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Asia petrochemical demand and prices to firm post-Lunar New Year

January 20/2012

(ICIS) -- Spot prices of petrochemicals in Asia may get a good nudge up following an expected virtual halt in trades next week as the region celebrates the Lunar New Year, with most market players hoping for a strong pick-up in buying activities.

China will be out of the market for a full week on 22-28 January, while Taiwan will have a three-day holiday. In South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, the shift to the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese calendar will be celebrated for two days at the start of that week.

Prices of some petrochemical products in the region have either been falling or trading sideways since the start of the year, as demand traditionally weakens in the weeks leading to the Lunar New Year celebration, which is happening a bit early in 2012.

Some propylene sellers in northeast Asia expect prices to move up, to track the rising values of feedstock naphtha. An expected tightness in regional supply because of a slew of cracker turnarounds due in March should also give propylene prices a further boost, market sources said. Offers were scant this week as some traders prefer to suspend discussions until after the Lunar New Year holiday.

Spot propylene prices were quoted at USD1,350-1,400/tonne (EUR1,040-1,078/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) NE (northeast) Asia at midday on Friday, while naphtha values were at USD960.50-962.50/tonne CFR Japan.

Author:Marina Ivanova
Category:General News
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