US polyolefins spot exports to revive in May - traders

30 April 2010 20:11  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) producers were indicating that they plan to export actively in May, traders said on Friday.

US Gulf spot export prices had already dropped over the past two weeks as producers began to test the market, the traders said.

“Every polyethylene grade has come down a few cents,” a trader said.

The source added that while some PE sellers were still low on inventory, “They are looking ahead three weeks and saying ‘Oh gosh, we need sales'.

High-density PE (HDPE) grades had the greatest availability, sources said, while offer activity on low-density PE (LDPE) and linear low-density PE (LLDPE) had been relatively muted.

HDPE blow moulding in railcars for export was said to be at 56-57 cents/lb FOB (free on board) US Gulf and higher.

That was down from bagged resin pricing at 63-66 cents/lb FOB USG (US Gulf) a week earlier, according to data from global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing. Bagged material is typically 2-3 cents higher because of packaging costs.

One trader said there was significant flexibility on HDPE pricing, and large volumes were available.

In the PP sector, US Gulf bulk export pricing was in the low 60s cents/lb FOB for prime homopolymer, and in the upper 50s cents/lb for wide spec material.

“I would expect to see lower than 62 cents/lb FOB next week from the US Gulf,” a trader said. “I think there will be a lot of volume moving.”

PP inventory was limited, but producers had plenty of spare capacity to ramp up if export opportunities appeared, sources said.

Major US PP producers include Sunoco, LyondellBasell, ExxonMobil, INEOS, Total, Formosa, Phillips Sumika, Pinnacle Polymers, ConocoPhillips, Flint Hills Resources and Dow Chemical.

Major US PE producers include Chevron Phillips, LyondellBasell, Dow, ExxonMobil, Westlake, INEOS, Total and Formosa.

($1 = €0.76)

For more on PE and PP visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: David Barry
+1 713 525 2653

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