10.04.2017, nur in Englisch verfügbar
The following factors influenced “commodity” polymer prices and price expectations last week:
- the demand generated by plastic converters is low in some segments, they are waiting for cheaper prices,
- April is traditionally the high season,
- because of the Easter Holidays April will be short, changing purchasing habits, changing purchasing strategies
- BRENT oil price getting close to 55 USD and increasing,
- import appeared (Middle- and Far-East)
- dropping Asian monomer and polymer prices,
- EUR getting weaker,
- Ruble getting weaker,
- in spite of the maintenance season stable monomer supply, of propylene in particular
- C2 and C3 price change lagging behind the expectations, ethylene roll-over, slight propylene price increase (+15€),
- dramatic drop of styrene monomer prices (-275 €)
Price decreasing expectations dominated the market, due to the ethylene roll-over, to the slight propylene price reduction and not at last to the dramatic styrene monomer price drop. So far the strategy of converters was stockpiling, preparing for further price increase, but now this will change with the changing expectations. They try to consume, process their existing inventories now deemed to be “expensive”, minimize their purchases as long as their buyers force them to cut the price of finished products. This means that demand is curbed. Demand is lower because due to the Easter holiday the number of working days is lower. Polymer producers and traders are aware of this fact and thus tried to make as many deals as possible last week, but the demand remained low. Now there seems to be oversupply on the market. The first import shipments appeared, as of the middle of April, but mostly as of May we have to be prepared for even more incoming import on the European markets. The question arising in everyone is whether monomer supply can change in spite of the present stability? Can C2, C3 prices still increase, can eventually also SM drop in May, like the drop and the repeated increase of the propylene price last December? At any rate the price reduction did not come at the right time (in the middle of the season) when also plastic finished product buyers accept price increase more easily. There are fears that maybe a dropping price trend would change direction in the summer time, in dead season, and then it will increase again.
A part of the producers, mainly WE producers, experimented in the first half of the week with a price increase by 30-50 €, local polymer producers started rather with roll-over and a slight price decrease by 10-30 €. Last week, in terms of the deals made, is characterized by roll over, but the situation is different depending on the product and buyer segment concerned. Surprisingly short LDPE and PPC supply seems to disappear. First of all PPH BOPP grades, PPH pipe grades, PPC pipe grades, PPR pipe grades are of short supply. In case of these products the price increase by 30-50 € was accepted. In the meantime PPH price dropped by 20-30 € both in case of Raffia and IM grades. In case of the more general PPC grades rather roll over or a price reduction by 10-20 €, in case of PPR grades a price increase by 30-40 € is typical. In case of LLDPE C4 the former shortage disappeared, and in Poland there is rather oversupply. In this way Polish prices are the lowest in the region, the price range is 1,240-1,300 €.
In case of LDPE last week roll over and a price drop by 10-30 € was typical. Due to the generally lacking European demand one of the major WE producers conveyed high amounts of goods to Central-Europe. But the LDPE demand is anyway not too high in the region.
The HDPE market was struggling with lacking demand as early as in March, and this is not going to change in April either, with the exception of HDPE 100 grades, where producers anticipate the continuous increase of the demand. Price changes are different, producers tried roll over and a price increase by 20-30 € with more or less success.
The prices of the last two weeks are presented in the table below:
||Polymer price ranges in April, 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 dramatic SM price drop by 275 € has confused the market. Producers try to curb the price reduction, by not fully following the monomer price drop they reduce GPPS, HIPS and EPS prices by less than 200 EUR. But the market wishes a higher price cut, they are willing to buy in case prices are reduced by more than 200 €. Converters want to come back quickly to the price level of early February, as they want to compensate for their losses suffered during February-March as early as possible. Demand is there as in case of EPS in particular we are in the high season. But buying prices are limited, as import from Russia, Iran and from the Far-East appeared on the market and also converters see that PS producers are willing to bargain. Most of them would like to enforce the complete SM price drop. In case of EPS converters would like to buy at price level of about 1,520 €. In case of GPPS the price is still highly uncertain, at any rate it is hard to sell at prices higher than 1,600 €. This is what traders complain about, buyers think that a price of about 1,550 € is justified. In case of HIPS a price drop exceeding 200 € was typical, but here supply is still short.
Converters anticipate a further SM and PS price drop induced by balancing, i.e. dropping SM prices and by the import shipment arriving from outside of Europe.
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