Polymerupdate European resin pricing Feb. 9-13; Stronger local demand, Asian exports lift prices

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February 19, 2009

Polymerupdate reports that European high-density polyethylene (HDPE) contract prices rose to €820/tonne FD Northwest Europe for injection grades, while HDPE blowmolding and film grade contract prices were assessed at €805/tonne and €790/tonne FD, respectively.

Prices strengthened in the spot market as well due to improved buying interest and robust export orders from Asia. Higher ethylene feedstock rates also supported price gains in spot HDPE. Injection prices were assessed at €750/tonne FD Northwest Europe, with blowmolding and film prices assessed at €740/tonne and €750/tonne FD, respectively. Traders are cautious looking forward, especially as hints of a slowdown in Chinese demand surfaced.

Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) contract prices firmed in Europe, with butene-grade contract prices up to €780 to €790/tonne FD Northwest Europe. Gains in ethylene contract values prompted sellers to announce further increases for February.

In the spot market, LLDPE prices were flat at €720 to €730/tonne FD. Traders attempted to increase offer rates on the basis of ethylene hikes but were rebuffed by buyers who found competitively priced offers coming into Europe from the Middle East, particularly Iran.

General-purpose low-density polyethylene (LDPE) prices were on the rise in Europe last week, fueled by upstream ethylene feedstock rates and reports of healthy buying. LDPE contract rates on Friday rose to €800/tonne FD Northwest Europe, while in the spot market, LDPE inched higher to €755/tonne FD Northwest Europe. Sellers cited strong local demand, as well as export interest from buyers in China and India. In plant news, LyondellBasell announced it will temporarily idle its LDPE unit at Fos-sur-Mer, France. The plant has a nameplate capacity of 110,000 tonnes/yr.

European polypropylene (PP) prices also ended last week higher, with homopolymer injection-grade PP contract prices assessed at €775/tonne FD Northwest Europe, and PP copolymer-grade contracts up to €825/tonne FD Northwest Europe. In the spot market, PP homopolymer prices were seen at €680/tonne FD Northwest Europe, with PP copolymer hitting €730/tonne FD Northwest Europe. The increases were promoted by tight regional availability due to reductions in plant runs coupled with growing demand for European PP in Asian markets.

February polyvinyl chloride (PVC) contracts were steady last week, but the spot market was on the rise. FD Northwest Europe contract prices of PVC suspension grades were assessed at €710 to €730/tonne, as sellers sought increased on gains in ethylene, while buyers steadfastly resisted. In the spot market, PVC ranged from €530 to €550/tonne FD Northwest Europe. In Turkey, domestic producer Petkim was reported to have announced a $30/tonne hike for PVC last week.

Polystyrene (PS) prices edged higher, with contracts for general-purpose grades up to €865/tonne FD Northwest Europe, while high-impact PS contract prices were assessed at €920/tonne FD Northwest Europe. In the spot market, GPPS was seen at €795/tonne FD Northwest Europe, with HIPS hitting €850/tonne FD Northwest Europe. The increases came on strength in upstream ethylene, benzene, and styrene monomer. European PS producers seem determined to hike February contracts, with increases ranging from €70 to €100/tonne targeted.

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) contract prices softened last week, in part due to weak demand in key construction and automotive markets. ABS producers targeting contract increases for February have abandoned their efforts in response to the difficult market. Natural-grade and general-purpose ABS contract prices were down compared to the week before at €1175/tonne FD Northwest Europe, prompted as well by dips in acrylonitrile and butadiene feedstocks. In the spot market, ABS prices were assessed at €945/tonne FD Northwest Europe. [email protected]

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