Polyethylene (PE) spot prices were steady to lower this week, according to spot-trading platform The Plastics Exchange, and its reporting partner, the Petrochem Wire, with continued talk about poor demand and increasing supplies. Producers were seeking to implement a $0.04/lb increase in PE prices in July, with several saying they reached agreements to delay the increase, while others said implementation was becoming increasingly unlikely. Producers are also seeking an additional $0.04/lb increase in PE prices in August. Spot trading was moderate, with domestic PE prices largely steady most of the week. For certain grades of widespec, however, prices weakened after some additional supply arrived in the market. Offers for generic-prime railcars of high-density polyethylene blowmold and injection, as well as linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) film butene, were in the low $0.50s to high $0.40s/lb for domestic delivered material. High-molecular-weight HDPE film offers were in the mid $0.50s/lb, with low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film in the mid-to-high $0.50s/lb. For bulk-prime railcars FOB, Houston prices have been in the mid $0.40s/lb for HDPE blowmmold for the past week, down from the high $0.40s/lb earlier in July. In Nymex/CME Clearport futures pricing, fourth quarter HDPE blowmold was bid last week at $0.41/lb and offered at $0.445/lb, with offers creeping lower as doubts about implementation of the July increase initiative grow.
Polypropylene (PP) prices slid last week as participants noticed an increase in supply availability. Producers were working to implement an increase of $0.04-$0.06/lb this month, but participants say prices are only up around $0.01/lb. Looking forward, one producer said it will seek to implement a $0.05/lb increase in PP for August, but no other increase initiatives have been confirmed. Spot prices softened this week, as increasing amounts of widespec and prime material become available to the spot market.
Generic-prime railcars of homopolymer PP were mostly in the high $0.40s to low $0.50s/lb, while offers for widespec material were below those levels. Copolymer PP was at a roughly $0.015/lb premium, with spot prices down about a half-cent last week. Exports from the Gulf Coast slowed in July as prices moved higher, and in production news, ConocoPhillips said it will continue to produce PP at its Bayway, NJ facility. The company will assume responsibility for marketing this product starting in December. PP produced at this site has been exclusively marketed by LyondellBasell.
Polystyrene (PS) spot prices moved higher last week amidst supply concerns and rising feedstocks. General-purpose PS was in the mid-to-high $0.50s/lb, with high-impact PS in the low $0.60s/lb. Overall, prices were up about $0.03/lb. —[email protected]