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Asian caprolactam falls to 17-month low on weak demand from downstream nylon

Singapore — Asian caprolactam was assessed at a 17-month low Thursday, with CFR Fareast Asia and CFR Southeast Asia down $220/mt on the week at $1,670/mt and $1,650/mt, respectively. The price weakness was attributed to thin demand from the downstream nylon sector amid falling feedstock costs.

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CFR Fareast Asia caprolactam was last assessed lower on July 6, 2017, at $1,590/mt, while CFR Southeast Asia was last assessed lower on July 13, 2017, at $1,610/mt. Market sources said that demand from the downstream nylon sector was weak amid narrowing production margins, with prices expected to continue on a downtrend over the month of December.

However, buyers said that there was hope for a Lunar New Year "miracle", during which prices may pick up.

Feedstock benzene prices are also hovering at two-year lows, as growing supply from the Southeast Asian region adds more length to the Asian market.

Benchmark FOB Korea benzene was assessed at $636.33/mt Thursday, down $55/mt on the month, and down $271.67/mt on the year.

--Tess Tseng, tess.tseng@spglobal.com

--Frank Zeng, frank.zeng@spglobal.com

--Edited by Norazlina Juma'at, norazlina.jumaat@spglobal.com