12.11.2018, nur in Englisch verfügbar
High demand, short supply in November
The following factors influenced “commodity” polymer prices and price expectations last week:
- BRENT oil price 70.65 USD/barrel, dropping prices
- EUR/USD: 1.136, Euro getting stronger
- NAPHTHA: 535,29 USD/t, decreasing prices
- Dropping contracted monomer prices in November
- Ethylene (C2): -10 €/t (1,135 €/t)
- Propylene (C3): -10 €/t (1,060 €/t)
- Styrene monomer (SM) -170, 1,140 €/t
- converters keep waiting.
- the end of the year is at hand,
- the maintenance season in Central Europe will end soon.
- PP supply getting short, in case of homopolymer grades in particular
Ongoing and expected maintenance activities in Central-Europe:
In the first week of November LDPE continued its low-level flight. CE prices did practically not change compared to October. Polymer producers tried to keep the price level of last month. There are no traces of the LDPE price increase intended by WE producers to see yet. One of the major European producers managed to increase the prices successfully (+15-25 €) in some cases. But basically there was roll-over. Because of the shutdowns supply is dropping, but this has not appeared in the prices yet. LDPE converters, the production of packaging material producers in particular is “booming”, but because of the end of the year at hand all pay attention to not increasing their inventories significantly at the end of the year. In this way the high demand can no longer increase the prices significantly during the next 5 weeks any more. In case the production problems announced in the plant of SABIC in Gelsenkirchen persist, then surprisingly 2018 can be closed with price increase.
In case of HDPE roll-over was typical, the market price range did not change compared to October. Short supply and compared to the short supply high demand prevail. For the time being availability is limited at the big HDPE producers of the region. The effect of maintenance activities is palpable, for the time being inventories ensuring continuous supply are not yet built up. The unexpected shutdown of BOP in Poland last week also aggravated the situation. Fortunately it restarted as early as on Wednesday, but this showed, how vulnerable the HDPE market is, there are no appropriate inventories neither at the polymer producers nor at the plastic converters.
Polypropylene supply dropped, due to the maintenances and shutdowns. Polymer producers came up basically with roll-over. But similarly to HDPE, PP and homopolymer grades in particular demonstrated their weakness. Because of the sudden shutdown of BOP and due to the immediately announced FM, in case of some major packaging material producers the continuity of the production came to be a question mark. In this way in some cases there was a temporary price increase to a very surprising extent. The “impression of loss” of PPH is just enhanced by the limited availability of Russian PPH, due to the maintenance of SIBUR and Ufaorgsintez in October. Less PPH and PPC arrives also from Western Europe. First of all because of the monomer supply problems of LyondellBasell in Wesseling.. In the same way also the quantity of PPC produced in Europe and arriving from Braskem is lower, due to the monomer shortage (Wesseling) and the catalytic converter change in Skopau. The FM announced by Total in Felly further reduces supply in WE. For the time being the inventories at the traders significantly influence the market prices and keep the trading price ranges broad. The smaller dismay experienced in the first half of the last week in Poland showed how risky it is to produce low inventories, which do not allow to bridge an eventual market disturbance lasting for 2-3 weeks.
Nobody expected the SM price reduction by 170 EUR. This influences fundamentally the behavior of the markets. As the steep SM price drop will probably be followed by correction in December, but in January at latest. In this way PS producers try curbing the price drop, as in case of the SM price correction it is already much more difficult to increase prices. For the time being price levels in November are not yet clear. European producers reduced their prices by 80-120 €. But converters want more. The significant SM price decrease has a heavy impact on importers, the price of polystyrene grades imported from overseas is now similar and in many cases more expensive than those produced in Europe.
The LDPE price range expanded again, the prices were in Central Europe in a range of 1,040-1,160 €/t last week. The broadening of the price range can be traced back to two reasons: the producers in the southern region have not increased prices yet, but the already mentioned WE producers could slightly increase their prices. The demand is surprisingly high, supply is getting shorter. In this way it is probable that the two extreme values of the price range will get closer to each other in the second half of November and will move into the 1,080-1,160 range.
The HDPE demand is for the time being similar to that in October, there is no major fallback. According to the converters the season is expected to last until the end of November. The supply is usually short, due to the recent shutdowns (Unipetrol, BOP, and MOL). In Central Europe the typical prices were in a range of 1,190-1,270 €/t last week. Basically there was roll over in November.
HDPE (100) producers reduced their prices by 10-30 Euro last week. The typical price range was 1,320-1,450 €. End of the season mood and demand. Some converters are already preparing for the shutdown at the end of the year.
The typical prices of LLDPE C4 did not change either, they were in a range of 1,080 and 1,160 €/t last week. Practically roll-over happened. Demand is good, converters worked on a high level of capacity utilization.
mLLDPE prices were in a range of 1,260-1,400 €/t last week. The demand is good, in November we anticipate no price change.
PPH producers came up with a roll-over last week. But the price range moved, because of the aforementioned reasons, upwards. CE PPH raffia prices were in a range of 1,200-1,250 €/t. The price of non-special PPM IM products with medium melt index came to be a little broader, the price range is 1,210-1,280 €/t. The price of goods with high melt index was in a range of 1,260-1,320 €. Demand is good.
Typical prices of PPC grades were in a range of 1,280-1,400 €/t in Central-Europe last week. Roll-over was typical. Demand is good and is expected to remain like this until the end of November. With the exception of the pipe grades where the season has already ended. But expectedly traders will run out of inventories prices below 1,300 €. In this way in the second half of November the bottom of the price range will reach 1,300 €.
The PPR price range was 1,320-1,460 €/t, depending on the grade, producer and application area last week. There was roll-over. The demand is good in general, but certain specific grades were short of supply. Demand is good and is expected to remain like this until the end of November.
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 first week of Nov, 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 producers decreased prices by 80-170 €. The demand is very good because of the good weather, but the season will end in the middle of December at latest. Insulation material producers try cutting their feedstock orders. Prices were in a range of 1,350-1,500 €/t last week. We experienced a price drop by 170 Euro in one or two cases only, first of all in Hungary and in the southern region. In Poland, in the Czech Republic the price range was rather 1,400-1,460 €.
The demand for GPPS and HIPS was very good last week, due to the low prices. Converters are aware that now it is time to buy. PS producers did not implement the full SM price reduction. The typical GPPS price range was 1,280-1,350 €. HIPS prices were in a range of 1,300-1,380 €. The inventories of polymer producers will be sold soon, in this way in the second half of the month supply is expected to get short.
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