12.06.2017, nur in Englisch verfügbar
Demand getting stronger in Central Europe, waiting in Poland
The following factors influenced “commodity” polymer prices and price expectations last week:
- dropping ethylene and propylene monomer prices followed also by polymer prices,
- polymer producers were not able to pass on the styrene monomer price increase completely to the converters,
- balanced supply,
- balanced demand,
- BRENT oil price 47.95 USD,
- EUR/USD exchange rate permanently over 1.12 getting stronger
In line with the expectations polyolefin price reduction continued. There were producers who used the price reduction to correct their prices that were stuck on high level during the last month. In this way in case of polyethylene grades (LDPE, HDPE) a price reduction by 80-90, or in certain cases even by three digits is not rare. In spite of the fact that by the end of May certain polymer producers (in the southern region) have already considered the price drop in their prices, they continued their price reduction policy. They adjusted their prices to the demand and to the prices of the import goods outside of Europe.
Demand is not unambiguous. It is in general typical for the region that the demand is in line with the demand usual for June. As one trader said:” buyers buy well”. This is supported by the fact that because of the dropping prices, during the last months, converters tried minimizing their purchases and consume their inventories. But now early June they were forced to buy for continuous production. In the central region (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia) traders and polymer producers reported good demand.
But in Poland converters still seem to be waiting for the lowest prices. They apply the well-proved technique of the last six months, they keep waiting and try postponing their purchases to the second half of the month. They also seem to be able to do this, as in Poland there is broad supply. But they are forced to buy in other countries of Central Europe, as they close the “order books” on the 14th at latest.
But the month may bring surprises. On the Central-European market the opinion that June prices are already close to the lowest level seems to be general. By July only minor price reduction, maybe roll-over can be expected in case of polyolefin grades. In this way, in the second half of June it could be worth buying in advance and stockpile inventories for the autumn season. This speculative buying-in-advance can prevent the further erosion of prices.
The steep SM price correction seems to be over. The minor price increase by 42.4 EUR was enough to stop the steep price drop and to relieve the converters of the massive pressure to reduce prices requested by their buyers. PS producers are by far not that fortunate, as seemingly they did not manage to pass the complete monomer price increase on. The market can pause for breath. Major SM monomer price increase cannot be anticipated, there is no fundamental cause in sight. June PS price correspond to the price level usual for this time of the year. The price roller-coaster of the last six months does not seem to start over. Converters hope that they can maintain the relatively high finished product prices, compensating their losses suffered during the last six months. Buying and filling up the normal inventory level have started here too.
By the second half of the last week the final June prices were reached. The prices offered by producers are more-and-more in line with the expectations of the converters.
In case of LDPE the erosion of the lowest June prices continued, now the range of lowest prices is 1,180-1,220 €. The price range attainable for medium-sized buyers is 1,230-1,270 €. Retail and distributor prices still reach and exceed 1,300 €. We do not anticipate the further drop of the very bottom of the price range (1,180 €/ton), but average prices will probably drop, as converters will try purchasing from sources getting cheaper and cheaper.
Low HDPE demand continues. Polymer producers do not anticipate a major increase. This is reflected also by low prices. In the southern region the price of import HDPE from outside of Europe is already below 1,080 €/ton. The local polymer producer starts his prices from 1,100 € (FCA). A further price drop is not excluded either. The situation is a little bit better in other countries of Central Europe, here the typical price range is 1,140-1,200 €. These prices will expectedly drop further, following the price trend of the southern producer. But the pipe market is stable, HDPE Pipe (100) feedstock can be sold within a price range of 1,270-1,350 €.
The price of LLDPE C4 is still in a range of 1,150-1,200 €, but there is no availability behind the low prices, and no one knows when this shortage is going to be over. Distributors and traders are uncertain, maybe the shipments expected from the USA and from the Near-East being already heavily delayed will arrive by July. In case of mLLDPE the situation is better as the supply from a European source is stable. But the bottom of the price range has dropped further, in Poland the lowest price range we measured was 1,210-1,270 €, while in the central region the price range is still 1,280-1,310 €.
PPH demand is consistent and good. The price range of simple grades is 1,050-1,100 €. Grades with a higher melt index and higher added value are typically traded within a range of 1,100-1,200 €. Converters expect a further price drop in this price segment. This is expected to happen, first of all on the Polish market. We can only hope that PPH prices will not drop below 1,000 €.
In case of PPC the typical price range is still 1,200-1,270 €. Large buyers can typically buy in a price range of 1,200-1,230, medium-sized ones in a range of 1,240-1,270 €. Producers absolutely wait for a further price reduction, in Poland in particular. But the chances for this are low, as due to the shutdown of Slownaft supply is lower, and slowly also speculative pre-purchases will start.
PPR shows a high variation, depending on the grade the price range is 1,200-1,315 €, there is no region-specific price range, but the prices of the southern region are higher than Polish or Slovakian prices. Supply and demand are consistent.
The prices of the last week and the price ranges expected for early June are presented in the table below (full truck load 20-22.5 t):
||Typical polymer price ranges in the second week of June, 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
Monomer price increase stopped the steep drop of PS prices. But because of the abrupt shift polymer producers could not pass on SM price changes, in spite of the good, consistent demand on most PS markets. Demand is stimulated also by the fact that during the next months market expects a slight, continuous price increase. In this way buying is safe, there is no need of being afraid of sudden, high leaps.
In case of EPS the price increased by 20-30 €. The typical price range is 1,320-1,400 € in Central Europe. In the southern region we measured the cheaper price range (1,320-1,360 €) while in the central region the typical price range is 1,340-1,400 €. On the Polish market the price range is 1,330-1,380. Demand is good and consistent.
GPPS demand is good, supply is broad. There is a slight oversupply on the market. The price increase accepted by converters is 20-30 €/ton. The range of lowest prices was 1,250-1,300 € last week. But the typical price range of European grades is 1,290-1,360 €/ton. It is true also for GPPS that prices are close to the minimum measured during the last 12 months, therefore no it is a good deal to buy now again. Demand in June is expected to remain good.
In case of HIPS demand is good and supply is stable. Prices are stable, the typical price range of European grades was 1,400-1,480 €/ton last week.
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