With a shortened business week ahead, the commodity resin markets wasted no time in ramping up activity, having already generated some of the highest monthly volumes of the year, reports the PlasticsExchange in its weekly update. Spot prices were mixed the week of Nov. 16: Polyethylene (PE) was both modestly higher and lower, based on grade, while polypropylene (PP) was steady to slightly weaker. PE contracts are again rolling flat in November and the twice delayed $0.05/lb increase is now slated for December. PP contracts should see an average increase of about $0.03/lb, with some timing and magnitude variance anticipated. While direct PE exports are seemingly still shipping at a rapid rate, incremental volumes through the secondary market are challenged by soft international resin markets and the strong value of the US dollar.
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Spot PE trading remained active, even though the flow of offers had subsided. Buyers were seen procuring material for early December, getting ahead of any potential negotiating friction early next month, when producers will attempt their third shot at the nickel increase. LDPE and LLDPE film grades were in good demand and prices rose $0.005/lb. Injection grades were more available and saw less buying interest, with prices easing a half-cent.
The spot propylene market again saw limited activity, though prices ultimately edged slightly higher, according to the PlasticsExchange. PGP for November sold as low as $0.2875/lb, before steadying at $0.29/lb.
PP trading was relatively light, returning to a more typical level of activity similar to what we have experienced during much of 2015, writes the PlasticsExchange. Spot and contract PP prices continue to converge: This past week, spot PP copolymer shed a half-cent, while scarcer homopolymer held steady. Although deft searching can yield valuable spot material, the marketplace remains categorically undersupplied, which has enabled producers to expand margins significantly throughout the year. November PP contracts will see another increase, including a penny for the bump up in PGP monomer and perhaps another $0.02/lb or so.
Read the full Market Update on the PlasticsExchange website.