Asia toluene – Asia toluene falls below $700/tonne on weak import demand

Asia toluene

Source:ICIS News

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s toluene prices have fallen below $700/tonne for the first time since mid-January this year, reversing the gains made in the past few weeks, ICIS data showed on Thursday.Asia toluene

Asia toluene March prices were understood to be at $690-700/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea in the morning of 23 February, while April offers were at $705-710/tonne FOB Korea, market players said.

The last time prices were below $700/tonne was on 17 January, according to ICIS data.Asia toluene

FOB Korea prices have been falling since 16 February because of weak Chinese buying interest in imports, amid a closed FOB Korea-CFR (cost & freight) China price spread, and the poorer-than-expected performance of the downstream benzene sector, market participants said.

The increasing number of offers for April and May shipments also contributed to the downside pressure.Asia toluene

Weak Chinese buying interest has been plaguing the toluene market since before the Lunar New Year period because importers were not willing to stock up on imported cargoes.Asia toluene

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SK Global Chemical paraxylene – SK Global Chemical raised March prices of paraxylene at USD20 per ton

SK Global Chemical  paraxylene

MOSCOW ( MRC ) – Company SK Global Chemical (SKGC), one of the largest manufacturers of petrochemical products in South Korea increased paraxylene contract price for March delivery in the Asian region at USD20 per ton compared to the level of February, told ICIS sources market.SK Global Chemical  paraxylene

SK Global Chemical paraxylene Thus, the contract price of paraxylene was announced at the level of USD970 per tonne CFR Asia SK Global Chemical  paraxylene

In February, the same level of the contract price was SKGC USD950 per tonne.

It is expected that other producers of paraxylene in Asia to announce its contract prices to Friday.

The contract price of paraxylene in the February delivery was established in the Asian region to the level of USD900 per tonne.

Para-xylene is used as a raw material for the synthesis of terephthalic acid – the precursor to produce polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

According to the price review the MRC-of ICIS , PET prices on the Russian domestic market have not been reviewed last week. Some traders noted an increase in consumer activity on the spot.

According to one of the converters, the PET prices on the supply does not change in February, but some plants are ready to give a discount on the current volume. Cost of purchases of imported material is not growing, despite the significant increase in PET prices in Asia.

The ruble against the dollar offsets higher import quotations of granulate, said market players.

Author:   Margarita Volkova

Toray carbon fiber – Toray to boost carbon fiber capacity 20%

Toray carbon fiber 

TOKYO — Toray Industries aims to increase its global carbon fiber production capacity about 20% by 2018, focusing on a low-price version used in wind turbines and other applications.Toray carbon fiber 

Toray carbon fiber  The Tokyo-based company may spend over 10 billion yen ($99.5 million) to triple the capacity at a Mexican plant making the low-end fiber, which also can be used for autoparts. The decision will be finalized as early as this year.Toray carbon fiber 

The company previously specialized in high-end carbon fiber for uses such as aircraft, but is now going on the offensive in the low-end version amid growing demand and broadening applications.

Toray Industries looks to expand carbon fiber capacity by 20%.

Toray targets overall carbon fiber capacity of 52,000 tons annually, which would raise the company’s leading global market share from around 43% to nearly 50%.Toray carbon fiber 

The Mexican plant in the west-central state of Jalisco has been running at full capacity thanks to brisk demand. Toray carbon fiber 

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Asia ACN prices – Asia ACN at two-year high; may sustain uptrend on tight supply

Asia ACN prices

Source:ICIS News

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Spot acrylonitrile (ACN) prices in Asia rose to a two-year high and may continue their uptrend in the near term on the back of rising production cost and tight supply.Asia ACN prices

Asia ACN prices On 17 February, prices were assessed at $1,480-1,520/tonne CFR (cost and freight) NE (northeast) Asia, which were last seen at around the same time in 2015, according to ICIS data.Asia ACN prices

Prices have risen by 26% since late December 2016, the data showed.Asia ACN prices

Producers are hiking prices in line with higher costs of feedstock propylene, which gained 10% since the start of the year to around $1,000/tonne CFR NE Asia on 17 February.

“Propylene prices are rising too fast, so we have no choice but to raise the prices,” a major Asian supplier said.Asia ACN prices

Major Asian suppliers with stocks in hand have been raising prices significantly to recoup their margins amid limited availability of spot materials.

Spot supply is being constrained by ongoing maintenance at plants in Taiwan and China, market sources said.

