Market sentiment causes volatile Chinese PTA
PTA imports cheaper post VAT revision
Asian purified terephthalic acid spot trade discussions were quiet Friday amid the Chinese Chemical Industry. The PTA CFR China Chemical industry was relatively stable this week, but the China domestic PTA prices fell by Yuan 195/mt early this week, followed by a rebound of Yuan 170/mt day on day Friday. Chinese trade participants were speculative this week amid the turnaround news. “Even though Chinese PTA prices were volatile this week, the overall trend remains stable within a longer time frame [of around 2-3 weeks],” a PTA buyer said, adding that price fluctuation was mainly driven by chemical industry sentiment. With the value added tax cut from 16% to 13% effective April 1, PTA imports became cheaper than China domestic products, with the average spread of around $11/mt this week. As a result, there were active buying inquiries heard, with CFR China deals closed for 2,000 mt-20,000 mt cargoes from northeast Asia. Similarly, even though upstream PX was volatile throughout this week, the CFR Taiwan/China marker was assessed at $1,039.88/mt in average this week, similar to the average of $1039.65/ mt last week. In India chemical industry, demand from the textile sector was heard to have not improved, leading to accumulation in polyester finished goods, a few producers said. The inventories were high enough to meet demand for the next three weeks, sources said. Nevertheless, there were “still no major production cuts” in the polyester sector amid expectations of improvement, leading to healthy demand for PTA, sources said. Spot discussions were scarce for CFR India Chemical Industrial market this week. In plant news, China’s TongkunGroup plans to shut its 2.2 million mt/year PTA line in Zhapu, Zhejiang, for around 15-20 days of maintenance from early April, a company source said Friday. China’s Hengli Petrochemical plans to shut its 2.2 million mt/year No. 1 PTA unit in Dalian for 15 days maintenance from April 15, a company source said Friday. China’s Fujian Fuhaichuang Petrochemical plans to shut its 1.6 million mt/year paraxylene and 4.5 million mt/year PTA plants in Gulei, Fujian province, early May for at least two weeks, a company source said Friday (chemical industry). Separately, multiple chemical plant explosions in China increased concerns over stricter safety inspections. According to market sources close to major polyester and purified terephthalic acid companies in east China, there has not been any official statement yet regarding shutdown for safety inspection. The sources added that the impact was “terrible” with stricter safety regulations expected soon.
The CFR China PTA Chemical Industrial price was assessed flat day on day at $840/mt on Friday for 15-30 days forward cargoes, with scarce discussions amid the Chinese public holiday. China prompt domestic price was assessed flat at Yuan 6,510/mt over the same period for the Chemical Industry. Both CFR Southeast Asia PTA and CFR India PTA were assessed down $5/ mt week on week at $850/mt on Friday, amid scarce spot discussion this week, keeping the spread at $10/mt against CFR China.