October PE pipe prices largely steady on balanced market

LONDON (ICIS) -- European polyethylene (PE) pipe resin October contract prices largely settled at a rollover, although some slight reduction was noted at the high end of business as price ideas narrowed, players confirmed on Thursday.

Black high density PE (HDPE) 100 prices slipped by ┬10/tonne ($14/tonne) at the top of the range, as higher offers were no longer workable in the market due to some aggressive competition for market share.

This left black HDPE 100 prices at ┬1,190-1,240/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) on a gross basis, which is subject to discounts and rebates according to data from ICIS.

The weaker US dollar exchange rate was the main factor driving prices down, according to market commentators, who said that this had now largely closed off export opportunities for European sellers, pushing material earmarked for export back into the already lengthening market.


ECHA forum approves new enforcement project for downstream users

LONDON (ICIS) -- The European Chemicals Agency's (ECHA's) forum for exchange of information on enforcement approved a new project focused on downstream users who formulate mixtures, the agency said on Friday.

Project ⌠REACH-EN-FORCE 2, which was approved at the forum's 8th meeting held in Helsinki this week, aimed to ensure that formulators of mixtures complied with their duties in order to meet the requirements imposed by the Reach and CLP (classification, labelling and packaging) regulations.

In particular, the ECHA said inspectors would control supply-chain related obligations for substances in mixtures prepared by formulators as well as the CLP notification requirements.

They will also check if the substances placed on the market in mixtures are registered or pre-registered," the ECHA said.


Formosa completes rebuilding No 1 cracker in Mailiao

SINGAPORE (ICIS) -- Formosa Petrochemical Corp has completed the rebuilding work at its 700,000 tonne/year No 1 cracker in Mailiao but has yet to get a nod from the government to run it, a company spokesperson said on Friday.

⌠We are waiting for a permit from the government to run (the plant) but they didn't tell us when or how we can get it. We have no idea when we can start again, said Lin Keh-yen of FPCC.

The No 1 cracker was suspended after a fire incident shut the plant down on 7 July this year.

FPCC's 1.03m tonne/year cracker at the same site has been undergoing maintenance since 5 October and was expected to start up in the middle of November, analysts have previously said.


Europe naphtha market largely unaffected by French strikes

LONDON (ICIS) -- The ongoing strikes in France have had only minimal effects on the European naphtha market, sources said on Friday.

Industrial action at the Fos-Lavera oil terminal in southern France entered its 19th day on Friday as national strikes rolled into their fourth day. The naphtha cargo market was described as balanced and fairly quiet, but the strike was thought to be only a minor factor in this.

⌠There certainly hasn't been a major move on naphtha prices because of the strikes, one trader said.

Sources elaborated that in addition to many French oil refineries being out of action, many crackers there were not operating either. This resulted in lower French demand for naphtha as a feedstock.

Furthermore, France itself was believed to have built up reserves of naphtha and other fuels as a precaution against any disruption to supply. Therefore the country appeared to be coping adequately so far, sources said.


Strong demand for LDPE from buyers in Southeast Asia

(Plastemart) -- In Southeast Asia, traders and converters are actively searching the market for LDPE film cargoes this week.

Chinese buyers are also said to be exhibiting healthy demand for LDPE film, with some Southeast Asian sellers electing to allocate their supplies to China rather than the regional market. Globally, LDPE supply remains limited as the new LDPE capacities are not coming up at the same rate as HDPE and LLDPE.

In addition to this ongoing general tightness, shutdowns on the part of several Southeast Asian LDPE suppliers have intensified the regional shortage of this product.

Regional supply woes have resulted in significant price increases in LDPE film in the Southeast Asian market, with LDPE prices rising at a faster rate than either HDPE or LLDPE film prices. Despite this sellers report that they are seeing better demand for LDPE when compared with HDPE and LLDPE demand.