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Plastics prices in Asia on the rise, in Europe they stall or fall

Here is a quick look at plastics pricing developments for selected materials in Asia and Europe, as reported by plastics pricing service Polymerupdate. Prices across Asia were in general steady or rising last week while those in Europe tended to fall.

In Asia, flat demand kept prices of HDPE from rising the past week in Asia. Despite bullish upstream cues and steep gains in LLDPE and LDPE rates, spot prices of HDPE injection molding, blowmolding, yarn and film grades were unchanged from the week before. HDPE injection molding, HDPE blow molding and HDPE film grade prices were at $1365/tonne CFR Far East Asia and $1380/tonne CFR South East Asia. In China, domestic prices for film-grade HDPE were about RMB11500/tonne ex works.

LDPE prices edged higher in Asia this week. The price spike was prompted by strength in global energy prices, firmer naphtha values, a marginal climb in ethylene prices in parts of Asia and worries about tightening availability on the back of planned plant turnarounds. General-purpose LDPE prices were up at $1550/tonne CFR Far East Asia levels while CFR South East Asia prices were at $1570/tonne levels. August offers for LDPE in India are above $1600/tonne CFR India levels, but low demand is hindering any price climb for August in China.

LLDPE prices in Asia moved up for the same reasons cited above for LDPE. CFR Far East Asia prices of LLDPE were assessed at $1330/tonne levels while CFR South East Asia prices were at $1350/tonne levels. CFR South Asia prices were assessed up at $ 1380/tonne levels. In China, domestic prices of LLDPE last Thursday were RMB10750/tonne ex works.

An LLDPE seller from South East Asia told Polymerupdate (Mumbai, India), "Given that the seasonal demand for agricultural film applications has climbed, we have successfully steered our spot LLDPE rates higher. We have sold to India at $1380/tonne levels and plan to further hike our prices this week."

PP prices also edged higher across Asia last week, reported Polymerupdate, supported by higher costs for crude, naphtha and feedstock propylene, with improved demand across parts of Asia also supporting the rise in spot PP prices.

Feedstock propylene prices on Thursday were assessed up at $1470/tonne FOB Korea.

With feedstock prices higher, PP injection and raffia prices were assessed up at $ 520/tonne CFR Far East Asia levels while CFR South East Asia prices were $1540/tonne. In India, PP raffia and injection deals were heard of at $1560/tonne levels with film deals at $1580/tonne CFR levels. In China, where demand for imported PP was not robust, domestic prices of PP injection and PP raffia were at RMB12200/tonne ex works levels.

High styrene monomer prices pushed the prices for GPPS, HIPS and ABS higher across Asia. CFR China prices of GPPS were assessed up at $1560/tonne levels while CFR South East Asia prices were $1580/tonne. HIPS prices were $1760/tonne CFR China while CFR South East Asia prices of HIPS were at $1775/tonne levels. CFR China prices of ABS were $2170/tonne while CFR South East Asia prices were assessed at $2190/tonne levels.

Gains recorded in upstream EDC and VCM rates coupled with improved buying in some parts of Asia, prompted a price rise for PVC in much of Asia, reports Polymerupdate. CFR China and CFR South East Asia prices of PVC suspension grade were at $1110/tonne levels. CFR India prices were $1130/tonne levels with August offers from a Taiwanese producer of $1150/tonne CFR mark also heard. Formosa Plastics is reported to have raised run rates at its 420,000-tonne/yr PVC plant located in Mailiao to 100% rates this week.

In Europe, the situation is very different with Polymerupdate reporting steady or falling prices for most materials. In Europe last week, spot HDPE prices quoted steady while in the contract markets HDPE injection and blow molding prices last week declined, according to Polymerupdate. HDPE injection molding contract prices were assessed down at €1310/tonne FD North West Europe and FD Italy levels while HDPE blow molding contract prices were assessed at €1300/tonne FD North West Europe and FD Italy levels. HD film contract prices were steady at €1220/tonne FD North West Europe and FD Italy levels.

For August meanwhile, Dow is reported to have indicated plans to hike its PE contracts by €100/tonne FD levels. 

In Europe's contract markets last week, LDPE prices were declining. General-purpose LDPE contract prices were down at €1375/tonne FD North West Europe and FD Italy levels. Contract prices of LLDPE were down from a week earlier. FD North West Europe and FD Italy prices of LLDPE were at €1275/tonne levels. Contract prices fell as converters pushed for sellers of LLDPE to pass on the benefit of the drop in ethylene feedstock contract rates for the month. In the spot markets, prices of LLDPE were assessed steady from the week before at €1095/tonne FD North West Europe levels.

Sluggish demand across Europe's PP markets caused prices for that plastic to fall in Europe last week, said Polymerupdate. A price fall was recorded both in the contract and spot PP markets of Europe. PP injection grade contract prices were at €1395/tonne FD North West Europe and FD Italy levels while PP copolymer contract prices were down at €1445/tonne FD North West Europe and FD Italy levels. In the spot markets, PP homopolymer injection molding grade prices fell to €1150tonne FD North West Europe levels while PP copolymer prices were down at €1230/tonne FD North West Europe levels.

PVC contract prices in Europe last week were adjusted down, with ample availability and the absence of regional buying interest driving bearish sentiment. PVC suspension grade contract prices were at €1110/tonne FD North West Europe and at €1080/tonne FD Italy levels.

In Europe's polystyrene (PS) markets last week, GPPS contract prices were €1540/tonne FD North West Europe and FD Italy. HIPS contract prices were at €1690/tonne FD North West Europe and FD Italy levels. For the month of August, suppliers were seeking to revise higher their PS contracts with the planned hikes ranging from €50/tonne to €70/tonne for August contracts.

In the spot markets meanwhile, GPPS prices were assessed at €1210/tonne levels while HIPS prices were assessed at €1320/tonne levels. In Europe last week, general purpose and natural grade contract prices of ABS were unchanged from the week before. FD North West Europe and FD Italy contract prices were assessed at €1990/tonne levels.

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