Commodity resin market activity improved, transactional volumes rose and prices were mixed amid short-term volatility for the week ending September 18, reports the PlasticsExchange in its weekly Market Update.
High-density polyethylene prices ended lower, with plentiful injection grades taking the largest $0.02/lb hit. Low-density polyethylene and high-molecular weight film grades each lost a penny relative to moderately scarcer linear low-density polyethylene, which held steady.
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Spot polypropylene (PP) prices edged a penny higher, as producers dig in to further expand margins by holding on to their entire cost decrease resulting from the decline in propylene monomer contracts. Export markets are seeing sporadic activity, but volumes seem to be strong, as the Houston resin warehouses are jammed full of material, presumably along with orders for international shipment. If not, watch out, writes the PlasticsExchange.
Spot polyethylene (PE) trading was up, with a fairly high volume of material changing hands and availability ultimately swelling. Prices seemed to find support early in the week and even up-ticked $0.01/lb, as demand continued to clean out the cheapest of offers. However, the bearishness returned to the PE arena as another wave of material hit the market, sending most grades down a net penny for the week. PE contracts still seem to be settling down to the $0.04/lb nominated early in the month, according to the PlasticsExchange.
PP was basically average with spot prices about a penny firmer. Late in the week, Ineos experienced an outage at its Chocolate Bayou plant resulting in the notice of a force majeure event for PP. Processors in need of material to fill in supply gaps are still finding spot material, even off grade, priced at a premium to their contract buys. Nevertheless, suppliers with surplus material often have difficulty finding the right buyer willing to pay their price for a specific excess grade.
Producers continue their unpopular campaign to try and raise PP prices even in the face of falling costs. The current margin expansion increase averages $0.04 to 0.05/lb, while monomer just confirmed down $0.03/lb. Margin expansion has already found considerable success during 2015 particularly when PP contracts decreased. This coming week should start to reveal the results of individual September negotiations.
Read the full Market Update on the PlasticsExchange website.