Spot resin trading was very good for the second week in a row, according to the weekly report from the PlasticsExchange, which noted that its trading desk yielded a high percentage of completed transactions and solid volume for the week ending July 17.
Polyethylene (PE) prices were steady, but remained several cents off the swing high. Polypropylene (PP) prices were also steady on average and are hanging around multi-year lows. Despite promising developments involving Greece and Iran, international resin prices continue to soften. Exporters are actively shipping out PE resin from previously booked transactions, write PlasticsExchange analysts, while prices continue to drop as sellers chase falling markets to stir demand.
|Image courtesy Cool Design/freedigitalphotos.net.|
The spot ethylene market saw a second week of high-volume turnover, but ultimately little price change. Ethylene for July delivery traded both higher and lower within a 1-cent range throughout the week. It ended on the low side, down just a tick to $0.3475/lb.
Spot PE trading was active again. The domestic prime market managed to hold steady (for now), while Houston prices have been sliding as suppliers seek to sell surplus material offshore. Resin processors do not seem satisfied to simply stave off the $0.005/lb increase nominated for July; they are seeking a price decrease either this month or next. Preliminary reports indicate that domestic PE sales in June were strong: At 2.817 billion lbs, it was 5% above the trailing 12-month average. Some would attribute the better buying to both economic growth and additional procurement ahead of a nickel increase.
The spot propylene market saw very little activity, and prices continued to drift lower. Just a single transaction for July PGP was seen at $0.335/lb, down a half-cent, a new low. July PGP contracts settled at $0.365/lb, down $0.035/lb—smack in the middle of the 3 to 4 cent decline we foresaw, writes PlasticsExchange. PGP contracts have wiped away $0.25/lb in 2015 alone, with December contracts priced at $0.615/lb. The market is down a whopping $0.40/lb from its October peak of $0.765/lb.
Spot PP trading remains a challenge, as production problems persist. Spot supplies are still snug and selected material is sometimes hard to source; processors in need of resin will indeed pay a pretty penny. However, when surplus material is available, floating spot offers to contract buyers is justifiably laughable as their prices are well discounted to spot. July PP contracts are poised to slide again as PGP monomer settled down at $0.035/lb. Some of the cost savings will likely be passed through to processors, but producers are keen to build their margins further.
The full report is available on the PlasticsExchange website.