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Plastics prices mostly drop again, but PP pulls out of its downwards spiral

Plastics processors in Asia continue to benefit on the buy side from mostly flat or slightly lower prices, according to recent reports from plastics pricing service Polymerupdate. Polypropylene seems to be one material bucking the trend, notes Polymerupdate as well as competing plastics pricing service ChemOrbis.

Global propylene prices continued to soften this week, according to ChemOrbis, as spot propylene prices fell in Asia, and November contract prices were nominated with decreases in the U.S. and settled lower in Europe.  However, spot prices gained ground in Europe and the U.S. on the strength of firmer energy prices and limited availability within Europe.

Polymerupdate, meanwhile, reported that Asian PP prices late last week declined, as demand remained sluggish, but then jumped a bit last Friday as speculative buying occurred. PP injection and PP raffia grade prices were at the $1370/tonne CFR Far East Asia mark, reports Polymerupdate, down about $30/tonne from a week earlier. PP film grade prices were down at $1375/tonne CFR Far East Asia while block copolymer prices were at $1390/tonne CFR Far East Asia.

Last week in Europe, reported ChemOrbis, an initial November propylene contract was settled with a decrease of €55/ton from October. The drop in the initial settlement for November was attributed to lackluster derivative demand and the fact that spot naphtha prices were lower in October when compared with September. Producers expressed hope that a second contract would be concluded with a smaller decrease, which would better protect cracker operating margins. 
 
While the initial November contract price was settled lower, spot propylene prices rose €35/ton week-over-week, added ChemOrbis, as prompt supply of polymer grade propylene was said to be limited. In the U.S., an initial November polymer-grade propylene contract was nominated last week with a decrease of 4 cents/lb ($88/ton) when compared with the October settlement, while a second producer nominated its November contracts with a decrease of 3.5 cents/lb ($77/ton) from October.  November propylene contracts are expected to decrease by 4-10 cents/lb ($88-220/ton) after the drop of 14 cents/lb ($309/ton) reported on the October settlement, with most players' expectations centering on a range of 5-7cents/lb ($110-154/ton). Spot deals for polymer grade propylene were reported at levels 3.25-4 cents/lb ($72-88/ton) higher when compared with the most recent done deal levels reported two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Polymerupdate reports that HDPE prices ended lower last week in Asia. Prices declined on subdued demand trends coupled with a slide in ethylene feedstock rates. HDPE film grade prices were at $1260/tonne CFR Far East Asia levels while HDPE injection molding and HDPE blowmolding grade prices were at $1250/tonne CFR Far East Asia levels. In South East Asia, HDPE injection molding, HDPE blowmolding and HDPE film prices were at $1280/tonne CFR levels. In China, local HD film prices were at the Yuan 11000/tonne ex works mark.

LDPE prices last week dropped in Asia. A fall in ethylene feedstock rates coupled with dull regional buying trends, pressured spot prices across Asia lower. Buying in India was at a standstill on account of the Diwali holidays. Ample inventories of LDPE in China also contributed toward the price fall. General-purpose LDPE prices were down at $1385/tonne CFR Far East Asia levels while CFR South East Asia prices were down at $1400/tonne levels.

Polymerupdate also reported that LLDPE prices in Asia finished down last week. Prices fell on the back of soft regional buying trends recorded through most of the week. CFR Far East Asia prices were at $1160/tonne levels while CFR South East Asia prices were at $1190/tonne levels. CFR South Asia prices are at $1240/tonne - $1250/tonne levels.

PS prices in Asia ended last week down as well, said Polymerupdate. The price fall was prompted by a decline in upstream styrene monomer (SM) costs and sluggish regional buying trends. GPPS prices were down at the $1450/tonne CFR China mark while CFR South East Asia prices were down at $1470/tonne levels. HIPS prices were down at the $1640/tonne CFR China mark while CFR South East Asia prices were down at $1660/tonne levels. Weak butadiene prices supported the decline in spot regional HIPS rates.

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