21 May, 2018
The FOB Korea benzene market was unchanged. As China domestic prices rose at the beginning of the week, the market had been expected to turn stronger but lacked upward momentum. The FOB Korea toluene market rose slightly due to firm crude prices. The CFR Northeast Asia paraxylene market was higher for prompt cargoes as buying interest for June delivery increased. Although two large units in Asia and the Middle East were starting up, stable supply was seen to be unlikely in June.
The CFR Northeast Asia ethylene market strengthened. Non-regional cargoes especially from Europe had been a bearish factor for the market recently but fresh availability was no longer seen. On the other hand, ethylene demand from China was firm and perceptions of ample supply eased, causing the market to hit a bottom and then rebound. Firm talks were not heard but sources mentioned that prices for delivery to China were in the mid $1,200’s/mt.
The Asia propylene market dropped slightly. In Northeast Asia, overall activity was subdued. Sellers had no cargoes on hand and were reluctant to conduct sales. Buyers, on the other hand, focused on procuring domestic cargoes, which were relatively cheaper and were in ample supply, and showed scant interest in purchasing imported cargoes. In Southeast Asia, Thailand’s PTTGC sold a spot cargo loading June via a tender.
The Asia butadiene market strengthened on the back of tight supply/demand fundamentals. Supply was tight owing to maintenance while end-users had low stocks and showed strong buying interest for spot cargoes. Under such circumstances, a European cargo for July delivery was traded at $1,700/mt. After that, selling ideas rose to $1,780-1,900/mt. In Southeast Asia, Thailand’s PTTGC issued a sell tender for June loading.