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Weekly resin update: PE price increase postponed, again

The commodity resin markets continued to transact at a fervent pace the week of November 2, reports the PlasticsExchange in its weekly update, noting that the heightened activity is somewhat uncharacteristic for the first week of a month. A high volume of material changed hands, with polyethylene (PE) moving more than polypropylene (PP), and while there were mixed signals, prices averaged out about steady. As the calendar turned to November, producers were again very quick to postpone the $0.05/lb PE price increase, which was initially nominated for October.

The commodity resin markets continued to transact at a fervent pace the week of November 2, reports the PlasticsExchange in its weekly update, noting that the heightened activity is somewhat uncharacteristic for the first week of a month. A high volume of material changed hands, with polyethylene (PE) moving more than polypropylene (PP), and while there were mixed signals, prices averaged out about steady. As the calendar turned to November, producers were again very quick to postpone the $0.05/lb PE price increase, which was initially nominated for October. Now, they are looking at a December timeline. PP producers are looking to add to their successful campaign of margin expansion, seeking another moderate increase for November. 

Spot ethylene trading picked up: The market was more active than the previous week, and prices fell. Ethylene for November delivery dropped steadily during most of the week, changing hands as low as $0.225/lb, before recovering to most recently transact at $0.235/lb, a net one-cent loss, writes the PlasticsExchange.

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Image courtesy Cool Design/freedigitalphotos.net.
The PE market was both busy and interesting, according to analysts, more so than the overall flat price results might indicate. Although spot offerings were markedly lighter, a fair number of spot transactions were concluded. Several production issues had traders seeking material to cover commitments, while logistics delays brought some processors to the marketplace for urgent supply. Surplus inventories around the country, and Houston in particular, have thinned out; some film grades are becoming outright difficult to source. This has lifted spot prices for a number of PE materials, but producers also postponed their $0.05/lb price increase from November to December, providing an offset to balance the market price.

Although spot propylene traded several times, there was very little price movement.

Spot PP trading was about average and prices were mixed, evening out about flat, according to the PlasticsExchange. The availability of off-grade resin and prime imports enhanced spot liquidity. On the other hand, continued resin production challenges have kept domestic prime material snugly supplied, providing producers with power to maintain general upward pressure on the market. While earlier in the year, contract prices were at a rare and wide discount to spot, the spread has consistently shrunk and spot is again becoming competitive. November PP contracts will see an increase; PGP monomer should rise a penny or so and, in addition, another resin margin gain is likely. While it's still early in the month, it appears that a total of $0.02 to 0.03/lb could be implemented for November PP contracts.

Read the full Market Update on the PlasticsExchange website.

TAGS: Materials
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