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TPE resin pricing Nov. 24-28: PE falls, PP and PS stabilize

The volume of polyethylene (PE) spot-trading increased last week, with multi-railcar deals seen, but prices continued to fall due to lower monomers, demand concerns, and seasonal end-of-year de-stocking. Spot-trading platform The Plastics Exchange (TPE; www.theplasticsexchange.com) and its reporting partner The PetroChem Wire (www.petrochemwire.com) say contract prices ended November down $0.20/lb, following a $0.11/lb decline in October, and a $0.07/lb fall in September.

) say contract prices ended November down $0.20/lb, following a $0.11/lb decline in October, and a $0.07/lb fall in September. When the midsummer $0.18/lb run up is accounted for, the net move for 2008 is a $0.20/lb decrease. How low have prices gone? TPE reports instances where generic-prime offers were actually seen in the mid-$0.20’s/lb. In general, TPE reports that generic-prime high-density PE blowmolding grades were offered in the mid $0.30’s/lb, with HDPE and low-density PE film materials carrying a $0.02-$0.04/lb premium. LDPE offers fell to the $0.40’s/lb, off from the high $0.60’s/lb seen at the end of October. The week also saw a significant increase in export interest, particularly for LDPE and LLDPE film grades and some HDPE blowmolding materials.

Apparently ceasing weeks of declines, polypropylene (PP) actually showed signs of stabilizing, after inventory liquidation and reduced production curtailed spot availability. TPE reports that November PP contracts finished with a $0.30/lb decrease after falling by $0.25/lb between September and October. Generic-prime railcars of homopolymer PP ended the week in the low $0.30’s/lb to upper $0.20’s/lb range, while copolymer offers finished a few cents higher. Widespec offers fell as low as the mid-to-low $0.20’s/lb, with some widespec railcars bound for export hitting the high teens.

Polystyrene (PS) prices were also unchanged for the holiday-shortened week, following several consecutive weeks of drops. TPE says availability has increased some due to lower-cost Asian imports. General-purpose PS spot prices were in the low $0.60’s/lb, with high-impact PS around $0.70/lb.

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