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Weekly resin update: PE market starts month with a bang, ends with a whimper

Following several super-active weeks of trading, the commodity resin markets took a breather heading into the Thanksgiving break, reports the PlasticsExchange in its weekly update. Most polyethylene (PE) grades edged a little lower on price; polypropylene (PP) was steady to a tad weaker, as well. A few resellers had PE railcars that still required month-end disposition, resulting in some decent discounts. PP railcar offerings, on the other hand, were minimal.

Cool Design
Image courtesy Cool Design/freedigitalphotos.net.

The spot ethylene market saw moderate activity the first part of the week and then fell silent from Turkey Day on. A couple of crackers had minor operational issues, but, otherwise, most gulf units have been running near capacity.

After a bang-up month of trading, the November PE market ended with a whimper. Sellers were more visible early in the week, as trailcars needed to find homes before the end of the month. Purchasing activity slowed this past week, according to the PlasticsExchange, with buyers appearing to sense that, come December, producers will find little success at their third attempt at implementing the $0.05/lb price increase. Some film grades have become difficult to source, including LDPE fractional melt and LLDPE octene and metallocene, as surplus material has been soaked up by the Latin American region, reeling from local outages.

The spot propylene market was very quiet, with just a few transactions seen. PGP for November delivery changed hands a tad higher to $0.29375/lb; December PGP was priced at a small premium, but still below the $0.30/lb level. Nov PGP contracts were up a cent to $0.315/lb and based on spot values, a similar small increase could be seen. The March 2016 peak is just above $0.30/lb and the market is currently forecast to retract to $0.29/lb by the end of the year. RGP was steady again, remaining at $0.185/lb.

The PP market also experienced minimal activity during the holiday-shortened week, with just a few end-of-the-month railcar offers with occasional buying interest. While production levels continue to improve, and off-grade availability is better, overall PP supplies are still falling short of healthy domestic demand. This supply/demand imbalance has enabled producers to expand margins considerably during 2015: Resin prices fell less than the drop in monomer during the first three quarters and outright price increases have been implemented the past two months. Producers are eyeing another bump up in December.

Read the full Market Update on the PlasticsExchange website.

TAGS: Materials
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