19.03.2018, nur in Englisch verfügbar
Further slowdown of the market
The following factors influenced “commodity” polymer prices and price expectations last week:
- BRENT oil price 65.12 USD/barrel, stagnating prices
- EUR/USD: 1.2305, strong Euro
- NAPHTHA: 559.87 USD/t, slightly increasing prices
- Low demand, excellent market,
- PP supply getting short because of production problems.
Demand is low in all four sub-regions of Europe in the second half of March. Both traders and polymer producers report low sales. Sales are possible close to the bottom of the price ranges indicated by us. In this way prices are under a permanent pressure. This is first of all due to the traders with not regular market presence, who make business with some truckloads of cheap materials. Because of the cheap, low quantity of materials there seems to be a spot market emerging in Central-Europe. As the quantity of goods behind is not high, with an intensive accompanying advertising, in this way prices seem to start dropping after the 10th. This is what happened during the first two months of 2018 and this seems to happen in March again. However we are afraid that the downward trend will pull along local producers as well. For the time being they endure. The two PP production stoppages mentioned last week has seemingly not reduced the supply significantly. No news received about shortage. The fact that because of the weather the season start is delayed also in Russia helped a lot to avoid the shortage. Demand is very low. In this way Russian polymer producers try exporting to Europe and China. Yet the situation is expected to change in April, when Kazanorgsintez will be down for maintenance and this will have a significant effect on polyethylene supply. At that time also the outage of HIP-Petrohemija and minor maintenance at MOL Group are to be expected. Hopefully this will end the undervalued status of polyethylene grades. And will elevate their price level. In case of HDPE the stop of price reduction is palpable, but in case of LDPE supply pressure increases. In harbors in WE LDPE is available at prices below 1,100 €/t. The significant import from outside of Europe might end the very good price performance of LDPE experienced during the recent years. Only the weakening of the Euro might counteract this, and the chances for this in the spring season chances are low. But chances for further price reduction of polyolefin grades are low, in spite of the fact that most converters do not buy referring to this. Now it is still hard to give forecasts for April, but polymer producers, distributors asked agree that the “usual” seasonal price increase has to happen.
Yet in case of polystyrene grades the situation is just the opposite. Converters wait for steep price reduction following the price increases. This is demonstrated by the fact that apart from some exceptions polymer producers did not manage to realize price increase in spite of increasing monomer prices. Practically roll-over happened on the market.
LDPE spot prices dropped by 20-30 € below contractual prices. For most converters this might be a sign of not being worth buying in a range of 1,140-1,160. But this is not true, only limited quantities of goods are available in a price category lower than this. Regular polymer producer prices did not change compared to last week:
The lowest prices are in a range of 1,140 – 1,150 € both in Poland and in the other regions of Central-Europe. However the typical trading range is 1,160-1,190 €/ton.
HDPE prices have a little bit eroded last week. On the Polish market an average price reduction by about 10 € took place. The good news is that the prices of the cheapest products imported from outside of Europe did not reach 1,000 €.
The supply of certain grades is short, in this way some MDPE FILM grades are in short supply. The typical HDPE price range was 1,080-1,140 € depending on the grade and producer. Yet on the spot market we can see lots cheaper than this.
The producers of HDPE Pipe (100) grades carried out roll-over. Prices did not change last week. The official price range is 1,350-1,480 €.
Also LLDPE C4 prices dropped, the price range of the cheapest spot lots is 1,060-1,090 €, while the price range of regular lots was 1,090-1,140 € all over Central Europe. Supply is good and broad.
mLLDPE prices are unchanged, we measured prices in a range of 1,240-1,300 €.
PPH producers keep on complaining about sales. Only in Poland spot prices dropped below 1,000 € last week. The Romanian producer still cannot continuously supply goods to customers. The typical price range was in Poland 1,120-1,170 € while in the other part of Central-Europe we have measured a typical price range of 1,140-1,180 €. For the time being we do not expect price increase.
PPC spot prices came close to 1,200 € in Poland. Some spot offers were even lower than this. These are first of all materials imported from outside of Europe, from Iran and mostly from South-Korea. The typical price range in Poland is 1,220-1,270 €. Yet in the other parts of Central-Europe the typical price range is 1,260-1,310 €. Supply is still good, there is no shortage.
On the PPR market prices have slightly dropped, the price range opened and was typically 1,260-1,380 €/. The supply is short and will get shorter in the second half of March.
The prices of the last week are presented in the table below (full truck load 20-22.5 t):
||Typical polymer price ranges in second week of March 2018, Central Europe (€/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
The resistance of EPS buyers was of benefit. A smaller part of buyers has accepted a price increase by 15-35 €. Most of them kept waiting and in this way they were in position to have unchanged price compared to February. In spite of this demand is low. We have measured a typical price range of 1,750-1,800 €. This is too high and all are waiting for the prices to drop.
In case of GPPS roll-over persisted. Expectations aim at decreasing price tendency. The gap between European prices and prices of import from outside of Europe is slowly closing. The price of imported products starts at 1,400 €, while European products are available as of 1,480 €. The typical price range is 1,450-1,650 €/t.
HIPS demand is low, supply is broad, in March roll-over is typical here as well, the price range is 1,500-1,650 €, depending on the grade, manufacturer and application area.
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