Plastics spot-trading platform The Plastics Exchange (TPE; Chicago), in its June 18 review, reported that trading volume of polyethylene (PE) was good, with mostly steady prices (for more information, including detailed, historical pricing charts, go to www.theplasticsexchange.com). Spot resin availability was growing, but remained limited overall, as producers angle for a $0.02/lb increase in the spot market, with a $0.05/lb contract increase delayed until July. The market in general is slowing, with relatively weak domestic interest and softening export demand, but hurricane season looms and could have a negative affect. Spot ethylene is still trading above $0.40/lb, due to cracker outages, and contract prices for June are moving higher.
In polypropylene (PP), TPE reports good volume and firming prices, in spite of a steady flow of well-priced wide-spec resin. The spot market has not rallied as much as contract PP prices have, so there is some consolidation in prices. Producers are angling to hold onto the $0.04/lb increase received for May resin contracts. Refinery-grade polypropylene has dropped $0.05/lb from April highs but was up slightly on refinery outages.
Polystyrene (PS) trading was average with slightly lower prices, although overall demand showed an up tick, likely in relation to disposable food packaging and its increased usage in summer months. Spot offers were a penny lower on the basis of a drop in benzene, keeping PS away from the $0.80s/lb, which could destroy demand.