TPE resin pricing, April 13-17: PE and PP flat, PS up as China exports slow

Polyethylene (PE) prices were steady last week and trading slowed amid poor domestic demand, tight supply, and reduced interest from exporters, according to spot-trading platform The Plastics Exchange (TPE) and its reporting partner, the PetroChem Wire. April PE contracts are still being negotiated, with producers seeking a $0.05/lb increase, but processors believe implementation is becoming increasingly unlikely due to weak domestic demand. TPE says there are isolated reports of slight decreases, with producers implementing a $0.07/lb increase between January and February and an agreement to keep prices flat in March. TPE noted that traders re-entered the market for spot material when it was believed there wouldn’t be an April price increase. Spot prices were mostly steady, but some traders reported smaller-volume deals at lower prices. By and large, prices for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) blowmold and injection grades, as well as linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) film butene, were steady in the low $0.40s/lb, with low-density polyethylene (LDPE) injection grades in the low-to-mid $0.40s/lb. TPE reports that exports slowed as Chinese traders exited the market. There continued to be reports of some limited transactions being concluded for Asia, but PE flows from the Gulf coast were sharply reduced. At the start of April, numerous shipments of PE from the U.S. to China helped push prices up.

Polypropylene (PP) prices were steady last week, but TPE says trading slowed as supply tightened and export interest decreased. Producers are seeking a $0.03/lb increase for April contracts. Spot homopolymer PP was trading in the high $0.30s to low $0.40s/lb, with the low end of the range more reflective of domestic delivered prices, and the high end tracking export prices. A backlog of orders at Houston-area bagging facilities and tighter supplies contributed to weaker export demand.

Polystyrene (PS) spot prices were slightly higher last week amid tight supply. General-purpose grades were in the high $0.40s to low $0.50s/lb, with high-impact PS in the low-to-mid $0.50s/lb. [email protected]

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