Polyethylene (PE) prices were mostly steady last week, with reasonably active trading, according to spot-trading platform The Plastics Exchange (TPE) and its reporting partner The PetroChem Wire. TPE saw extra spot-buying interest before the end of the month met by restricted supplies, and in general, participants reported that a $0.07/lb increase was confirmed over January and February for PE. Producers have nominated a $0.05/lb increase for March contracts, but buyers cite overall weak demand as the primary reason such an increase will likely fail to take hold. Spot PE prices rose a half-cent early last week before leveling off, with railcars of generic prime high-density blowmolding and injection grades, as well as linear low-density film butene, available in the lower-to-mid $0.40s/lb. High-molecular-weight high-density film was priced in the high $0.40s-to-low $0.50s/lb. Low-density film grades that were plentiful early in the month, became scarce at February’s close, which pushed spot deals into the $0.50s/lb. In the export market, TPE still sees interest to South America and Mexico from export traders and processors who are interested in buying directly.
Polypropylene (PP), which rose in early February, closed the month with a dip after stabilizing. TPE says poor demand limited opportunities to clear inventories at previous market prices. February contract prices are awaiting finalization of propylene-monomer contracts. After being tight at the start of the month, spot supplies grew at the close of February, with deals concluded in the low-to-mid $0.30s/lb for homopolymer and copolymer grades. Export inquiries for U.S. material into Latin America and Mexico remained, but few deals were concluded last week.
Polystyrene (PS) prices were unchanged to a penny lower last week, with market participants saying overall demand remains poor and supplies somewhat “snug.” General-purpose PS was in the high $0.40s to low $0.50s/lb, with high impact in the mid-to-high $0.50s/lb. —[email protected]