In Africa, December PP and PE prices were announced with mostly decreases last week, in line with earlier expectations as per the pricing service of ChemOrbis. However, Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil exporter, was an exception to this given the currency problems that the country has been struggling with.

Nigeria’s local PP and PE producer ELEME was anticipated to lower their prices in line with the global trend, lower upstream costs and rather weak demand in the country. However, contrary to these expectations, the producer came with rollovers from their late November levels and they pointed to the depreciating local currency against the US dollar for their decision.

plastics prices
Africa’s PP and PE markets come down in December

The local currency, naira, lost 11.8% against the dollar this year given the fact that the tumbling crude oil prices took their toll on the already unstable economy although Nigeria is Africa’s leading energy producer and biggest economy.

However, December import prices to Nigeria came down as expected. Middle Eastern PP offers were announced with up to three digit decreases while PE prices from the region were $60-90/ton lower according to players’ reports. Yet, South Korean PE imports were found more competitive by players in the country when compared with the Middle Eastern producers’ prices.

In Eastern African markets, Kenyan players received $40-50/ton lower PP and PE prices from the Middle Eastern producers while Tanzanian players obtained $60/ton decreases for PP and $30-50/ton decreases for PE. Players in the region are still refraining from making fresh purchases while some comment that further decreases would only be possible for small amounts since Middle Eastern producers seem adamant on their offer levels following their recent cuts.

In the North, Algerian players reported $30/ton lower PP and PE prices from a major Saudi producer, which they did not find satisfying. However, later announcements came with up to $100/ton decreases as the week proceeded. Players in Algeria are struggling with liquidity issues as banks are reported not to be opening letters of credit and buyers are left with no option but to pay in cash.

In Morocco, where converters continue to operate at lower capacities and complain about their dwindling final product orders, initial December prices came with €30/ton decreases.

According to ChemOrbis, in South Africa, players received $20-40/ton PE decreases from the Middle Eastern producers while they comment that the Saudi producers appear to be adamant on their offer levels this month. Meanwhile the local producer Sasol’s LDPE and LLDPE supplies were reported to be more comfortable than November although they are still not deemed as ample.

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