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TPE North American resin pricing, Sept. 28-Oct. 2: PE, PP down; PS steady

Polyethylene (PE) spot prices moved lower last week amid continued weakness in the export market and falling spot ethylene, according to spot-trading platform, The Plastics Exchange (TPE) and its reporting partner, PetroChem Wire. TPE reports that September PE contracts were not fully settled as the month closed, with producers continuing to seek implementation of a $0.04/lb contract price increase for the month.

PlasticsToday Staff

October 6, 2009

2 Min Read
TPE North American resin pricing, Sept. 28-Oct. 2: PE, PP down; PS steady

Polyethylene (PE) spot prices moved lower last week amid continued weakness in the export market and falling spot ethylene, according to spot-trading platform, The Plastics Exchange (TPE) and its reporting partner, PetroChem Wire. TPE reports that September PE contracts were not fully settled as the month closed, with producers continuing to seek implementation of a $0.04/lb contract price increase for the month. Several market participants reported that the increase has found support, but that has not been confirmed market-wide. Producers are seeking an additional $0.05/lb contract price increase in October. Spot market activity was subdued as September came to a close, with buyers not eager to build inventory as they saw offers gradually go lower. Domestic spot market offers were in the high $0.40s to low $0.50s/lb for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) blowmold and injection grades, with linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) film-butene grade at a $0.015/lb premium. Compared to September sell ideas, these offers are down $0.04-$0.05/lb. The increased supplies in the spot market are attributed to slowing exports, with China demand, in particular, waning. Export-destined HDPE blowmold had been in the $0.44-$0.46/lb FOB Houston range, but transactions were reported at $0.425/lb late last week, compared with FOB Houston prices around $0.47-$0.48/lb in late August and early September.

Polypropylene (PP) spot prices moved lower last week as market participants kept a close watch on upstream markets for indications of October’s contract price direction. One producer has nominated a $0.02/lb contract price increase for the month, but some skepticism has been voiced about the increase, as the upstream monomer markets traded lower last week. In September, PP contract prices were up roughly in line with gains in propylene monomer. Spot market activity slowed in September as prices rose, and the current downturn in the spot refinery-grade propylene market kept spot PP buying interest muted last week. Spot market sellers were more aggressive, as interest increased for wide-spec resin and current prime-grade pricing remained above $0.60/lb. Spot homopolymer PP prices were discussed in the high $0.50s to low $0.60s/lb range for generic-prime material in the domestic market, down several cents from September. Widespec material traded in the low $0.50s to high $0.40s/lb, while copolymer PP remained at about a $0.015/lb premium. Spot PP market participants reported that producers kept production rates low, seeking to match supply with demand. PP exports continue to be slow, with U.S. PP largely priced out of the global marketplace. Further feeding the drop-off, Chinese buying has stagnated, and there are reports that Chinese traders are now offering competitively priced material for export, including to the Americas.

Polystyrene (PS) spot prices were steady this week, with general-purpose PS in the low-to-mid $0.60s/lb range. High-impact PS was in the high $0.60s to low $0.70s/lb, with PS contract prices down about $0.04-$0.06/lb in September. —[email protected]

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