News Code : 44711

Petrotahlil - Polyethylene (PE) prices in China firmed by $10-40/t in the past week on reduced availability of spot cargoes from local producers and Iranian sellers.

Four vessels with Iranian origin PE, which were due to arrive at the end of May, have been delayed and are now expected to reach China in early July. There were no details available on the volume of these shipments.

The delay of over a month is one of the factors that has caused tightness in PE imports in China. Iran is the largest exporter of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) to China.

Iranian vessels were unable to dock at Qingdao, Ningbo and Shanghai ports, resulting in delayed discharge of cargoes. Indian origin PE due for July arrival are also expected to face delays.

The loss in imported volumes in the Chinese market, especially during the ongoing turnaround season, has boosted PE prices on a cfr China basis. A slew of producers like Sinopec-Sabic Tianjin, Tianjin United, Shenhua Ningmei and Pucheng Clean Energy shut units in early May.

PetroChina Daqing's 200,000 t/yr LDPE and 300,000 t/yr HDPE/LLDPE units also shut for maintenance. Zhongtian Hechuang's 670,000 t/yr PE units were shut for maintenance from 3 June. Shanghai Secco shut its 300,000 t/yr HDPE unit for two weeks from 15 June, followed by Yanchang China Coal's 600,000 t/yr unit scheduled for a shutdown for 50 days.

Supply tightness in China is likely to ease from mid-July as supplies are return following turnarounds in the second quarter.

Argus 

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