Polyethylene trading last week exhibited increasing volume and steady prices, according to The Plastics Exchange (TPE; www.theplasticsexchange.com), with markets remaining busy in spite of the calendar. Producers have nominated an $0.11/lb price increase for December, as they look to expand upon the $0.05/lb increase implemented in November. European traders returned to the U.S. market, according to TPE, in spite of $0.04/lb higher export prices from producers. Upstream, ethylene contracts settled up $0.04/lb to $0.615/lb.
In polypropylene (PP), there was good trading volume, and TPE described prices as trending higher, perhaps stalling. The mixed messages result from high-cost feedstocks met by lagging polymer demand. PP contracts rose $0.06/lb in November, with another $0.06/lb increase slated for December. Polymer-grade propylene was also up $0.07 to $0.615/lb. Depending on the quality, TPE reports that PP resin cars can be found from the mid-$0.60s to $0.70s/lb.
In polystyrene (PS), fair volume and slight pressure in prices were found, with the spot market moving lower on the heels of a $0.10/gallon drop in spot benzene. TPE reports that offgrade high-impact and general-purpose PS railcars can be found in the mid-to-upper $0.70s/lb.