22.10.2018, nur in Englisch verfügbar
Outages have no effect, moderate demand, and good supply
The following factors influenced “commodity” polymer prices and price expectations last week:
- BRENT oil price 79.29 USD/barrel, stagnating prices
- EUR/USD: 1.1472, Euro getting stronger
- NAPHTHA: 670,3 USD/t, decreasing prices
- average demand, in line with the season,
- some specific grades happen to be short of supply, yet maintenance activities and late restarts cause no supply problems.
Ongoing and expected maintenance activities in Central-Europe
MOL restarted last Wednesday, and so did also Unipetrol last week. Their maintenance did not cause supply problems. Certain HDPE grades were short of supply, but supply in general was good last week. Similar to PP general supply is good, and demand is in line with the season.
Polymer buyers still feel it is not urgent for them to buy. Old reflexes do not work anymore. The shutdown is not clearly equivalent to feedstock shortage. There are many different kinds of polymer grades not from Central-Europe on the market. Most of them arrive from West-Europe, not from traditional players like Dow Chemical or Repsol. Directly and also indirectly via traders. But polymer grades from overseas (USA and Canada alike) appeared as well. This means that converters make a good decision if they sit and wait and purchase always in line with their needs at the most favorable prices possible. This means for polymer producers that medium-sized and smaller customers will buy ever decreasing quantities on contract basis and ever increasing quantities on spot basis, from various purchasing sources. This will significantly influence, modify the sale chain. The role of the regular “ex works’” distributors will be devalued and the role of “free traders” will be more and more important.
After the temporary NAPHTHA and oil price increase at the beginning of the month the prices came back to normal, returned to the level one month ago. This will chill down expectations related to monomer price increase. All the more as spot monomer prices drop. The ethylene spot price is now 930 €/t (FDNWE), which is by 80 Euro lower than one month ago. The propylene spot price is 1,085 €/t (FDNWE), which is by 20 Euro lower than one month ago. Though the propylene spot price is still higher than the October contract prices. The SM spot price is continuously dropping, now it is 1,240 USD/t (FOB Rotterdam), this is by 40 USD lower than one month ago, and the continuously dropping price tendency is visible in October as well.
All this means that in case of olefin monomers the tendency “roll-over less 20 EUR” continues, which means a clear roll-over in case of polymers. In case of SM a price drop by 50-80 € is probable, but taking the usual styrene market uncertainty into consideration a price drop by three digits is not excluded either.
The crisis on the LDPE market continues. The typical price range was 1,060-1,140 €/t last week in Central-Europe. But it is more and more visible that traders, feedstock converters try to stop the further price decrease and stabilize prices on a level of about 1,100 €. In November a similar price level and demand are expected.
HDPE demand is still good, supply is satisfactory. Because of the maintenance activities just some company-specific grades are short of supply. The typical CE price range is 1,200-1,260 €/t.
The HDPE (100) demand is dropping. The price range is 1,350-1,450 €/t, depending on the size and location of the buyer. In November roll-over, a minor price drop by about 20 € can be expected.
The typical prices of LLDPE C4 did not change either, they were in a range of 1,080 and 1,150 €/t last week. Demand is good and in line with the season. In November roll-over is probable.
mLLDPE prices were in a range of 1,260-1,400 €/t last week. There is an average demand, in line with the season. Supply is abundant, rather oversupply is typical.
PPH supply is good. The demand is in line with the season. There were minor supply problems in the southern region. Here FCA prices are in a range of 1,170-1,190 €. In Central-Europe PPH Raffia prices were in a range of 1,190-1,240 €. The price of non-special PPM IM products with medium melt index is: in a range of 1,210-1,260, while that of products with high melt index started from 1,250 €. In November a similar price level will be typical. Demand is satisfactory.
There is no change on the PPC market. Typical prices of non-special grades were in a range of 1,280-1,400 €/t in Central-Europe last week. Yet most deals are made in a price range of 1,300-1,350 €. In November a price level, demand and supply similar to October can be expected.
PPR demand is low. The price range was 1,320-1,460 €/t, depending on the grade, producer and application area last week. Demand for pipe grades is particularly low. In November roll-over is expected.
The prices of the last week are presented in the table below (full truck load 20-22.5 t):
||Typical polymer price ranges in the third week of Oct, 2018, 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
Most EPS sales happened early October. The market is silent, the end of the season is at hand, but the demand is good and in line with the season. The typical price range is 1,500-1,650 €/t in October. In November a price reduction exceeding the SM price reduction by 60-80 EUR is to be expected.
The GPPS and HIPS market weakened further, in the new offers prices dropped by 10-30 €. Last week the price range of GPPS produced in Europe was 1,440- 1,540 €, while the range of HIPS prices was 1,520-1,600 € depending on the grade and application area. It is more and more palpable that converters try to substitute polystyrene grades that came to be famous for their hectic prices during recent years with other materials. In November a price change exceeding the price reduction of SM is probable, which might mean also a price reduction by three digits.
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