Polyethylene (PE) spot prices contracted slightly last week amid ongoing poor demand, according to spot-trading platform The Plastics Exchange (TPE) and its reporting partner, the PetroChem Wire. In contract prices, producers had been seeking a $0.05/lb increase for April, but market participants told TPE that agreements to keep prices largely unchanged from March have found support. PE contract prices were flat in March after rising a combined $0.07/lb between January and February. Spot prices were about a half-cent lower last week, with high density polyethylene (HDPE) blowmold and injection grades in the high $0.30s to low $0.40s/lb. High molecular weight HDPE film was in the low-to-mid $0.40s/lb, while linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) film was in the high $0.30s to low $0.40s/lb, with low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film in the high $0.40s/lb. In the export market, Asian traders started inquiring after U.S. material for May. Similar pull earlier in April served to tighten supply and push spot prices higher.
Polypropylene (PP) spot prices dropped last week, with domestic demand remaining weak and export interest on the rise, while contract participants reported prices remaining flat in April. Spot PP availability was limited last week, as producers keep tight reins on production. TPE has seen some smaller volume spot deals being concluded to supplement lean domestic processor inventories. Homopolymer PP prices were in the high $0.30s/lb for domestic-delivered deals, with bagged material at Houston-area warehouses priced in the low $0.40s/lb. Copolymer PP was priced at about a 1.5-cent premium to homopolymer. Here too, export interest increased last week, with traders inquiring for U.S. material for shipment to China and other parts of Asia.
Polystyrene (PS) spot prices were steady last week, with high-impact grades in the low-to-mid $0.50s/lb and general-purpose PS in the high $0.40s/lb to low $0.50s/lb. TPE reports that its spot-trading floor had about 650,000 lb of high-impact PS offered each day last week, with about 230,000 lb of general-purpose PS on offer. —[email protected]