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Asia petchem demand to stay strong despite $100/bbl Brent crude

February 02/2011

(ICIS) -- Asias petrochemical prices will remain underpinned by strong fundamental demand coming from energy giant China, even as global Brent crude futures pierced the $100/bbl (?73/bbl)-mark on concerns that Egypts political unrest could lead to oil supply disruptions, industry experts said on Tuesday.


At midday Tuesday, Brent crude for March delivery was valued at $100.43/bbl, after breaking above $100/bbl for the first time since October 2008 on Monday.


The oil price rally was a stark reminder of July 2008 when prices soared to an all-time peak of $147.27/bbl, and a few months later in December, plummeted to $33/bbl because of the global recession.


Asia is still expected to guzzle a colossal quantity of petrochemical products, with prices seen buoyant, and undeterred by feedstock naphtha levels at a 28-month high of $894.50-897.50/tonne CFR (cost and freight) Japan on Tuesday.


Prices would remain at such levels, with China still expected to import record volumes of crude oil, and other rising Asian economies setting the pace for oil consumption.


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