03.09.2018, nur in Englisch verfügbar
September starts with partial price increase
The following factors influenced “commodity” polymer prices and price expectations last week:
- BRENT oil price 77.77 USD/barrel, increasing prices,
- EUR/USD: 1.1671, EURO getting weaker
- NAPHTHA: 640.69 USD/t, slightly increasing prices
- Contracted monomer prices in September
- Ethylene (C2): roll-over, 1,135 €/t,
- Propylene (C3): +10 €/t; 1,050 €/t
- Styrene (SM): +65 €/t; 1,380 €/t
- regional currencies getting stronger,
- demand getting stronger, minor pre-purchases
Converters return from the summer holidays. They look forward with some concern, some, being afraid of potential price increase in September, and of minor feedstock shortage, have purchased minor quantities in advance last week. In particular HDPE and PP. In spite of the fact that the market expected the highest price increase in case of SM, with the exception of EPS the demand for PS did not increase significantly last week. All in all the market came to be more dynamic, but the demand was not high in spite of this.
Because of the expected shutdowns there was no panic on the market, market players are confident that supply would be continuous. Not without good reasons, as distributors and traders have significant inventories and offer their products continuously. Mostly the products of WE polymer producers are continuously, at depressed prices, available in Central-Europe. First of all polyethylene and PP copolymer grades. Because of the Euro getting stronger and due to the oversupply on the world market, in August WE producers sold low quantities outside of Europe, in this way “superabundant” quantities end up at traders at low prices. Most quantities flow to Central-Europe. This process keeps CE prices in case of polyethylene and partially also in case of polypropylene grades. This fact is also partially in the background of the continuous price erosion of LDPE prices. At traders LDPE from WE and in this case also from CE in good quality is continuously available. September with the expected higher demand might counteract this processes.
The expected SM price increase happened, the price increase by 65 €/t did not cause a surprise. Because of the restart of the plant in Maasvlakte the price increase was moderate, it came to be the middle value of the price increase (50-80 €/t) expected. The HIPS and GPPS demand is still low, in this way this will be palpable in the prices in September as well.
The price of LDPE remained low last week. Prices varied in a price range of 1,060-1,140 € last week. Polymer producers propose probably roll-over. The question is, what is the basis for comparison? The first proposal of polymer producers is unchanged price compared to early August, but the market can accept the unchanged price compared to the end of August only. In this way next week the price range will become wider compared to last week. Offer prices will be in a range of 1,060 and 1,180 €.
In case of HDPE the supply getting shorter was only slightly palpable. Some converters tried buying in advance, but this was not general. Some of the deals made last week were made already at increased prices in case of MDPE and HD BM grades. The typical price range was 1,120-1,240 € last week. Some polymer producers prepare for an average price increase by 20 Euro. This will probably be accepted on the market.
The typical HDPE (100) price range remained stable: 1,400-1,520 €/t. Within the price range the average price dropped, as polymer producers tried boosting the demand by special prices (price reductions by 30-40 Euro). With success, in this way as a result of special prices pipe producers already have significant inventories for the fall season. But this demand brought forward might strike back in September. Polymer producers prepare for a price increase by 20 Euro, but this intention might be crushed at the resistance of converters. In case of September prices roll-over is the most probable price scenario.
CE prices of LLDPE C4 were in a range of 1,080 and 1,150 € last week. In September we expect unchanged prices and wider supply.
mLLDPE prices were stable last week, in a range of 1,260-1,400 €. In September no change is expected, we anticipate roll-over.
Typical PPH prices were in a range of 1,180-1,360 € last week. For the time being converters still think maintenance activities starting at the end of September are still far away. They are not afraid of material shortage, therefore there were no pre-purchases yet. As of next week we anticipate demand getting higher. Polymer producers will probably increase prices by 10 Euro following monomer prices.
PPC demand is still low. Prices did not change last week, in Central-Europe last week the typical price range was 1,270-1,440 €/t in case of PPC IM, depending on the grade and application area. The price of pipe grades was in a range of 1,350-1,500 €/t. Contrary to our expectations last week demand did not increase, there were no pre-purchases. Producers will probably try charging the monomer price increase to their buyers, but roll-over is the most probable scenario.
The typical PPR price range is 1,300-1,460 €/t, depending on the grade, producer and application area last week. The slight increase of the demand and a price increase by 10 Euro are probable in September.
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 last week Aug, 2018, Central Europe (€/ton)||Expected polymer price ranges in the first week Sept, 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
EPS demand increases in CE, first of all on the insulation material market. The price increase at hand and the colder weather boosted the demand. An exception to this were only Hungary and the countries of the southern region. Here lacking manpower in construction curbs demand. The feedstock and finished product warehouses of insulation material producers are full. The typical CE offer price range was 1,520-1,620 € last week. In September we expect an increase by 70-90 € exceeding monomer prices.
The demand for GPPS and HIPS is still low. The average price of GPPS produced in Europe is in a range of 1,380- 1,520 €. HIPS prices are in a range of 1,460-1,600 €. Though producers try a price increase following monomer prices in September, the weak demand will probably crush this intention, thus increase is probable. By about 50 Euro.
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