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Polymerupdate European resin pricing, Feb. 16-20; Weak Asian demand, new Middle Eastern materials push prices lower

European polyethylene terephthalate (PET) producers continued to press for contract price hikes for bottle grades last week, targeting increases of more than €70/tonne above the January settlements, according to Polymerupdate. PET bottle grade prices, however, were unchanged at €1015/tonne FD Northwest Europe. Prices were also flat in the spot market, with bottle-grade PET at €820/tonne FD Northwest Europe.

A seller of contacted by Polymerupdate said upstream terephthalic acid (PTA) and mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) prices remain firm in Europe, prompting traders and producers to push for higher prices in February. Some sellers have already confirmed settling contracts with €50/tonne increases, with plans for a further €20/tonne boost.

Polypropylene (PP) contract prices continued to climb as injection grades rose €5/tonne last week to €780/tonne FD Northwest Europe. Copolymer contract prices rose to €830/tonne FD Northwest Europe. Polymerupdate reports that spot PP prices finished flat in Europe, with homopolymer assessed at €680/tonne FD Northwest Europe and PP copolymer reported at €730/tonne FD Northwest Europe. Dropping demand in Asia had reduced arbitrage opportunities for European PP sellers last week, and without an export outlet, downward pressures were exerted on spot PP. Although sellers initially defended their spot PP offers, many market participants anticipate a decline in spot PP rates in Europe going forward.

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) contract prices continued to adjust downward in Europe last week, with prices assessed at €1165/tonne FD Northwest Europe for general purpose and natural grades. In the spot market, ABS prices inched higher, with gains fed by expectations of growing demand in construction. Styrene monomer (SM) contract prices rose more than €60/tonne as compared to January, in addition to increases in acrylonitrile (ACN). The construction gains are in anticipation of increased seasonal building in the spring. ABS spot prices climbed to €980 to €990/tonne FD Northwest Europe.

Polystyrene (PS) prices finished flat in Europe last week, with general-purpose contracts at €865/tonne FD Northwest Europe, while high-impact contract prices were assessed at €920/tonne FD Northwest Europe. In the spot market, general-purpose prices were assessed at €795/tonne FD Northwest Europe, with HIPS at €850/tonne FD Northwest Europe. Producers that were targeting increases of €70/tonne and more for the month are now willing to accept €40 to €50/tonne.

Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) prices ended last week unchanged, with contract prices assessed at €780 to €790/tonne FD Northwest Europe, while in the spot market, LLDPE was assessed at €720 to €730/tonne FD Northwest Europe. Slowing Asian demand pushed prices lower, as well as cheap offers emerging from Iran at €670/tonne FD Northwest Europe.

European low-density polyethylene (LDPE) prices were flat from a week earlier, with general-purpose LDPE contracts remaining at €800/tonne FD Northwest Europe. In the spot market, LDPE prices were assessed at €755/tonne FD Northwest Europe, unchanged from the week prior.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) suspension-grade contract prices dropped last week, although not as much as buyers had hoped. Contract prices were assessed at €700 to €720/tonne FD Northwest Europe. Dull demand prompted buyers to demand reductions of between €30 to €40/tonne for their February contracts, but PVC sellers were reluctant to meet buyer bids, citing steep gains in ethylene feedstock prices in Europe this month.

PVC buying also slowed in the spot market, pushing spot PVC prices down to €520 to €540/tonne FD Northwest Europe. In addition to weak demand from Asia, news that interest from Russia was at a standstill due to the ongoing financial crisis had a further negative impact.

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