31.07.2017, nur in Englisch verfügbar
The following factors influenced “commodity” polymer prices and price expectations last week:
- silent week both on the polyolefin and PS markets,
- short LDPE, LLDPE supply generated minor price increases at some producers
- With the exception of Poland a general price increase expected in August both in case of PO and PS.
- BRENT oil price 52.50 USD/barrel, increasing prices,
- Euro getting stronger, EUR/USD exchange rate over 1.17 getting stronger
- Ethylene and propylene roll over, SM is not yet known
We are in the middle of the summer holiday season. Those who could went on holiday last week. This has marked the demand as well. The last week of July was very silent. There were measurable price changes only in case of LDPE, LLDPE and certain PPC grades that are hard to get.
So far the market (buyers and sellers) agreed that September would be a month for price increases, due to the strong September season. In this way converters will try to buy in advance, as early as in July, but in August at any rate. So far they were partially right. There were pre-purchases in July, polymer producers closed a good month. But the intention to buy in advance can become really stronger in August. Polymer producers were happy about the high demand in July and they tried to sell everything they had on stock. But now they are expected to handle inventories more carefully and they try to generate reserves for September, partially because of the higher demand, partially because of the higher prices. In this way, first of all in case of the polyolefin grades we have to get prepared for a demand exceeding the supply. But it is important to note that this will not be the magnitude we had in 2015. But most Polish converters have doubts as to the significant price increase and do not expect a price increase by August either because of the extremely good supply and expect just a minor price increase by September. Therefore they will probably not buy high quantities in advance.
In case of PS by August a high EPS demand and price increase is to be expected, which will probably be supported by the monomer price change. HIPS demand and prices are steered now by the hard availability (shortage) of certain grades with higher added value. In case of GPPS import getting stronger and price changes with extreme values pulled apart characterize the market. The Euro getting stronger will probably further increase import supply and will reduce the price of imported products.
Ethylene (C2) and propylene (C3) roll over will determine price changes in August, roll over and slight price increase (by 10-30 €) are to be expected. In detail:
LDPE shortage is best characterized by the fact that the Serbian producer increased LDPE prices early last week by 20 €. The price range is shifting higher and higher. Practically the price increase to be expected by August is already included in the prices. The price range of LDPE was 1,170-1,240 € last week. Because of the short supply a price increase exceeding the monomer price level by 10-30 € and further strengthening demand is to be expected in August.
HDPE demand is still a problem. Demand is not yet getting stronger for film, blow molding and injection molding grades. All regional HDPE producers had goods to sell even at the end of July. In spite of this Central European prices are still maintained within a range of 1,030-1,100 € in case of BM grades. The price of FILM and IM grades did not drop further either.
In case of HDPE we clearly expect that monomer prices will be followed, i.e. there will be roll over. But on the Polish market even a slight (0-20 €) price drop is possible because of the stable and broad supply and due to the not really high demand.
But HDPE pipe market seems to be strong in Central and Western Europe as well. The typical price range (1,230-1,300 €) is stable. A minor price change exceeding that of monomer by +10-30 € and dynamic demand are to be expected as of the first day of the month.
On the LLDPE C4 market the situation has not been resolved. Big, first of all Polish converters are still waiting for stable supply, supply is low in the 1,120-1,150 € price range. But minor converters who buy at higher prices get material easier within a price range of 1,160-1,200 €. The problems of large converters will not be resolved because of monomer roll over, unless major imported shipments arrive in August, which is highly probable due to the Euro getting stronger. By August roll over and minor price increase (5-20 €) are probable simultaneously.
mLLDPE is stable, the price range was 1,190-1,230 € last week. In August roll-over can be expected.
PPH demand is good, there is no shortage, in spite of the shutdown of the Serbian producer HIPOL last week. Import PPH prices are typically above 1,010 € in Central Europe. The price of materials produced in Europe are rather above 1,050 €. In July many have purchased in advance, this is why the market could keep prices up. In August the market anticipates roll over. What is more, in case of certain grades a minor price increase by 10-30 € will be typical, only stronger import can counteract this. But for the time being the expected Russian export offensive cannot be felt.
On the PPC market there was a high demand through July. This was partially due to the high seasonal demand (summer season products e.g. ice cream packaging). The other important thing was that converters tried to buy in advance. In addition there were also shortages on the market. With the exception of Poland PPC with high melt index was hard to get anywhere. In August the market anticipates basically roll over, but a minor price increase is possible. Polymer producers plan rather a price increase exceeding monomer price changes by 10-30 €. But converters will probably resist. In our opinion rather a minor, upwards price correction can be expected.
PPR supply is a little bit short, but there are no stable, serious shortages. The typical price range was 1,180-1,240 €. In August roll over and minor price increase alike can be expected. As producers plan an upward price correction, to a different extent by buyer and grade.
The prices of the last week and our price forecast for August are presented in the table below (full truck load 20-22.5 t):
||Typical polymer price ranges in the last week of July , 2017, Central Europe (€/ton)||Expected polymer price ranges in August , 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
The PS market shows its summer face. Not many news received last week. As the SM price is not yet known, it is hard to give a forecast for August.
EPS converters are ready to jump, they have to buy as the season seems to be a good one. Expectedly after the first price announcements purchases will start quickly, and polymer producers know this well... The typical price range is now 1,335-1,400 €. Because of the high demand a significant price increase exceeding the monomer price change is possible on the side of the producers (SM+30-50 €).
The GPPS market was also last week in line with the holiday market. The first two weeks of August is expected to be low. As there are no supply problems, it will not be urgent for anyone to buy. In this way the final price levels will be established in the second week of August only. The strengthening of the import is probable, which will keep the bottom of price ranges low. The typical price range is 1,200-1,300 € in case of imported materials, while the price of European materials is by 40-80 EUR higher than this, depending on the grade and application. At the present most deals are made in a range of 1,270-1,320 €. In August lower demand and price change following SM are to be expected in case of European materials, while the price of imported materials is not expected to change.
HIPS supply from European sources is slightly short, demand is relatively high. HIPS from the Far-East (Iran) is available within a price range of 1,250-1,300 €. Typical HIPS prices of European origin are within a price range of 1,340-1,400 €, but special grades are even as high as 1,500 €. We expect a price increase exceeding SM by 10-30 €.
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