream paraxylene is driving the PTA price as well. The CFR Taiwan/China paraxylene price was assessed at $1,128.67/mt Monday, which is the highest for nearly four years, Platts reported earlier.

"We expect the PTA price to continue holding at a high level at least until September before the non-peak season coming in October", a market source said.

--Miranda Zhang, miranda.zhang@spglobal.com

--Edited by Maurice Geller, maurice.geller@spglobal.com