11.11.2019, nur in Englisch verfügbar
In a vicious circle?
The following factors influenced “commodity” polymer prices and price expectations last week:
- BRENT oil price 62.29 USD/barrel, stagnating prices
- EUR/USD: 1.1023 further weakening of the Euro
- NAPHTHA (European): 511.28 USD/t, slowly increasing prices
- November contract monomer prices:
- Ethylene (C2) contract price -30 EUR/t (960 EUR / t),
- Propylene (C3) contract price -30 EUR/t (840 EUR / t)
- Styrene monomer (SM) contract price -65 EUR/t (1,000 EUR/t),
- Weaker than usual demand.
All raw material manufacturers have lowered their prices. They typically followed the price changes of olefin monomers, offering a 30-40 €/t discount on their first offers. For regular customers, this was enough in most cases. However, some converters asked for a larger price reduction of € 10-20 in exchange for larger orders. What the producers usually also granted. 60-70% of the producers´ monthly production was already sold at the end of last week. The question is whether the entire November production will be contracted in the week ahead. The stakes are high, this year´s business year is practically over on December 20th. In the meantime, six weeks are left and December production will have to be sold. Sales pressure can also be felt from the producer side.
Distributors are in a more difficult position. They can typically be less flexible in pricing than producers. In general, they only received a basic price reduction of € 30-40 from their suppliers. As a result, there is weak demand and waiting customers for further price reductions. The distribution of European commodity polymer products has become increasingly difficult over the last two years. Due to increasing margins, polymer producers are increasingly serving small to medium-sized customers directly. This November is not expected to be their month in terms of volume or margin. There is tremendous pressure on the salesmen of distribution companies
Thanks to traders selling non-European imports, there is an increasing quantity of North American and Asian imports in the Central European market. In many cases, post-clearance HDPE prices in ports are more than EUR 100 below Central European prices. And these goods are appearing in Central European markets. This in turn puts significant pressure on market prices.
Plastic converters are waiting and buying little for the time being. Minimizing stock levels remains a goal. But there are also fewer orders from their customers. The market for plastic packaging is marked by uncertainty. As of 2020, country-by-country “circular economy” regulations will be in place. Their content and impact are still uncertain, and this uncertainty is also affecting demand. Thus, even in the event of further price reductions, demand is not expected to pick up significantly, or possibly there could be end-of-year buying. Nonetheless, and as a result, there is increasing vendor pressure on them. And more pressure from sellers suggests that further discounts may be expected. As a result, plastic converters are even more limited in procurement.
Is this the market situation: restrained demand and strong selling pressure are already vicious circles? Where, in times of high pressure, are customers responding with ever-lower demand and lower price expectations?
The price of SM fell by € 65. However, the cost of polystyrenes dropped typically by over EUR 5-10. Demand is lower than expected. Buyers expect further price reductions in December.
LDPE prices were in a range of 900-1,000 €/t last week in Central-Europe. The cheapest prices in the Southern (SCE) region were around 900-950 €. Polish prices range from 930 to 970 €. There is now less import material of Russian origin than in October. In the central region, the typical selling price range was 950-980 € / t. Demand is weaker than expected everywhere. Plastic converters also complain about low volume of orders.
Typical HDPE prices were in a range of 910 - 1,040 €/t in Central Europe last week. They have dropped significantly. The cheapest prices in the Southern (SCE) region were around 915-980 €. Polish prices range from 930 to 1,020 €. There is now less import material of Russian origin from HDPE than in October. In the Central Region (MCE), the typical selling price range was 940-1,020 €/t. However, HDPE of North American-origin has appeared on the market for around € 900, in some cases even below that level. This price level strongly influences the plastic converters. And they also expect their Central European suppliers to offer prices below 1,000. Strengthening HDPE imports outside Europe are expected to lead to lower HDPE prices in Europe. Demand is weak due to uncertainty in the packaging market.
Typical HDPE BM list prices in Central Europe were in a range of 920-1,030 €/t last week.
Typical HDPE IM prices were in a range of 930 - 1,050 €/t in Central Europe.
HDPE Film grade prices were in a range of 910-1,050 €/t in Central-Europe last week.
Typical HDPE (100) prices were in a range of 1,160-1,200 €/t last week. They dropped to an extent exceeding monomer price reduction. The season is over. Demand is low.
The typical LLDPE C4 prices were in a range of 920-1,020 €/t last week, depending on the grade and application area. On average, they went down by € 20. Supply and demand are balanced.
mLLDPE (C6) prices were in a range of 1,020-1,160 €/t last week. On average, they went down by 30 euros. The supply is plentiful, with increasing offer of “near to prime” and offgrade materials. Prices are in many cases below 1,000 €/t.
Typical PPH Raffia prices were in the price range of 920-1,050 €/t, they dropped in the first week of November by 30-50 €. The cheapest was the Romanian polymer manufacturer. Fewer goods came from Russia than last month. Demand direct to producers is good. However, due to price-related reasons, distributors are unable to sell much.
The price of PPM IM products with medium melt index was in a range of 930-1,050 €/t last week. Prices fell by € 30-50 compared to October. The price of products with high flow index was in a range of € 1,020 - € 1,080/t. In Poland, the price range was 1,020 - 1,050 €/t. Demand is lower than expected. Some MOL PP grades were reported to be short of supply.
Typical PPC prices ranged from 1,080 to 1,160 €/t in Central Europe. Prices dropped by about 30-50 Euro compared to the previous week. Demand is low. Supply is broad. Towards the end of last week, some producers encouraged larger converters to buy more.
PPR prices were in a range of 1,120-1,220 €/t last week, they dropped by 30-50 Eur. Larger price decreases occurred mainly in Poland and at larger customers. Demand in November is weak. Supply at the normal level. There is a slight oversupply on the market.
The typical prices of the last week are presented in the table below (full truck load 20-22.5 t):
||Typical polymer price ranges in the first week of November 2019, 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
Typical EPS prices were in a range of 1,080-1,130 €/t last week. Overall demand in Central-Europe is weaker than expected. The season seems to be over. Demand is lower than expected. Especially since converters expect further price reductions in December.
PS producers have followed the monomer price drop. Typical GPPS prices were in a range of 1,100-1,180 €/t, while HIPS prices were in a range of 1,070-1,230 €/t . The bottom of the HIPS price band remains the low-priced import in Poland. The demand for HIPS is otherwise good. Demand for GPPS is weak. In the southern region, PS from Iran is out of stock and no further shipments are expected in November. This is likely to be the case in Poland as well, which will cause the bottom of the price range to rise.
Typical ABS prices have been in the range of 1,350-1,500 € over the past week. Due to oversupply, ABS prices have fallen above SM´s. The decline in demand in Asia has led to an oversupply in the European market. One of the effects of this is that larger buyers buying truck loads have received offers from suppliers in South Korea for up to $ 1,300. Due to the recession in the automotive industry, prices may be expected to decrease even further.
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