In a slow trading week with some export activity, spot polyethylene (PE) prices were mostly steady, according to spot-trading platform The Plastics Exchange (TPE) and its reporting partner, The PetroChem Wire. TPE says many processors are content with their current inventory levels, while January contracts are still being hammered out. Producers are seeking a $0.07/lb increase over December, with an additional $0.05/lb increase nominated for February. Some hints of greater activity are on the horizon, with preliminary December data released from the American Chemistry Council showing producer operating rates in the high 50% range, as well as the strongest resin sales since the summer. Spot prices for generic-prime railcars were mostly flat, with offgrade prices down slightly due to a lack of demand. High-density blowmolding and injection grades, and linear low-density injection grades, were generally priced in the high $0.30s/lb to low $0.40s/lb. Linear low-density film grades were also in the high $0.30’s to low $0.40s/lb. Low density film was in the low-to-mid $0.40s/lb, with high-density film discounted by about three and a half cents from that. In the export market, TPE reports that deals were concluded to Mexico, Latin America, and Asia, with South American traders noting that the lack of competitive offers from Asia made U.S. export materials more attractive. In production news, TPE reports that Formosa shut one of the HDPE blowmolding resin production lines at its Point Comfort, TX, site.
Polypropylene (PP) activity was slow as well, with offgrade PP prices firming. Contract negotiations are ongoing, with producers seeking to implement a $0.06/lb increase for January. Spot generic-prime PP prices were steady to a half-cent lower, while homopolymer PP settled in the low-to-mid $0.30s/lb. Copolymer PP was priced at a typical $0.02/lb premium. In production news, Sunoco announced it will close its 400 million lb/yr Bayport, TX, PP plant no later than April 30. Export deals were consummated to Mexico and Latin America this week, but overall, exports have dropped from December levels.
Polystyrene (PS) prices fell again, in spite of higher feedstocks and the relative scarcity of spot material. Spot prices were down a penny with high impact in the high $0.50s to low $0.60s/lb. General purpose traded in the low-to-mid $0.50s/lb.—[email protected]