02 April 2007 13:41 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--European polyethylene (PE) producers were confident over April attempts to increase prices as PE grades tightened and upstream costs remained high, said market sources.
Basell has already taken the unusual step of stopping new sales of two grades of PE for April on 29 March, and other producers reported a tight stock position, on high density (HDPE) in particular.
PE availability was already restricted but the situation was exacerbated by the recent strike at the French
It was unclear what the status of the plant was on Monday morning but the port was not expected to be back to normal for some time. The strike ended on 31 March.
Basell’s Aubette 320,000 tonne/year low density (LDPE) plant had been slightly reduced due to the strike but a company source had expected production to get back to normal soon after the end of the strike.
PE producers had already intended to recover the €35/tonne ($47/tonne) increase in the Q2 ethylene price, settled at €890/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest
“Low density will be allocated throughout April,” a major producer said. “This is due to very strong demand and low stocks. This was the case before the new situation in the south of
A major HDPE seller reported strong demand for April.
“Requests for April deliveries are already stronger than in April 2006,” he said.
Spot sellers also reported strong demand and higher prices for April.
Many April PE prices would not be settled until the end of the month, given the retroactive nature of many large accounts in some regions, but several buyers admitted that they would probably have to pay more for their April volumes.
“They have managed to get prices up in Q1, when ethylene fell, so they will be really pushing for higher prices this quarter. I don’t think we will be paying the full €35/tonne ethylene hike for April LDPE and LLDPE, however. HDPE might be a different matter,” a buyer said.
Producers pointed out that the current push was likely to be successful as it was based on supply and demand, as well as rising upstream costs.
LDPE and LLDPE prices increased by €20/tonne in March, while some HDPE increases were confirmed as high as €30/tonne.
March LDPE end-month settlements were reported at €1,190-1,210/tonne FD NWE on a gross basis, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.
There remained one cloud on the horizon for PE sellers in April, and this was the expectation of the arrival of Asian material into
“We don’t expect much before May,” said one major PE producer, “but we have to keep an eye on the situation as it is clear that opportunities for importing are in place.”
Offers of HDPE from bonded warehouses in Asia were reported in the mid-$1,200s/tonne FOB (free on board)
HDPE film prices on a gross basis in
Freight rates were estimated at $80/tonne, and duties of 6.5 % would be applied to imported product.
($1 = €0.75)
($1 = €0.75)
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