13.03.2017, nur in Englisch verfügbar
The following factors influenced “commodity” polymer prices last week:
- massive polymer price increase exceeding the monomer price increase
- the demand generated by plastic converters came to a halt,
- BRENT oil price lower than 55 USD,
- missing import quantities, (Middle-East)
- high Asian demand,
- good economic situation in construction unfolding worldwide,
- still strong dollar,
- the extending export possibilities of European producers because of the weak EUR,
The spring season started with a steep price increase. There is nothing surprising about it, because of the continuous price increase that started early January plastic converters resisted and started hard bargains in case of PP and PS in particular. In South-East Asia there is already some light at the end of the tunnel, there is a price reduction also in case of monomer and polymer prices. But the effect of this will be palpable in the prices in May at the earliest. For the time being we can see a minimum of import from overseas on the CE market. But on the other side the maintenance season in Europe has just started, spot monomer prices are increasing with the exception of SM prices.
In case of LDPE the producers can sell best, who managed to keep their prices in a price range of 1,360-1,400 €. LDPE is basically in short supply in the region. But it is a good news that there is again LDPE from Rompetrol at FCA prices higher than 1,300 €. This is good news because of two things: the price follows the market and supply is growing.
In case of HDPE no miracles happened, construction seems to be starting in the countries where the season is not highly depending on the receipt of EU subsidies, in the northern and central sub region. The season has not started in Romania and Bulgaria yet. The reduced HDPE 100 pipe price range is 1,370-1,400 €. HDPE film and BM supply is good, the market accepted the 30-40 EUR price increase.
But the PP market is more complex. The high monomer price increase was followed by a price increase of C3 +30-40 EUR in case of some producers. Buyers were not willing to accept an 80-100 EUR price increase. According to the opinion of the converters a price increase by 50 EUR and the charging of the monomer price increase to the buyers is justified, but they cannot accept a price increase higher than this. The situation of PPC was particularly critical, where packaging material producers complained about prices higher than 1,330 €, in reality they were willing to buy higher amounts at prices of about 1,300 €. This in spite of the fact that PPC supply is short. The real PPC price range for a truckload is 1,290-1,320 EUR in the region. In case of PPH the situation is not that critical, as it was possible to buy PPH grades from Bulgaria and Romania at FCA prices of about 1,150 EUR, which means a delivery price below 1,200 EUR at any point of the region. In case of PPR a price increase by 70-80 EUR was typical, it was not possible here either to increase prices by 100 EUR.
The prices of the last weeks are presented in the table below:
||Polymer price ranges in March, 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
In case of PS, with smaller bargains, the price increase in March was accepted by the market. The reason is simple, EPS and HIPS supply is short, and GPPS supply is satisfactory. The price of EPS typically stabilized between 1,650-1,730 € in case of a full truck load. Supply is short, because of the start of the construction season demand is good. Converters rather accept the price increase instead of remaining without feedstock.
HIPS supply is very low, while there is normal demand on the market. Prices are typically in a range of 1,900-2,000 EUR in case of goods of European origin. Import supply is low.
In case of GPPS producers enforced a price increase higher than the monomer price increase. The only alternative for converters could be to curb their production. Though PP prices are extremely favorable now, but shifting is practically just a theoretic category. The prices of water clear GPPS is about 1,800 €.
There is an interesting situation unfolding on the polystyrene market. The Asian (Southeastern-Asian) styrene monomer (SM) prices have been dropping for two weeks. The increasing Asian prices are the primary driver of the significant SM and PS price increase in Europe. Not the situation seems to change. The question is when the decreasing price tendency will reach Europe. Like always also now everything depends on the monomer price. Expectedly in April the monomer prices will not drop, a reduced styrene monomer price can be expected in May at the earliest, depending on the supply.
As the price level is extremely high in case of all three grades, producers are under heavy pressure to reduce sale prices. Expectedly in May the first major overseas imported quantities will arrive. In this way by June at latest dropping prices can be anticipated.
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