The Asia petrochemicals markets could see mixed fortunes in the week started June 6. Bearish fundamentals are expected to limit upside in the Asian paraxylene market, while inactive 95 RON gasoline blending activity in Southeast Asia could see some cargoes diverted to China. The outlook for monoethylene glycol is expected to be slightly positive, with an open arbitrage from China to Europe.
** The delayed startup of a new PTA plant in China and limited demand outlets are likely to weigh on PX fundamentals in the week. The shutdown of a major downstream PTA producer’s 2.2 million mt/year line at Ningbo due to a technical glitch could also impact upstream PX demand.
** Any upside for PX would likely be limited, with the focus still on benzene as it continues to support aromatics production margins.
** The downtrend seen in the Asian styrene market in the week ended June 5 is likely to continue due to tepid demand amid a slow season seen in end-user sectors. While the inventory level in China is expected to stay low, tightness in prompt supply will ease on slowing demand as buyers opt to stock up on a need-to basis due to a bearish outlook in the styrene market.
** The Asian MTBE FOB Singapore market is expected to be rangebound at low $700s/mt level in the week ended June 12 because of inactive 95 RON gasoline blending activity in Southeast Asia as coronavirus containment measures blunt economic activity in the region.
** MTBE cargoes from Southeast Asia are expected to be diverted to China, where demand is healthy.
** The outlook is expected to remain unchanged in the Asian toluene market as supply in South Korea and Japan were still seen as balanced-to-tight, with demand backed by the toluene disproportionation sector. However, market sources said there was limited stockpiling interest in east China.
** Prices were relatively rangebound but still firm in the Asian toluene market. The FOB Korea toluene physical averaged $760.20/mt June 1-4.
** The Asia high density polyethylene film price outlook is expected to be bearish in the week started June 6 on tepid demand due to renewed lockdowns in Southeast Asia and South Asia.
** Many downstream polymer converters were forced to shut, traders said, leading to poor demand.
** The CFR China propylene marker is likely to inch lower in the week started June 6 amid growing import supply and weak downstream polypropylene. China-based buyers were holding back on procurement as they were waiting for prices to go softer following new steam cracker startups by GS Caltex and LG in June.
** The domestic price in Shandong is likely to move higher if Tianjin Bohai Chemical does not ramp up its run rate. The Shandong propylene price has gained more than Yuan 250/mt in the week ended June 5 as China’s Tianjin Bohai Chemical, a major seller in the region, halted propylene term supply to its customers in Shandong, eastern China, after it lowered its run rate June 1.
** The outlook for monoethylene glycol is expected to be slightly positive as about 30,000-40,000 mt of MEG has been booked for export from China to Europe to arrive in June due to an open price arbitrage, traders said.
** Traders said the European Commission’s provisional antidumping duties announced on May 14 on the US and Saudi Arabian MEG suppliers have led to bullish buying activities for Asian material, which was slightly more lucrative than selling in the local markets.