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Prices of naphtha and ethylene in Asia to decline

May 27/2011

(ICIS) -- Prices of naphtha and ethylene in Asia are expected to be on a decline because of weak demand for downstream products - styrene monomer (SM) and polyethylene (PE), traders said on Friday. A possible prolonged shutdown at a cracker in Taiwan further dampens the outlook for naphtha, they said.

The intermonth naphtha spread between the first-half July and first-half August contracts was assessed at a backwardation of USD 3.50/tonne (EUR 2.50/tonne) - the weakest since 21 February, according to ICIS data. Naphtha prices were at USD 983.50-986.50/tonne CFR (cost and freight) Japan on Friday.

Reflecting the bearish market, South Koreans Yeochun NCC (YNCC) has bought 50 KT of spot naphtha a very weak premium of USD 1.50/tonne to Japan quotes CFR for delivery into Yeosu in the first half of July. Demand is decreasing and the outlook is bearish, said a naphtha trader.

Meanwhile, Asian SM prices slipped below USD 1.400/tonne CFR China this week amid poor downstream styrenic resins demand. SM buyers were hesitant to commit as they expect spot prices to fall further.

High density PE (HDPE) spot prices have weakened by USD 10/tonne to below USD 1.350/tonne CFR China, on the back of sluggish downstream demand and softer leading domestic prices. Buyers opted to monitor the market this week, while waiting for more offers to emerge next week. However, they reiterated that purchases would be limited to small lots.

Tags:naphta, ethylene.
Category:General News
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