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Polymerupdate European resin pricing, Oct. 12-16: PP sank, PE too, plus PVC and more

Polypropylene (PP) prices may have bottomed out in Europe last week, according to the plastics pricing experts at Polymerupdate. In contract markets, homopolymer injection-grade prices were down at €1065/tonne FD North West Europe levels, while PP copolymer prices dropped to €1115/tonne FD North West Europe levels. The price fall was in line with the drop in October propylene contract rates. However, despite lower numbers, sellers continued to struggle to settle October deals.

PlasticsToday Staff

October 20, 2009

4 Min Read
Polymerupdate European resin pricing, Oct. 12-16: PP sank, PE too, plus PVC and more

Polypropylene (PP) prices may have bottomed out in Europe last week, according to the plastics pricing experts at Polymerupdate. In contract markets, homopolymer injection-grade prices were down at €1065/tonne FD North West Europe levels, while PP copolymer prices dropped to €1115/tonne FD North West Europe levels. The price fall was in line with the drop in October propylene contract rates. However, despite lower numbers, sellers continued to struggle to settle October deals.

Prices fell in the spot markets, too. Homopolymer prices of PP were down at €855/tonne FD North West Europe levels while PP copolymer prices were at €905/tonne FD North West Europe levels.

One PP seller contacted by Polymerupdate said, “In our reading, PP prices have either neared or already tested bottom in Europe. Propylene feedstock prices in the spot markets have firmed on the one hand, while on the other, actual user stocks of PP in the region have run low.” In plant news, Borealis is reported to have restarted its PP lines at its Burghausen site in Germany. The two PP lines were shut down on October 4th following some feedstock availability problems. Total PP capacity at the site is 560,000 tonnes/yr.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) prices in Europe also fell last week, reports Polymerupdate, with the drop seen in both contract and spot markets. Despite the price fall, buying in the region stayed flat. Supporting weaker prices was a bearish buyer outlook for the rest of 2009 coupled with a drop in European ethylene feedstock prices.

HDPE injection molding contract prices were at €1100/tonne FD North West Europe while HDPE film prices were at €1080/tonne FD North West Europe levels. In the spot markets, prices of HDPE injection molding, HDPE blowmolding and HDPE film grades were at €960/tonne, €930/tonne, and €960/tonne FD North West Europe levels, respectively.

In Turkey, Petkim reportedly dropped its prices for HDPE injection, film, and blowmolding grades by $70/tonne. HDPE pipe-resin prices were reportedly slashed by €100/tonne.

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) prices in Europe declined as well last week. In contract markets, prices were at €1100-€1110/tonne FD North West Europe. Prices fell in the spot markets too with FD North West Europe rates of €930-€940/tonne. Buying interest steadily waned across Europe’s LDPE markets, and near-term buying interest failed to improve even after the price reductions, potentially signaling a fundamental weakness in regional pricing trends. A fall in ethylene feedstock prices was seen as one of the prime triggers for the price fall.

Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) prices dropped last week, settling at €1090-€1100/tonne FD North West Europe and FD Italy levels in contract markets. Spot prices were lower at €905-€915/tonne FD North West Europe levels. Ample supply and few buyers, plus lower ethylene prices, were reasons behind the lower prices. Competitively priced offers emerging from Latin America and the Middle East also pushed prices downward.

Polystyrene (PS) prices fell following news that BASF decided to reduce its gross market prices for October by €30/tonne. General-purpose PS (GPPS) contract prices were at €1160-€1170/tonne FD North West Europe levels while high-impact PS (HIPS) contract prices settled at €1220-€1230/tonne FD North West Europe levels. In the spot markets, GPPS prices were €980/tonne FD North West Europe while HIPS prices were at €1040/tonne FD North West Europe levels.

One trader contacted by Polymerupdate cited the unexpected BASF announcement as prompting many would-be PS buyers to withdraw their spot inquiries from the markets.

Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) general-purpose and natural-grade contract prices in Europe were unchanged last week at €1465-€1475/tonne FD North West Europe levels. Low-cost ABS cargoes from Asia plus competitively priced offers from Turkey stymied sellers’ attempts to push through hikes. Downward pressure on spot ABS prices kept prices at €1050-€1060/tonne FD North West Europe levels.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) suspension grade prices in Europe’s contract markets were flat last week at €975-€995/tonne FD North West Europe levels. Suppliers settled rollovers for October, off their initial targets of a €40-€50/tonne increase for the month. The change of heart was apparently triggered by the decline in feedstock prices coupled with a fall in regional buying interest. Ethylene contract prices for the month settled at €860/tonne FD North West Europe for October, a fall of €15/tonne from September levels. Also bearish for PVC was improved availability following the lifting of force majeure by Arkema and Ineos earlier in October.

In the spot markets, PVC prices were flat last week at €790-€810/tonne FD North West Europe levels.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) prices in Europe drifted lower last week. Prices fell due to lower settlements in feedstock contract rates coupled with softer regional demand following the peak summer season. Bottle grade PET contract prices were at €1195-€1215/tonne FD North West Europe levels. Prices fell in the spot markets, too, with bottle-grade prices at €880-€900/tonne FD North West Europe levels. Buyers were seeking discounts in their October contracts of as much as €100/tonne from September levels, but had to settle instead for decreases of between €60-€80/tonne, according to PET producers polled.

In plant news, Novapet was reported to have shut down one of its PET lines located in Babastro, Spain. —[email protected]

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