Petrotahlil - Middle East producers typically offer new cargoes in the last week of the month but expectations of slowing trade from the coronavirus crisis is curbing spot trading activity. China's government has extended the 24-30 January lunar new year holiday to 2 February as the country deals with the widening coronavirus outbreak.
Mideast Gulf suppliers are preferring to wait to assess the extent of the coronavirus impact before making any fresh offers.
Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) spot prices saw a revival in early January, following tensions between the US and Iran in the aftermath of the death of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. Even after the US-Iran tensions abated, PE and PP prices in Asia remained under upwards pressure because of supply pressures.
Saudi Arabia's PetroRabigh is scheduled to shut down its 600,000 t/yr linear low-density polyethylene (LDPE)/high-density PE (HDPE) swing line, 300,000 t/yr HDPE unit and 160,000 t/yr LDPE unit from the end of February to mid-April.
But Saudi Arabian private-sector firm Natpet is expected to increase production of its 400,000 t/yr PP plant at Yanbu in the coming weeks.
LLDPE prices in China were last assessed by Argus on 23 January at $850-880/t cfr China, while PP raffia prices were at $860-910/t cfr China.
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