Polyethylene (PE) spot prices dipped last week in relatively thin trading, according to spot-trading platform, The Plastics Exchange (TPE) and its reporting partner, the PetroChem Wire. After a $0.03/lb increase was implemented in June contracts, PE producers had initially pushed for consecutive $0.04/lb increases for July and August, but July’s increase remains up in the air, and there are limited reports of official agreements to delay the increase until next month. Spot offers to be sold into the domestic market remained well above current bids, with sellers boosting July selling prices to reflect the $0.04/lb increase initiative. Offers for generic-prime railcars of domestic high-density polyethylene (HDPE) blowmold and injection grades, as well as linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) film-butene grades, remain in the low-to-mid $0.50s/lb. Buyers are largely staying out of the market, however, waiting to see if the increases stick, with some participants reporting offers below these levels, in the low $0.50s to high $0.40s/lb. Exports continue from the Gulf Coast as prices have softened, with participants saying July is mostly sold out at this point, and they are now looking to August shipments. Bulk railcars of prime HDPE blowmold are going in the mid $0.40s/lb range FOB Houston, off around $0.03/lb from end-of-June levels.
Polypropylene (PP) spot prices fell last week, with participants saying supply has loosened up. Producers are seeking to implement increases of $0.04-$0.06/lb for July, but a drop in propylene would indicate this is not likely. Generic-prime railcars of homopolymer PP are in the high $0.40s/lb range, with copolymer PP at a $0.015/lb premium and widespec trading in the low $0.40s/lb. In the export market, PP prices have risen to a point where domestic material is not competitive in Asia. In production news, Ineos declared force majeure on PP manufacture at its Carson, CA plant due to an inability to acquire feedstocks.
Polystyrene (PS) prices were steady last week, with participants seeing tight supplies and bullish market sentiment amid sharp gains in benzene. Production disruptions in Europe have impacted benzene and styrene in the U.S., but so far PS prices have remained steady. General-purpose PS was in the low-to-mid $0.50s/lb, with high-impact PS in the high $0.50s to low $0.60s/lb. —[email protected]