Europe R-PET still at record highs although availability improves

14 June 2010 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--European recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) prices are still at record highs although availability is improving due to higher post-consumer collection rates at recycling facilities, buyers and sellers said on Monday.

ICIS price records for R-PET began on 19 June 2006.

Colourless bottle prices were stable at €400-550/tonne ($482-663/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), with the highest values reported from Germany. Some players reported prices as low as €350/tonne, but this was not widely confirmed.

Colourless bottle prices first reached record highs on 26 April 2010 when material was traded at €500/tonne, before further rises last week. The previous high was €460/tonne, established from 16 June to 3 November 2008.

Mixed coloured bottle prices were also stable, at €300-380/tonne FD NWE, due to increased availability.

A new record price of €330/tonne was first seen on 26 April 2010, with further rises in the weeks that followed. The previous high was €250/tonne, recorded from 4 June 2007 to 9 June 2008.

Colourless flake prices were stable at €900-950/tonne FD NWE, buyers and sellers confirmed, again due to increased availability while mixed coloured flake prices rose by €50/tonne, to €750-850/tonne FD NWE, most sources confirmed, due to tight supply.

Supply was now so tight that one mixed flake end-user had to shut one of its two extruders over the weekend of 12/13 June as it had been unable to source enough material, a company source said. The source added that both extruders would probably need to be shutdown during the weekend of 18/19 June due to supply constraints.

“It’s the worst situation [in mixed coloured R-PET flakes] that we have ever seen,” the buyer said.

Mixed coloured flakes first hit record highs on 29 March 2010, when they were trading at €570-700/tonne, before climbing further over the last two months. The previous high was €650/tonne, seen from 16 June 2008 until 3 November 2008.

The increased availability was attributed to higher collection rates at post-consumer recycling facilities, due to rising consumption of virgin polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles – the major source of post consumer material for PET recycling - because of hotter weather across Europe.

Some sources also said that the 2010 FIFA football World Cup could lead to increased consumption of plastic bottles as people refresh themselves more during the games, but this was disputed by others who said that higher temperatures were a far more decisive factor in increased supply.

Players also said that Asian buying interest was weakening due to lower virgin PET prices in the region and higher freight costs making European R-PET less attractive.

Asian buyers traditionally source R-PET material on price-point rather than for reasons of corporate social responsibility, they added. Asian buying interest had been siphoning in European material in recent months as European producers could achieve higher prices overseas because of the strong US dollar against the euro.

Other sources said that exchange rates meant European R-PET material was still being diverted to Asia, particularly from the UK.

($1 = €0.83)

For more on R-PET visit ICIS chemical intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Mark Victory
+44 208 652 3214

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