02.10.2017, nur in Englisch verfügbar
Increasing polyolefin, decreasing PS prices in October
The following factors influenced “commodity” polymer prices and price expectations last week:
- Strong demand in Europe, good autumn season in Central-Europe
- BRENT oil price 57.54 USD/barrel, it is increasing
- EUR getting stronger, EUR/USD: 1.1815
- Minor polyolefin price pre-purchases last week,
- The price of ethylene, monomer increased by October (+30 €/ton),
- The SM price is not yet known, but the drop is probable
The effect of the high demand for plastic finished products and polymers in September is palpable also on the market of monomers. Ethylene (C2) and propylene (C3) contract prices increased by 30 € each in October. Polymer producers are also optimistic and most of them plan a polyolefin price increase exceeding that of monomers in October. They have several reasons for this, on one hand the demand seems to be permanently high, on the other hand the availability of certain polyolefin grades will be limited in October. In case of LDPE and LLDPE we still anticipate short supply and high demand. But we feel the supply to be short also in case of the other PE grades, as good supply is expected to last until the end of October. But there are already different opinions about the continuation, one thing is sure, coming closer to the end of the year, by the end of October we cannot anticipate polyolefin pre-purchases any more. Some expect dropping prices by November, others are sure that in November roll-over is probable and maybe even in December. The demand of the last quarter is highly influenced by the fact that buyers with high quantity contracts try to maximize their end-of-the-year bonuses. In this way they try to redirect their purchases to their contracted suppliers. In this way, coming close to the end of the year a twofold effect is palpable, European polymer producers will experience higher and traders a lower demand.
But the fact that more and more traders pop up with materials from outside of Europe on the CE market cannot be ignored. In this way they connect our region to the blood circulation of “world trade”. We have to anticipate more and more alternative suppliers. According to our expectations, as of 2018, these materials will play an increasingly important role as the market and buyers will become familiar with them. In the beginning we calculated with them in the lower price categories, but later they appear also in products with higher added value. Poland is one of the main entry points, this is what press releases are about. But Dutch, Italian and German traders play also an ever increasing role.
On the day when the report was written styrene monomer prices were not yet known At any rate the market expects sharp correction (-80-100 €/t). That is only partially good news. It is good news, because this is a correction on the market, and bad news as volatility is extremely high. And this has been like this for one year. For plastic converters it is an ever increasing risk to use polystyrene as feedstock, as its steep price movements exercise a negative effect on the economy. In this way it more and more typical that PS is substituted with other materials in the production. An exception is EPS only, where there is no other well-known and economical alternative yet.
The price of LDPE did not change significantly after the price increases that happened in the course of September. One of the producers of the southern region corrected its prices by price reduction. In this way the price range in the southern and central region is 1,230-1,280 €. In Poland the price range is 1,260-1,290 Euro. By October we anticipate a price increase by 50 Euro (exceeding monomer prices by 20 Euro). The average price range will be 1,290-1,330 €, depending on the grade and country.
HDPE prices will also increase in October, compared to early September. Regional HDPE producers think a price increase following monomer prices is possible in case of HDPE BM and IM grades. An exception is Poland, because of the high HDPE BM demand the market seems to accept also a price increase exceeding monomer prices (+10-20 Euro) as well. HDPE FILM prices can probably increase in addition to monomer prices by 10 Euro on all markets, in particular the price of MDPE grades that can increase exceeding monomer prices by even +20 €/t.
Because of the shutdown of Kazanorgsintez in October Oriana (Kalush, Ukraine) will probably sell its products at higher prices, following the price level of the market. In this way the HDPE price increase will expectedly be accepted on the market.
HDPE pipe prices will, due to the good season, probably increase by monomer (C2) + 20-30 Euro. The probable price range will be 1,310-1,400 €. A good demand like in September can be anticipated in October as well.
LLDPE C4 supply was short in September and is probable to remain short in October as well. Large suppliers in central and Eastern Europe reduced their quantities to be supplied to Europe in October. The supply of larger film producers seems to be sure, but the price increase will exceed that of monomers. The expected price increase will be C2+20-30 €. This means a price range of 1,220-1,240 € for big buyers. The supply of the small ones will not be as sure as that, it will be hard to get LLDPE directly from producers. Producers try finding alternative solutions for their buyers buying lower quantities, but traders have limited quantities, and also prices are by 30-50 € higher.
mLLDPE supply will probably be short in October, but the demand will be similar to that in September. The market and demand are good. Polymer producers see a good market opportunity in markets outside of Europe, thus they relocate significant quantities there. The price increase will exceed monomer prices (C2) by 20-30 Euro. The typical price range will be 1,300-1,400 €/ton.
PPH demand and supply were good in September. October will be probably good according to the forecasts. Prices will basically follow propylene (C3) monomer in the region. But in Poland, due to the low prices, we have to get prepared for prices exceeding this by 20-30 Euro. In spite of this the price difference between the Polish and other CE prices will probably remain.
In Poland the price range is 1,080-1,200 €/t, while in other parts of Central Europe a price range of 1,130-1,220 € is to be expected. All this happens while supply is good and stable.
PPC supply is shorter than usual. Grades with high melt index are in short supply on the Polish market. As of October the situation is expected to be resolved. Demand is good and also October will be probably good. Similarly to PPH, in Poland we expect a price increase exceeding monomer (C3+20-30 €/t) in Poland, while in the other parts of Central-Europe, a price increase corresponding to that of monomers is probable. Due to this Central-European prices will expectedly be balanced. We expect a price range of 1,230-1,330 €/t.
PPR demand is stable and good and this tendency will continue in October as well. But supply is still short. In October the market is expecting a price increase exceeding monomer by 10-30 €. The price range will be 1,300-1,400 €, depending on the grade and country.
The prices of the last week are presented in the table below (full truck load 20-22.5 t):
||Typical polymer price ranges in the last week of Sept, 2017, Central Europe (€/ton)||Expected polymer price ranges in October, 2017, 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
Steep price drop in case of monomer and PS grades as well. HIPS supply is short and EPS supply is very short. This is to be expected in October. The supply situation will start to be resolved in the second half of October only, after the Hungarian plant of a big Central-European producer will restart regular production.
EPS users are still in trouble. Supply is not short, it is not existing. October expectedly only the supply to big users will be ensured. Minor users will be able to satisfy their needs only partially. The supply will come back to normal by the end of the last quarter only. This short supply will basically determine prices as well. Similarly to September a relative price increase is probable. That is, compared to the monomer prices will change by +50-80 Euro. In case of an SM price drop by 80 € this can mean even roll-over.
GPPS supply is good, demand dropped in the two last weeks of September, due to the decreasing price expectations. Polymer prices shall follow SM prices, otherwise converters will retain their purchases.
HIPS supply is still short. The direction of price change is not clear, as polybutadiene contract prices increased by October. In this way we can anticipate only a price drop not reaching the SM price change from the side of European producers.
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