US polyvinyl chloride export prices appeared to have reached a bottom

(ICIS) -- US polyvinyl chloride (PVC) export prices appeared to have reached a bottom after a decline since late May, sources said on Monday. However, buying interest has not yet returned from China, and US participants held mixed views on when Asian demand would return.

PVC export prices are at USD 980-1.010/tonne (EUR 696-717/tonne) FOB (free on board) USG (US Gulf), as assessed by ICIS.

Discussions clustered around USD 1.000-1.010/tonne FOB USG, although some prices were heard at levels under USD 1.000/tonne. One source said those parcels were destined for Egypt and locations in South America.

Meanwhile, US PVC participants are waiting for the August offer from Formosa Plastics Corporation (FPC), Asian market, as the offer is typically considered a key benchmark for PVC trade.
Early indications are leaning toward stable or firm pricing in Asia, which would influence direction of the US market, sources said.


BD spot prices in Asia may have peaked at an all-time high

(ICIS)--Butadiene (BD) spot prices in Asia may have peaked at an all-time high of USD 4.300/tonne (EUR 3.053/tonne) as downstream synthetic rubber makers vow to resist a further increase in raw material values, industry sources said on Tuesday.

BD surged to USD 4.250-4.300/tonne CFR (cost & freight) NE (northeast) Asia on 15 July, the highest on record since ICIS started tracking its prices in 1990.

Prices have more than doubled since the start of the year because of extremely tight regional supply and an open arbitrage opportunity to sell to the US, market sources said.

Some suppliers plan to hike offers to USD 4.500/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea, to which Asian buyers are expected to pose a strong resistance by significantly cutting down on consumption.
Some of the producers in downstream synthetic rubber and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) sectors in South Korea, Taiwan, China and Indonesia are planning to cut operating rates or shut down their plants for maintenance.


European styrene values have risen by almost USD 100

(ICIS) -- Despite the onset of a slump in demand due to the traditional summer holiday slowdown, European styrene values have risen by almost USD 100/tonne (EUR 71/tonne) in July as firming aromatics numbers in Asia and the US and upcoming turnarounds prompted an upturn in pricing, sources said on Tuesday.

Despite a predicted drop in July barge contracts on the back of lower feedstock costs, spot values have steadily gained as the month has progressed.

The midpoint of July deals during the first week of the month was USD 1.355/tonne, according to ICIS data. Bids and offers for July were at USD 1.440-1.450/tonne FOB (free on board) Rotterdam on Tuesday morning, with August at a USD 20/tonne contango.

One European trader said that the upwards movement on styrene was largely coming from higher benzene prices.


EPA didn't approve Formosa's alteration plans

(Taipei Times) -- Plans by the Formosa PlasticsGroup to make alterations to the phase-four expansion at its naphtha cracker in Yunlin's Mailiao Township did not pass the Environmental Protection Administration's (EPA) Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) review. The company was asked to rethink its plan and file supplementary information for further review.

Formosa Group had proposed the additional construction of polycrystalline silicon solar application plants (initially part of its phase-five expansion) and hydrogenated styrenic block copolymer plants, which together would have increased production capacity by 6.01 percent more than the original phase-four expansion project.

In April, the EIA committee considered the new proposals and concluded that they involved too many alterations. Then it asked Formosa Group to rethink its plans and provided supplementary documents for further review. Yesterday the group said the increase in production capacity was below 10 percent (alterations that exceed 10 percent are required to re-apply for an EIA review) and it had the capacity to deal with increased waste.

The planned alteration to the project would call for an additional 4 KT of water, which the group said would also be self-supplied.


Nan Ya request to restart plants rejected

(Taipei Times) -- The Yunlin County Government yesterday rejected applications by Nan Ya Plastics Corp to resume production at two factories in its compound in Haifeng, Mailiao Township, although it gave the green light to restarting two other factories earlier in the week.

The Haifeng compound houses five Nan Ya factories that produce several key textile materials and petrochemical intermediaries, such as 1,4-butylene glycol (BG), ethylene glycol (EG) and bisphenol-A (BPA). The county government had ordered the five factories shut down on June 1 in the wake of fires on May 12 and May 18.

The county government convened a 13-member review committee to go over Nan Ya's plans to restart operations at its BPA and BG factories.

On Monday, the county approved Nan Ya's applications to resume operations at two EG plants in the Haifeng compound. They are expected to resume production tomorrow.

Nan Ya is the world's fourth-largest EG producer, accounting for 9 percent of global supply. The Haifeng plants boast annual capacity of 1.8 million tonnes of EG.