30.01.2017, nur in Englisch verfügbar
Waiting for price increase
The following factors influence “commodity” polymer prices in the fourth week of January:
- price increase expected,
- cold weather,
- “January” demand,
- BRENT oil price higher than 56 USD,
- strengthening Ruble,
- strong, however progressively weakening dollar,
- the extending export possibilities of European producers because of the weak EUR,
- lower Asian demand because of the Chinese lunar new year,
- dropping demand in Turkey.
On the market of “commodity” polymers a clear increase is to be expected both in case of polyolefin and polystyrene grades. The tendency of prices will depend first of all on the price change of monomers. However the demand will be decisive in terms of the extent of the real price increase. Polymer producers will for sure enforce also the monomer price increase from January and February. The demand in January is highly determined by the fact that many buyers have purchased in December in advance, preparing for the price increase in January. January is anyway a short month with a hard start. Buyers will return from holiday only as late as after the 9th. Therefore the intensity of demand will be lower. This is coupled with the demand for finished goods staying lower. Because of the very cold weather the converters (insulation material, EPS, pipe manufacturers, HDPE100, film manufacturers) producing for the construction have started their production at a slower pace.
Last week demand was higher, this was partially due to the fact that plastic converters also anticipate a probable price increase, according to their opinion there will be a high variance, they think a price increase by 40-80 € can be possible. Accordingly polymer producers try to keep the price level achieved in January, last week it was difficult to buy in advance with the exception of PPH. PPH still shows signs of oversupply, again there were positions on the market at prices below 1,000 EUR, mainly due to the low prices of Romanian polymer producers. But the quantity is still low and not available to all. PPH is available at prices starting from 1,020 €/t. In the central region (CCE) we have experienced that certain PPC grades were of short supply. Contrary to this, in Poland supply is good from all grades. It is true that here demand was not high in January, and the price increase was accepted also to a lower extent. We are of opinion that PP producers will foresee a price increase by 35-50 € in February.
In case of LDPE converters could not buy in advance either. Producers have already run out of their inventories, due to the high January demand. It is true here as well that with the exception of Poland producers could enforce increased prices, polymer producer average prices are higher than 1,250 €. In case of LDPE a price increase by 40-60 € is to be expected.
HDPE average prices, with the exception of Poland, increased in Central Europe. In the second half of the month also the pipe market has started. Pipe producers have started to buy feedstock in advance for the construction season in the spring. HDPE supply is good now until the end of January. There is no shortage. This year the expected price increase is 35-50 €.
We are of opinion that the polyolefin price situation in Poland will be problematic in February, as the price increases in January were accepted just to a small extent and roll-over was frequent as well. This means that to the omitted January price increase (40-50 €) also the price increase for February (a further 35-60 €) will be added. In this way the market should accept a three-digit price increase, which is less probable with the present demand for finished products. In this way a price tension is expected to arise between Poland and the other CE countries. The question is if polymer producers and traders can handle this.
The typical market prices expected in the second half of January and in February 2017 are presented in the following table:
||Prices ranges for January 2017 (€/ton)||Expected prices ranges for February 2017 (€/ton)|
|HDPE blow molding
|HDPE injection molding
|HDPE pipe (100)
|LDPE general purpose
|PP co-polymer injection molding
|PP homo-polymer fiber
|PP homo-polymer injection molding
EPS demand was now lower than in an average January, due to the protracting cold weather and the ever postponed start of the construction season. Many smaller and medium-sized EPS insulation material producers did not buy in January. In this way the price increase was only 50-70 €/ton, by far lower than the monomer price change. As of the second week of February the demand is expected to increase significantly.
On the GPPS, HIPS market prices are slightly closer, due to the low quantity of imported goods on the market, and due to the fact that because of the strengthening of the Russian Ruble Russian producers increased their prices by more than 10%. Demand was also a typical January demand here, CE producers tried to be flexible, it was possible to get a discount of 10-15%. Accordingly the average price increase was 70-90 €, below the level of monomer price increase and it will expectedly also remain below that in February. In February we still expect a three-digit monomer price increase and a polystyrene price increase by 60-90 €, while a price increase by 80 € is probable in case of GPPS and HIPS. Of course PS producers will report more than that but this will not fully be accepted on the market.
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