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London — In European propylene & ethylene markets, players will be digesting the impact of the industry settlement of the December contracts on Friday.

Propylene at Eur845/mt, up Eur5 on the month and ethylene at Eur970/mt up Eur10 on the month. Low demand and high supply for spot volumes will continue. Some participants in both markets will attend EPL meetings to discuss 2020 business. Steam crackers will be squeezed high naphtha costs and consider further cutting rates, as well as exports to Asia. The butadiene market will be watching two events.

Firstly, the fallout from the fire and explosion at the TPC plant in Texas. Asian trades have already moved upward, with producers in Europe quoting large increases, and interest in export cargoes.

Secondly, The EPL event in Rome, with market participants set to discuss the outlook for 2020, including the crucial issue of feedstock preferences.


In polypropylene, discussions will begin as to whether the price increase from propylene will be passed on because some polypropylene producers were expecting a decrease. Polystyrene market participants await the settlement of the December styrene contract price settlement.

Market participants expect December contracts to move in line with feedstock costs amid weakening demand. PVC December sales will begin considering the ethylene settlementin the prices. The spot market will keep on falling and destocking will continue. In Turkish polymer markets, focus will be upon the PlastEurasia event in Istanbul December 4-7, with the struggles caused by the faltering Turkish economy sure to be a major point of discussion.

In Africa, traders are looking to the GPCA event in Dubai December 3-5, but also the conclusion of feedstock contract talks, particularly ethylene in the US. ABS market activity remains subdued as the market moves into the final month of the year. Buyers continue to buy in line with their needsamid the seasonal slowdown.


Expectations in spot prices are for another slip this week in the benzene market, following the settlement of the December contract price at the end of last week. Expectations were for an uptick in demand from downstream styrenics at the end of November, but this has yet to be seen. Gasoline blending demand for toluene as a high octane blendstock is expected to be firm this week, due to steady exports of gasoline to West Africa and the US.

This turnover should lead to more blending before the end of the year, when many companies would typically be looking to clear stocks. The December European styrene contract price is expected to settle today following feedstockbenzene and ethylene settlements on Friday. Market participants expect a significant decrease due to weak demand andample supply.

Spot prices have fallen sharply following the restart of styrene units, keeping styrene producers under pressure. The styrene-benzene spread remains in negative territory on high demand for prompt benzene cargoes. Market participants continue to capitalize on lower spot prices.


Attention in the European methanol market will shift to the first-quarter contract price negotiations. Trading in the spot market will this week be along typical year-end lines due to seasonal de-stocking.

The European fuel ethers market is rising after the explosion at the TPC plant. TPC's Port Neches plant can produce more than 900 million lb (426,000 mt) of butadiene and raffinate a year and the MTBE unit produces up to 400,000 mt/year. Raffinate is a chemical building block used in the manufacture of MTBE and ETBE.

There is increased MTBE buying in Europe and talk of the market focusing on the opportunity of shipping cargoes to the US, while the arbitrage is wide open on paper and expected to remain so.


European acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer spot trading is slowing ahead of the Christmas period. AA prices are under pressure and the seasonal destocking is reducing buying interest.

Further downstream, vinyl acetate monomer prices are holding steady, supported by the disruptions to supply caused turnarounds in Russia and the US, but market sentiment remains bearish.

-- Staff,

-- Edited by Jonathan Dart,