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The Plastics Exchange Week In Review

Volume of trading on the spot polyethylene (PE) market increased last week, with prices holding steady, according to plastics spot-trading platform The Plastics Exchange (TPE; Chicago; for more information, including detailed, historical pricing charts, go to www.theplasticsexchange.com). Domestic demand started to catch up to supply, and producers have stopped calling for a $0.06/lb price increase, implying they’ve achieved it, although TPE reports that large buyers never took the bait. Natural gas and ethylene were lower, with spot ethylene now priced at just over a $0.05/lb discount to contract prices. PE producers are pointing to April for their next price increase, looking for $0.07/lb for linear low-density PE hexene and octene with just over $0.04/lb for their other PE materials.
TPE reports that polypropylene (PP) volume was increasing with steady prices, as producers haven’t been able to achieve March increases and are mostly backing away from proposed $0.04-$0.05/lb increases, to $0.02/lb. Asian demand dropped off, and TPE says some ships already on the water will have to be unloaded, with South America one option.
In polystyrene (PS), TPE reports that the volume had improved and prices were steady to higher, with strong benzene prices forcing producers to ask for another $0.03/lb increase. PS producers had already asked for a $0.04/lb price increase in March.
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