TPE resin pricing, Nov. 3-7: Price falls continue unabated

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November 11, 2008

Poor demand and a disconnect between spot materials and their upstream monomer will likely push polyethylene (PE) prices lower, according to spot-trading platform, The Plastics Exchange (TPE; www.theplasticsexchange.com), and its reporting partner, The PetroChem Wire. Spot high-density PE grades traded in the mid $0.50’s/lb last week, but by Friday, TPE saw some transactions dip into the low $0.50’s/lb. Low-density film grades traded higher, reaching into the low $0.60’s/lb, while linear low-density PE film was seen in the high $0.50’s/lb. TPE reports that the HDPE blowmolding/ethylene spread reached roughly $0.35/lb, up from about $0.10 in June. In contracts, TPE reports that some participants have seen decreases in the $0.05-$0.10/lb range from October.

It was a similar story for polypropylene (PP), with TPE seeing multiple cent drops each day, driven by falling monomer prices and poor demand. Fresh generic-prime railcars of homopolymer PP were seen offered in the low $0.40’s/lb and even the high $0.30’s/lb, off dramatically from prices in the low $0.50’s last week. Copolymer PP traded in the upper $0.40’s/lb but dropped sharply by week’s end. TPE reports that contract PP prices were down as much as $0.30/lb for October.

In polystyrene (PS), spot prices slid in synch with feedstocks. TPE reports that U.S. domestic supply remains tight, and there has been pressure from lower-priced imports. General-purpose spot prices were down about $0.03-$0.05 last week, with offers in the mid $0.70’s/lb. High impact was down about $0.04, being offered in the mid $0.80’s/lb.

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