PHENOL: Asian prices tumbled this week as demand in China was weakening, and prices in the Indian Chemical Industry were heard following suit. The CFR China and the CFR India markers were both assessed lower week on week by $90/mt to $1,010/mt and $1,050/mt, respectively. Market sources said the key reason for the price fall was declining downstream demand in China as plants were lowering operating rates or shutting down due to safety checks following several explosions at chemical plants in Jiangsu province in recent weeks. “China is bearish,” a trader said this week, adding that offers were close to $1,025/mt CFR China chemical industry. A buyer in China said their bid at the moment was only $950-$980/mt CFR China. The domestic price of phenol in East China slipped to Yuan 7,700-7,800/mt this week, or about $968.20/mt on an import parity basis. In related news, Taiwan’s China Petrochemical Development Corporation on Thursday shut its 200,000 mt/year caprolactam plant in Toufen for one month of maintenance, a source close to the company said Thursday. The source added that the company’s phenol inventory level is high, and that phenol prices in Northeast Asia are under pressure due to low demand in China amid safety checks at plants following several chemical plant explosions in Jiangsu. Phenol is the feedstock to produce caprolactam. Chemical Industry sources said phenol bids on a CFR China basis this week were falling to below $1,000/mt.
ACETONE: Prices were also under pressure for acetone this week with the CFR India marker assessed down $40/mt to $390/mt, close to tradable levels estimated by Chemical Industry sources. The China Chemical Industry was also under pressure for the same reasons as phenol, but domestic price in East China was heard stable at Yuan 2,925/mt, or about 365.43/mt on an import parity basis. The CFR China marker was assessed lower on week by $10/mt to $380/mt, above buy ideas heard at $330-$340/mt CFR China.