Crude oil prices softened a bit in October but remained firm around US$61-63 per barrel. They have fallen by almost US$10 per barrel from the peak of US$70.85 hit in end-August. The fall has come as a boon for many fuel consuming industries and textiles in particular. The entire synthetic fibre industry, almost depend on petroleum products for raw material inputs. In October, WTI Spot, averaged US$62.4 per barrel and was 17% higher than last year. During the first 10 months of 2005, oil prices were higher by 38% averaging US$56.1 per barrel.
Late October saw crude prices falling on news report claiming weakening of demand and higher inventories in the USA. However, the supplies were still tight following the rampaging of the Mexico Gulf by hurricanes in August and September. The strike at Shell’s Pernis refinery in France continues to dampen supplies further.
Naphtha prices moved in tandem with the oil trend. In Far East Asia, naphtha prices averaged US$562 per ton in October, down 3% from September’s average but 20% higher than last year. The spread between crude and naphtha, however, increased to US$165 per ton in October from a low of US$61 per ton touched in June 2005. The same in October 2004 was a healthy US$186 per ton. The period January to October 2005 saw naphtha prices up 26.5% from their levels a year ago. The past two years witnessed naphtha values shooting up by 68% and the entire textile value chain adversely affected.
Paraxylene prices softened in the second half of October after peaking in the second week of the month. They had than hardened on rising naphtha prices. During October, paraxylene prices averaged US$1,016 per ton in South East Asia as against US$966 per ton in September. They were 15% higher in the first 10 months of 2005.
PTA lost support of Paraxylene values second half of October. They declined sharply by almost US$30 per ton in the last 15 days of the month, while Paraxylene prices fell by US$50-60 per ton. During October, PTA prices averaged US$850 per ton and were 4% lower than last year. As of end-October, the realized price in China was in the range of US$835 per ton. Korean and Taiwanese November cargoes offer had settled at US$830-835 per ton as against US$860-865 per ton offered in October.
Ethylene glycol prices also drifted dramatically in the second fortnight of October in Asia, losing US$80 per ton in 15 days period. During the month, MEG prices averaged US$870 per ton and were 30% lower than October 2004.
Although prices of fiber intermediates were seen softening in late October, the downstream staple fiber and filament yarns prices were steady but had a falling tendency. The trade talks between China and USA remained inconclusive and moderated export demand. While yarn market was in a bearish condition and PSF producers were pegging their offers marginally lower. As of end-October price of 1.5D 38mm PSF was in the range of US$1.16-1.20 per kg CFR Southeast Asia and Korea. Semi-dull 150D/48F DTY was quoted at US$1.50 / kg FOB Malaysia and Indonesia. Similarly, the 300D/72F DTY was priced in the range of US$1.45 per kg. POY of 75D was prices at 1.30 per kg FOB Fareast Asia while FDY of 150D semi dull was at US$1.40 per kg FOB Malaysia.
Propylene prices declined marginally in last week of October after firming in the first fortnight. The fall is attributed to the softening naphtha values in Asia. As of end-October, the CFR values for South East Asia were in the range of US$990-1,010 per ton, down from US$1,050-1,060 per ton in mid-October. During the month, propylene prices averaged US$1,040 per ton and were almost at the same year ago levels.
Although propylene prices tended to slide in late October, Acrylonitrile – derived from propylene, saw a sharp jump in the third week of October. ACN producers were for long planning to slash operating rate in an attempt to push up contract prices. As of end-October, Acrylonitrile prices in South East and Far East Asia were in the range of US$1,350-1,360 per ton CFR up from US$1,300-1,320 per ton in mid-October.
Acrylic fiber markets moved up in Asia on rising Acrylonitrile cost and favorable market sentiment. As of 31 October offers from Korean and Taiwan suppliers of acrylic staple fiber 1.5D/38mm were in the range of US$1.80-1.95 per kg CIF China, rising from US$1.75-1.81 per kg CIF China as of mid-October.
Viscose staple fiber market was stable in Asia during October after inching up in September. As of 31 October, the relative price of 1.5D*38mm VSF stood at US$1.65 per kg. During the same period, the Pakistan CIF value of 1.5D*38mm VSF was at US$1.49 per kg. The viscose filament yarn market in Asia was also calm during October 2005. The latest traded price of 150D VFY was in the range of US$ 2.58 per kg CIF China.
The Cotlook A index fell to 56.60 cents per pound as of end of last week of October. Similarly, Cotlook B index declined 55.00 cents per pound. In contrast, the China’s Cotton Index moved up from 13748 RMB YUAN per ton as of 30 September to 14208 RMB YUAN per ton on 31 October. The surge was on account of unusually wet weather conditions in various parts of the country threatening crop output in the coming season.
Cotton prices in Pakistan and India remained steady during the month as the market waited for the new crop to come in.