Polymerupdate European resin pricing, Feb. 23-27; Despite upstream increases, most materials unchanged

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March 03, 2009

Spot polyethylene (PE) prices ended last week steady in Europe according to Polymerupdate, but strength in upstream ethylene indicates material sellers will push for increases. In high-density polyethylene (HDPE), injection molding contract prices were assessed at 820/tonne FD Northwest Europe, while HDPE film prices were assessed at 800/tonne FD Northwest Europe. Spot prices for injection, blowmolding, and film grades were also unchanged from the week before at 750/tonne FD Northwest Europe.

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) prices firmed last week, with contract prices of LDPE up 10/tonne to 810/tonne FD Northwest Europe. LDPE prices in the spot markets reached 790/tonne. The price gains followed a steep climb in March for European ethylene, with contract prices up 85/tonne. LDPE converters remain resistant, however, with one telling Polymerupdate, “We are aware of the fact that PE producer margins in Europe maybe squeezed due to rising ethylene prices, but this is not reason for us to pay higher prices for our requirements. We have been quite active in our purchases over the past few weeks and currently are well stocked with sufficient LDPE to see us through the first half of March.”

Polypropylene (PP) finished flat last week in the contract and spot markets, with contract injection grades at 780/tonne FD Northwest Europe, and copolymer contracts settling at 830/tonne FD Northwest Europe. In the spot market, homopolymer prices were also unchanged at 680/tonne FD Northwest Europe, with copolymer prices static at 730/tonne FD Northwest Europe.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) contract prices fell last week, with suspension-grade PVC assessed down at 695 to 715/tonne FD Northwest Europe. The contraction came in spite of elevated ethylene prices and was triggered in part by sluggish regional and Asian demand. Ineos ChlorVinyls is reported to have announced an increase of 80/tonne in its PVC prices of for March.

Polystyrene (PS) rose last week, with general-purpose grades hitting 875/tonne FD Northwest Europe, while HIPS contract prices were assessed at 925/tonne FD Northwest Europe. Producers claimed to have achieved increases ranging from plus 30 to 40/tonne from January’s settlement. Although higher than February, the settlements were below targeted hikes of 70 to 75/tonne announced by Dow and Ineos Nova. In the spot market, PS prices finished flat in Europe last week, with GPPS prices at 795/tonne FD Northwest Europe and HIPS at 850/tonne FD.

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) contract prices finished flat in Europe last week, with general-purpose and natural-grade contract prices at 1165/tonne FD Northwest Europe. ABS producers are heard to be targeting hikes for March, with some producers pushing a 50/tonne increase while others aim higher on the basis of gains in upstream styrene monomer (SM). In the spot market, FD Northwest Europe prices of ABS dipped to 970 to 980/tonne. 

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