African polyolefin markets started April at all-time highs for nearly every PP and PE grade, having risen for almost 10 months in a row. Supply remained as a major price driver, especially for the Middle Eastern origins. At the same time, PP grades of Chinese origin were available in certain markets at much more competitive prices.
On the demand front, no major changes were witnessed this month and activities were largely lackluster. There were reports of a growing resistance towards higher prices and regional markets with predominantly Muslim populations started to see market activities slow down further ahead of Ramadan.
Nigerian producer’s April offers mostly steady; import prices surge
In Nigeria, the biggest polymer market in West Africa, the domestic producer ELEME’s April offers were stable except for an increase of NGN15,000 ($39/ton) for LLDPE C4 film.
Compared to March levels, a major Saudi producer’s PP offers were higher by around $100-110/ton. LLDPE C4 film offers surged by around $300/ton while LDPE film and HDPE film offers increased by $100/ton and $130/ton, respectively. HDPE b/m and HDPE inj. offers were also higher by around $150-160/ton from last month.
Nigerian players reported that supply remained in short in the market.
Chinese PP available in Kenya at competitive prices
In Kenya, the largest economy in East Africa, PP grades of Chinese were being offered at competitive prices while new offers for Saudi PP and PE grades continued to climb in April.
A major Saudi producer’s PPH raffia and inj. offers increased month-on-month by $100/ton to $1950/ton CFR Kenya while PE grades saw increases ranging from $100/ton to $130/ton from March. These changes brought the latest Saudi PE offers to $1560-1580/ton for HDPE film, $1800/ton for LDPE film and $1480/ton for LLDPE C4 film, with the same terms.
Offers for Chinese PPH raffia and inj. were reported at $1550-1560/ton CIF Kenya, indicating a drop of around $100/ton from the previously available levels in March.
“Northeast Asian materials are much more competitive compared to those from the Middle East. However, there is still some resistance towards higher prices and buyers are only purchasing to cover their immediate requirements,” a trader in Nairobi said.
New price records set in Algeria
In Algeria, one of the two reference markets for North Africa, Saudi PPH raffia and inj. rose were $100/ton above the initial March levels to $2000/ton CFR Algeria, eclipsing the previous record set last month.
PE offers also rose to new highs in April, with latest levels indicated increases of $70-130/ton over the initial levels in March. These changes brought the April levels to $1700/ton for both HDPE film and LLDPE C4 film, and $1950/ton for LDPE film, CFR Algeria.
A trader based in Algiers said that prices were largely in line with their expectations but also noted activities were slow given a growing buyers’ resistance toward higher prices.