Domestic prices of LDPE in China have been falling over the past two weeks

(ICIS) -- Domestic prices of low density polyethylene (LDPE) in China have been falling over the past two weeks amid a softening of demand, as downstream players face difficulty in accessing credit, industry sources said on Monday. Continued monetary tightening in China - through hikes in policy rates and in banks' reserve requirement ratio - makes the cost of capital prohibitively high for small to medium companies, they said.

Offers for LDPE films are quoted at yuan (CNY) 13.400-13.700/tonne (USD 2.062-2.108/tonne) on Monday morning. Over the past eight trading sessions, LDPE film prices in east China shed yuan (CNY) 50-100/tonne to CNY13.400-13.800/tonne ex-works (EXW) on 6 May, as assessed by Chemease, an ICIS service in China.

Meanwhile, seasonal factors are also at play in the weakening of demand from a major end-user - the agricultural sector, market sources said.

LDPE is used in packaging of grains. But the summer months of June, July and August are typically the lull season for the sector after the spring planting season, they said.


Louisiana chemical plants along the Mississippi river have started pre-shipping material

(ICIS) -- Louisiana chemical plants along the Mississippi river have started pre-shipping material in anticipation of high water, said Dan Borne, president of the Louisiana Chemical Association. If the river gets too high, it could prevent plants from receiving raw materials and from shipping out product, Borne said.

Some plants could rely on railroads or trucks for shipments, he said. But others deal in such large volumes that shipping costs could rise tremendously.

Plants could store some of their product in warehouses until water levels fall, Borne said. But that will depend on both the amount of on-site storage and the type of the chemical being produced.

Rising waters could also cover up pipes from which plants discharge effluent, Borne said. That also could disrupt operations. Borne could not quantify the extent of the disruptions since each of the plants are so different, he said.

A source with Cornerstone Chemicals reported that its 60 KTa melamine plant in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, was ⌠high and dry and there were no plans for a shutdown. Meanwhile, the US is taking steps to take pressure off the river.


PET prices down along with lowered quotations in Asia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Prices for PET in the Russian market have been lowering during April that was stipulated by lowered quotations in Asia, according to ICIS-MRC Price Report.

By the first week of May the price offer for the Russian PET reached 70.000 - 72.000 RUB/t, VAT included, СРТ Moscow, which was, on average, by 5.000 RUB/t lower than in early April.

The prices peak for PET in Asia fell in late March when quotations reached their maximum over the recent years - USD 1.900/mt, FOB. Russian producers, fearing the increase of purchases of Asian material, started proportional decrease of their prices in the domestic market.


Naphtha prices to fall by USD 43/tonne on Friday morning

(ICIS)--The outlook for European naphtha demand is optimistic after lower crude oil values caused naphtha prices to fall by USD 43/tonne (EUR 30/tonne) on Friday morning, sources said. At 10:00 GMT, the naphtha range was assessed at USD 951-959/tonne CIF (cost, insurance & freight) NWE (northwest Europe). June Brent crude oil was at USD 108.51/bbl.

This compared with a range of USD 994-1,002/tonne CIF NWE the previous afternoon, when June Brent was at USD 114.31/bbl.

The latest range is the lowest seen for European naphtha since 17 March, when prices were assessed at USD 946-954/tonne CIF NWE.

Crude oil price hikes caused by concerns about the ongoing political turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East disrupting supplies drove naphtha prices up and supported them for several weeks.


GCC nations produce around 16% of the world's petrochemicals output

(Ame Info) -- According to a recent report by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), the annual petrochemicals production of the six Gulf states is expected to soar around 46% to 155 million tonnes per annum by 2015, up from 105 million now. Today the GCC nations produce around 16% of the world's petrochemicals output; that figure will rise to 20% by 2015, the GPCA said.

Saudi Arabia is the region's largest producer of petrochemicals, with a 50% share of the total output, while Kuwait produces around 9% and Oman and Qatar 5% each. The UAE and Bahrain export 3% and 1% respectively, of the region's total petrochemicals output. Nor are the major Gulf players resting on their laurels. Mindful of the need to preserve their long-term income streams, Gulf governments have pledged to invest record sums in maintaining and improving the region's petrochemicals capacity.

By spending big on facilities including those at Jubail Industrial City and Ruwais, Saudi plans to raise its total petrochemicals output to 70 million tonnes by 2015, from the current production level of 53.2 million. Meanwhile state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) has said it will invest approximately USD 90bn over the next five years in its oil and gas businesses and growth strategy. "On the oil sector capital programme, we are well on track and poised to spend around USD 90bn in the coming five years," says Hashin Al-Rifai, a planning manager at KPC. "That is going to mushroom to USD 340bn over the 2030 [strategic] plan period."