Petrotahlil — Trading activity for Asian petrochemicals is expected to start slowing down toward the year-end lull demand period. The restart of a major steam cracker in northeast Asia in the previous week could increase olefins supply from January 2021 onward, although supply conditions are expected to remain tight in northeast Asia at present.
** Ethylene supply in northeast Asia would likely remain tight for first-half January 2021 cargoes. H2 January arrival cargoes are likely to increase as production recovers.
** Producers are expected to show less selling interest in the spot market amid stronger crude oil prices, and likely to keep ethylene for their own downstream use.
** Higher FOB Houston prices have resulted in limited forward arrival discussions and an increasingly bullish sentiment.
** The Asian styrene market is forecast to stay mixed amid current low China port inventory levels while expectations of increasing production and weakening demand build up.
** Inventory in east China is likely to fall further in the week started Dec. 13 to an all-year low while the restart of domestic producers, slated in mid-late December, would add more length to the China market toward the year end.
** The downward trend in downstream polystyrene and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene prices may persist due to slowing demand and weaker feedstock prices. Higher margins have been met with increased buyers' resistance and may result in price adjustments going forward, according to market sources.
** The China propylene market is under pressure in the week started Dec. 13 as China-based buyers look to stay on the sidelines in anticipation of price adjustments on expectations of additional January 2021 arrival cargoes.
** Lotte Chemical had restarted its steam cracker on Dec. 8, two days earlier than planned, and this is expected to provide some relief for the tight supply condition in S Korea.
** Asian polypropylene offers are expected to remain limited for dollar-denominated cargoes amid scarce container availability, and supply tightness in India and some Southeast Asian countries.
** The market sentiment is mixed within China, with some trade participants saying that demand has started showing signs of softness while others noted that another round of domestic replenishment is needed amid limited imports and expensive PP prices overseas.
** Demand in India is likely to remain robust. Domestic suppliers are struggling to meet the required demand, and overseas suppliers too are offering very limited quantities.
** The Asian butadiene market sentiment would likely weaken further in the week started Dec. 13 as tight supplies are easing after South Korea's Lotte successfully restarted its plant in Daesan on Dec. 10. Meantime, spot prices would be supported somewhat by healthy demand in Japan.
Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA):
** Asian purified terephthalic acid prices are likely to continue taking cues from upstream feedstock while market fundamentals would remain largely unchanged, with a bearish sentiment in China and tight supply in India, according to sources.
** Physical spot trade discussions are expected to remain scarce for Chinese PTA imports amid ample and competitive domestic supply.
** The CFR India PTA marker is likely to be firm amid tight domestic supply and expensive container costs. Offers from overseas suppliers are likely to be limited as most are sold for December and January shipments.
** Asian recycled polyethylene terephthalate trade activities are likely to remain thin toward the year end, especially with limited container availability and rising freight costs restraining international trades.
** The market was lacking in direction amid a largely stable and weak sentiment.
** The acrylonitrile market is expected to see tighter supply, lending support to prices amid ongoing plant shutdowns.
** China's Zhejiang Petrochemical has delayed the turnaround at its new 260,000 mt/year acrylonitrile plant at Zhoushan in eastern Zhejiang province to Dec. 20. The plant is expected to be shut for 18-20 days.
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