Weekly resin report: Spot PE, PP markets get busy, prices hold steady

The spot polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) markets were extremely active last week, maintaining a steady pace that lasted through the close of business on Friday and even a little beyond, reports the PlasticsExchange (Chicago) in its Market Update.

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The trading desk was busy filling orders from both processors and traders purchasing resin in larger slugs, rather than just one or two truckloads, according to the resin clearinghouse. Interestingly, prices for both PE and PP held steady with the exception of linear low-density PE butene, which eased. There is a still a $0.03/lb PE price increase on the table for March, which has generated mixed reactions from market participants. Contract PP is poised to decrease, along with PGP monomer, however. April promises to be interesting, according to the PlasticsExchange, as there are increases of $0.03 to 0.05/lb nominated above the change in monomer. 

Completed volumes in PE trading were high, with relatively little price movement. The lofty levels once again seemed to push away those who had the wherewithal to suspend larger purchases. With the exception of low-density PE for film and linear low-density PE for injection, which continue to remain snug, most PE grades took a breather from the steady climb we have witnessed over the last three weeks and remained flat. Though high-density PE blowmolding supply has become more available, prices have yet to retreat, as outstanding orders are still being filled, reports the PlasticsExchange. Linear low-density PE for film fell from its peak this past week, losing a penny. In the coming week, PE market participants will rustle with the pending $0.03/lb increase in play for March contracts. 

PP trading was very active this past week, with both buyers and sellers apparently eager to transact. Transactions took place mainly between resellers purchasing off grade, with some prime transactions completed to processors, as well. Exports outside of the Latin American region have been challenged because of a recent stiffening in price competition. March PP contracts are set to decrease between $0.04 and 0.06/lb, along with PGP contracts. There is a margin-enhancing PP price increase nominated for April. 

Read the full Market Update on the PlasticsExchange website.

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