Formosa Plastics Corp’s (FPC) 280,000 tonne/year ACN unit in Mailiao, Taiwan, is down for a month-long maintenance from 9 February; while Shanghai SECCO Petrochemical’s 260,000 tonne/year unit in China was taken off line on 20 February and will remain off line up to 24 March.Asia ACN prices

In the first half of the year, three other plants in Asia are scheduled to undergo turnaround, which will further limit regional spot supply.

Company Location Capacity (tonnes/yr) Shutdown dates/duration
Asahi Kasei Mizushima, Japan 200,000 May-June
Tongsuh Petrochemical Ulsan, South Korea 245,000 (No 3 unit) May, one month
CPDC Kaohsiung, Taiwan 240,000 26 March, 8-10 days
Formosa Plastics Corp Mailiao, Taiwan 280,000 9 February-8 March
Shanghai SECCO Petrochemical Shanghai, China 260,000 20 February-24 March
Sumitomo Chemical Niihama, Japan 70,000 September, 2-3 weeks

“I think ACN prices will extend the uptrend in coming weeks because of the tight supply,” a regional trader said.Asia ACN prices

Deep-sea cargoes are not likely to ease the supply crunch in Asia, as major US producers that export to the region have scheduled turnarounds at their plants in the second quarter, market sources said.

These US producers, namely, Ascend Performance Materials, INEOS Nitriles and Cornerstone Chemical, are currently building inventory and may not export much volumes to Asia, they said.

But further gains in Asian ACN prices may be tempered as most end-users in the region are covered by contract supply and were not keen to procure spot cargoes, market sources said.

“I hope ACN prices could rise slowly so that we are able to take time to digest the cost,” an end-user said.

Focus article by Judith Wang

Picture (top): Acrylonitrile (ACN) is used in the production of acrylic fibres, which go into home furnishings like sofas. (Source: Mito Images/REX/Shutterstock)

By Judith Wang

Toray Carbon Fiber Automotive Industry – Toray Plans Major Expansion of Carbon Fiber Business to Cater to Automotive Industry

Toray Carbon Fiber Automotive Industry

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Europe benzene – Europe spot benzene drops below $1,000/tonne amid global losses

Europe  benzene

Source:ICIS News

Europe benzene LONDON (ICIS)–Lower global pricing has seen Europe benzene spot numbers start to fall as February draws to a close, sources said on Wednesday.Europe  benzene

The US benzene market saw some downward movement last week, with ongoing outages in the derivative styrene market limiting benzene consumption.Europe  benzene

Similarly, Asian spot numbers have drifted lower amid weaker Chinese demand and more sellers for March emerging.

This has impacted European benzene spot numbers. February was still trading above $1,080/tonne early last week, but the market gradually moved lower and a deal was done at $1,025/tonne on Friday 17 February. March was slightly backwardated, trading several times at $1,015/tonne and $1,020/tonne.

The downward momentum continued this week, with February dropping below $1,000/tonne. Deals have been done this week at $995/tonne and $985/tonne.

Bids for February were at $975/tonne on Wednesday while offers were at $995/tonne. March was valued flat with February, with offers for the first half of the month slightly firmer at $1,000/tonne. The market continued to drop in the afternoon with a deal for February done at $970/tonne.Europe  benzene

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March PE Europe – March expectations call for third month of PE increases in Europe

March PE  Europe

Following increases of up to €60/ton that materialized on February PE deals, expectations for March surfaced for a new round of hike requests among European players. Firm predictions are based on a strong upstream ethylene market coupled with limited PE supplies in the region.March PE  Europe

March PE  Europe Although spot naphtha prices edged down to slightly below $500/ton CIF NWE by late last week in response to volatile crude oil prices, ethylene prices in Europe posted steady increases since early February. March PE  Europe

Rising spot ethylene prices were driven by turnarounds slated to take place between March-May at several crackers across the region.

Spot ethylene prices rose by around €85/ton on FD NWE basis week over week, bringing the total increase to €120/ton so far during February. March PE  Europe

A couple of players expressed their anticipations of seeing €20-30/ton increases on new March ethylene contracts in response to the rising spot market.March PE  Europe

“Demand was rather good this month and there might be some material shortness in the next weeks which would pave the way for a fresh round of price hikes in March,” opined a distributor in Italy.

A distributor from Germany also reported, “Two of our regular Middle Eastern PE suppliers were not able to supply their regular volumes this month. March PE  Europe

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