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Petrochemicals

AMERICAS: The week in petrochemicals

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AMERICAS: The week in petrochemicals

OLEFINS: US Gulf Coast spot ethylene and propylene are expected to trend higher amid increased year-end selling.

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The domestic ethylene contract price is expected to settle stable to higher this week, sources said. US spot butadiene is also expected to rise amid limited supply and increased demand.

VINYLS: US export polyvinyl chloride prices were expected to remain in a range of $1,270-$1,280/mt FAS Houston this week, reflecting multiple deals done at $1,275/mt FAS for limited export volumes. US PVC supply remains tight, and is expected to remain so through January at least with two force majeures declared on August on PVC still in effect, market sources said. Upstream, US chlor-alkali producers continue to maintain reduced rates to keep caustic soda stocks in check amid weak demand, as the latest industry statistics showed rates at 73% in October, compared with 79% in October 2019 when a turnaround was in progress.

METHANOL & MTBE: US Gulf Coast spot methanol prices are expected to be stable to stronger on the week, with continued talk of regional supply tightness heard in the market. Stronger demand for methanol in winter applications has also been heard to likely add price support. US MTBE spot prices are also expected to be stable to stronger on the week, with export demand from Mexico expected to strengthen moving into the first part of December due to seasonal fluctuations.

AROMATICS: Benzene spot prices are expected to continue receiving support from supply tightness that has affected markets in the US and globally. Prices closed at 207 cents/gal DDP USG for December delivery on Nov. 25 prior to the US Thanksgiving Day holiday. Demand from downstream styrene producers, who have been heard running at or near 100% capacity, should remain strong over the coming week. Liquidity could be discouraged by the closing of the December contract price negotiation period, which is expected to wrap up Nov. 30 with a settlement. No significant spot weakness is expected for styrene monomer, which was assessed Nov. 25 at $910/mt FOB USG for December.

Spot nitration-grade toluene prices should see support in the coming week from slightly increased demand from TDP and STDP operators. Prompt NGT closed on Nov. 25 at 178 cents/gal FOB USG, an eight-month high point. Chemical demand for toluene has ticked higher as economics improve for converting it into benzene, which is experiencing a supply shortage and for which prices have posted a premium over toluene for weeks. Mixed xylenes should be in lower demand, however, with economics for conversion to paraxylene remaining poor. Demand from Mexican and South American solvents distributors has been a bright spot for MX, a trend which should remain over the coming week.

LATIN AMERICA: Latin polymers are expected to see some stability in the imports markets of Brazil and the West Coast of South America. The foreign exchange rate started the week most favorable to the Brazilian real at 5.36/$1 on Nov 16. New domestic prices are expected to be announced in the beginning of the month. Polypropylene prices are expected to be higher on week. Despite price increases seen in Asia and the Middle East, imports into Brazil and the West Coast of South America are still mostly from these two regions

On WCSA, spot import polyethylene prices are also expected to continue highly attached to the US movements on the week, therefore mostly stable. The PVC market in Latin America is expecting to continue seeing higher prices in the market as reflection of higher Asian and European values, linked to imports into Brazil, while US prices, most attached to the WCSA, is also higher on week. Product is still unavailable in most of the markets. In Mercosur, market expects to receive a new spot pricing list this week for December bookings. In Argentina, prices are expected be unchanged for December, with a rollover police.