Strength in monomer prices and dwindling inventories spurred activity in the spot polyethylene (PE) market, pushing prices up a half cent as January contracts remain under discussion. Spot-trading platform, The Plastics Exchange (TPE) and its reporting partner, The PetroChem Wire report that producers are seeking a $0.07/lb increase for January contracts, with an additional $0.05/lb increase for February. Railcars of generic-prime high-density PE blowmolding and injection grades, as well as linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) film and injection materials, were priced in the high $0.30s-to-low-$0.40s/lb. HDPE film was at a one-and-a-half cent premium, with low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film in the low-to-mid $0.40s/lb. TPE reports that in the export market, several deals were concluded last week, sending resin to Latin America and China. Inquiries continue since US prices are considered competitive globally.
Polypropylene (PP) trading was also active, with supplies tightening as end users line up their February requirements. January contracts have not settled, with producers angling for a $0.06/lb increase. TPE reports that contracts that have settled did so at higher levels, but only by about $0.02/lb. Widespec material has been priced at a sharp discount to prime, but the gap has been closing due to aggressive offgrade buyers. Spot prices for railcars of generic-prime homopolymer PP were steady most of last week, holding in the low $0.30s/lb. Copolymer PP was priced at a $0.02/lb premium. Widespec cars that were offered in the high $0.20s to low $0.30s/lb were bid a few cents higher at end of the week. In exports, TPE reports that traders were actively inquiring for spot material to export primarily to Latin America and China.
In spite of higher feedstock prices, polystyrene (PS) prices slipped last week, with general-purpose PS in the low-to-mid $0.50s/lb and high-impact PS in the high $0.50s to low $0.60s/lb. Spot offerings were light, with about 200,000 lb of HIPS offered each day last week and 150,000 lb of GPPS on TPE’s spot-trading floor. That compares to daily offerings of more than 5 million lb of homopolymer PP and 4.5 million lb of copolymer PP by the end of last week at TPE.—[email protected]