Firmer monomer prices and a sense of balanced supply/demand lifted the spot polyethylene (PE) market 1.5 cents/lb higher, with trading activity relatively dormant, according to spot-trading platform The Plastics Exchange (TPE; Chicago) and its reporting partner The PetroChem Wire. TPE notes that in a low-demand environment, many are avoiding adding too much inventory since prices are currently higher than mid-December and have the potential to drop. PE demand has so far been muted since many secured needed January supplies in December. In contracts, producers are asking for a $0.07/lb increase in January, and have nominated another $0.05/lb increase for February. On the spot market, producers are offering fresh railcars of generic-prime PE at $0.07/lb above December prices, with very few takers. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) blowmolding, injection, film butene, and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) injection were in the high $0.30’s/lb to low $0.40’s/lb. HDPE film and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) injection were priced at about a $0.02/lb premium, with LDPE film in the low-to-mid $0.40’s/lb.
Polypropylene (PP) prices were also slightly higher amidst sparse trading. TPE reports that bids were slightly higher due to rising spot monomer prices and low warehouse inventories, but traders remained reluctant to take on large inventory positions. PP producers are seeking a $0.06/lb increase for January contracts, but processors are pushing back, contending that downstream resin inventories are sufficient. January is not settled, but producers have already nominated an additional $0.06/lb increase for February contracts. The limited fresh railcars of generic-prime material seen on the market were priced $0.06/lb higher than December. Overall average spot PP prices were about a half-cent higher than last week’s levels. Generic-prime railcars of homopolymer were mostly seen in the low-to-mid $0.30’s/lb, with copolymer offered at a typical $0.02/lb premium.
TPE says spot polystyrene (PS) prices weakened again as feedstock remain under pressure and resin demand is soft. High-impact grades ended the week in the high $0.50’s to low $0.60’s/lb, down $0.06/lb from last Friday. General-purpose grades finished in the mid $0.50’s/lb, down $0.04/lb.—[email protected]