Polyethylene (PE) spot prices moved higher and trading activity increased as last week progressed, according to spot-trading platform The Plastics Exchange (TPE) and its reporting partner, PetroChem Wire. Several producers are seeking to raise PE contract prices in June by $0.03/lb from May levels. With resin manufacturers only producing to meet orders placed ahead of the month, supplies are very tight, with the little extra material available snatched up for export to China. Overall, prices were about a penny higher than the prior week, with high-density polyethylene (HDPE) blowmold and injection grades and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) film in the mid $0.40s/lb. Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) was priced in the high $0.40s to low $0.50s/lb, and high molecular weight HDPE film was in the high $0.40s/lb. Ongoing logistical constraints in Houston, reluctance by traders to undertake deals further out, and slowing inquiries from Asia hindered exports. In production news, Westlake will have some limited downtime at its Lake Charles, LA LLDPE facility in June for planned maintenance.
Polypropylene (PP) spot prices moved higher last week as supplies remained tight and propylene monomer rose. Producers pushed contract increases for June ranging from $0.06 to $0.12/lb, while contract prices lifted about 2.5 cents in May. Spot prices were up about a penny last week, with homopolymer PP in the low-to-mid $0.40s/lb and copolymer PP trading at about a 1.5-cent premium. There was some export interest earlier in the week from Asia, but by and large, exports have slowed. In production news, Sunoco’s Marcus Hook, PA facility is still running at reduced rates due to a shutdown of a propylene splitter in the ethylene unit.
Polystyrene (PS) spot prices were higher last week, with general-purpose PS trading in the high $0.40s to low $0.50s/lb and high-impact PS in the mid-to-high $0.50s/lb. Market participants report that PS supply has been extremely tight in general, with spot availability even more limited. —[email protected]