Europe polypropylene price rises stall for first time this year

12 July 2010 12:01  [Source: ICIS news]

Europe PP prices stall for first time this yearLONDON (ICIS news)--Polypropylene (PP) prices in Europe are stalling for the first time in 2010 after increasing by more than 30% this year, sources said on Monday.

“Our average increase this month is no more than €5/tonne ($6/tonne), with prices in the south sometimes easing back,” said a major producer.

“Prices have gone down by around €20/tonne in the past week,” agreed a southern European distributor, “but a lot depends on what grade material it is, and which sector it’s going into.”

The food packaging and health and hygiene sectors were still buoyant, and some buyers were forced to pay high prices.

“I had to buy some spot product at €1,300/tonne [delivered],” said one large buyer which had been let down by its usual supplier. “The most important thing was to keep the lines running.”

Offers of some grades of homopolymer injection were now well below this level.

“A couple of producers are offering melt flow 12 and 25 at €1,200/tonne [delivered] this week, but it’s not clear how much material is on offer. Last week they were offering at €1,220/tonne,” said an Italian buyer.

Southern Europe was widely considered to be weaker than the north, affected by offers of imports from various sources.

Film and automotive sectors were not strong, with the Italian BOPP film market in particular described as weak by several sources.

“Markets are patchy,” said another producer. “The garden furniture sector in the UK is booming, while film in southern Europe is weak.”

Several PP production issues and a consistently tight propylene situation had kept the European PP market strong in 2010. Weakness in Asia had attracted imports from the Middle East in recent weeks, however.

“We are being offered imports, but numbers are not exciting,” said one potential buyer of imported product. “We haven’t seen much below €1,200/tonne [delivered] so far.”

Asian homopolymer injection prices were reported at $1,150-1,200/tonne CFR (cost and freight). Most imports into Europe were from the Middle East, where sellers eyed better netbacks than to Asia, but quantities were still not at the high level buyers had expected in 2010.

PP producers in Europe include LyondellBasell, Borealis, SABIC, Total Petrochemicals, Dow Chemical, Repsol, INEOS Olefins and Polymers, Polychim and Domo.

($1 = €0. 79)

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