Spot polyethylene (PE) prices were steady to slightly higher last week in an active market characterized by tight supplies, according to spot-trading platform, The Plastics Exchange (TPE) and its reporting partner, The PetroChem Wire. February PE contracts remain under negotiation, with some reports that the $0.07/lb increase producers sought in January has now been fully installed, while others said discussions are ongoing. Producers were also seeking a $0.05/lb increase this month, but market participants believe this will likely be delayed until March. Inventories remain lean at producers, traders, and processors, with buyers looking to secure spot material before March begins. TPE reports that producers are seeking to match March production to orders placed before the start of the month in order to maintain strict inventory control. Spot prices ended the week about a half-cent higher for some grades while holding steady for others. High-molecular weight (HMW) high-density film was in the high $0.40s/lb, up about a half-cent. High-density blowmolding and injection grades held steady in the low-to-mid $0.40s/lb. LDPE film was up a half-cent, ranging from the high $0.40s/lb to low $0.50s/lb range. Linear low-density butene film was steady in the low-to-mid $0.40s/lb. The export market was active, particularly to Latin America, with large-volume deals consummated, and strong demand for film grades. Asian export interest waned, and arbitrage to Europe for commodity grades remains closed.
Spot polypropylene (PP) trading was active last week as prices moved higher. February contract pricing is awaiting a market-wide settlement for February propylene monomer, as producers push a $0.06/lb and $0.08/lb increase, while buyers resist, saying demand remains poor. Spot PP prices were up about a half-cent last week and have risen by roughly 3.5 cents/lb so far in February. Homopolymer PP ended the week in the mid-to-high $0.30s/lb, while copolymer was in the high $0.30s/lb to low $0.40s/lb. The export market was relatively quiet, with a few inquiries from Latin American and Mexican traders as U.S. prices remained competitive to offers from other regions.
Spot polystyrene (PS) was largely steady, with general-purpose grades remaining in the high $0.40s/lb to low $0.50s/lb. High impact was in the high $0.50s/lb, with little spot interest seen last week from either suppliers or processors.