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Prices for this week 3/2018

TypePrice
HDPE blow molding1106 € / t
HDPE film1112 € / t
HDPE injection molding1104 € / t
HDPE pipe (100)1401 € / t
LDPE film1182 € / t
LDPE general purpose1184 € / t
PP co-polymer injection molding1223 € / t
PP homo-polymer fiber1148 € / t
PP homo-polymer injection molding1160 € / t
PPR1301 € / t
GPPS1395 € / t
HIPS1508 € / t
EPS1645 € / t

The following factors influenced “commodity” polymer prices and price expectations last week:

  • BRENT oil price 69.26 USD/barrel, slightly increasing
  • EUR/USD: 1.2128 getting weaker
  • Naphtha: 589.87 USD/t, increasing price tendency
  • awakening market, demand corresponding to January,

 

Most converters returned from holiday last week. Because of the orthodox Christian holidays the demand was low in the southern region even this week. However in the central and northern region the demand is as usual at this time. The difference is that the players on the Polish market feel a huge supply-driven pressure and there is nothing similar to that on other Central-European markets. In this way demand feels to be lower here. However CE polymer producers, converters report about normal demand.  In the southern and eastern region, due to the orthodox Christmas, the demand was lower in the second week of January than in the first one. On Central-European level “normal business” is to be expected after January 15 only. Only then will we see the complete picture of the “commodity” polymer market. It is a trouble for polymer producers that the average demand in January is lower than in an average month. This generates a higher than the average pressure on the selling side. In this way polymer producers are willing to sell at reduced prices to sell higher quantities.

The majority of plastic converters are bathing in the ocean of abundant offers for the time being, while there are significant changes taking place on the market. In addition to the obvious oil and naphtha price increase there are major changes also on the monomer market. On the North-American and Asian markets propylene spot prices have risen significantly, it is just a question of time when monomer producers increase their prices that high. The price increase in North-America holds already a real possibility of arbitrage for European propylene producers. Due to this the supply which is short anyway, can get even shorter. And this will affect the whole propylene value chain. In case of ethylene it is also the North-American supply that exercises a significant effect, but into the opposite direction. Because of the ethane prices dropping in North-America also the ethylene spot price dropped, which might in turn reduce or keep ethylene price stable in Europe. In case of polyethylene now the biggest problem is the negative margin for non-integrated producers. In this way the stagnating ethylene price can be a temporary solution, at least by not making the situation worse. In case of SM the price increase of benzene might be coupled with monomer price increase as well. Otherwise the market expects this price increase by 40-60 € anyway.

During the week ahead of us we anticipate demand and speculations to live up all over Central-Europe.

 

Polyolefin grades

In the second week of January LDPE prices and demand were down.  But supply is broad. In this way we were confronted with dropping price bands. While in Poland the typical LDPE price range was  1,140-1,190 €.  In the meantime in the other regions of Central-Europe the typical price range was 1,160-1,230 €/t in case of complete truck loads.  The inventories of regional polymer producers are high and so are selling constraints. Producers expect demand to grow in the second half of January solving inventory problems. However on the other hand import from outside of the region can be expected to grow. The supply to grow.

There was no major change on the HDPE market compared to last week.  Converters are still awakening. For the market the main question is whether price will be permanently higher than 1,100 €. Now Polish HDPE prices are in a range of 1,070-1,120 €/t depending on the grade and application. In the central the typical price range is 1,090-1,150 €, while in the central region it is   1,180-1,130 €. But demand seems to become slightly more dynamic, the attempts of some producers to increase prices were successful, they managed to increase prices by even 5-15 € compared to December.

HDPE pipe (100) prices increased by 0-20 polymer producer said.  But January is the weakest month of the pipe market. Most converters have not started production yet. In this way the actual market prices are in a range of 1,360-1,440 € and turnover is low.

LLDPE C4 prices are identical with those in December, in a range of 1,140-1,170 €, larger converters reported prices of about 1,130 €. Minor buyers have purchased in a range of 1,180-1,200 €.  Orders are low. Large converters are still thinking, they would like to have prices by 10-20 € cheaper.

The typical mLLDPE prices were in a range of 1,270-1,300 € last week in the region.  For the time being demand is low, therefore in case of larger buyers also reduced prices cheaper than this (-10-20€/t) are possible.

PPH prices seem to have exceeded the price level of 1,100 Euro. Only the FCA prices of producers in the SCE region are below 1,100 €. Typical average prices are in a range of 1,120-1,170 € in Poland, while in a range of 1,120-1,200 € in the other regions.  The demand is still typical for January, yet in the second half of the month demand is anticipated to grow significantly due to the prices expected for February.

PPC shows a highly colored picture in the region. Polish supply is very broad, consequently prices are also lower, and here the prices are in a range of 1,170-1,220 Euro depending on the melt index and the applications.  In the other parts of Central-Europe the prices are higher, in a range of 1,190-1,260 €.

The price increase of PPR by 20-30 Euro was accepted, the typical price range is 1,270-1,360 €. Demand is getting dynamic. Because of the dynamic demand in Western-Europe and the threatening price increase we anticipate further recovery.

 

The prices of the last week are presented in the table below (full truck load 20-22.5 t):

 

Grade name

Typical polymer price ranges in the second week of January, 2018, Central Europe (€/ton)

HDPE BM

1,040-1,130

HDPE Film

1,040-1,140

HDPE IM

1,040-1,140

HDPE Pipe (100)

1,350-1,420

LDPE Film

1,170-1,250

LDPE GP

1,170-1,250

LLDPE C4

1,130-1,250

PPC

1,170-1,250

PPH IM

1,100-1,180

PPH Raffia

1,100-1,180

PPR

1,250-1,340

GPPS

1,250-1,470

HIPS

1,450-1,550

EPS

1,620-1,750

 

Polystyrene grades

European producers increased EPS prices by 10-20 €, the typical price range is 1,650-1,750 €. But because of the low demand some converters managed to reach minor price reductions compared to the December prices. EPS converters, learning from the supply problems of the last year, endeavor to ensure continuous production. Thus they try to accumulate significant feedstock inventories. Due to this demand is good. We expect the EPS demand to grow in the second half of the month. In particular because by February we can anticipate SM to grow by 50-80 € and then the polymer price increase to follow. 

The GPPS market is silent, demand is low, still GPPS from Iran is the cheapest, it is offered in a range of 1,260-1,280 €.  The prices of the WE polymer producers are still in the highest price range (1,420-1,500 €), while Central-European producers offer their products in a range of 1,350-1,450 €, depending on the grade and application area. Cheap HIPS is short of supply. There are just low quantities on the market outside of Europe. At the present cheapest HIPS from Iran is available in a price range of 1,300-1,350 €.  In the price range of 1,500-1,600 € the supply of materials made in Europe corresponds to the average.  In the second half of the month the market is expected to get dynamic and demand is expected to grow.  In the second half of the month the demand is expected to grow, but producers will wait for the price increase that is probable to happen in February.

 

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