Polyethylene (PE) prices were pushed downward by poor demand, a small increase in supplies, and the polymer’s sharp premium to spot ethylene after the recent break in monomer costs, according to spot-trading platform The Plastics Exchange (TPE) and its reporting partner The PetroChem Wire. A $0.05/lb contract price increase promoted by PE producers will likely be pushed off to April, with many processors buying only the resin they need. As processors carefully monitor PE consumption, producers have also tried to match output to the market’s diminished demand, but TPE says that inventories have “bulged” in spite of such efforts. Spot PE prices last week ranged from flat to $0.02/lb cheaper, with railcars and/or bagged generic-prime high-density polyethylene (HDPE) blowmolding and injection grades priced in the high $0.30s to low $0.40s/lb, down about 1.5 cents. Railcars of butene-grade linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) film were offered in the low $0.40s/lb, down $0.02/lb. Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film was flat, trading in the high $0.40s/lb to low $0.50s/lb. High-molecular-weight (HMW) film supplies have loosened up, lowering the material’s price premium. Mostly quiet for the last month or so, the export market began to pick up towards the end of last week, with interest in blowmolding and film grades from Mexico and Latin America. TPE reports that Chinese traders also acquired some parcels.
Polypropylene (PP) spot prices fell on weakening propylene and poor demand. March contracts settled around $0.01/lb higher, vs. the $0.04/lb and higher increases sought by producers. TPE reports all participants in PP’s supply chain were interested in dumping the material, but a lack of buyers meant the few deals that were consummated were done so for smaller volumes and prompt delivery. Spot prices were about $0.01/lb lower last week, with railcars of homopolymer widely available in the low-to-mid $0.30s/lb. Copolymer PP traded in the mid $0.30s/lb. Export interest in PP was limited, overall, with some deals completed for export to Mexico and Latin America.
Polystyrene (PS) continued its recent trek downward, dropping $0.01 to $0.02/lb last week, with spot supplies still limited, overall, in spite of an increase in availability. Truckloads of high-impact PS were offered in the high $0.40s to low $0.50s/lb, with general purpose in the low-to-mid $0.40s/lb. —[email protected]